Maurice Edu and Kyle Beckerman traded late goals, with Edu's header providing the equalizer as the Philadelphia Union and Real Salt Lake finished 2-2 at PPL Park.CHESTER, Pa.-- Though Kyle Beckerman and Maurice Edu both downplayed the storyline pitting them against each other as competitors for the same roster spot on the U.S. World Cup team, both U.S. national team midfielders made good cases for their candidacy on Saturday with key late goals in a 2-2 tie at PPL Park.
Beckerman delivered an 85th minute strike to give a short-handed RSL side a 2-1 lead, but the Union pulled off the comeback just five minutes later when Maurice Edu headed home a Cristian Maidana pass in the 90th minute to help Philadelphia salvage a draw.
The late goal surrendered to Beckerman marked the fourth time in six matches that the Union have given up a goal in the 80th minute or later, a trend that has cost the Union points during what has been an otherwise solid start to the 2014 season.
Real Salt Lake jumped out to an early lead courtesy of a Luke Mulholland goal in the sixth minute. Zac MacMath saved an Alvaro Saborio penalty kick, but the rebound fell to Mulholland, who slipped past the Union defense and snuck a quick shot under MacMath to make the score 1-0.
RSL nearly made it 2-0 before MacMath stepped up with a handful of key first half saves that kept the Union in the match.
The Union responded with a better second half, and found a 55th-minute equalizer courtesy of newly-acquired forward Andrew Wenger, who collected a beautiful pass from Vincent Nogueira and finished past Jeff Attinella for his first goal since being acquired from the Montreal Impact in exchange for Jack McInerney.
The Union enjoyed the better of the play after Wenger's goal, but couldn't find an insurance goal.Philadelphia's defense failed to hold the lead though, as the team's latest late-game meltdown watched Beckerman receive a ball from Javier Morales in the penalty area and blast a low shot past MacMath to make the score 2-1 in the 85th minute.
Philadelphia appeared ready to surrender a home loss before Edu responded with his second goal in as many matches, heading home a Maidana pass to make the final score 2-2.
RSL will be content with the draw after having to play without injured regulars Nick Rimando and Luis Gil. For the Union, the latest late goal allowed is cause for concern, but the way the team responded to Beckerman's tally should give the team some confidence heading into an important Eastern Conference clash against the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday.