CHESTER, Pa. – The Philadelphia Union had two major problems with Blas Pérez’s game-tying goal in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with FC Dallas at PPL Park.
For one, they thought goalie Zac MacMath was fouled on the free kick from Michel that directly preceded the dramatic stoppage-time goal.
And secondly, they believed time should have already expired at that point.
“It’s a hard way to feel like you lost a couple points,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “I think the game should have been over well after the allotted time that was shown on the clock. But you have to play until the final whistle and we didn’t do that.”
A few of the Philly players agreed with their coach’s assessment, with right back Sheanon Williams noting, “I obviously don’t wear a watch during the game, but it seemed like he gave them some time.”
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But the Union's main issue appeared to be not with the clock but with the play itself.
Following the free kick by FC Dallas defender Michel, MacMath decided to try to catch the ball rather than punch it away from danger. Dallas reserve defender London Woodberry went up with MacMath, causing the Union ’keeper to fumble it. That led to a wild scrum in the box with David Ferreira flicking it toward goal and Pérez heading it home.
“It is what it is,” said striker Jack McInerney, who played his final game before departing for the CONCACAF Gold Cup with the US national team. “Everyone saw it except the one person that matters.”
Did MacMath think he was fouled?
“Absolutely,” the Union 'keeper said. “I thought it was a foul being hit and then also afterwards I was dragged down by someone where I wasn’t able to get to the second ball on the ground.”
To be fair, the Union were still fortunate, in some ways, to walk away with a point.
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Minutes before his goal, Pérez appeared to tie the game but Williams cleared his shot off the goal line. Television replays showed the ball probably went in.
“That was kind of a weird broken play, but that’s what they’re good at,” Williams said. “They don’t give up on plays like that. They have some big bodies that flick balls on. We knew that going in. I just didn’t give up on the play and was just there at the right time.”
Did it look like a goal to him?
“I was just worried about clearing it off the line,” Williams said. “That’s the ref’s job. He said it wasn’t across the line, so it wasn’t across the line.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.