August 4, 2012
CHANCES GO BEGGING
Union can't finish in Montreal
MONTREAL---If the Philadelphia Union are going to have a legitimate chance of making the playoffs, they are going to have to do a better job of finishing chances.
|The Union were plagued by poor finishing throughout Saturdayís 2-0 loss to Montreal, including Lionard Pajoyís shot off the post in the 20th minute.
Linda Cuttone /Sports Vue Images
"We got two great looks in the first half, but we didnít finish one of them," said Union interim Manager John Hackworth.
The Impact, winners of five straight at home, didn't get nearly as many looks, but finished two of the ones they did.
The Union, who came from behind to beat the Impact at PPL Park two weeks ago, found themselves in familiar territory heading into the locker room at half time, down 1-0 thanks to a 44th minute goal by Pennsylvania native Andrew Wenger.
Former Union midfielder Justin Mapp served a corner kick to Patrice Bernier, who was stationed about 24 yards out off the right corner of the penalty area. Bernier lofted a ball into the box for Wenger, who went up over the crowd and sent a header to the far post.
"That was a fantastic header by Wenger and thereís nothing a goalkeeper can do on that," said Hackworth. "We need to mark better on the first one as it played out."
Montreal took a two-goal lead in the 78th minute. Hassoun Camara played a ball from the right side of the area between three Union defenders. Felipe Martins went airborne to volley the ball into right side of the net, leaving Zac MacMath no chance to stop it.
"I didnít really know if I had a good chance on goal, but it ended up being a nice one," said Felipe about his goal, which Impact manager Jesse Marsch explained by laughingly saying "Heís Brazilian."
"We didnít execute in front of the goal," said Hackworth. "And when you donít do that, when you donít finish your chances... Thatís the most important part of the game. However, that being said, in the 68th minute of that game, we should be up a man."
Hackworth was referring to the double red cards that left both the Union and Impact playing with ten men. Antoine Hoppenot upended Montreal's Nelson Rivas in a challenge. Rivas got up, went over to Hoppenot and head-butted him. Jack McInerney charged into the fray and threw Rivas to the ground. Both Rivas and McInerney were red-carded by referee Ismail Elfath.
For the Union, however, the turning point in the game was the goal at the end of the first half.
"Giving up a goal before halftime, you donít want that when you are on the road," said Union midfielder Freddy Adu. "Then we had to go chase the game in the second half and thatís what we did. Eventually, they were going to get a second one because all they did was counter, counter and counter. And thatís kind of what happened.Ē
The Impact improved their record to 9-13-3, 30 points, leapfrogging Columbus into sixth place in the MLS East. While the Union (7-11-2, 23) have games in hand over most of the teams ahead of them in the conference, clawing their way into playoff position gets harder with each missed opportunity in the rapidly disappearing season.