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Union blew chance to beat Dallas

There is no other way to spin this. Yes, FC Dallas is among the best teams in Major League Soccer, but many in the Union locker room treated Saturday's 2-2 draw at PPL Park as a loss.

Sheanon Williams throw-in finds the head of Amobi Okugo to complete
the first goal of the game on Friday night. The Union tied with Dallas, 2-2. (Luke Rafferty/Staff Photographer)
Sheanon Williams throw-in finds the head of Amobi Okugo to complete the first goal of the game on Friday night. The Union tied with Dallas, 2-2. (Luke Rafferty/Staff Photographer)Read more

There is no other way to spin this.

Yes, FC Dallas is among the best teams in Major League Soccer, but many in the Union locker room treated Saturday's 2-2 draw at PPL Park as a loss.

And for good reason.

This is one the Union simply let get away.

They had a man advantage from the 68th minute on, and took a 2-1 lead in the 87th minute on Aaron Wheeler's first career MLS goal.

And still, Blas Perez scored in the 97th minute in stoppage time for the equalizer.

Afterward, Union manger John Hackworth was irate that a team could score in the 97th minute while there was originally five minutes of stoppage time.

It has been said here before and will again, stoppage time is among the stupidest things in all of sports. Why soccer chooses this when an official could simply have the clock stopped is beyond comprehension.

Hackworth chose to blame the stoppage time, but that didn't tell the entire story.

"I am extremely disappointed to lose two points in that fashion," Hackworth said. "It is a hard way to feel like you lost a couple points, but I wouldn't say that we weren't at fault."

That isn't entirely true, and we'll get to that in a second.

First, more from Hackworth.

"I think the game should have been over," he said. "It was well over the allotted time that was shown on the clock, but you have to play until the final whistle in order to do that."

Regardless of the clock, earlier in stoppage time the Union got a break when defender Sheanon Williams cleared a shot by Perez off the line.

TV replays showed the ball crossed the line and should have been a goal.

So Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman had a beef of his own.

"I think that the replay showed that the ball was over the line on that goal," Hyndman said. "What I said to the players was that they had great focus and determination and other teams would have argued - but we were determined and got it done."

Good point.

Once again we saw both coaches being critical of the officials. This is no news alert in MLS, but the Union's inability to put away Dallas is what truly cost them the game.

The Union earned the man advantage in the 68th minute after Dallas defender Je-Vaughn Watson picked up his second yellow card for taking an ill-advised dive.

So the Union were up a man and a goal in stoppage time.

The two points they gave away could come back to haunt them.

And no wonder so many of the players, along with Hackworth, knew this was a lost opportunity - especially with two difficult road games at Real Salt Lake and the Houston Dynamo this week.

"It's not a good feeling," said Jack McInerney, who is getting ready to join the United States national team in preparation for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. "We deserved to win."

That is a statement that one could take issue with.

The Union deserved a tie - for not putting away Dallas earlier and not holding them off the board, especially after getting a reprieve by the same officials they were critical of.

And Dallas, a team that scored twice off free kicks and likes to pound opponents with its physical style, deserves a lot of credit.

The Union learned a great lesson in this game, but had to surrender two points to do it. They have to realize a game is never over until the final whistle, no matter how long it takes, is blown.