Match recap: Union put forth explosive effort, but Rapids douse on-field fireworks late in draw
The Philadelphia Union were thisclose to a victory over a strong Colorado Rapids side.
But the Union couldn’t hold a 3-1 lead after 75 minutes and wound up with a 3-3 draw against the Rapids before an overflow sellout crowd of 18,679 Saturday night at PPL Park.
The Union (4-8-7, 19 points) received goals from Conor Casey, Sheanon Williams and Andrew Wenger.
After Wenger’s goal gave the Union a 3-1 advantage in the 75th minute, things began to unravel a little bit.
Michael Lahoud was sent off with a straight red card in the 77th minute for a hard foul on Colorado’s Jared Watts.
Dillon Powers responded for the Rapids (7-5-6, 27 points) by converting the penalty kick in the 79th minute cutting the Philadelphia lead to 3-2.
In the 87th minute, Deshorn Brown scored the equalizer and the Union left the pitch with a hard-earned draw instead of three points.
“It’s going to be a process,” Union interim manager Jim Curtin said. “We have to learn how to win.”
It was a wild night, which also included a postgame red card for midfielder Amobi Okugo.
Lahoud and Okugo will both be unavailable for Wednesday’s rivalry match against the New York Red Bulls at PPL Park.
“Both teams are fighting hard,” Okugo said. “You see players from both teams putting their bodies on the line. We didn’t do a good job holding the lead and after the game, you see a lot of players voicing their frustrations.”
The Union’s offense was sharp early and it resulted in a goal by Casey in the 16th minute following a crisp cross by defender Ray Gaddis. On Colorado’s ensuing possession, Dillon Serna fired a shot past Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath to tie the match in the 18th minute.
But the Union kept the pressure on with Danny Cruz nearly scoring in the 30th minute on a point-blank shot from about 10 yards out in the 30th minute. Just one minute later, Cristian Maidana lofted a beautiful corner kick and Sheanon Williams headed it home for a 2-1 lead. Maidana leads the Union with eight assists.
When Wenger scored in the 75th minute, three points looked to be assured.
“Up a goal with 10 minutes left, we should be able to keep them off the board,” Curtin said.
The Union have had trouble all season holding leads and the Rapids rallied up a man in the final 13 minutes and four minutes of stoppage time. Philadelphia dropped to 1-2-5 at home this season.
“We just need to tighten things up and keep our composure in the right way,” Union midfielder Brian Carroll said. “We were up a goal, down a man and we let it slip away. It’s tough to take right now. We just know we have to tighten up down the stretch and close games differently.”
There won’t be much time to ponder this draw since the Red Bulls will travel to PPL Park on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET.
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Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org