Frisco Tx. (August 8, 2010) – On a scorching day at Pizza Hut Park, the Philadelphia Union (4-10-3) fell 3-1 to FC Dallas (7-2-9), extending Dallas' unbeaten streak in league play to nine matches. After Alejandro Moreno’s first goal of the season in the ninth minute, Brad Knighton’s first start for the Union ended abruptly when the goalkeeper received a red card following a bobbled ball in the box. David Ferreira equalized on the ensuing penalty kick, and second half substitute Jeff Cunningham’s brace gave Dallas the full three points.
FC Dallas nearly struck first less than a minute into the match when Brek Shea ran onto a ball in space along the left flank, crossing to an onrushing Ferreira. Ferreira had an opportunity to bury the service, but he wasn’t able to get a touch with a sliding attempt.
After curbing Dallas’ initial onslaught, the Union struck first in the ninth minute. Following a nifty combination between Sebastien Le Toux and Justin Mapp, Le Toux’s initial shot from 15 yards out was blocked by goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. But Moreno relentlessly followed the rebound and eventually willed the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead despite getting knocked to the ground during the sequence.
The Union’s lead wouldn’t last after Knighton misplayed a routine through ball, forcing him to commit a foul on Shea in the area. Knighton was handed a red card, and Ferreira converted the penalty kick in the 23rd minute to tie the match at 1-1.
Playing with 10 men, the Union nearly went down 2-1 in the 31st minute, but Chris Seitz made a tremendous save diving to his left off an angled, close-range strike from Shea. Seitz was tested again in the 34th minute when Milton Rodriguez had a go from 22 yards out, but the 'keeper was up to the task again, knocking the powerful shot over the bar.
Dallas had another opportunity right before the half when Jair Benitez received a through ball to the left of the net. Dribbling towards the near post, Benitez sent a cross to the feet of Seitz, who bobbled the ball with Atiba Harris standing over him. Harris had a wide open net from only a few yards away, but wasn’t able to slot it home from a difficult angle.
Dallas had the first dangerous scoring opportunity of the second half in the 58th minute, when Cunningham’s header from 10 yards out off of Benitez’s cross hit the bar over a diving Seitz, keeping the score level at one apiece for the time being.
After entering as a second half substitute for Moreno, Andrew Jacobson attempted to put the Union up with a hard strike from long-range in the 64th minute, but Hartman was able to get in front of the attempt and knock it forward. With some open net to work with, Fred was unable to gain control of the bouncing rebound, squandering an opportunity to take the lead.
While Philadelphia did well to hold Dallas without a goal in the run of play for 52 minutes down a man, Dallas would break through in the 75th minute. Shea’s service into a crowded area found Cunningham’s head at the edge of the six-yard box, and MLS’ second all-time leading scorer made no mistake to put Dallas up 2-1.
Dallas capitalized with the Union chasing the match looking for a late equalizer, going up 3-1 on Cunningham’s second goal of the night. The second half substitute ran onto a through ball from Ferreira in Philadelphia’s area to the left of the goal and calmly passed Seitz for an insurance goal.
The Union will return to MLS action Wednesday, 7:30pm against Real Salt Lake at PPL Park (TV: Live Well HD Network, 7:00pm pre-game show), while Dallas will square off against DC United Saturday at RFK Stadium.
PHI – Alejandro Moreno 1 (Unassisted) 9’
FCD – David Ferreira 5 (Unassisted) 23’
FCD – Jeff Cunningham 5 (Brek Shea 3, Jair Benitez 1) 75'
FCD – Jeff Cunningham 6 (David Ferreira 6) 81’
PHI -- Brad Knighton (ejection; Denied Goal Scoring Opportunity (Foul)) 22
PHI -- Michael Orozco Fiscal (caution; Tactical Foul) 55
PHI -- Andrew Jacobson (caution; Reckless Tackle) 66
Philadelphia Union -- Brad Knighton, Cristian Arrieta, Danny Califf, Juan Diego Gonzalez, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Justin Mapp (Chris Seitz 23), Eduardo Coudet, Kyle Nakazawa (Jordan Harvey 46), Fred, Sebastien Le Toux, Alejandro Moreno (Andrew Jacobson 63).
Substitutes Not Used: Jack McInerney, Amobi Okugo, Roger Torres, Nick Zimmerman.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 8; OFFSIDES: 4; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 5
FC Dallas -- Kevin Hartman, Heath Pearce, Ugo Ihemelu (Zach Loyd 20), George John, Jair Benitez, Atiba Harris, Eric Avila (Jeff Cunningham 46), Daniel Hernandez, Brek Shea, David Ferreira, Milton Rodriguez (Eric Alexander 77).
Substitutes Not Used: Marvin Chavez, Edson Edward, Bruno Guarda, Dario Sala.
TOTAL SHOTS: 20; SHOTS ON GOAL: 8; FOULS: 8; OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 9; SAVES: 3
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Assistants: Jason Cullum; Bill Dittmar
4th Official: Jasen Anno
Time of Game: 1:53