CHESTER, PA– The look on the faces of the Philadelphia Union players after their 1-1 draw with Montreal said it all.
The Union were frustrated with conceding an 88th-minute equalizer and a potential penalty call that wasn’t given in their favor in the middle of the second half.
Jim Curtin’s men went ahead right before halftime on a Tranquillo Barnetta goal, but the win was taken from them by Matteo Mancosu’s late equalizer.
In between the two tallies was a penalty shout in which Fabian Herbers was knocked down by Marco Donadel on the right side of the box.
Referee Armando Villarreal did not whistle for a spot kick, but in the Union’s eyes, it was the wrong call.
“I think it’s a PK for sure,” Herbers said. “I played the ball and I drew the contact. It’s a clear PK.”
Although there was clear frustration with the call, the Union knew they should’ve been able to finish off the game in front of the home crowd at Talen Energy Stadium.
“We can’t change (the call) so we have to finish the game all the way and we didn’t so we paid the price,” Barnetta said.
Conceding late to the Impact is an extension of poor trend in which the Union have let in goals at home and have not been able to achieve the full three points.
“It’s obviously disappointing to drop points late,” Curtin said. “We get to the 85th minute, we should close out the game, no question about it. It’s not from the run of play. Restarts, same thing, in the few games we’ve dropped points from behind ahead now, San Jose, in D.C. and this one now, this is the third one, they’re from corner kicks which is difficult because in the run of play.”
“We’re still pretty tough to break down,” Curtin said. “I thought the guys did a good job on the night of limiting their chances. We’ll learn from it. We’ll watch the tape, but difficult way to end it because the guys put so much into it, everybody’s disappointed.”
Losing two points at home was a big blow to the Union, especially given their remaining home schedule. The Union don’t play at home until the final two matches of the regular season against Orlando and the Red Bulls.
Between now and their next home game, the Union will travel to Portland, Toronto and the Red Bulls in a vital three-game stretch that will decide where they land in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Union are currently fourth with 41 points, and are still three points clear of the Impact.
If the Union can pull at least two points out of that stretch and win both home games, they should have at least one playoff home game in the wild-card round.
“We know we have three tough games now on the road and we’ll have to get points on the road,” Curtin said.