Sunday, April 06, 2014

MacMath douses late Fire, earns point for Union

Bridgeview, IL – The Philadelphia Union earned a 2-2 draw on the road Saturday afternoon at Toyota Park on goals from Leo Fernandes and Maurice Edu.

Goalkeeper Zac MacMath was the real hero, however, preserving a point with a stoppage-time penalty kick save on 2013 MLS MVP Mike Magee after Juan Luis Anangono scored in the 86th minute for the home side to level the score at two.

“As a coach these kinds of games are really hard to participate in,” said Union manager John Hackworth, postgame. “Clearly Chicago threw everything they could to get back into this game and full credit to them, but I am not pleased with our team at all and the way we dealt with that.”

After Chicago’s Mike Magee opened the scoring in the 16th minute, Union midfielder Maurice Edu would strike in 32nd, when he thumped a low drive to the far post past Sean Johnson. Seven minutes later, Leo Fernandes would notch his second of the season with an in-swinging free kick. It marked the first time in 14 matches dating back to last season in which the Union scored more than a goal or fewer.

Though the Union created more opportunities throughout the match, the home side scored late to level and stole the full three points from the Union.

“Right now it’s a problem,” said defender Sheanon Williams, who returned to the field for the first time this season coming off nagging leg injury. “It’s something that we have addressed and will continue to address. But it comes down to guys buckling down at the end of matches and just not giving up a goal. That starts with the defense and moves forward. We are going to figure this out; we have to figure this out to get to where we want to be at the end of the season.”

MacMath said it was all about not getting swept up in the moment that ensured the Union would not leave Toyota Park empty handed.

“We scout all the PKs in the league and I had a good feeling that he was going to go low and to the right,” MacMath said. “Thankfully, I was able to get enough on it. [On the rebound], I just threw my body [at the ball] hoping that it would hit me before him. Thankfully, it did.”

The final stat sheet showed MacMath with five saves, none more important than the final.

“It was a difficult match, the field conditions were rough and Chicago played well, but I think it’s a game where we all know we deserved three points,” MacMath continued. “Obviously, we are fortunate to get away with a point, but we don’t feel fortunate because again in our eyes we came up short.”

The Union will have a week to prepare and figure out how to effective close out its second Western Conference opponent of the season when Real Salt Lake visits PPL Park next Saturday, April 12 (4 p.m.). That game will kick start a run of three in a week span as the Union face an April 16 showdown with bitter rival New York Red Bulls (7:30 p.m., The Comcast Network) followed by a return to PPL Park to host the Houston Dynamo (4 p.m.).

BOX SCORE

Philadelphia Union 2, Chicago Fire 2

Saturday, April 5; 5:00 p.m. ET

Toyota Park

Bridgeview, Illinois

SCORING SUMMARY

CHI: Magee 15’ (Amarikwa )

PHI: Edu 33’

PHI: Fernandes 39’

CHI: Anangono 86’ (Magee)

DISCIPLINARY SUMMARY

CHI: Duka 64’ (yellow)

PHI: Bone 86’ (yellow)

PHI: Edu 86’ (yellow)

CHI: Soumare 88’ (yellow)

UNION STARTING 11

MacMath, Fabinho (Williams 45’), Okugo, Wheeler, Gaddis, Carroll, Edu, Nogueira, Fernandes (Bone 78’), Casey (Hoppenot 87’), Le Toux.

FIRE STARTING 11

Johnson, Cochrane, Soumare, Hurtado, Palmer, Nyarko (Anangono 77’), Larentowicz, Watson (Monteiro 57’), Shipp (Duka 57’), Magee, Amarikwa.
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