The Union hoped to end a grueling three game in eight day stretch on a high note.
Coming off a midweek grinder against MLS defending champions in Sporting Kansas City, Philadelphia looked to have lightning strike twice against a red hot New England Revolution team.
However, in spite of a three goal performance from the Union, its first three goal performance dating back to last season, the Revolution entered PPL Park Saturday and left with a 5-3 win.
For the Revolution, it was their second consecutive five goal performance coming into this match on the high of a 5-0 drubbing of Seattle a week earlier.
“Let’s face it…everything they shot was a goal and it was just simply one of those nights,” said Union defender Sheanon Williams.
Following a pair of goals from New England’s A.J. Soares and Diego Fagundez in the first half hour of play, midfielder Vincent Nogueira hit a rocket from roughly 25 yards out on a ball laid off at the top of New England’s (6-3-2, 20 points) 18-yard-box by midfielder Danny Cruz in the 36th minute. The goal for Nogueira was his second of the season and for Cruz it marked the second game in a row in which he made the scoring summary. Cruz missed a portion of the season due to an ankle injury, but has been on a tear since his return.
“It is really frustrating to lose again at home and to give up that many goals, it’s upsetting,” Cruz offered after the match. “We said that Wednesday [in a win over Sporting Kansas City] means nothing if we come out and do what we did today. We are unhappy and everyone is frustrated, but three games in seven days is extremely tough, bodies are tired… and that’s not an excuse, it’s just the reality.”
The Union (2-6-5, 11 points) also received goals from Williams after he pounced on a loose ball in the box in the 76th minute and in second half stoppage time after forward Antoine Hoppenot was taken down inside the box, Sebastien Le Toux stepped up to the penalty spot and scored his third of the season hitting a bullet past Revs goalkeeper and former Union original Brad Knighton.
It was classic Union in terms of owning the final statistics, holding an edge in possession (55-45 percent), number of passes (362-294) and passing accuracy (76-71 percent), but what was reassuring was the Union compiling its second straight multi-goal effort and its first three-goal outing since a 3-1 win over Chivas USA at PPL Park on July 12, 2013. The ask has been to create and finish chances, and in spite of the loss, the Union have apparently received the message.
Though after such a tough loss, it’s tough to think of that as a positive.
One distinct positive was the play of Zach Pfeffer, who entered the match in the 73rd minute. The match was Pfeffer’s first and the first for any Unioin homegrown product in MLS play since appearing in the club’s Eastern Conference clash against New York on Oct. 27, 2012. Pfeffer was the catalyst behind the Le Toux PK cutting into space and playing the ball into space that sent Hoppenot in.
“Every appearance that you get, you have to make the most out of it,” Pfeffer said postgame. “This was a big opportunity, but it was kind of in disguise; we were not doing well in the game and were down by a lot of goals but it was chance for me to progress and try to help the team.”
Now, it’s a week of practice before a weeklong trip out West to play the pair of Los Angeles based MLS clubs. First up is a showdown with the Galaxy on May 25 (8 p.m., Comcast SportsNet, Univision Deportes Network) followed by a clash with Chivas USA (10:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet) on May 31. The Union then returns to PPL Park to host Vancouver on June 7 (7 p.m., purchase tickets) in the final MLS match before the League breaks play for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in June.
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Contact Union digital editor Kerith Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org