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Ilsinho-fueled second half comeback falls short in 3-2 preseason loss to FC Dallas

El Brujo set up a pair of Ilsinho goals late but Fafa Picault held on to win 3-2 in Clearwater on Wednesday

SOCCER: FEB 01 MLS - Chicago Fire v Philadelphia Union Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ilsinho may have been the oldest player on the field in a preseason match against FC Dallas in Clearwater on Wednesday morning, but his second half performance showed the best substitute in 2019 has plenty left in the tank for 2020.

Ilsinho scored a pair of goals off assists from Michee Ngalina and El Brujo to make the final a respectable 3-2 loss to FC Dallas in the Philadelphia Union’s penultimate preseason game on Wednesday.

Former Union winger Fafa Picault opened the scoring for FC Dallas in the first half scorching the Union back line for a goal in the 16th minute to cap off a counter attack. Sloppy play in the midfield and some suspect marking conceded the opener and some additional opportunities to Dallas, but the score held up at 1-0 going into the break. Brenden Aaronson and Kacper Przybylko combined to create a couple promising chances but one hit woodwork and another went wide of the goal just before the halftime whistle.

El Brujo struggled in possession at the No. 6 position but came alive in the second half playing on the right side of the diamond in a 4-4-2. Head coach Jim Curtin’s second half lineup was makeshift — Jack de Vries at left back, Cole Turner at center back — and was split apart far too easily by Zdenek Ondrasek for two goals but the tandem of El Brujo and Ilsinho proved to be a formidable pairing.

El Brujo created a number of chances down the right flank either being played into space by Matej Oravec from the No. 6 spot or creating turnovers. After skying a sitter in the box from El Brujo, Ilsinho didn’t miss putting another cross in the box into the back of the net after Ngalina had fought off a defender on the right flank. El Brujo picked off a pass inside the 18 and fed it to Ilsinho for his second goal.

Andrew Wooten saw his first preseason action as a second half sub and was replaced by Michee Ngalina after 25 minutes. Kai Wagner was still out of the lineup and Jakob Glesnes and goalkeepers Andre Blake and Matt Freese also didn’t see the field. Joe Bendik played all 90 minutes in goal.

The Union will play FC Dallas again in 10 days at Toyota Stadium in Frisco for the regular season opener. They play DC United for their final preseason game on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Clearwater.