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Failure to finish

The statistics tell one half of the story.

Philadelphia outplayed D.C. United for the majority of Thursday night, creating 14 attempts on goal, five shots on target, and 21 crosses.

But the Union could not score, and continued their desperate stretch in front of goal. D.C. walked off the pitch with a 1-0 victory thanks to a second half goal from former Philadelphia striker, Lionard Pajoy.

"The feeling right now is that our team is struggling," said Union manager John Hackworth after the shutout loss. "We're doing everything possible to try to put ourselves in a posititon to score and get attempts on goal. For whatever reason, even though we had some really good looks, we just didn't get the chances [w
e need]. Too many times [we were] in behind the defense, and to not get something out of it, that's tough."

Philadelphia rolled out an attacking formation against Ben Olsen's squad. Jack McInerney spearheaded a 4-3-3 shape that also included Antoine Hoppenot and Danny Cruz in attack.

The Union won the possession percentage yet again, 58-42.

"Jack McInerney had some really good looks, and was pretty dangerous," Hackworth said. "Antoine got in a couple times, and the ball is bouncing off of his shin, and knee, and it's hitting everywhere except where he wants it. A little bit of me feels that we can't buy one, no matter what, because I think those goals are going to come with those young players."

It's been a frustrating run for McInerney, who hasn't scored since the July 29th home win against New England. It's a personal scoreless stretch of eight games spanning nearly seven weeks.

"Right now (the frustration level) is pretty high because I haven't scored in however many games," McInerney told reporters. "I mean, it [stinks], and it
especially [stinks] that we're losing at home. But we just need to grind it out. Every team goes through this."

Philadelphia has now scored just two goals in the last five games. Both goals were scored by Union defenders.

"You can work on shooting all you want, but if you don't go through and do it in the game then it doesn't make a difference," McInerney said. "We're all professionals. We all know how to take shots and try to score. It's really just taking advantage of our opportunities."

"The chances are there," added Hoppenot. "I know I had a few. I was telling (the team that) I wanted a few of them back. The one that Sheanon played me, I tried to control it and probably should have put it on net. A few other times I tried to do too much instead of just shooting. (Coach Hackworth) emphasized trying to shoot more, so I know that's what we've got to do."

The Union now have seven games remaining, all against Eastern Conference opponents. With his team all but eliminated from the playoffs, Hackworth wants to see improvement in September and October.

"The whole part about it, is that this is their opportunity," said Hackworth. "Having young guys like this, when they get this chance, they've really got to seize it. We're gonna keep on teaching it, but at some point those guys have to create the chances and finish them."