The Inside Doop: Late goal caps comeback win
CHESTER, Pa. – For the Philadelphia Union, wins don’t get any sweeter than this.
Trailing 1-0 at halftime, the Union rallied for two goals in the second half, capped by a 90th-minute header from Jack McInerney, to earn a dramatic 2-1 come-from-behind victory over the New England Revolution on Sunday at PPL Park (see story)
Let’s take a look at how they pulled it off in this week’s “Inside Doop.”Three thoughts from Sunday’s game
1. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: McInerney just knows how to score. With Sunday’s game creeping toward a tie, the 19-year-old striker found an opening at the back post and carefully headed home a perfectly placed cross from Sheanon Williams. McInerney, who also set up the first goal by drawing a penalty kick, has now scored four times in the last seven matches – usually by simply being in the right place at the right time. It would be a surprise if he doesn’t finish the season as the club’s leading scorer.
2. Much credit should be given to interim manager John Hackworth for making the necessary halftime adjustments after watching his team play an uninspired first half. Calling it unacceptable to be down 1-0 at the half, Hackworth switched to a three-man backline after the break, switching Williams from right back to left back and moving left back Gabriel Farfan into the midfield. The move certainly gave the offense a boost as they strung together more than twice as many passes as they did in the first half. And Williams, Amobi Okugo and captain Carlos Valdes held down the fort on the defensive end, making a few brilliant, goal-stopping tackles to keep the Revs off the scoreboard in the second half.
3. Many eyes were focused on Freddy Adu, who sat out the Union’s last game because of an undisclosed “team matter.” And while the talented midfielder/forward didn’t have one of his best games of the season, he did step up when it counted, burying the game-tying penalty kick in the second half. Afterwards, he and Hackworth reiterated that all is well and there’s nothing to worry about. It was certainly a positive development for Union fans.
Three questions for the upcoming week
1. One of the more surprising moves Hackworth made Sunday was giving Antoine Hoppenot his first career start, if only because Hoppenot had seemed like a perfect player to come off the bench because of his speed. The question now: will the rookie stay in the starting XI when the Union travel to Montreal next Saturday? And if so, where does that leave Lionard Pajoy, who Hoppenot replaced in the lineup, especially when talented striker Chandler Hoffman returns from injury?
2. Is this finally the week Bakary Soumaré plays? It’s been more than a month since the Union signed the imposing defender and Hackworth has made it seem like he’s close to returning from an injury. With a full week of training before Saturday’s trip to Montreal, this could be a good time for the defender’s debut – unless Hackworth thinks it's best to wait until the following week when the Union return home.
3. The Union have now won four straight games at home, which will certainly bode well for their playoff push. But they’ve had far less success on the road, going 2-6-1 away from PPL Park. (Interestingly enough, both of their wins came at the Home Depot Center in California). Can they figure out their road woes against the expansion Impact on Saturday? As far as away matches go, this one is certainly winnable – although, to their credit, the Impact do have an impressive 7-3-2 home mark this season.
Fact of the week: After Freddy Adu’s penalty kick goal, the Union are now 10 for 10 on PKs in franchise history. Former striker Sebastien Le Toux made the first seven during the club’s first two years of existence, while Lionard Pajoy, Gabriel Gomez and Adu have delivered the PK goals in league matches this season.
Quote of the week: “My heart’s going crazy. I might need a blood pressure test here in a second.” - Union manager John Hackworth, following Sunday’s win
Player of the week: While McInerney provided most of the offense, Valdes gets the nod for two goal-stopping plays – an 80th-minute tackle in the box and a clearance off the goal line in stoppage time.Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for CSNPhilly.com and MLSsoccer.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @DaveZeitlin.