“Disappointed and unacceptable.”
Those were literally the first words out of Union manager John Hackworth’s mouth following Wednesday’s 3-1 loss against D.C. United in fourth round U.S. Open Cup action.
It was a much tamer 90-minute affair at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md. than in years past, but tame in large part due to the fact that for much of the match, the Union found it hard to establish a rhythm and get itself into the same flow that saw it dominate a Columbus Crew team in league play just a week earlier.
“Really disappointed in our performance tonight, in particular the way we started that game,” said Hackworth. “It was unacceptable on a lot of levels. I give full credit to D.C., they were good tonight and we knew they were going to bring it, at the same time I certainly don’t think we brought our best…we got to know that we are not that good to do that, we have to play from the opening whistle to the final whistle.”
From the opening whistle it was United that controlled the tempo – while birds eye views conveyed a Union side that waited for D.C. to make mistakes to then pounce on the counterattack.
But it was United who pounced first in the 24th minute when Dwayne De Rosario scored his first of three on the night, hitting a driven curler past the outstretched arms of Zac MacMath. De Rosario then scored his second in the 75th, when he finished off a nifty ball in from forward Lionard Pajoy, but Union goal scoring guru Jack McInerney brought one back just a minute later, finishing a low driven ball into the box from Don Anding to make the score, 2-1.
VIEW: FULL MATCH STATISTICS
Perhaps a big highlight for Philadelphia was the play of Anding who entered as a left midfielder in the 67th minute, which shifted fellow second half substitute Leo Fernandes into center midfield. Anding had nice touches on the ball and sent a few crosses into the box that created dangerous chances.
“He certainly came on and had some great touches to help Jack get the goal, he’s got great pace and athleticism, he just needs more time to develop,” Hackworth said of Anding.
But in the 85th minute, De Rosario stifled all hope as a Union defensive lapse at the edge of the final third saw the future MLS Hall of Famer take a shot from close to midfield that rolled in behind Union goalkeeper MacMath, who was caught off guard.
“We were just caught sleeping,” said Union forward Sebastien Le Toux postgame. “We came out and there was no intensity and we were running out of position and not defending [as a team] and it’s hard to play like that. We went after the score [in the second half]…but a lack of concentration didn’t help. We know we have to be better; no one is happy with this result especially not me.”
What the Union also lost was a chance to host USOC quarterfinal play at PPL Park on June 26. Instead, it will be United who get a chance to move onto the semifinal round when it returns to the Maryland SoccerPlex to host New England who were 4-2 winners over New York Wednesday night.
The Union will look to return to winning ways when they travel to play USL-PRO affiliate Harrisburg on June 18. Then it’s a return to MLS action on June 23 against the New York Red Bulls (5 p.m., purchase tickets).
Contact Union writer Kerith Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org