Instant Reaction: Dallas Grabs Crucial Point in Philly
With an Alan Velasco screamer, FC Dallas equalize in Philadelphia to earn another point against an Eastern conference opponent.
FC Dallas flew east knowing their season, along with a whole bunch of the teams, was on the line. The margins are slim, so points are needed (as I discussed earlier today).
And they got the job done in front of a feisty Philly crowd and in a game that was physical and hard-fought.
Philadelphia opened the scoring in the first half behind a swift counterattack that asked too many questions of both Dante Sealy (not a defender, of course) and Ema Twumasi. For a moment, despite controlling stretches of that first 45, Dallas looked to be undone by another moment, another mistake. Twumasi ultimately was turned around on Kai Wagner’s expert cross. It was disappointing.
But FC Dallas didn’t let their heads droop and continued to find ways to express themselves, ultimately leading to Alan Velasco finding a ricocheted ball at the top of the box and hit it perfectly. The ball veered like a knuckleball away from Philly’s keeper and Dallas had found its equalizer.
The second half was end to end, similar to stretches against the Columbus Crew, with both teams carving moments and dangerous opportunities.
For a brief moment late in the half, Paul Arriola appeared to have found the go-ahead goal, kicking in a free ball in front of the goalkeeper, but VAR rightly ruled that the ball hit Arriola’s arm before he scored. It’s disappointing, but the ball clearly bounced off of Paul’s arm unintentionally.
Of special note, Maarten Paes was excellent once again, with two crucial saves, including a point-blank deflection over the goal from an Alejandro Bedoya header.
At that point, despite a good amount of rotation, Dallas was happy to see the game out and preserve the point. Velasco and Paes should share Man of the Match honors in this one, especially for the way Velasco drew foul after foul. Paes is also single-handedly keeping Dallas in the hunt for postseason action.
Matt Doyle of MLS tweeted that he feels 4 points over the remaining 4 games will be enough for Dallas to punch its ticket to postseason action. With two of those at home, the odds look strong for this team to stretch out its season a bit more.
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