CHESTER, Pa. – Coming into Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Union, FC Dallas was the only team in MLS with an unblemished 2-0-0 record.
They’ll stay perfect.
Fueled by goals from Tesho Akindele and Ryan Hollingshead, Dallas (3-0-0) continued one of the best starts in franchise history with a 2-0 win over shorthanded Philadelphia at PPL Park. It was the Hoops' first-ever win away to the Union, and came a day after the match was originally scheduled to be played.
The Union (0-1-2) – who have never beaten Dallas in eight all-time games – went down a man in the 42nd minute when Zach Pfeffer was shown a straight red card for elbowing Mauro Diaz in the head
Pfeffer, one of the team’s most promising young players, was making just his fourth career start and first of the season, getting the nod in place of injured playmaker Cristian Maidana.
- CHALKBOARD: Union capitalize on man-advantage in second half
Dallas took advantage of Pfeffer’s absence – and a defensive miscue – to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute on Akindele’s first goal of the season.
Union fullback Fabinho – who only came into the game because Sheanon Williams was forced out due to hamstring tightness – tried to clear the ball but hit it right off Akindele, who streaked in the other direction alone on net. The reigning MLS Rookie of the Year took one touch and beat Union goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi from just outside the box with a low, driven shot.
After Fabian Castillo kept the pressure on Philly and hit the crossbar, substitute Hollingshead made it 2-0 in the 59th minute on another shot from outside the box that snuck just inside the far post.
Down a man, the Union weren’t able to muster nearly enough offense to try to mount a comeback. Dating back to last season, the Union have won just once in their last 10 MLS regular-season games.
The first half featured more combined cards (five) than shots on target (three) as both teams struggled to get their footing on a soggy pitch.
Pfeffer, who was asked to pull the strings for Philly in the attacking midfield with Maidana out with a knee injury, probably had the best chance before halftime, making a nice touch in the box to get around the Dallas defense on a feed from Sebastien Le Toux. But Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz, who used to protect the net at PPL Park during the Union’s 2010 expansion season, made the stop.
Seitz finished with five saves to earn the shutout.
Aside from Castillo racing to the endline and playing a couple of balls across the face of goal, Dallas wasn’t especially dangerous in the first half. Fernando Aristeguieta had a couple of good first-half looks sail high for the Union, including one right before the halftime whistle, and Seitz punched away a shot from Philadelphia captain Maurice Edu.
This is the only time this season Philly and Dallas will meet. FC Dallas returns to action next Saturday with a home showdown vs. Seattle, while the Union visit the Chicago Fire next Sunday.