CHESTER, Pa. — Anytime you can dominate a match against the defending MLS Cup champions, you know you’re doing something right.
Real Salt Lake may have played some of their backups, and they were on the road in an intimidating atmosphere, but the Philadelphia Union pushed them to the limit on Wednesday night—something team manager Peter Nowak was quite proud of, even if they only came away with a point.
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“I believe there was a good effort from both teams,” Nowak said of the 1-1 draw at PPL Park. “There was a lot of running and a lot of combinations. It took one quick play and we got the goal.
“We put in a lot of heart today, and I told the guys in the locker room that I’m proud of the effort. The last game (a 3-1 loss in Dallas on Saturday) wasn’t our best game, and we didn’t play as we are supposed to. We came back stronger and the mentality is getting better.”
With each passing match, the Union continue to build into a more complete team, one that could challenge for a playoff spot if they start to earn some more positive results.
For Sebastien Le Toux, who wonderfully set up Philadelphia’s only goal with a crafty flick to rookie Danny Mwanga, the improvements the team have shown are thanks to a sharp team focus that, even in defeat, is unwavering.
“I think now we really know each other and are able to see ourselves as what type of team we are,” Le Toux said. “We just need to be better every day. We’re not thinking about playoffs or the championship at the end because right now, as you’ve seen, we commit lots of mistakes. We just think about winning games.
“Like our coach told us after the matches against Columbus and Dallas, we just need to continue to work hard—don’t put our head down or get frustrated as we still have lots of games left.”
They are, however, getting to that stage in the season where ties will come back to haunt them. Dominating game after game and not taking the full three points is certainly a habit they hope to break.
Despite this trend, Le Toux was pleased with how they were able to bounce back from their two previous losses. He said he believes that if they keep the right attitude going forward, good things will come.
“It was a good game to come back to after Dallas,” Le Toux said. “We had a good twenty minutes there, but it was a pretty frustrating match. Tonight, to come back after that, was good. And then on Saturday, we hope to stay positive and win that game.”