By TYLER GRAY
Maurice Edu played the role of hero for the Philadelphia Union with a surprising late-game strike, securing the 2-2 result and another tie for Union.
RSL took the lead twice, in the sixth minute thanks to midfielder Luke Mulholland’s quick reactions after Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath blocked Alvaro Saborio’s initial PK attempt.
The visitors took the lead in the 85th minute when Javier Morales played a ball back into the box from the endline to an onrushing Kyle Beckerman who placed it home. Strikes from debutant Andrew Wenger and Maurice Edu cancelled these both out and the match ended in a draw.
Philadelphia has had a propensity to give up goals late and this match was no different. Even though they once again allowed RSL a late-game strike, the Union can take heart in their response for an equalizer.
In the 85th minute, Cristian Maidana played the corner into the box where an open Maurice Edu rose up and headed the ball off the back post and into the net. It was the second time that Philadelphia had equalized in the match.
Forward Andrew Wenger, fresh off his trade from the Montreal Impact recorded his first score with his new team in the 55th minute. On the break, midfielder Vincent Nogueira picked his head up to find Wenger lurking all alone. Nogueira played a perfect ball over RSL’s defense where Wenger was able to control the pass and slot it past RSL ‘keeper Jeff Atinella.
Philadelphia possessed the ball for long stretches of the game but were unable to capitalize on many occasions. It was MacMath who had the most impressive match for the home side, recording five crucial saves throughout to keep the Union in it.
Despite snatching the 2-1 lead late in the 85th minute, RSL were unable to hold on and, even though they remain undefeated through six matches, the visitors should feel disappointed with their defense in the final minutes of the game.
The Union looked to have a penalty claim late in the match when Leo Fernandes went down in the penalty area, but referee Alan Kelly ignored the shouts, which led to a healthy amount of jeers from the Union faithful at the end of the match, and some careful comments from Union head coach John Hackworth after the match about the Union deserving two penalties while RSL’s penalty was questionable.
RSL will now return home for a much-needed home stand, their first match being against the Portland Timbers. Philadelphia travel to Red Bull Arena to take on the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday.
Here are the match highlights: