Homegrown Quinn Sullivan continued his strong run of form on Wednesday night as he bagged a goal to help Philadelphia Union earn a 1-1 draw against FC Dallas.
With three starters out, Head Coach Jim Curtin made some major adjustments to his lineup adding young faces to the mix highlighted by homegrown Quinn Sullivan paired up alongside Mikael Uhre to lead the front line. Wednesday’s start was just his fifth start of the season, coming just two games after he scored a momentous goal that sparked the Philadelphia’s rally for a draw against Charlotte a week prior. The lineup also saw Alejandro Bedoya earn his 200th Major League Soccer start for the Philadelphia Union, further establishing his reputation as a Union legend.
Missing from the group were consistent starters in Jakob Glesnes, Julián Carranza, and José Martinez, each left off the bench after being listed questionable ahead of the midweek matchup due to injury. With three games against top of the table teams looming, ensuring their health is a top priority.
FC Dallas made quite a few alterations to their typical group as well, with Head Coach Nico Estévez opting for six changes from their Saturday draw against Columbus Crew with a focus on a six-point Texas Derby matchup this weekend.
Wednesday’s night began in a battle, with the Philadelphia Union maintaining possession on their attacking end early. Bedoya started the attack early with a near chance in the first minute that sailed wide and left following a Kai Wagner cross.
Sullivan had a more promising chance in the 10th minute, receiving the ball at the outside of the box from a Daniel Gazdag pass, but hit his shot with too much power, sending it instead into the River End.
Bedoya attempted to feed it to the 19-year-old homegrown closer to the net in the 12th minute, but the pass was deflected by the back of a Dallas defender. Soon after, Gazdag tried a boot from distance himself, taking a chance from more than 35 yards out, but again the ball went too high.
The first 15 minutes saw three Philadelphia shots to Dallas’s zero, albeit off target as the Union laid on the attack early and often. In the 16th, a Mikael Uhre cross found Bedoya for an attempted header that was deflected back to him for a close range shot, but it was stopped by Dallas keeper Maarten Paes. Philadelphia earned a corner opportunity in the 20th minute, but it was cleared by Dallas’ Ghanaian defender Ema Twumasi.
Intense play persisted through the first quarter of the game; Mbaizo was shown a yellow card in the 21st minute after a bad foul. Bueno followed suit with a yellow of his own in the 24th minute, committing a foul in the Dallas’s attacking end that led to a free kick toward Blake, who leaped to save it. Reacting near-immediately, Union’s resident brick wall sent the ball to Wagner in transition, who booted it down the field to a sprinting Sullivan. Advancing past Dallas’s defense with urgency, Sullivan beat his defender for a wide open shot in front of the River End, sending it to the back of the net for the Union’s first goal of the night. The goal marked the homegrown’s second score of the season and his first in front of Philly faithful in 2023.
A third yellow card was dealt in the 28th minute, this time to Dallas’s winger Alan Velasco. Despite Dallas’s determined defense, the Union’s push toward the net didn’t slow. Bedoya earned another chance in the 32nd minute xxxx.
Dallas ramped up their offensive efforts with a Velasco shot from distance in the 35th minute, but a diving save from Blake stifled their effort.A determined Dallas earned another chance in the 36th minute, this time with Velasco placing it just out of Blake’s reach into the bottom right corner to equalize the score.
Philadelphia quickly went back to work to re-establish their lead going into the break. The Boys in Blue pushed into the attack and were presented the chance to push numbers forward with an attack up the flank that earned a corner kick opportunity. Wagner continued his pinpoint passing, finding airborne Jack Elliot from the right side of the six yard box, but his header went too high.
Dallas was quick to continue their offensive efforts at the start of the second half, grabbing a chance early when a Velasco cross from Jesús Jiménez close to the net. Blake denied the shot, preventing his opponent from gaining their first advantage of the night.
In the 56th minute the Union kept pushing as Gazdag drove down the left sideline, artfully spinning through Dallas defending to find McGlynn in the left corner, tapping it back into play for another Bedoya shot outside of the box. The attempt was blocked, but the Union kept at the attack, with McGlynn nearly getting to the net before his push was stopped by Paes. Moments later, Jesús Bueno collected a Dallas attempt at getting the ball out of Philadelphia’s attacking end, but his powerful strike toward the net soared over instead.
A 60th minute Dallas direct free kick at the center of the box added a layer of physicality between the squads as they prepared for the boot. The contention sent the Philly crowd into a distracting chorus of boos that proved the strength of Philadelphia’s home field advantage when Velasco’s shot went just high above the net.
String of quick passed brought a Uhre chance in the 66th minute that skipped just past the net, saved in the bottom left corner. The Union earned a corner that didn’t unfold into a shot, but was hit out of bounds by Dallas for a home team throw in that found Wagner at the left side of the box for a shot that went right of the net.
Dallas turned to their high-powered substitutes in the 68th minute, subbing Jesus Jiménez and Jader Obrian for one of the team’s top goal-scorers, Designated Player Jesus Ferreira and winger Paul Arriola.
Dallas’s DP tried to take control of the game with a dagger toward Blake off an Arriola pass, but Philly’s net protector was ready for the test, making a sliding knee save in the 77th minute. Estévez added in two more players in the 80th minute for a final burst of energy, putting in A. Illarramendi and their J. Martínez, not to be confused with the Union’s beloved El Brujo.
The potential game-winner came from the visitors as Paul Arriola found close range shot off a set piece in the 82nd minute and put it into the back of the net. The celebrations were short lived as the referee was summoned for a second look via VAR. After a 90-second review, the goal was off the scoreboard as Wagner’s clearance crashed off Arriola’s wrist and with it the handball presented the scoring chance.
The Boys in Blue wrap up September with a massive Eastern Conference showdown at Saturday night as they travel to the Columbus Crew. The six pointer with postseason seeding ramifications is set for kick off at 7:30PM ET with the action on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.