Test 7 Section 4 Question 6

Hi Mike…SAT 7, Section 4, Q6: I now see the shortcut here (that both sides of the equation are perfect squares,) but if I did expand and FOIL the left side, wouldn’t I still get the correct “a” values even though it takes longer? I can’t get it to work !! Can you please show the alternate path math steps? Or is recognizing the perfect squares the ONLY way to solve this one ? Thanks!