Match recap: Despite late charge, Union fall to FC Dallas in Independence Day battle royale
The Philadelphia Union fell to FC Dallas, 2-1 on the road Friday night at Toyota Stadium, as a first-half goal from Amobi Okugo and late offensive pressure wasn’t enough to earn a point.
The Union return to action this Tuesday, July 8 at PPL Park against the New England Revolution in U.S. Open Cup action.
“I still think we’re creating a lot of chances on the road, but I think we can improve the final ball,” interim team manager Jim Curtin said. “We got in wide spots a lot this game and our final pass on the cross was off and let us down a little. We created enough to get a result on the road and I thought we deserved at least a draw out of the game, but this is the way our league is, anybody can beat anybody. It was a good, hard-fought game.”
FC Dallas struck first on a goal from Tesho Akindele. Panamanian forward Blas Perez lifted a ball over top the defense to Akindele, who found space in between the Union’s central defense. Akindele fired a one-touch shot past MacMath to put the home side up, 1-0.
Just before the halftime whistle, the Union found an equalizer by way of Amobi Okugo, the fourth of his MLS career. Cristian Maidana rounded the end line on the left side before putting a low, hard ball into the box that went by a pair of FC Dallas defenders. Okugo made contact to score past a diving Chris Seitz, and the Union found themselves on equal terms heading into the half.
“Home crowd, fourth of July, so they had a lot behind them,” said Curtin. “To their credit, they came at us, had some chances and we dodged a few bullets, got through a little bit and then once we give up the goal, we regrouped a little and showed some fight and got the goal back. In the end, I thought we pushed pretty hard in the second half the right way.”
Dallas added another quickly into the second half after a fluke goal that came off of a Union clearance. Fabinho looked to clear a ball outside the box, but it took a deflection off of Sheanon Williams and fell past goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
“Made some adjustments at halftime and we’re settled in for the first four minutes,” said Curtin. “And the next thing you know, that fluky goal happens and we’re adjusting on the fly. It was tough.”
The Union applied pressure late in the game as second-half offensive substitutions Andrew Wenger, Aaron Wheeler and Fred all contributed to the attack, but they were unable to find the equalizer. In all, the Union had more attempts on goal and shots on target, as Dallas recorded just two shots on goal. The referee also made his mark on the match by issuing three cards – all to the Union – including the first-ever yellow issued to Sebastien Le Toux and a late red to Maurice Edu.
“It’s unfortunate,” Sheanon Williams said postgame. “I thought we had a good game, especially defensively; we gave up two chances and they score two goals. It’s unfortunate, but that’s just sometimes the way it goes. We’ve got to take the positives and move forward, nothing we can do about it now… Get recovered and get ready for the next game.”
The Union will look to bounce back after a short turnaround sees them continue in U.S. Open Cup action against the New England Revolution Tuesday, July 8 at PPL Park (7 p.m.). Then it’s a return to MLS action with a home matchup against Colorado Saturday, July 12.
FC Dallas 2, Philadelphia Union 1
Friday, July 4; 9:00 p.m. ET
FCD: Akindele (Perez) 26’
PHI: Okugo (Maidana) 43’
FCD: Williams (own goal) 47’
PHI: Casey (caution) 65’
PHI: Le Toux (caution) 68’
PHI: Edu (ejection) 89’
UNION STARTING 11
MacMath, Fabinho, Williams, Edu, Gaddis, Okugo (Fred 81’), Lahoud, Maidana, Cruz (Wenger 62’), Le Toux, Casey (Wheeler 78’).
DALLAS STARTING 11
Seitz (Fernandez 72’), Hernandez, Keel, Hedges, Loyd, Escobar (Diaz 78’), Watson, Ulloa, Moffat (Thomas 68’), Akindele, Perez.