FRISCO, Texas – There have been a couple of games this year that have left a bad taste in the mouth of FC Dallas players. One of those contests came on May 15, when Philadelphia and FCD played to a 1-1 draw at Lincoln Financial Field.
FCD clearly outplayed the Union and, when Brek Shea netted his first MLS tally after 13 minutes, it looked like Schellas Hyndman’s club was poised to leave the City of Brotherly Love with three road points.
That lead held up for more than 80 minutes until Philly rookie Danny Mwanga scored off a set piece in stoppage time to send FCD home with a very disappointing draw.
Now, as these same sides get set to square off on Sunday afternoon at Pizza Hut Park, memories of that tie over two months ago are definitely a big motivator for the FCD players as well as their coach.
“You could use the word revenge because any time you give up a goal like that in stoppage time, it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth and nobody likes that,” defender Heath Pearce said. “You fight so long and get so close, literally a minute or two from getting three points.”
Hyndman wouldn’t use the words revenge or payback, but he did point out Mwanga’s late equalizer.
“It wasn’t just a loss of focus [that led to the goal]," Hyndman said. "The guy that was supposed to be there was standing next to the referee. We try to move forward not to hold a grudge but believe me, the video of Philadelphia, we’ll see it.”
While Pearce might call revenge a motivating factor for Sunday’s match, FCD captain Daniel Hernandez admits he’s not a big believer in payback.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to keep our unbeaten streak going," Hernandez said. "Hopefully, we’ll be looking for more than a tie this week. We need to pull out three points here at home.”
And it’s interesting to note that in the nine matches since that draw, FCD have allowed a total of just six goals with none coming later than the 62nd minute. In fact, of those six goals, only two have come in the second half.
Dallas are riding an eight-match unbeaten streak and Pearce chalks up his side’s good form to learning from their mistakes earlier in the year, especially the one at the hands of the Union.
“I think we’ve learned a lot since then about how to close games off," Pearce said. "That was part of the learning curve for us, having that bitter taste in our mouth after putting so much effort in. Hopefully we’ll come out here and get a convincing result.”