For long stretches, the Philadelphia Union executed their gameplan.
For long stretches, the Union displayed the poise needed to pick up three coveted points on the road.
But the Union (1-2-4, seven points) fell 2-1 to the New York Red Bulls Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena. They had chances to equalize and possibly win the match against their I-95 rival. The frustrating streak continued and the Union will head into next season still searching for their first victory at New York.
“It’s frustrating,” said Union defender Amobi Okugo. “Last year, we had a couple chances to win here. Today we had a great first half. We didn’t keep the pace in the second half and they punished us. It’s really annoying but you just got to build on it. You’ve just got to forget about this game and play Saturday.”
The schedule has been challenging with three matches in a week. Yet returning to the pitch to face the Houston Dynamo Saturday at PPL Park (4 p.m., purchase tickets) could wind up being a very good thing.
“It’s tough (playing) three games in eight days,” Okugo said. “We’ve got a couple guys rested, a couple guys coming off injury, I think everyone is going to be back for Saturday. It’s a big game versus Houston. They’re in a slump and we just lost this game, and we’ve got to get the win.”
The Union were rewarded with a penalty kick and Sebastien Le Toux knocked it home to keep his streak perfect. He’s 8-for-8 on PKs since joining the Union.
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If the Union show that type of aggressive style against Houston, it could result in another PK or plenty of chances in front of the net to score.
“We don’t really talk about it, I feel very comfortable to take the PKs and I did here and it was successful,” Le Toux said. “It feels good to continue my good run, I just went to goal and I was confident. I know that Luis (Robles) knows me because we used to do a lot of PKs just for fun when I was in New York. He kind of knows right is usually my strong side. I waited for a little bit to see what he’d do and he kind of stayed on his line and I went to the right side. Luckily it went under his stomach so I’m glad he didn’t stop it, but it wasn’t enough for us to come back in this game.”
The Union will now come back home and prepare for a Dynamo side that is very talented.
With such a short turnaround, the Union are fully aware of what they need to do.
“We’ve done it before and in some ways, it’s good to have games so close because it keeps you sharp and fresh,” defender Sheanon Williams said recently. “We have to stick to what we’re doing and stay disciplined. We have very good depth in this locker room and that’s a big key when you have a week like this.”
Does the short turnaround help the Union? What do you think?
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org