Union Struggle After Early Red Card

Union unable to retain lead after Knighton's red card

It’s been the same story all season for the Philadelphia Union: Individual mistakes have cost them a large majority of their losses and have hindered them in many of their draws.

In a 3-1 loss at FC Dallas on Sunday, they experienced yet another chapter of this story.

WATCH: Full match highlights

Having played well for the opening 20 minutes at Pizza Hut Park, the Union were able to take an early lead thanks to a scrappy Alejandro Moreno goal. It all came undone in the 24th minute, however, as stand-in keeper Brad Knighton took down Brek Shea in the area and was shown red. Dallas converted the penalty kick and had the match permanently swing in their favor.

“Really, just out of nothing, we make a mistake in the back," Moreno said. "Brad drops the ball and then the penalty kick happens—and now, not only is it a penalty kick, but we’re a man down, so it was going to make it difficult for us."

Working diligently to score his first goal for the Union, Moreno lamented how the lead he attained was soon relinquished.

“We battled pretty hard to close out the first half and end in a 1-1 draw and try to make some changes and try to sort ourselves out defensively," Moreno said. "We did that for the first 15 or 20 minutes of the second half, and then we had a break down and we got punished. In the end, we come out of here with nothing after putting a lot of work on the field.”

Union Manager Peter Nowak, however, was upset with the momentum-shifting penalty call.

“First of all, of course, [Shea] needs to get the ball,” Nowak said of Knighton’s foul. “There’s no question about that. But, from there, the ball bounced off the board, Brek Shea goes down and the red card is a bit too much for my standards. Then it’s tough to play that many minutes a man down in this kind of weather conditions.”

Fortunately for Nowak, Moreno and the rest of the Union, they won’t have much time to think about the unfortunate events of Sunday’s game as they are back to PPL Park on Wednesday to host MLS Cup champions Real Salt Lake.

“We’ve just got to continue to work,” Moreno said. “We get an opportunity on Wednesday in front of our fans to try to get a positive result and hopefully we can get this thing moving forward and in the right direction.

“It’s another opportunity for us to continue to grow as a team, but our growth is dependent on our work and our sacrifice and our commitment as a team and hopefully we can do that on Wednesday."