United battles back twice to gain 2-2 draw in Dallas

Marc Burch and Jaime Moreno tallied on either side of halftime to help United come from behind twice in their 2-2 draw at Pizza Hut Park on Saturday evening against FC Dallas. Both goals offset poor positional efforts that allowed both goals for FC Dallas. The draw for the Black and Red brought them even with the New England Revolution, 4-2 losers at home to Kansas City, in the standings with 33 points apiece. However, the Revolution have both the head to head tiebreaker with United (with a win and a draw in two matches this season against United) and more importantly, two games in hand to make up the difference.

The scoring started in the 10th minute when defender Julius James took a poor angle on a ball sent over the defense and Jeff Cunningham outmuscled the Jamaican and only had to poke it over Josh Wicks to give the home side a 1-0 lead. Wicks, a suprise starter considering his recent blowups in back to back matches, really didn’t need to come out as Cunningham was angling away from goal with James ready to recover. The goal seemed to snap United out of their early game malaise and they were able to draw level just before halftime. In the 44th minute United drew a foul about 30 yards from goal and Marc Burch unleashed his trademark left-footed blast and a redirection from FC Dallas midfielder helped it past Dario Sala to send the teams to the locker room tied at 1-1.

It didn’t take long for FC Dallas to regain the lead when in the 50th minute a Dave van Den Berg cross was badly misjudged by James again and David Ferreira took it calmly off his chest and volleyed past Wicks for a 2-1 lead. United didn’t give up and the game changed for good in the 56th minute when Santino Quaranta did a rare thing for United this season, he got behind the defense and was taken down from behind by defender Daniel Torres just as he was about to shoot on goal. Torres clipped the heels of Quaranta and a penalty was called for the Black and Red. Torres was also shown a red card for denying a goal scoring opportunity. MLS’ all-time leading goal scorer Jaime Moreno stepped up and easily sent Sala the wrong way and United had the match leveled at 2-2.

Both teams had opportunities to take the lead in the remaining 30 minutes with the best of the chances falling to Quaranta in the 87 minute when his shot was rifled into the side netting at a bad angle.

With the draw, United now has an opportunity with 5 straight home matches to make a serious run at a solid playoff position. However their task is now made much more difficult with the news that their top defender Dejan Jakovic is in Germany getting hernia surgery that would put him out of both upcoming matches this week at RFK. United doesn’t play another MLS match after next week until September 27th against the San Jose Earthquakes, which should be plenty of time for Jakovic to recover.

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