By JOEL HOOVER
On a wild afternoon of storylines at PPL Park, it was Blas Perez who wrote the biggest one of all late in injury time.
The Panamanian striker delivered a stoppage-time goal just minutes after having a goal-bound shot cleared off the line to help 10-man FC Dallas earn a 2-2 draw against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday at PPL Park.
Amobi Okugo and Walker Zimmerman traded first half goals before Aaron Wheeler looked to have won it for the Union in the 87th minute with his first MLS goal.
Dallas looked to have the equalizer in stoppage time when Perez sent a shot toward the net, but Sheanon Williams stepped in front and cleared the shot off the line. Replays suggested that the ball had just crossed the line when Williams cleared it and should have been ruled a goal.
Perez shook off that call and responded two minutes later when he headed home a pass from David Ferreira to send FC Dallas back home with a hard-earned road point.
“It’s extremely disappointing that we gave away two points in that fashion,” Union manager John Hackworth said afterward. “I think the game should have been over…(the goal) was well over the allotted time on the clock. But you have to play until the final whistle and we didn’t do that.”
The goal came off a free kick from Michel into the box. Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath failed to gather it in amidst the traffic, allowing for Ferreira flick the ball over his head to Perez for the winning header.
“(We’ve) been playing very well lately,” MacMath said afterward, adding that he thought he was “absolutely” fouled when the free kick came into the box. “We should have had three points going into the (upcoming) road trip.
FC Dallas entered the match without starting defenders Zach Loyd and George John, both out with injuries, and with Ferreira on the bench to start the match due to an injury, but that didn’t stop the visitors from a fast start. They couldn’t create dangerous chances though, and it was Okugo who opened the scoring, powering the Union in front after 20 minutes with a header off a trademark long throw-in by Sheanon Williams. It was the centerback’s third goal of the season.
Dallas only needed four minutes to find an equalizer. Michel delivered another teasing free kick from within the Union half that found Zimmerman free for an easy header into the corner to level the match.
“They were trying to make it a wrestling match the whole game,” Okugo said afterward of Dallas’ physical play on set pieces. “They didn’t score from the run of play…they scored from two set pieces. We should have protected the backline and the goal better.”
A tight second half took a major swing when Dallas’ Je-Vaughn Watson picked up a second yellow card for diving and was dismissed. The booking came in the 68th minute, leaving Dallas to defend the 1-1 scoreline down a man for the final 20 minutes.
Despite fighting off numerous attacks down the right, Dallas had no answer for the size of the substitute Wheeler in the middle. Williams’ delivery from the right side in the 87th minute found the head of the rookie, who powered a header home past Raul Fernandez and looked to have put the Union ahead for good.
“It would be an ideal situation to come in, score your first goal, and have it be a game-winner,” Wheeler said of his goal afterward. “But things happen.”
Indeed, it was Perez who would ‘happen’ for Dallas, as he pounced for the equalizer ten minutes after Wheeler’s late goal.
“You lose points along the way, and we certainly lost two today,” Hackworth said. “But it’s not the end of the world. FC Dallas is a really good team, and they made it extremely hard on us today.”
The Union (7-5-5; 26 pts.) take their unbeaten run in league play to four matches and will now travel to Real Salt Lake Wednesday for their next league match. Meanwhile, Dallas (8-3-6; 30 pts.) go into a tie for second with the Portland Timbers in the Western Conference, and will host Chivas USA on Thursday.
Here are the match highlights:
Because of shoe string budget (excessive loans secured before Great Recession) Union regularly start 8-9 American born players, yet are one of the highest scoring teams in MLS. Something to be said for that. With McNerney, Casey and Wheeler, they present a handful for MLS defenses.
One angle had it across the line but that was from the field towards the goal, so the angle could be misleading. How hard is it to mount cameras at the top inside of the goal looking down at the line? I know it wouldn’t mean anything but at least it would give a true look to the television viewers.
respect to joel hoover on making the changes–good write up!
I got to see a replay for the first time after interviewing the players and was able to adjust the original posting. Thanks for reading!
Two blown calls evened themselves out in the end. That ball crossed the line without a doubt, and MacMath was absolutely fouled on the eventual Dallas equalizer. Good game, fair result.
On another note, MacMath has got to catch that ball or punch it out, period. Hopefully Nikolov will give both help Zac iron out those young mistakes and also give Hackworth the confidence to let Zac take a seat and watch how it’s done for a while.
It was a good game and it’s clear to see why FCD is one of the best in the league as they weren’t at full strength yet were a fair match for the U. FCD’s defense was very impressive and when Fereira is fit, the whole league is in trouble.
That sound you hear is MacMath’s ass hitting the substitutes bench.
For those of you saying it WAS a goal, watch brain games. It was close, it was in the air, and without a better camera angle, that was all that is sure.
However, the last goal was atrocious.
Imma go ahead and defend Joel for a minute and say it did certainly look over the line but the grass u can see between the goal line ball could actually be there because the ball was bouncing and may have been in the air when Sheenon kicked it. That would show grass even if the ball was not over the line. You can see Sheanons foot off the ground and the perspective of the camera could make it look like it was over the line. That being said how do the not have a goal line camera. Every controversial goal like call I’ve ever seen has had one. Why such poor camera options. I would like to specify before I get a ton of hate I’m not stating that the ball did not go in or that it did I’m just stating a possibility and if people are going to get mad at a reporter for not specifying when it’s not entirely clear. I was rooting for Dallas btw and was mad the goal didnt count too so don’t go callin me a Union fan either…
So, when is Nikolov getting here?
Once again, MacMath gives points away. Like the incompetent that he is, he tried to catch that late free kick instead of punching it away to safety and then Perez scored. I’d bet that MacMath’s responsible for a half dozen dropped points already this season. At this point, I say sign up Ed Rendell and put him between the pipes.
– McInerney did very little tonight and Wheeler looked good. I don’t know if it’d work, but I think a Casey/Wheeler partnership while McInerney is away would be fun to watch.
– Philly has a complete inability to shoot from outside the box.
– While Okugo is too short to be a centerback, he can jump like a basketball player and has the brains to do a really good job. His ceiling is a Carles Puyol with skill. Fingers-crossed that he gets anywhere close to that.
– Benitez looked very dangerous though Cruz did a decent job dealing with him.
– Dallas defense impressed.
– Dallas are a very tall team. They could do a decent job in mid-level D3 basketball conference.
– Philly has serious depth issues in defense.
– There are so many solid American goalies. The MLS is literally littered with quite good keepers. Yet the Union seem incapable of finding one.
Totally agree about MacMath, but feel his issues are that he’s too green to be a #1. Trouble is, he may never really recover form this one he gets replaced. That would make two promising American keepers that Philly has maimed for life (Seitz being the other)…
Bingo. And where do you sit? I have a feeling that I was talking to you or someone that has your sensibilities during halftime.
With SanFran on this.
Please don’t insult our intelligence with obfuscation. That was a goal. There is no debate.
It was that clear, huh? I was at the game and it didn’t look like it crossed the line and the reaction from the players/coaches didn’t make the spectators think twice. Normally players go bonkers when the ball gets even close. They didn’t show it at the game (probably b/c they saw the truth) and I totally believe that it was a goal. It’s just strange that the DFC players had almost zero reaction.
Blas Perez sprinted all the way across the field screaming at the assistant referee.
I guess being at the game you were not able to follow Perez going to the AR when it was cleared or talking to the Ref when he go the chance. Understandable because watching it on TV we got to see all of that on replay. But there was protest from the goal scorer ( i guess that has to be should have been goal scorer).
“…replays suggested it was an extremely close call that could have resulted in a goal.”
I love this site, but I can’t let that line go without comment. That’s bull. It didn’t suggest anything and it wasn’t a close call.
It was not cleared off the line. That is not a factual statement.
We all saw the replay. It was clearly over the goal line. Trying to act like it’s a judgement call does your readers a huge disservice. Instead of beating around the bush–stand up and say the call was blown and the Union scored a goal that wasn’t awarded.
And for the record, I’m far from a fan of the Union and Hackworth.
It was FC Dallas that had their goal called off…
You’re right. Got mixed up when writing it. Replace Union with Dallas. I still dislike the Union.
Surprised there is no mention of the controversial nature of the goal-line clearance. Really looks like it could be over the line based on the available replays/screenshots–but I guess if you aren’t going to install goal-line technology, you don’t really want to have goal-line cameras to prove there are mistakes :).