Minutes into stoppage time, 10-man FC Dallas looked as if they had grabbed an improbable point on the road in Philadelphia when Blas Perez’s shot trickled over the goal line just before the Union’s Sheanon Williams cleared the ball.
While a still frame of the play shows the ball crossing the line before Williams got to it, the officiating crew didn't see it the same way and play continued with the Union holding on to their momentary 2-1 lead.
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“It was a goal. Legitimate,” Perez said through an interpreter after the match. “I don’t want to talk about referees, but everybody is human and everybody can make a mistake.”
“I think replay will show the ball was over the line,” Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman told reporters after the match.
Dallas finally got the break they were looking for when they had one final set-piece chance that fell well past the original five minutes of added time signaled by the fourth official. Perez pounced with a header on a gorgeous overhead flick by David Ferreira, who came on in the second half. This time, Perez left no chance for error and his finished secured a 2-2 final.
"What I said to the players was that they had great focus and determination and other teams would have argued [about the goal-line clearance]," Hyndman said. "But we were determined and got it done."
FULL MATCH STATISTICS AND BOX SCORE
The Dallas manager was satisfied with the point, calling PPL Park one of the toughest places to play in MLS. In made it that much sweeter that it came in the face of adversity: player absences, short rest and officiating decisions.
“We just had a heartbreaker the other night against Portland [US Open Cup quarterfinals]. To play guys with heavy legs, with injuries, we left Zach Lloyd at home, we left George John at home, I think it shows a lot about the character [of this team].
“June hasn’t been a great month for us, but what June has done is it’s shown our best character.”
Matt Barbour covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com.