Photo by ISIphotos.com
By JOEY SAMUEL
CHESTER, Pa. — Both the Philadelphia Union and the New England Revolution are already out of playoff contention in 2012. One of those teams is ending its season in style, though, while the other is ending it in disaster.
Jack McInerney latched onto a Keon Daniel cross in the 73rd minute and headed in a goal for the Union, who then held on despite a sloppy final portion of the match to top New England, 1-0, at PPL Park on Saturday night.
In a game with no playoff implications at all, both teams showed why they are no longer in the hunt for a postseason spot. Finishing was terrible throughout, including Jerry Bengtson hitting the post despite shooting at an open net in the first half.
"Tonight was probably, for us, a lot tougher than it might have looked, both mentally, physically, and then tactically," said Union coach John Hackworth. "This was an excellent game where we still dug it and we played good soccer, we defended, and we still had a couple mistakes here and there. For us to get a 1-0 result like that, consecutive games where we’re getting the results, I’m very proud of the guys."
Philadelphia found a way to win in a game that saw both teams struggle on offense for large stretches. McInerney scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season, a solid total for a 20-year-old player that was not getting playing time for the first half of 2012.
"McInerney has been really important to us in the last couple months and it's great to see him scoring goals because for this team," Hackworth said. "In the last couple games, he's done a huge amount of work and this is a tough position for him because we’re asking him to do it by himself a little bit. So a good reward for him and for all the hard work the guys behind him did.
After conceding the goal, New England lost Benny Feilhaber to a second yellow card late in the second half, effectively dashing their hopes of equalizing. Saturday's loss continued a disastrous stretch for the Revs that has seen them win just one of their last fifteen games.
"It was not our best game, but when you do get in and get clean looks you got to finish them, especially on the road," said Revs coach Jay Heaps. "I thought MacMath had a good game, you've got to credit their keeper on the way he played."
New England shuffled its lineup a bit, moving Ryan Guy to center back for the first time and handing forward Alec Purdie his first career MLS start, albeit at defender.
"It feels great. I got in some games earlier in the year, but I had a set back," Purdie said. "In the past three months I have been working my way back, getting in some games and just helping the team any way I can. I started all over the place and tonight I got the start on the left side."
In contrast with the Revolution, the Union appear to be playing some of their best soccer of the season. Saturday's game was the club's second straight win and their third win in four games.
"Naturally you have to go through bumps in the road throughout the season," said goalkeeper Zac MacMath. "This team has learned a lot from the very beginning of the season to the middle of the season to now, and we’re still learning. We’re a very young team. Every game is a new experience for a lot of us. We’re trying to take everything away from it and bring it into next season."
Here are the match highlights:
What did you think of the match? Will the Union's strong finish help them going into 2013? What do the Revs need to change as they look ahead to next year?
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