September 04, 2016
For whatever reason, Toyota Park is the stuff of nightmares for the Philadelphia Union.
Jim Curtin's club stumbled to a three-nil defeat in Chicago on Saturday night, a reminder that anybody can beat anybody in this parity-driven, single entity league.
Philadelphia opened the scoring with a luckless own-goal, then missed on a couple of near-chances before the Fire eventually put the game out of reach.
“Tough night for us," Curtin said post-game. "A little strange at the start, we conceded an own goal but created a few chances in the beginning of the game. I thought (Chicago goalkeeper) Sean Johnson made a some really big saves. All the little half-chances we created just wasn’t enough on the night. We weren’t sharp enough, we’ll have to regroup quickly and get prepared for Montreal. Every point matters now down the stretch and we’re still in a good spot but we need to have a real good response after a disappointing performance.”
You'd have to go way back to July 19th, 2014, to find the last time that Philadelphia scored in Chicago. Curtin had just taken over for John Hackworth and the Union scraped a 1-1 draw on a 91st minute Sebastien Le Toux penalty.
You'd have to go back even further to find the last win in the Windy City. Jack McInerney was the goal scorer in a 1-0 victory on May 11th, 2013.
It's now been more than three years since Philly has won in Illinois.
“I think they executed their game plan," said right back Keegan Rosenberry. "I think for us it was an unlucky first goal. You know you look at the second goal for them, and thirty seconds before that we’re close to going one to one, and then they go two-zero. That’s the game a little bit for you. Credit to them, they were efficient with their chances. We weren’t at our best tonight.”
The Union played without Andre Blake and Alejandro Bedoya, who were missing through international duty. Chicago missed David Accam for the same reason.
Blake was covered for by John McCarthy and Tranquillo Barnetta slid back to the number eight role in Bedoya's absence. Ken Tribbett filled in for center back Josh Yaro, who missed the game due to the death of his mother.
”Andre and Alejandro certainly make us better, and Josh being absent, it hurts," Curtin said. "But we have a deep squad; everybody needs to step up in these moments and for the most part this year, we have, just a little bit of a let down tonight, we’re missing some guys, they’re missing some guys, they beat us on the night and they deserved the three points.”
The Union remain eight points above the playoff line with six games to play. That slate includes three straight road trips to Portland, Toronto, and New York Red Bulls.
“We have three at home, three on the road, no easy games left," Curtin added. "I don’t think there are any easy games; tonight is an example of that. The table, you can kind of throw it out the window at this stage because anybody can beat anybody in this league if you’re not ready to go. A difficult night for us; we had chances, we didn’t take them well and Chicago punished us.”