The dust has settled on a wild night in RFK in which the Union found heroics at the brink of second half stoppage time from Jack McInerney, who with one snap of his noggin, preserved a draw against bitter rival D.C. United and kept the club’s playoff aspirations legit.
The Union has scored three goals in its last three and defensively has held opponents to just one.
A great stat when you consider the following:
Because of injury and infractions, Union manager John Hackworth and the technical staff has had to shuffle the lineup about as much as a Saturday night blackjack dealer at the Borgata.
In this latest result, the Union entered the match without one of its longest tenured defenders in Sheanon Williams in addition to left midfielder in Fabinho, known also for his defense but primarily for his propensity to put a dangerous ball into the 18 from the flanks.
Then the formula had to be shaken up even more against United when Sebastien Le Toux could be seen on the turf clutching his left boot as his recurrent battle with plantar fasciitis arose within the first half hour of play. The good thing is that with the team off from training today, Le Toux will get the rest and rehab needed on such an injury. However, the severity is still unknown and won’t be discussed until Hackworth’s weekly press conference on Wednesday.
A conference you can watch live only on philadelphiaunion.com/live.
Through it all, in hostile territory, the Union allowed just four shots on goal and the one that bit them came on a 35-yard blast from D.C.’s Nick DeLeon – a shot that one wonders if not given as much space, time and wherewithal given a slick turf at RFK, would DeLeon perhaps have thought twice about taking the chance?
The stats don’t lie on this night, see for yourself. Numbers show the Union with an edge in possession, chances created and passing efficiency assuredly coming after Hackworth and Co. decided to make smart changes during the halftime intermission.
One for sure was putting Jack McInerney into the mix as the final substitute. A decision that served a dual purpose; ensuring the Union would pull points and with his goal the aspirations that McInerney relieved a lot of the “frustration” he mentioned postgame in a much-maligned scoring drought. He now shares a tie for the team lead in goals alongside Conor Casey (11).
This makes this perhaps the perfect time to convey this perfect post on Twitter from defender Ray Gaddis:
Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.— ray gaddis (@raygaddis) October 13, 2013
In other news, Brian Carroll played his 300th MLS match in the tie against United.
Following the match here’s what the Union captain had to say on the feat:
“It’s a good accomplishment, but I think I’ll be more proud of it once my career is over. Hopefully, I’ve got a good number of games ahead of me still not only this season, but in seasons to come.”
Next up for Carroll and the Union, it’s Montreal.
The good news in this one is that the Union will have Williams and Fabinho available for selection. The bad is that in receiving a yellow against United, the club will be without midfielder Michael Farfan, who has turned it on as of late – and in a chase for the postseason – at the perfect time. However, the Union has a week to prepare and select the right personnel before a trip north to face the Impact in its penultimate match of the season. Montreal sits in fourth position in MLS’ East on 46 points, but is coming off a 1-0 loss to New England Saturday and will be looking to right the ship at home. Montreal has a game in hand (31) over teams below and above it in the standings.
Conversely, the Union has been a fierce road team this season, with five wins and five draws in 16 matches played away from PPL Park. The Union played to a scoreless draw the last time out between the pair. This installment of Union-Montreal kicks off at 2 p.m. and you can watch it all on The Comcast Network.
Thoughts on the week ahead for the Union? Leave them in the comments below.
Contact Union digital editor Kerith Gabriel at email@example.com