After a sluggish start, the Philadelphia Union closed with a flurry.
The Union remain winless at 0-3-0 after falling 1-0 to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Saturday. The Union created a number of scoring chances in the final 15 minutes of regulation and four minutes of stoppage time, but were ultimately unable to capitalize as goalkeeper Zac MacMath made several stellar saves to keep the deficit at one goal.
The result wasn’t what the club desired, setting up an important home game next Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps at PPL Park.
“It’s never easy to be in this situation like we are right now after three games,” Union manager Peter Nowak said after the match. “I think from last week, we played much better. We need to be more opportunistic. It’s not very easy for the guys in the locker room, but life goes on. We have to make our best effort to overcome this and we are going to stay positive as a group.
“We’ve already been in this situation and I think from the majority of the group they know that if you put a good effort into the field, and you study the game afterwards, the hard work will pay off sooner or later.”
Despite playing without captain Danny Califf along with defender Sheanon Williams and midfielders Freddy Adu and Amobi Okugo – who are with the U-23 U.S. National Team for Olympic Qualifying – the Union hung in following a goal by Dominic Oduro in the 28th minute.
The Union easily could have tied the match in the 82nd minute or the 84th minute. Midfielder Gabriel Gomez had two terrific chances off free kicks but was denied by Chicago goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi.
“It was a tough loss,” midfielder Gabriel Farfan said. “We couldn’t finish our chances. We had a lot of possession. We did well getting forward in the second half I thought, and we had a couple looks. Luck just wasn’t on our side today.”
Next up is an ever-improving Vancouver side.
The goal remains the same for the Union – prepare throughout the week in training and execute the gameplan next Saturday.
“We showed a lot of heart tonight and we were very unfortunate not to come away with a tie or even a win,” MacMath said. “But I think everyone in the locker room -- we looked at each other and we can fight for each other and we’re ready to take that attitude to Vancouver.”
While players and fans alike are frustrated, the Union know the season is still very young and hope their work ethic begins to translate into tangible results.
“They are pushing very hard,” Nowak said. “I can’t say one bad thing about the effort. They did a good job with that, trying from different angles to score the tying goal. What we need to do now is believe it. We are a very good team, young but very good. We have the quality to win the games. That’s my job right now to inject the confidence and the security that they are still a good team.”
HIGHLIGHTS: Fire 1, Union 0