If you don’t think Alejandro Bedoya’s handball infraction was actually a foul, you aren’t alone. If you do think the points the Union dropped in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw at D.C. United could prove costly in the playoff race, you aren’t alone in that, either.
One of soccer’s most famous adages is that if you win at home and tie on the road, you’re likely to be very successful. But as Jim Curtin and Mark McKenzie said in no uncertain terms afterward, this tie felt like a loss.
Here’s a look at some of the key performances in the game.
He would have led off this list even without the handball because he had to take the defensive midfield spot at the bottom of the diamond. He did quite well at it: 70 touches, four clearances, three aerial duels won, two tackles, one interception, one chance created and a team-best 52-of-56 passing.
The yellow card Bedoya got for the handball puts the Union in a major bind because it earned him a one-game suspension for card accumulation. If your first instinct upon hearing that is that he just had one, you’re right. But repeat offenders are held to a stricter standard.
After a first suspension, a second suspension comes after three cards, not five, unless a player has a long streak of good behavior. Bedoya got cards in three straight games after his suspension, so he’s out of Monday’s game at New England. If Warren Creavalle can’t start, and if Matej Oravec still doesn’t merit any playing time, the Union could have a real problem.
Don’t be surprised if he misses the New England game, too. Wagner’s headlock grab of D.C.'s Ola Kamara in the 32nd minute could easily earn a suspension.
It’s naturally a concern that he hasn’t scored in six games, though he led the team Wednesday in shots (four) and shots on goal (three). The bigger concern to Curtin was his defense, and he had a point: It might have been too good. Przybylko had three clearances and an interception, and did a lot of defending crosses into the box.
“We’ve become a team that almost relies too much on Kacper to just win everything defensively, and everybody else kind of falls asleep,” Curtin said.
On D.C.'s corner kick goal, Jack Elliott was assigned to mark Griffin Yow. But Yow was able to break free and meet the ball with a powerful header next to Przybylko. That made Przybylko look more responsible for the goal than he might actually have been.
There was some necessity in Przybylko dropping as deep as he did Wednesday because José Andrés Martínez usually pitches in on set piece defending, too. But Curtin is far from alone in believing Przybylko shouldn’t have to do that so often.
His rocket of a shot to tie the game late was an obvious highlight, but the rest of McKenzie’s game was great, too: 72 touches, four aerial duels won, four interceptions, two tackles, two clearances, and 48-of-61 passing.