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Match Report: Dallas 2 – 0 Philadelphia

Philadelphia Union went into Dallas with high hopes but left on the wrong side of a 2-0 scoreline.

Peter Nowak (back from his jaunt to Poland) made multiple changes to the Philadelphia line-up for their trip to Dallas. For the first time this season, we saw Sebastien Le Toux partner with Danny Mwanga up top with Carlos Ruiz dropped to the bench. Roger Torres also started his second match of the season, pushed out to the right side of the midfield. Faryd Mondragon did start after being questionable with a groin injury.

The side looked free-flowing and started the game with much of the same form and desire that they finished the match against LA with. Le Toux and Mwanga looked to be on the same page early on and their forward runs not only found them in good space, but also opened up room on the flanks for Justin Mapp and Roger Torres to operate.

Philadelphia should have scored after a brilliant counter attack in the 15th minute. After a Dallas corner kick, the ball popped out to the lively Mapp who drove down the center of the field on a darting 70 yard run. He laid the ball out to the right as he approached the Dallas box to Sebastien Le Toux. Le Toux picked out a good pass and found the late arriving Amobi Okugo whose first time shot was skied over the bar. The defensive midfielder is not known for his goal-scoring, but he should have done better with so much of the net to shoot at.

But the early pressure did not find a goal and it was Dallas who struck first on 29 minutes. Fabian Castillo made a good run down the right side, pushing the ball past the flat-footed Jordan Harvey and Justin Mapp. His square ball found Brek Shea on the six-yard box who easily tapped into the empty net. The goal came against the run of play and the Union struggled to recover as Dallas found more belief as the half wore on.

As pressure built in the Union half, Philadelphia looked to just get into the locker room down by one goal and regroup. But it was Dallas really taking over the game in latter stage of the half and finding an important second goal just before the whistle. With Justin Mapp pushed high up the left side, there was lots of space in behind him and it was Jackson Goncalves from his right back position finding that space. After finding himself in on the right and behind the Union back line, Goncalves floated in a cross that Castillo, virtually unmarked, was able to steer past a helpless Mondragon.

Peter Nowak made two changes to start the second half with both Carlos Ruiz and Jack McInerney coming on for Justin Mapp and Brian Carroll respectively. Positive substitutions for a team down two goals for sure, but with Mwanga and Le Toux already on the pitch, it was always going to be difficult for the four strikers to find the space they needed to operate. This proved to be exactly the case, and with the absence of a true playmaker, the Union offense once again looked limp and uncreative.

Even with so many players committed to the attack, the Union found few chances and the goal of Kevin Hartman was hardly troubled. Keon Daniel replaced Roger Torres late on, but the Trinidad and Tobago man could not impact the game. Unfortunately notable was the time wasting by Dallas as the game wore which referee Jason Anno saw no problem with. The referee did nothing to speed up the sluggish rate of Dallas throw ins and goal kicks, and a minuscule two minutes of stoppage time was frankly embarrassing.

Philadelphia finished with only five shots total, and only a lonely long range effort from Danny Mwanga actually getting on goal. The movement of the first 30 minutes of the game was probably some of the best we’ve seen from Philadelphia all season, but again the finishing touch could not be applied. The lack of creativity from the midfielders and strikers as the game wears on is becoming an unfortunate theme to the season and we have to wonder if there is a piece still missing from the roster.

Philadelphia returns home to take on Chicago at PPL Park next Saturday evening after only securing one point in their last three matches.

Analysis of the game and player ratings will be out tomorrow and I’m sure Eli will have plenty to rant about on Tuesday. There’s also full commentary from last night’s match here.


  1. sobw billy says:

    It was Carrol who crossed to just behind Okugo, not LeToux, right? (Typo?) Why not shoot himself? He had a lot of open net on his own.

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