(Photo credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)
Daniel Gazdag scored on a penalty kick in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time as the Philadelphia Union rallied for a 2-2 draw with host Charlotte FC on Wednesday night.
Thanks to the tie, the Union (14-8-6, 48 points) clinched a playoff berth for the sixth consecutive year.
Gazdag's penalty kick came after Olivier Mbaizo drew a foul from Charlotte's Brecht Dejaegere in the penalty area.
Charlotte's Justin Meram and Karol Swiderski scored in the 55th and 61st minute, respectively, for the match's first goals, and the visitors appeared in position to bolster their playoff hopes.
Quinn Sullivan countered for Philadelphia with a goal in the 70th minute.
Charlotte FC (7-9-12, 33 points) desperately needed three points, but instead they wound up with their fourth consecutive draw. They remain three points below the final Eastern Conference playoff position.
Goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina made three saves for Charlotte, but he couldn't fully avenge a May 31 loss to the Union, when he was charged with an own goal for the only scoring in the match.
Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake made four saves.
Gazdag has 13 goals, including one in three consecutive matches and six in his last seven league matches. He beat Kahlina on the penalty kick by putting the ball in the bottom right corner of the net.
Meram opened the scoring with an unassisted tally from the box.
Swiderski's header came on a delivery from Brandt Bronico, with Swiderski cutting in front of Blake to move in better position to convert. Swiderski's seventh goal of the season came following a five-match stretch without a tally.
Sullivan notched his first goal of the season just four minutes after entering the match as a substitute. The 19-year-old midfielder was set up by Julian Carranza.
Philadelphia forward Tai Baribo made his first MLS start.
Charlotte's 7-2 advantage in corner kicks mostly went for naught. Charlotte was assessed three second-half yellow cards.
--Field Level Media