Sandy, UT – The Philadelphia Union begin a tough two-match road trip on Wednesday as the club faces league leaders Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Philadelphia enters Wednesday's tilt in a good run of form, riding a four- match unbeaten streak, although last week's 2-2 draw with FC Dallas almost felt like a loss.
Against FC Dallas the Union got on the board first in the 20th minute when defender Sheanon Williams launched a long throw-in from the right touchline into the box and Amobi Okugo was there to nod it past Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez.
But just four minutes later Dallas found its equalizer as Michel cracked a long free kick into the box and Walker Zimmerman directed it into the bottom right corner, past Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
Philadelphia caught a break in the 68th minute when Dallas' Je-Vaughn Watson was shown a second yellow card and sent off, reducing the visitors to 10 men.
The Union went ahead three minutes from time as substitute Aaron Wheeler headed home a cross from Williams, but Dallas grabbed another equalizer on its last kick of the day as Michel once again lofted a long free kick into the box.
MacMath came off his line to grab the ball, but failed to make the catch and Blas Perez headed it into the empty net to give FCD an unlikely share of the spoils.
"Obviously there's no excuse," MacMath lamented about his costly gaffe. "I should either punch the ball or hold onto it. It's an error that I shouldn't make and we should have won the game."
The Union must try to move on and focus on their next opponent, but they will be shorthanded as leading goal scorer Jack McInerney and midfielder Keon Daniel will be unavailable while they are away on national team duty for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Real Salt Lake, meanwhile, continues to roll along after Saturday's 1-0 win over Toronto FC at BMO Field extended the club's record winning streak to seven matches across all competition.
Yordany Alvarez scored his first goal in MLS in the 45th minute when he ran onto a nice layoff pass from Olmes Garcia and ripped it home. The victory improves RSL's mark since the beginning of May to an impressive 10-1-1 across all competitions and they finished June a perfect 6-0-0.
But the Claret-and-Colbalt will also have some absences to deal with against Philadelphia as starting goalkeeper Nick Rimando, captain Kyle Beckerman, striker Alvaro Saborio and defender Tony Beltran will all be away on national team duty.
The win also gave RSL its first-ever win in Canada.
"It's not something we were overly concerned with," RSL head coach Jason Kreis said of his team's first win north of the border. "It would be another thing if we had a team that knew how to win in other places and a team that has gotten enough wins over the years to be considered a successful team. Maybe then it's a different situation but we haven't been concerned with it. But having done it now I guess it feels good."