Revolution 0, Union 1: McInerney Goal The Difference As 10-Man New England Falls Short
Despite creating several chances, sloppy play from the New England Revolution lead to a Jack McInerney goal for the Philadelphia Union, and that tally held up en route to a 1-0 loss. Benny Feilhaber was sent off in the 88th minute, leaving the Revs to finish the match with 10 men.
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In what could only be described as the stereotypical hard-fought battle between Eastern Conference rivals, the Philadelphia Union edged the New England Revolution 1-0 through a late Jack McInerney winner.
The New England Revolution have passed 70 minutes against the Philadelphia Union and still neither team has found the breakthrough. The match has bogged down considerably compared to the glut of chances on both sides in the first half.
The half started off without much aplomb until the 61st minute, when both sides made substitutions. A.J. Soares, who appeared to be dealing with a leg injury with which he was unable to continue, was replaced by Fernando Cardenas, while Antoine Hoppenot replaced Amobi Okugo in a clear attacking adjustment from the Union.
Cardenas then had two very good chances for the Revs. First, he fired off a quick shot from distance that was saved by MacMath in the 67th minute. Then, in the 70th minute, he ended up clear on goal by himself after a mistake in the Union defense. However, instead of rounding the keeper or having a shot, Cardenas got cute and tried to fool MacMath with stepovers. Instead, he wasted the chance and played it out to Bengtson, who couldn't get a shot off.
The New England Revolution have not turned in a particularly attractive or effective half of soccer tonight at PPL Park, but regardless, they had two golden chances to steal a lead in the second part of the first half that were left wanting. The Philadelphia Union, meanwhile, have been dominant, but in terms of clear chances their production has waned from earlier in the half.
The Revs had perhaps the night's best chance when Diego Fagundez nicked the ball off of a Union defender at the top of the box, playing in Jerry Bengtson. The Honduran, a hot hand for his national team, rounded Zac MacMath, and then somehow missed an empty net and clanged the ball off the base of the left post.
Brian Carroll put a shot on target for the Union in the 39th minute that Bobby Shuttleworth saved easily, but that turned to be just about all that the Union had to show for their pressure. Despite hogging possession and getting good looks from crosses near the box, Shuttleworth was rarely troubled.
At the other end, Alec Purdie nearly had a dream come true in his first start as a ball over the top found him streaking in on goal. One great touch got him past his defender, but instead of taking another touch and ripping a shot on frame, he tried to take it quickly and instead pushed a dribbling low shot that MacMath smothered easily.
Twenty-five minutes into the New England Revolution's match against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night it has already become clear which team is the stronger and most comfortable. The Union have put tremendous pressure on the Revolution back line, and thought he scores remain locked at 0-0, the Union have had the majority of the chances and are unlucky not to be leading.
The best chance of the half probably came in the 11th minute, when a ball out of midfield intended for Keon Daniel was instead dummied to Jack McInerney, who found himself in alone on goal. McInerney dribbled in but pulled his shot wide when he really should have at least tested Bobby Shuttleworth.
The 15th minute also saw a zany end-to-end sequence where McInerney, who really proved a nuisance throughout the opening minutes, nearly beat Shuttleworth to the ball in the box. It was cleared, and then Jerry Bengtson attacked right at the other end, but was unable to get a shot off before the ball was cleared, and again there was an open attack on the other end as Daniel danced along the byline and crossed, but it was finally smothered by Shuttleworth. Jay Heaps was up in arms at the play, as several players from both sides were crumpled on the ground for most of the sequence.
Alec Purdie appears to be having difficulty adjusting to the speed of the game, while Ryan Guy has performed reasonably well at right back, though his discomfort at the position shows. Jerry Bengtson has made himself an annoyance by chasing down every possession in the Union defense, but as yet nothing has come of it.
With a laundry list of injuries to deal with, Jay Heaps has made two particularly interesting moves with his lineup as the New England Revolution get set to take on the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night in Chester, PA. One move highlights a particular player's versatility, and the other grants a player the first MLS start of his young career.
Alec Purdie has been given the nod in midfield, likely to start on the left opposite Kelyn Rowe. Purdie, a rookie, has made several MLS appearances already, but hasn't started. His last league action came on April 28th against New York, but the Indiana native has also struggled with injuries throughout the middle of the season.
On the other hand, with only three healthy defenders, Heaps has pushed Ryan Guy into the right-back position and moved Darrius Barnes into the center to cover for the missing Stephen McCarthy. Guy has some experience at right-back for both the senior team and the reserves, but the consensus is that it is far from his best or most comfortable position.
The New England Revolution are headed to Chester, PA to take on the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night. Neither team has a chance at the playoffs, but there's plenty of pride on the line as the Revs have never beaten the Union since Philly entered the league.