Traveling nearly 3,000 miles cross-country to take on the San Jose Earthquakes in a midweek match wasn’t an ideal situation for the Philadelphia Union. Fresh off their emphatic 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire last Saturday, having a bit of rest and relaxtion would probably have been preferred.
Despite the strenuous travel and little time to recuperate, the team put in a solid effort Wednesday night against the Quakes in a match that, this time, went 1-0 in the other team’s favor.
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"In the end, you feel like that you at least deserve a point out of that one,” said Union Coach John Hackworth after the match. “For the most part, we felt that we contained them, played pretty well, created some excellent chances.
"Full credit to San Jose and especially [San Jose goalkeeper] Jon Busch. He was fantastic. Any other goalkeeper we at least get one of those three [chances] in the first half. Full credit to them but disappointing for us."
In what has become something of a tired story this season, the Union played well in the match and controlled it for long portions, but simply weren’t able to make the breakthrough.
The man pulling the strings once more for Philadelphia was Sebastien Le Toux. He came closest to scoring for the Union, but was thwarted by a very sturdy Busch in goal.
"It was very frustrating for us,” said Le Toux of the match. “We lose 1-0 and I don't think we really played [well] tonight. We were really defensive and it was a very sad result for us tonight."
Being unable to break down San Jose’s defenses was one thing, but allowing an easy goal at the other end certainly didn’t help the Union's cause. Left alone in the box was San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski, who cooly nodded home in the 69th minute to give his team the lead. It turned out to be the match-winner.
"We gave up an easy goal,” said Hackworth of Wondolowski’s ninth strike and sixth game-winner of the season. “The ball [was] lobbed in the box and we weren't lined up right. We had four guys in there defending and had two attackers.
"Numerically, that's a battle we should win every time. We didn't and the result went their way."
Philadelphia will now have over a week to mull the disappointing result as their next match won’t come until Sept. 25 when they welcome Chivas USA to PPL Park.