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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Friday, August 4, 2017

Taking the bull by the horns: The Union's Dallas drought, in context

Even six years on, this symbolism of FC Dallas' Marvin Chavez, left,
bounding over the Union's Gabriel Farfan remains salient for a club
that has never lost to the Union. (AP)
The Philadelphia Union have never beaten FC Dallas, which in the eighth year of the organization’s existence remains a statement of increasingly bemusing fact. That 0-5-4 record sounds like a lot of futility – perhaps not for the Union, who are also winless in 10 games against Real Salt Lake (0-7-3), including a 1-0 loss at Rio Tinto Stadium May 27.

So naturally I wondered, how unusual is that? And in answering that question, I had to naturally turn to the great resource that is the MLS Facts and Record Book. MLS has endured a ton of expansion in the last decade or so, with teams’ staggered entrances allowing all manner of dips and rises in form that would seem to allow opportunities to win. MLS’s enforced parity makes it hard to make blanked statements about organizations always being good or bad. (I realize the opening this leaves for a Union joke, but let’s move on. Or at least save it for later.)

If we exclude the recent bursts of expansion – i.e. New York City and Orlando City in 2015; Atlanta United FC and Minnesota United FC in 2017 – how many MLS franchises are without a win against another franchise all-time in MLS games?

Well, the Union are exemplary, and not in a good way. There are only three instances of a team having played more than three times without beating an opponent, and the Union own two of them.

The other is Chicago, which is 0-4-4 all-time against Portland since the Timbers’ elevation to MLS in 2011, including a 2-2 draw a month ago.

The only other two winless records in four or more meetings are the Union against FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake. A fourth such string between San Jose and Montreal was alleviated in the 2017 opener, when in their sixth meeting the Quakes finally got the better of the Impact.

Even if you include the two 2015 expansion sides, winless spans are tremendously rare. In year three, Orlando City has beaten all but four MLS teams – Dallas, San Jose, Seattle and Vancouver. The Lions have only played Dallas and Vancouver twice, with their 2017 meetings looming this season. Four MLS teams have never beaten Orlando City: Colorado, Portland, Real Salt Lake and San Jose. (No, that overlap isn’t in error; San Jose and Orlando City have drawn all three meetings.)

New York City’s zeroes club is at three apiece – having never beaten Dallas, Kansas City and Real Salt Lake; having never lost to Colorado, Houston and San Jose. Three of those six teams still have to play NYCFC this season.

That leaves only the three bona fide streaks – Union-RSL, Union-Dallas and Chicago-Portland – on the list of protracted winless streaks, one of which can be evicted this weekend.

However, let me offer a modicum of solace to Union fans, something that next week’s opponent Montreal will never gain relief of. Forever and all time, let it be known that Montreal will never have a win against Chivas USA, posting an 0-2-1 record in three all-time meetings across the three seasons the Impact coexisted with the defunct side. At least the Union can, theoretically, improve their goose egg.

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