Califf Tackle

Cunningham Brace Propels FCD Over Union

FRISCO, Texas — At just over a year to the day that Jeff Cunningham started an epic scoring streak that saw him reel off 16 goals in FC Dallas’ final 14 games, the veteran scorer netted two in a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union at Pizza Hut Park on Sunday.

Cunningham, a second-half substitute, added the brace with the game tied at one apiece after the Union had goalkeeper Brad Knighton dismissed early in the first half for denying a goalscoring opportunity.

The visiting side drew first blood nine minutes in when Alejandro Moreno bundled home his first goal of 2010. However, Dallas took full advantage of the extra man, scoring three unanswered goals.

Union Manager Peter Nowak made several changes to his first XI from the group that fell 2-1 to Columbus at PPL Park on Thursday. Most notable of those changes was Knighton getting his first start in place of Chris Seitz.

Nowak also inserted 29-year-old Colombian newcomer Juan Diego González into one of his center back spots. Gonzalez most recently played for Deportivo Pereira in his native Colombia.

FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman made just one change to his first XI from Thursday’s 2-2 draw with UEFA Champions League winner Inter Milan. Kevin Hartman returned to goal for his 14th straight start.

The visitors took the early 1-0 lead under interesting circumstances. Union All-Star forward Sebastien Le Toux took a shot from the left side that was stopped by Hartman. After FCD defenders Heath Pearce and George John tried to clear the ball unsuccessfully, Moreno got a shot off that was deflected and ended up in the back of the net.

However, any momentum generated by the goal evaporated just 13 minutes later when Knighton upended Brek Shea inside the left side of the box, drawing a red card by referee Jair Marrufo. Seitz took his position in goal, where he immediately faced David Ferreira's PK.

On the resulting spot kick, the Colombian midfielder knocked it into the top half of the right side of goal, tying the game at 1-1. It was Ferreira’s third goal via the penalty spot this year.

Hyndman made one change to start the second half, bringing on Cunningham for Eric Avila. FCD shifted into a 4-4-2 with the veteran striker paired with Milton Rodriguez up top.

The combination of Cunningham and Rodriguez opened things up for FCD. In the 58th minute, Cunningham nearly headed one in after a great cross from Benitez, but his effort struck the crossbar before going over the top of the Union net.

However, the seasoned goalscorer finally rediscovered his scoring touch in the 75th when he headed home off Shea's serve. Cunningham then added a second tally in the 81st minute, converting with his right foot following a nice through ball by Ferreira.    

With today’s defeat, the Union’s road record falls to 1-8-1. They host Real Salt Lake on Wednesday at PPL Park. FCD have now won four straight at PHP and their unbeaten streak improves to nine games. They face D.C. United next Saturday at RFK Stadium.

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