Boy did it feel a win, though.
When rookie Danny Mwanga, the No. 1 overall selection in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft, scored in the 93rd minute, it lifted the collective spirit of an entire organization.
Instead of a 1-0 loss, the result was a 1-1 draw against FC Dallas before a giddy crowd of 25,038 Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field.
With two weeks before the Union’s next match at Houston, it sure will be easier to come to work every day knowing they earned a much-needed point.
“I think the team got rewarded for the hard work,” Team Manager Peter Nowak said. “We’d been pushing the game from the first minute and then they got the goal against us. The first half was unbelievable with the chances we had and I think we have to already have a lead in the first half. But as I said, the team is going to fight until the end and we got rewarded in the end.
“This is one point that we cherish and is good for the team confidence going forward. We have a couple of weeks to work on the things that didn’t work well this afternoon.”
After four tough losses in a row, all on the road, it would have been difficult to endure another one. Thanks to Mwanga, the club avoided that fate and secured a point on a day when only one other Eastern Conference team, Columbus, earned three points.
“It was a great feeling to get the goal for the whole club,” Mwanga said. “We needed it. We have been working very hard. To get a result like this is great. I think we could have scored more goals. I don’t think anyone in here is happy we got a tie, but it came at a good time. We needed it. I think we’ll use this as a confidence-builder in training every day.”
This has been a unique season in so many ways.
Not only is it the inaugural MLS season here, but the players had to deal with playing eight of their first twelve games on the road. That can’t be easy, but the good news is that after another three game road trip the Union will play 13 of their final 20 league matches at PPL Park, the club’s home grounds set to open June 27th.
Getting a result like this – a tie that felt like a win – should produce just a little bit of added motivation over the next two weeks of training before the May 29 match at Houston.
“We have been working at this every day with some hard losses to take,” said goalkeeper Chris Seitz. “I’m pleased for our fans, who have given us so much support. I’m pleased for us because this tie was a good jolt. Danny made a terrific play. It was a point that could have been three. It could have been zero. I’m just glad it was one. It’s been a while since we got a point. We’ll get back to work and build from this. It’s another good starting point for us.”
Forward Alejandro Moreno said that a tie such as this can catapult the Union in future games.
“Absolutely, it can,” said Moreno, in his ninth season. “The young players can feed off the positive energy. I think the older players can, too. Getting a tie when it looks as if you’re going to get a loss is very important. I think the whole team has been lifted.”
Remember to check back at this result. This was a momentum-changing type of game.
And the players could feel that when it ended.
The Union came away with one point rather than three.
“The players are smiling in the locker room,” Mwanga said. “We were rewarded for our work. I think this one point will motivate us in our training. I think this is just the beginning for us in terms of where we can go.”