Since winning the first game in club history, Philadelphia Union have dropped four straight on the road.
Losing at Toronto, New York, Los Angeles and Real Salt Lake has not been easy. Especially knowing how many good opportunities have been missed in each of the games.
It has been more than a month since the club has reveled in a victory – a 3-2 win over D.C. United. Looming on Saturday is a visit from FC Dallas at Lincoln Financial Field before Philadelphia Union moves to their new digs at PPL Park in nearby Chester, PA on June 27th.
The reality of playing 8 of their first 10 games on the road has proven difficult through 6 of the matches. The most recent loss was a 3-0 setback Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“Anytime you play on the road for a long time, it will always be a tough environment,” said goalkeeper Chris Seitz. "Everyone is better at home in MLS, but for us, we need to start going into places and start earning some points. That’s our main goal.”
Chances have been there for Philadelphia Union. Between some mistakes and some youth, capitalizing on these chances hasn’t happened consistently.
For instance, the club had two good scoring chances in the first 22 minutes at Real Salt Lake. In the 16th minute, Jack McInerney seemed to have an open shot from about 25 yards out. But as he attempted to line up his shot, Jamison Olave came in to deflect the attempt away.
In the 22nd minute, 18-year-old Roger Torres fired a shot from just six yards out, only to be stifled on a great save by Nick Rimando.
“We were trying to get players forward,” said McInerney. “Like (Saturday) in the first minute, me and Alejandro (Moreno) were in the box, and I feel like we had a great chance in the opening minute. If we would have converted that, the whole game would have changed.”
McInerney said not coming away with points has been maddening.
“We always talk about the importance of the first goal. They [Real Salt Lake] had the chance to score the first goal and we did not convert our first chance. It’s not only difficult to make a play, but it’s also difficult to have to tie the game or win the game from behind. We made individual mistakes and that should not happen. The importance is who scored the first goal, for the overall confidence it is very important. We did not convert our chance, but Salt Lake did.”
There is a whole lot of season left. Despite a heavy road schedule early on, the ratio will even out by the end of the season. And the technical staff will work even harder to get these issues corrected in the meantime.