CHESTER — The Union celebrated a throwback night at Subaru Park Wednesday by looking like it hasn’t in a few years at its home ground: Lacking an incisive edge and fortunate to draw with an inferior team.
First-half goals from Quinn Sullivan and Alan Velasco cancelled out, and the Union needed intervention from video review to wipe out a Dallas go-ahead goal to even net a point in their fourth consecutive draw, 1-1.
The result moves the Union (14-8-8, 50 points) up to third in the East. But as one of four teams that entered the night with 49 points, the Union need to make more of their game in hand than the single point. Especially with Dallas content to rest a handful of starters with intra-conference games awaiting, the Union needed more than it got here.
Of course, they seemed lucky to get it. Dallas had the ball in the back of the net in the 82nd thanks to Paul Arriola poking home off a set-piece scrum. But video review judged that he handled it in controlling possession, granting the Union a reprieve.
The Union remained shorthanded with three regulars out, as Jose Martinez (knee), Jakob Glesnes (core) and Julian Carranza (concussion) were MIA thought listed as questionable. It made the selection straightforward except for up top, where Sullivan, having scored against Charlotte last week, started next to Mikael Uhre.
The Homegrown rewarded that faith in the 25th minute, finding himself in the right place to receive a Kai Wagner pass that split the Dallas center backs on a quick counter. Sullivan knew what to do with it, burying a shot back across the grain for his second goal of the season.
After a game in which the Union and LAFC on Saturday produced an MLS record-low shots attempts (six) and set the mark for the lowest combined expected-goals tally since tracking it began in 2011 (0.3), Wednesday’s game had jump from the kickoff. Alejandro Bedoya, making his 200th career MLS start, fired a shot wide in the first minute, an early foray forward. The teams combined for 26 shots.
The Union had 10 shots in the first half. Only the goal and Bedoya’s volley in the 17th found the frame, the latter caught by Maarten Paes. Jack Elliott flashed a header over the target off a corner kick in the 38th, and Bedoya bombed forward on the right in the 32nd but his effort was at too steep an angle to challenge the goalie.
FC Dallas had 56 percent of the ball in the first half. It nearly paid off in the 30th minute when Paxton Pomykal turned over Jesus Bueno in a dangerous position. His cross nearly found Dante Sealy in the six-yard box, if not for Olivier Mbaizo’s sliding intervention. Velsaco had a look at goal in the 35th after Ema Twumasi surged forward from right back, though Andre Blake dove to get his hands on the ball.
There was no stopping what Velasco unleashed in the 36th, a shot from the top of the box 20 yards out that he hit on a frozen rope into the corner. Blake had no shot, the ball still side-spinning as it sizzled into the side netting for Velasco’s fourth goal of the year.
The visitors produced an equivalently brilliant defensive moment in the 56th. Jack McGlynn played a peach of a cross over the defense for Bedoya to pound his head through. But Paes was there, flying across to push it around the post.
FC Dallas went to its bench in the 68th, bringing on fresh legs in Arriola and Jesus Ferreira. The latter created a chance within 10 minutes, forcing a save from Blake in an attempt to go 5-hole near side after a defensive mix-up in the Union’s midfield.
Jim Curtin went attacking in the second half, withdrawing Bedoya in the 75th and bringing on both Chris Donovan and Tai Baribo. But like Uhre before them, the forwards were gobbled up by the defense of Dallas center backs Sebastian Ibeagha and Nkosi Tafari. Estevez got his tactics right, playing deep and daring the Union to play through the lines, and his center backs cleaned up any loose balls played into space behind.
Source: Berkshire mont