Fourteen games without a win on the road. Two hundred six minutes without a goal. Five games without a win. The Philadelphia Union continued to add to these dubious streaks with a 2-0 loss to FC Dallas Saturday night in Frisco, Texas.
In a game that could have easily been a 5-0 loss for the visitors, Andre Blake’s season-high eight saves and poor finishing from FC Dallas in the first half kept the game closer than it could’ve and probably should’ve been.
Not that any of that really matters.
The Union offense through six games now has scored just three times. Their last goal, Alejandro Bedoya’s header off a Fafa Picault cross in the 64th minute of a 1-1 home draw with San Jose Earthquakes, is also the only goal they’ve scored against 11 men this season (not to mention the only one with designated player Borek Dockal on the field).
The offensive futility is almost becoming comical at this point.
Though scoring chances were few and far between on a rainy night in Frisco, CJ Sapong had two huge second half chances, one off a cross from Picault he headed over the bar and the other a couple minutes later off a rebound that FC Dallas keeper Jimmy Maurer somehow got a hand on to stop in the 58th minute.
Dockal started the play with a long pass from the right flank David Accam hit on a volley. Maurer blocked the ball right to the feet of Sapong, who poked it toward the goal and just missed getting to his own rebound.
It was just about as close to scoring a team could get, which will only add to the frustration the offense has experienced through nearly all of the 2018 campaign so far.
While head coach Jim Curtin’s substitutes, Ilsinho for Picault in the 65th, Cory Burke for Accam in the 74th, did little to put the outcome in question, Oscar Pareja pulled all of the right strings with his first two subs both finding the back of the net.
The first goal came for Díaz from the penalty spot in the 64th minute after Auston Trusty was called for a foul in the box on Matt Hedges during a corner kick.
“It think it’s a soft penalty,” Curtin said. “It’s one where if you’re calling that you can pretty much call every one.”
Ten minutes later, Roland Lamah played a ball into the box for Maximiliano Urruti, who made a run between Mark McKenzie and Auston Trusty and calmly finished with his left foot from a tight angle after Blake came off his line. McKenzie was starting in place of Jack Elliott, who made the trip but wasn’t in the 18 after injuring his knee last week.
“Two young center backs will learn from that one where Urruti gets in their blind spot and punishes them,” Curtin said about the second goal.
The Union barely threatened the final 16 minutes of the game to fall to 1-3-2 on the season. In two road games now this year, the Union have been outscored 5-0 in the second half after playing both games scoreless through the first half.
“It’s soccer, sometimes you get your chances and you don’t take them and it comes back to haunt you,” Blake said. “It’s just tough luck right now, nothing is really going our way.”