Union at streaking Dallas
FC Dallas knew it was facing an uphill climb when David Ferreira suffered a broken right ankle three weeks ago.
So far, the club couldn't be adjusting to life without the league's reigning MVP much better.
Dallas rallied for a win when Ferreira went down and has picked up seven points in three ensuing matches, an unbeaten run it'll look to extend when it hosts the stingy Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.
Dallas (4-3-2) had lost three of four when it traveled to Vancouver on April 23, and it looked like it was going to leave with one point - and without the services of its best player - when it was tied at 1 late in the second half.
But coach Schellas Hyndman's team got a late goal from Eric Avila to pull out a win after Ferreira went down, and it's kept playing well even with him sidelined.
After beating Los Angeles and playing to a scoreless draw at D.C., Dallas got some offense from a most unlikely source against Toronto on Wednesday. Thirteen-year veteran and team captain Daniel Hernandez converted a first-half penalty kick, his first goal since the 2002 playoffs and one that was enough to lift his team to a 1-0 win.
"I have been trying to practice them actually since David went out," Hernandez told MLS' official website. "This is my first professional PK, but I just felt like I needed to practice them. More than anything, I'm just happy we were able to get those three points."
There was good news again a day later as the club struck a deal to keep one of its best scorers in place. Young midfielder Brek Shea, who has two goals and an assist, signed a contract that will keep him in Dallas through 2015.
Shea scored his first career goal in a 1-all draw at Philadelphia on May 15, and he had an assist and drew a penalty kick in a 3-1 home win over the Union on Aug. 8.
That, however, was a far different Philadelphia team. The expansion Union conceded 2.2 goals per game on the road, but they've rarely given up anything anywhere this season.
Philadelphia (4-2-2) has allowed four goals, and it stayed unbeaten at home Wednesday thanks to Danny Mwanga. The top pick of the 2010 SuperDraft scored his first goal of the season in the 84th minute, allowing the Union to escape with a 1-all draw against the Galaxy.
"It was definitely a huge confidence booster for (Mwanga)," fellow striker Jack McInerney said. "Getting that first goal will only help him the rest of the season."
Shea wasn't the only young star to score his first career goal last May 15. Mwanga's first came just as stoppage time was about to expire, evening the score.
If Mwanga and the Union want to continue being successful with their defensive style, they'll need goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon healthy. The Columbian suffered a strained groin against the Galaxy but stayed in the game and made a pair of brilliant second-half saves.
Mondragon is expected to play Saturday.