McInerney scores in 90th minute to down N.E.
CHESTER, Pa. -- Once again, the Union made it clear to the New England Revolution that no lead is safe for them at PPL Park.
With a pair of second half goals, including a 90th-minute header from Jack McInerney, the Union recovered from yet another deficit to defeat the Revolution, 2-1, Sunday night at PPL Park.
“What a result for us,” Union coach John Hackworth said. “These guys continue to dig deep and surprise me. In a game where I thought both teams had chances, to get a result like that was fantastic.”
It was the second dramatic result in as many games against the Revs at PPL Park, as the Union came back from a three-goal hole against the New England in 2011, tying that game, 4-4. And although there seems to be a method to the Union’s come-from-behind madness against this particular opponent, Union back Sheanon Williams thinks it was simply the wrong time and place for the Revolution.
“I think, more than anything, we’re confident at home," Williams said. "We know that we need to get all the points we can at home. This is huge for us coming down the stretch, they just happened to be the team up next. It just happened to be New England.”
It was the Union's fourth straight win at home and pushed their record to 4-1 in their last five games overall. The team's overall record advances to 7-10-3, tying the Revolution for eighth-place in the Eastern Conference standings. It was also the second home game in a row that the Union scored in the 90th minute to win a game, after taking down the Montreal Impact, 2-1.
“We have to win every game at home and get some points on the road if we want to be in the playoffs,” McInerney said. “If we can keep the run going and keep getting three points, we’ll be right there.”
Poking away at the Revs back line with time running out, Union defender Sheanon Williams carried the ball to the right of the box. With a strong curling right-footed cross, Williams found McInerney on the opposite side of the goal, where the young striker headed the ball down and in for the game-winner.
“It got wide to Sheanon,” he said about his fourth of the season. “All week we talked about getting people in the box and making runs. He played a great ball and I just got up and headed it down like you’re supposed to.”
Putting an exclamation point on the late score, McInerney celebrated with a Lambeau Leap into the Riverend, where he was swallowed up by the Sons of Ben.
“It just kind of happened,” McInerney said with a smile. “I remember [former Union players] Andrew Jacobson and Nick Zimmerman doing it, so I just did it in the moment.”
His goal capped off a comeback started earlier in the half. After floundering offensively for most of the contest, the Union’s hard work paid off in the form of a referee’s decision in the 58th minute. Trailing by one and making a run into the Revolution box, McInerney was clipped from behind by trailing defender Kevin Alston.
“Gabe [Farfan] got the ball and there was some space and time so he played a little through-ball,” McInerney said. “I don’t know if it was right back or center back but he clipped by heel and I went down.”
What appeared to be a foul just inches outside the box was deemed to be a penalty kick, one Freddy Adu drilled past goaltender Matt Reis to lock the contest at one in the 59th minute.
“[Gabriel Gomez] wanted to take it but I talked to him,” Adu said. “I told him I wanted to take it, I’m confident. I had taken the ones before when he wasn’t around because he was injured. I felt good so I stepped up and took it.
It was the 10th penalty kick goal in as many tries for the Union, who have yet to miss one in franchise history. It was also Adu’s third goal of the season.
The Union comeback was necessary, as the match was all Revolution in early going. With communication errors slowing the Union early, the Revs took advantage and opened the scoring in the 12th minute off a rip from Saer Sene.
Inexcusably allowing the Revs’ leading scorer open space outside the box, Sene fired off a left-footed laser that fooled Zac MacMath, who dove to his right as the ball zipped by him to his left for the 1-0 visitor lead. It was Sene’s ninth of the season.
“I can’t fault Zac on that at all,” said Hackworth. “The ball went left five yards, back right and then dropped. It’s just one of those that you hit and it’s unbelievable. There’s a reason knuckleballers are successful in pitching because that one was moving all over the place.”
Scoring nine goals in their last three home games, but coming off a shutout loss to the New York Red Bulls, the Union decided to change their formula by starting striker Antoine Hoppenot, the team’s typical second-half super sub, for Lionard Pajoy. It was Hoppenot’s first start of the season.
The new plan wouldn’t pay off. Working to spring the rookie on long balls and various runs into the Revolution’s box, Hoppenot, who was successful in drawing fouls, had his chances, but was unable to find the finishing touch. Neither he nor the Union free-kickers could find the net in the opening half.
“We had to do a better job possessing the ball and had to do it in their half,” said Hackworth. “We got away from our game in the first half, dumping far too many balls and playing much too direct, which is not the way we play and not the way we train.”
But to play that way in the first half and still come away with the win, says something about the Union.
“It’s a confidence-builder and shows the character of our team,” said McInerney. “We want to be in the playoffs and we’re not going to give up until the end.”Roster note
Union defender Chris Albright did not make the active roster, but that didn’t keep the hometown veteran from getting on the bench. Listed as a “Team Administrator,” the Union were able to keep Albright on the bench in an advisory role without using a roster spot.E-mail Ryan Bright at RyanBright13@gmail.com