The goal was to end the 2012 season on a high note.
But an inability to put goals in the back of the net, found the Union looking at the latter end of a 3-0 defeat at the hands of rival Red Bull New York Saturday at PPL Park.
A pair of goals from Red Bulls forward Kenny Cooper and a goal from Thierry Henry were all New York (16-9-9, 57 points) needed to push a step closer to securing the No. 3 seed in the East in the upcoming MLS playoffs. In addition to its win, the Red Bulls need a Chicago loss to D.C. United or a Chicago victory in which the Fire doesn’t edge New York’s plus-nine goal differential.
As for the Union (10-18-6, 36 goals), its season came to an end in front of 18,355 in the toughest way possible. Once again, the Union managed to find chances on goal, but was unable to put them away.
Watch: Full match highlights
“I think that if anyone watched the game from the 45th minute on, we did some good things, we just miss a lot of open chances, I mean we really did,” said Union midfielder Danny Cruz. “I missed chances I should’ve scored, Jack [McInerney] missed a clear chance where he should have scored, and it’s just been the way that this season has gone. I can tell you that collectively we are looking forward to a clean slate next year.”
Cooper kicked off the scoring in the 13th minute after fellow Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill was tripped in the box by Union captain Carlos Valdes and closed the affair in the 66th minute when he finished off a through ball played into the box and slotted it far post of Zac MacMath’s net.
It marked the fourth and fifth goals of the season against the Union for Cooper, who has 18 goals on the season.
“This game is indicative of just how much this team has to grow,” said Hackworth. “We create more chances and have had so many good looks at goal and we couldn’t finish. If you don’t to that you are never going to be on the right side of the scoreboard.”