FC Dallas nearly left Lincoln Financial Field with their third straight win and another clean sheet, but Union rookie Danny Mwanga’s stoppage time strike forced FCD to settle for a 1-1 draw.
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But this deadlock - the club’s fifth of the season - can’t be chalked up to poor defending on the last tally. FCD had several chances in the first half to add to their lead but failed to do so, in the process leaving the door ajar for a Union comeback.
Brek Shea’s goal in the 13th minute was a testament to what FCD fans have felt ever since the 20-year-old Texan was drafted in the first round in 2007. His tally ended a great sequence that started when rookie right back Zach Loyd got the ball to Jeff Cunningham. The veteran striker did a great job of holding possession, a part of his game that is somewhat underrated.
Cunningham then turned and got the ball over to Atiba Harris, who fed Shea on the left side. Shea gained possession with his left foot, dribbled inside the box a few steps before switching to his right foot and then burying it in the far side of the net for his first MLS goal.
However, his contributions weren’t just on the offensive end. Like his teammates, Shea has bought into the team defending approach and on several occasions, he was seen getting back on defense and backtracking to close possession down for the Union.
About five minutes after Shea’s tally put FCD ahead 1-0, Harris had a chance to add to their cushion, but misfired from about seven yards out. David Ferreira started things off with a cross from the right flank to Dax McCarty, who didn’t strike the ball squarely. Possession then fell to Harris, who inexplicably missed from close range.
FCD’s other big near miss of the game came in the 39th minute, when Cunningham had a breakaway with Union goalkeeper Chris Seitz. Cunningham showed his considerable pace after a mistake by Philadelphia defender Danny Califf, skirting the Union stalwart and ripping off a right-footed shot that sailed high.
Cunningham was a bit rushed on the play but that was still an opportunity he should have converted to give his side some much-needed breathing room at 2-0.
In the 67th, FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman pulled Cunningham for speedy Honduran Marvin Chavez, who made his 2010 debut after being injured for the early part of the regular season. That was Cunningham’s shortest stint for FCD in 21 games since he played just 45 in a 1-1 tie at Columbus on June 24 of last year.
To his credit, Chavez did show some of his trademark speed in the 67th, when he made a nice run on the right flank to get some distance between the opposition to strike a shot from distance that was saved by Seitz.
Hyndman’s club again got a solid defensive performance and once again, Kevin Hartman was stellar in goal, making four saves in the first half.
And for the seventh time in eight matches this year, FCD got at least a point.