Dramatic late goal from hero forward McInerney keeps Union in MLS postseason hunt
Jack McInerney sure picked a good time end his scoring slump.
The Union striker's 90th minute equalizer on Saturday night spared the Union a road loss, kept the team's playoff hopes alive, and ended a personal scoreless streak of 133 days -- dating all the way back to June 1.
"It was tough," said McInerney of the finally-broken slump. "The longer it goes the more frustrating it gets. You've just got to keep fighting and pushing. I've proven that I can score. I've just got to keep my head up and keep going. Once you've got this one, hopefully you can go on and get another one."
It was a sloppy affair in the pouring rain, with United taking a 1-0 lead into halftime.
In the 36th minute, an unmarked Nick Deleon found space in the middle of the park and lashed a 30 yard effort that beat Zac MacMath at his far post.
Switching from a five-man midfield to a 4-4-2 formation in the second half, Philadelphia finally began to pressure the United backline with about ten minutes left to play.
Kleberson, who played a full 90 minutes in the draw, stood over a free kick conceded by Sainey Nyassi on the far side of United's penalty box. The first attempt was cleared from danger, but the ball was cycled back to the midfielder, whose second ball drifted to the back post. The previously snake-bitten McInerney out-jumped a static Dennis Iapichino for the game-tying goal.
"(Kleberson) had put in some good balls before, so I kind of just backed up and tried to find some space," the striker said. "I saw Amobi going up and I told him to leave it. He did and I just put my head on it and it ended up in the back of the net."
"I kind of ended up all alone."
The Union move to 46 points, drawing level with next week's opponent Montreal Impact, who lost 1-0 against New England on Saturday afternoon.
Montreal has lost three in a row at Stade Saputo and will play Los Angeles on the road Wednesday night.
Four teams – Chicago, Montreal, New England, and Philadelphia, are now separated by the slightest of margins in the postseason race.
"We probably need one win out of the next two to have an opportunity," said captain Brian Carroll. "But things are tight and we have to do everything we possibly can to find a way to get on to the next stage of the season. I'm confident in the group that we have, that we can go out there and find a way."
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Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at email@example.com