After nearly completing a second half comeback, the Union conceded four goals to a rampant New England Revolution side and slumped to a demoralizing 5-1 defeat.
Danny Cruz looked to have put the Union back on the front foot in the 50th minute when he canceled out Kelyn Rowe’s first half goal, but the visitors could not see out the result.
Conor Casey should have put the Union in front only five minutes after Cruz’s equalizer, but referee Allen Chapman incorrectly ruled the goal back. Given a reprieve, the Revolution found their attacking form in a 15-minute span, during which they found the back of the net four times.
With Jack McInerney struggling through the mire of a goal-scoring slump, John Hackworth elected to give his misfiring striker the night off, with Michael Farfan representing the only change for the Union.
Farfan joined Brian Carroll and Keon Daniel in the center of the pitch in an attempt to maintain possession and win the midfield.
The plan did not work.
While both teams exchanged sloppy play in the early going, New England looked the more composed side, with Rowe and Lee Nguyen orchestrating play in front of Scott Caldwell.
The hosts had the first chance of the match when Sheanon Williams lost his footing, allowing Juan Agudelo to race onto his left foot. But Jeff Parke was quick slide in, blocking the dangerous shot.
At the other end, Casey was the catalyst, but when he combined well with first Farfan and then Sebastien Le Toux, the Union had no additional bodies in the box.
Despite having three central midfielders, Rowe had little trouble finding space for himself in the center of the box when he ran away from Daniel. Facing up to the Union goal, Rowe had time and space to walk into his low drive, planting it in the side netting to Zac MacMath’s right.
Daniel limped off after the goal to be replaced by the Michael Lahoud. But the insertion of another defensive midfielder had little effect on the match, and Rowe nearly doubled the Revs’ advantage in the 34th minute after Diego Fagundez was left to run free through the midfield.
The Union substitute was then forced to haul down Agudelo for the match’s first yellow card before nearly gifting New England another goal just before halftime. Looking back towards his own goal in first half stoppage time, Lahoud’s pass missed Okugo badly, allowing Fagundez to slice into the box where he cut back for Agudelo. With only the simplest of touches required, the US international scuffed his shot wide of the back post.
Eager to prevent the Union from getting a foothold in the match, the Revs pushed forward after the break. In the 48th minute, Rowe nearly beat MacMath to the near post after Fagundez brushed off Cruz before sending a perfect ball forward.
Moments later though, the Union found their equalizer, against the run of play.
Casey was again the provider. When Cruz’s line took him inside of Chris Tierney, Casey found him in stride. Settling confidently, Cruz pulled the ball past Matt Reis at the top of the box before burying his left-footed shot inside the back post.
New England was stunned, and the Union nearly made them pay with a second goal a minute later.
Driving forward from his fullback spot, Williams smashed a low drive passed Reis, directly onto the post. When the ball caromed back for Le Toux to bundle home, the goal was called back. The striker had strayed into an offside position.
Undaunted, the Union continued to ride their momentum and should have taken the lead in the 55th minute.
It was Williams again who began the play, sending Reis scrambling with a low driven cross. As the New England keeper attempted to gather the ball, retreating defender AJ Soares collided with him, sending the ball bouncing free. It was just then that Casey arrived to poke in the ball from under one of Reis’ legs. The goal should have stood, but referee Chapman ruled that Reis had possession, whistling Casey for the foul.
After two dangerous runs nearly resulted in goals, Williams was caught in possession in the 58th minute as he looked to burst up field yet again. Fagundez was quickest to the loose ball and played in Agudelo. With MacMath sliding to his left, Agudelo rolled a weak shot back towards the far post where the Union were unlucky to see the recovering Amobi Okugo deflect it into his own net.
It was the lift New England needed and while John Hackworth held his substitutes back, the Revs took over the match.
Soon after the go-ahead goal, substitute Dimitry Imbongo easily bumped off Brian Carroll before setting off down the left touch line. Delaying too long, Imbongo just missed the run of Agudelo and an easy tap-in went begging.
In the 65th minute, Rowe gave New England a two-goal cushion. Despite the Union’s two defensive midfielders, Rowe found ample space outside of the Union box before turning and drilling a highlight reel shot into the top corner of MacMath’s net.
Six minutes later, it was Fabinho’s turn to gift New England an easy goal. With his entire team pushed forward, the Brazilian was easily dispossessed, and Scott Caldwell launched the ball forward for Fagundez. Racing in behind Williams, Fagundez slotted his shot inside of MacMath’s near post before Okugo could close him down.
Agudelo completed the drubbing in the 73rd minute with a classy top shelf finish. Given plenty of time by Lahoud to measure his pass, Imbongo slotted in to a wide open Agudelo, who ran away from Parke before flicking his first time shot into the top of the net.
As if matters couldn’t get worse, Okugo went into the referee’s notebook minutes later when he blocked off a charging run from Fagundez. That caution rules him out for Saturday’s critical showdown with Montreal Impact due to yellow card accumulation. In the end, the Union will be forced to deal with Okugo’s absence for 2 matches, as the defender was issued his marching orders one minute into stoppage time when his studs came down on the foot of Imbongo.
The Union will look to regroup before next Saturday’s home game against the Montreal Impact, who dispatched Houston on Saturday with a 5-0 win to move to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Zac MacMath; Sheanon Williams, Amobi Okugo, Jeff Parke, Fabinho; Michael Farfan (Antoine Hoppenot ’80), Keon Daniel (Michael Lahoud ’27), Brian Carroll, Danny Cruz (Jack McInerney ’75); Sebastien Le Toux, Conor Casey
Unused substitutes: Oka Nikolov, Matt Kassel, Kleberson, Aaron Wheeler.
New England Revolution
Matt Reis; Chris Tierney, Jose Goncalves, AJ Soares, Andrew Farrell; Scott Caldwell; Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen (Andy Dorman ’74), Kelyn Rowe, Chad Barrett (Dimitry Imbongo ’56); Juan Agudelo (Charlie Davies ’81)
Unused substitutes: Bobby Shuttleworth, Stephen McCarthy, Kevin Alston, Ryan Guy
26 – NER: Rowe (Chad Barrett)
50 – PHI: Cruz (Casey)
58 – PHI: Okugo (own goal)
65 – NER: Rowe (Imbongo)
71 – NER : Fagundez (Caldwell)
73 – NER: Agudelo (Imbongo, Fagundez)
37 – PHI: Lahoud (caution)
75 – PHI: Okugo (caution)
78 – PHI: Williams (caution)
81 – PHI: Casey (caution)
91 – PHI: Okugo (caution + ejection)
Referee” Allen Chapman
|New England Revolution||Philadelphia Union|
|11||Attempts on Goal||10|
|5||Shots on Target||3|
|3||Shots off Target||6|
|7||Open Play Crosses||14|
|0||First Yellow Cards||3|
|0||Second Yellow Cards||1|
|52%||Duels Won %||48%|
|78%||Passing Accuracy %||78%|