CHESTER, Pa. -- Lionard Pajoy broke out with his first brace of the season. Freddy Adu was the most dynamic player on the pitch until his ejection in the 43rd minute. The Union generated 21 scoring chances despite playing down a man for over half the match.
The list could go on and on.
Despite a litany of positive signs on the offensive end, the Philadelphia Union still came away with a 3-2 loss to their I-95 rival New York Red Bulls before 18,193 on Mother’s Day Sunday at PPL Park.
It’s the club’s third consecutive loss in regular season play.
Dropping a match like this was certainly frustrating for the Union (2-6-1), but the club's improvement offensively should pay dividends in the long run.
“The team is progressing,” manager Peter Nowak said. “Today was a full 90 minutes across the board. Everybody played great. I’m very proud of their effort. It’s always disappointing to lose a game but the fact is that was the same Union team we want to see every single week from here on out. I hope we'll continue to work on some things. Across the board, I can’t mention one bad performance.”
The Union now have six days to prepare for another tough match at FC Dallas followed by a trip to winless Toronto FC on May 26.
If the Union continue to execute like this, points will be waiting.
As Adu pointed out, the club easily could have wound up with four or five goals against the Red Bulls.
“We played great,” Adu said. “I was so proud of the team on the field and when I was watching the second half in the locker room. We never stopped fighting. We had a whole lot of chances. We created scoring opportunities. We did everything right except win the game.”
Philadelphia understands it must stay in the game mentally as much as physically in the days leading up to FC Dallas.
Inside that locker room, the players believe they’ll be fine.
“You’ve got to get it going,” defender Sheanon Williams said. “We’ve already put ourselves behind and we’re kind of chasing the pack but we haven’t even gotten into the thick of our (Eastern Conference) season. We’re not far behind. A couple games with results and we're right back in it.”
From his vantage point, goalkeeper Zac MacMath watched his club play a solid game only to come up short. In the long run, he expects different results.
“It’s disappointing because we see that we’re improving and I thought today was our best game of the year so far,” MacMath said. “We played with 10 men for 50-some minutes and still played the better game.”
The result went against them, but the Union remain upbeat.
“We just have to take advantage of chances and keep it going,” Williams said. “I thought we were the better team today. It just didn’t finish that way. I think we’re going to be OK. We have to keep working at it and keep fighting.”
HIGHLIGHTS: Union 3, Red Bulls 2