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Okugo and McInerney deliver for Union in win over Rapids

AmobiOkugovsRapids (Getty)


Facing unexpected adversity, it was Philadelphia’s young guns that stepped up.

Amobi Okugo’s first-half goal and Jack McInerney’s second-half tally led the Philadelphia Union to their first victory of the season, beating the Colorado Rapids 2-1 on Sunday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Jamie Smith scored the lone goal for the Rapids.

The match was originally set to be on Saturday afternoon, but on Saturday morning, Major League Soccer announced that the match had been moved to Sunday afternoon due to hazardous weather conditions.

Both sides were coming off opening weekend losses, with the Rapids falling on the road to FC Dallas, and the Union losing at home to Sporting Kansas City.

Colorado had barely enough time to get into the match before their captain Pablo Mastroeni limped off the field with a hamstring strain in the 8th minute. Nick Labrocca replaced the 36-year-old on the field, but his loss had a big impact on the rest of the game.

McInerney made his first big contribution of the match, when he cleared a Rapids header off the line in the 19th minute. His teammate Keon Daniel nearly capitalized two minutes later, with a free kick that curled off the near post.

Philadelphia took the lead in the 34th minute, when defender Amobi Okugo powered a header from a Sebastian Le Toux corner kick into the net. It was the second week in a row that a goalkeeper error, this one on Matt Pickens, had cost Colorado a goal.

Following the halftime break, the Rapids made their second change of the day. Coach Oscar Pareja opted for the more experienced Smith in attacking midfield instead of the rookie Dillon Powers. Smith promptly put a beautifully curled effort into the far corner of the net in the 68th minute on a counter attack, stepping right into the feed from his teammate Deshorn Brown to level the score.

Substitutions in the middle of the second half began to slow the game down, but against the run of play, the 20-year-old McInerney scored the game-winning goal in the 79th minute, finishing low into the far post. The architect of the score was the substitute Antoine Hoppenot, who rode through two challenges before releasing McInerney on goal.

With the loss, the Rapids drop to 0-2 on the season, while the Union improve to 1-1.

Here are the match highlights:


What did you think of the match?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Say what you will about Jack, but he has a nose for goal. He may not have the fastest legs or the best moves one-on-one, but he knows when and where to make runs and calls for the ball. He wants the ball and wants to finish. That is what this Union team needs. Last year, no one wanted to shoot, let’s hope this continues.

    Side note: the run up to the Colorado goal was awful. It’s typical Philadelphia Union. There were two lone forwards in Colorado’s third, with the rest of the team back. The Rapids counter on a bad possession and come right down and score. Union need some sort of midfield player(s) who can hold possession. It’s ridiculous how lopsided the possession percentage was yesterday.

  2. Kudos to Okugo (that’s going to be the name of my next band) for taking advantage of a free header, but what in the world was going through Pickens mind at the time? You want to talk ‘out of position’, the pic above says it all.

  3. Around 5:20, Gaddis has control of the ball and 4-5 feet on his defender and he yet tries to pass through the defender in an area of the field where we are not threatening. This is just one example of lots of aweful decision making. Hack will continue to play him and guys like Cruz because they try hard, despite have very little soccer sense.

  4. McInerney: he recognizes the space, holds his run, and simply has too much pace for Moor when he gets in. Nice finish as well. Watched him 5-6 times last season, and I was always impressed with the way he sees gaps in the backline – wish more Americans played with that sort of intelligence. He needs to do this 15 times this season and get himself a look in the national team.

    • Attendance was 15k (tickets sold). It was a beautiful day, 60 degrees in the sun. Absolutely perfect for soccer. The previous day’s forecast blizzard didn’t quite happen, but it would have been 33 degrees, no sun, and strong winds, wind chill.

  5. Feeder for Smith’s goal came from Brown, not Harris.

    The game picked up after Smith came in. Powers is a good replacement for Larentowicz in a straight a box-to-box role but he’s no linking mid. We had possession but the ball was constantly stymied at mid with no service into the attacking third.

    Otherwise, defensive problems of last year are carrying over. Used to be covered by our keepers, but unfortunately they seem to be totally checked out these last two games. Starting to wonder if we’ll see Irwin get a start next week at this rate…

  6. I think if you can only muster a lone goal every other game, you probably shouldn’t expect to come out with many results (no matter how much possession time you rack up).

    • Exactly. There is no one up top who has that little bit extra to score goals. Also the possession was nice but the final ball was consistently bad today. It’s a work in progress, and I suppose some positives can be taken from the game.

  7. I feel bad for these 2 teams, denver is such a a big market for soccer and the rapids owner is perfect for them but its so sad that he doesn’t care about the rapids. The only way rapids would Get more fans is if they put an actual roof cover all around to cover the fans and of course some real dps. As for philly, put some money into that team. Another thing, MLS parity actually does not help the league, because sucky owners will not help the league and those owners live from the parity. in other words this parity of the league, is not good because owners will waste money, since the all teams are at the same level.

    • A roof is not what is needed in colorado! Our stadium already is already partially covered and there are hundreds of other things that i wish kronke would do first.. That said things are looking up here.

  8. For the Rapids, lots of possession with no end product, defensive lapses that give up goals against the run of play, red jerseys with white sleeves, little money spent on players of real quality, Arsenal highlights shown on the Jumbotron during halftime…sounds about right for a Kroenke owned team. I’ll make up an “Arsenal Junior” sign to bring with me into the supporter’s section going forward. Hope they start to turn it around.

    • We just need some finishers! Brown is playing like a rookie and Harris was useless. Once Rivero, Buddle and Castrillon return we should see some goals

      Ya that Arsenal plug was lame, at first i was hoping they would show highlights from this morning’s epl games but then i remembered that kronke owned the team

    • I watched a first half stretch and it was my opinion Colorado stunk. They were having defensive lapses but their midfield was also a turnover machine.


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