Photo: Courtesy of the Philadelphia Union
John Hackworth said after the 2-1 loss to Montreal on Saturday, “If we are still mathematically alive next weekend, we will put everything we have into it. We will put everything we have into it, no matter what. But tonight, especially in the second half, was our opportunity. And we let ourselves down.”
I know it is hard, but say it with me Union fans: Thanks to the New York Red Bulls 3-0 win over Houston on Sunday, the Union’s playoff hopes are still alive.
Barely. They will need to defeat Kansas City — who will be looking for a win of their own in the hopes of claiming the Supporters Shield, no to mention avenge the 1-0 loss at home against the Union a few weeks ago — this Saturday and will also need New England to lose to Columbus and Houston lose to DC on Sunday. SportsClubStats.com puts their chances of reaching the playoffs at 8.7 percent, down from 65.8 percent after the win over Toronto two weeks ago.
The Union started brightly against the Impact with a strong first half, going into the break with a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal from Fabinho. In the second half, things soon went south and they were fortunate to concede only two goals on their way to an extremely disappointing 2-1 loss.
Hackworth said, “I think we played a good first half and got the goal. We had some good opportunities to get two goals and unfortunately we didn’t execute on those opportunities. They came out with a lot of energy in the second half and really pushed the game. Montreal got the equalizer and kept pushing after that and we did not do a good job of dealing with it. This was a playoff game before the playoffs, so both of us had to win tonight and our expectation was for us to come here and get the victory.”
Conor Casey said, “They threw a lot of numbers forward and we had a couple of decent chances but didn’t play well enough to come away with the three points. Not being able to pull away, we let them come back, and they did.”
Zac MacMath said of the Marco DiVaio equalizer, “I saw the shot. He just had way too much time, and he really could pick it out wherever he wanted to. And obviously he did.”
Montreal head coach Marco Schällibaum said of his team’s win, “It sets us free, it’s incredible. The emotions are impressive. I’m drained right now. It was a really tough week. I’m really happy for everyone. We deserved this win, with rage and will power. It’s a great moment.”
Match recaps from PSP, PhiladelphiaUnion.com, The Inquirer, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, ImpactMontreal.com, Montreal Gazette, CTV Montreal, The Canadian Press, Canada.com, MLSsoccer.com, SBI, Goal.com, The Sports Network, UPI, and The AP.
The Brotherly Game has an update on how the Union Academy teams are faring.
On Friday, the La Salle men defeated St. Joe’s 2-0 in Philly Soccer Six play. The La Salle women rolled over St. Joe’s 6-0. The St. Joe’s women bounced back with a 2-1 overtime win against Rhode Island.
The New York Red Bulls are in first place, both in the Eastern Conference and in the Supporters Shield race, with 56 points after defeating now sixth-in-the-East Houston 3-0 on the road on Sunday. Tim Cahill’s goal in the seventh second was the fastest in league history. Kansas City is in second place with 55 points after defeating last place DC United (16 points), 1-0. Montreal are in third place with 49 points after their 2-1 defeat of the now seventh place Union (46 points). Chicago moved up to fourth place and 49 points by defeating ninth place Toronto (26 points) 1-0 with the help of a weak penalty call to keep their playoff drive in focus. New England moved into fifth place with 48 points after trading goals with eighth place Columbus (41 points) for a 3-2 win that also officially ended the Crew’s playoff hopes.
In the West, Portland, who finished bottom of the conference last season, had already clinched a playoff spot thanks to Seattle’s 2-0 loss to Dallas Saturday afternoon before the point earned by Real Salt Lake in the 0-0 draw with the Timbers on Saturday evening assured RSL a playoff appearance. Seattle are now winless in six games and have lost four in-a-row.
The 0-0 draw between the Galaxy and San Jose was enough for LA and Seattle to claim playoff spots and for the Earthquakes to be effectively eliminated. Vancouver was also eliminated by the 3-2 loss to Colorado. San Jose would have to defeat Vancouver by at least 13 goals to move past the fifth-in-the-West Rapids.
The playoff picture thus looks like this: From the East, New York and Kansas City have clinched; from the West, Portland, Salt Lake, LA, and Seattle have clinched.
It was also reported that Cahill and Houston’s Brad Davis had an altercation in the players’ tunnel at the half. Both players deny things got physical.
Montreal Impact center back Alessandro Nesta says he wants to get into coaching after he retires at the end of the season.
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman announced on Friday that he will resign at the end of the season. His team honored his announcement with a 2-0 win over the visiting Seattle Sounders on Saturday in a game that saw Dallas captain David Ferreira and teammate Jackson taking swings at one another at the half. Hyndman yanked Jackson for Blas Pèrez, who went on to score. Hyndman said, “When they came into the locker room, they were still going at each other and I decided to pull [Jackson] out of the lineup. We can never reward bad behavior with professional athletes, or with children.”
Dallas hopes to announce a new coach in five to six weeks.
MLS president Mark Abott is in Orlando today to speak to Orlando County commissioners before Tuesday’s funding vote.
Former New England Revolution general manager Craig Tornberg is the new general manager of Oxford City, which is plays in the Conference North, the sixth tier of England’s soccer pyramid. The Oxford Mail describes Tornberg as a “giant of American football” and New England as “one of America’s biggest football teams.” Ok.
The USWNT easily defeated Australia 4-0 in a friendly in San Antonio on Sunday.
Soccer Wire says that, despite the lopsided result, Tom Sermanni is still a ways from finding his starting lineup ahead of the beginning of World Cup qualification.
At Al Jazeera America, Graham Parker has a look at the success of the Portland Thorns and how the NWSL might succeed where previous attempts at a women’s professional league have failed.
Aron Johansson, he scores when he wants to. Twice.
The draw for the European World Cup qualification playoffs took place today in Zurich today and everyone is talking about the meeting between Zlatan Imbrahimovic’s Sweden and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal. ESPN has more on the draw.
Two Spurs supporters have been arrested after a linesman was struck by a flare thrown from the traveling supporters section in Tottenham’s 2-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday. Thankfully, the linesman was not injured and was able to finish the match.