Union, Revolution tangle at PPL Park
Chester, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - After a promising start to the 2014 season, the Philadelphia Union will look to keep their positive momentum going when the club hosts the New England Revolution on Saturday at PPL Park.
Philadelphia was dealt a difficult task last week, opening the season in Portland against the prohibitive favorite to win the Western Conference.
Throw in the fact that the Union needed to integrate an entirely new midfield and a new central defender, and finding a way to get a result was always going to be difficult.
But the Union employed their new 4-3-3 midfield triangle and went toe-to-toe with Portland, controlling possession for large stretches of the match. New players Maurice Edu, Crisitan Maidana and Vincent Nogueira linked up well and played some dangerous attacking soccer.
After a scoreless first half, the Union broke through in the 64th minute when a corner kick from the left foot of Maidana was nodded on goal by Edu and finished by Jack McInerney.
Philadelphia looked to be headed for a first-ever victory over Portland, but the Timbers drew level in the final 30 seconds of play when a quick free kick by Will Johnson caught Philadelphia off guard and it was nodded home by a wide-open Gaston Fernandez.
"I thought it was a good performance by our team, I thought we started the game particularly well," said Union manager John Hackworth. "We played some really good soccer, we were organized, tough to break down -- to get the lead and to give one up in injury time is a tough way to lose out on a couple points, but Portland is a really good team and for us there is just a lot to build off of."
New England, meanwhile, heads to Philadelphia looking for its first win of the season after being embarrassed, 4-0, by the Houston Dynamo last week at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Revs fell behind against Houston after just 64 seconds thanks to Will Bruin, who finished a brace in the 12th minute. Bruin played provider in the 23rd minute, feeding Boniek for the Dynamo's third goal in less than 30 minutes.
The visitors created a few chances in the second half, but Omar Cummings finished the rout in stoppage time.
"It's a poor start. We gave away three goals before 30 minutes, it just was not good enough on all fronts," Revs head coach Jay Heaps said. "We have to gut it. There's going to be moments when we have to respond and be ready. Tonight, we were ready to go, had a great game plan and were well-prepared but the start was just flat."
New England will need to regroup quickly against a much-improved Philadelphia side that will want to perform well in its home-opener.
The Revs went 2-1-0 last season in three meetings against Philadelphia, which marked the first time New England had beaten Philadelphia in the Union's four- plus year history.
Since PPL Park opened in 2010, Philadelphia owns a 3-0-2 record against the Revolution, including a 1-0 win in the teams' only meeting in Philadelphia last campaign.
03/14 18:08:29 ET