CHESTER, PA – On a night that started off with a here we go again feel, the Philadelphia Union (3-7-6) bounced back to earn a 3-3 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps (5-2-6) striking three consecutive goals after being down 2 in the first half.
Philadelphia’s Conor Casey had his second game in a row with two goals and is becoming a target of choice for fellow players. There are some people who luck themselves into the right place, but Casey wills it. As one of the older players on the pitch, Casey seems to continuously out hustle and out muscle his opponents providing a consistent outlet for midfielders on a run.
Sebastian Le Toux also netted a goal marking his fourth of the season. Casey righteously advanced the ball to midfielder Christian Maidana who, playing with his head up, was able to thread a diagonal run from Vincent Nogueira. Nogs outplayed his defender and was able to slot a ball across Vancouver’s 18-yard-box to the onrushing Le Toux who decided the ball belonged in the back of the net. The pop from the fans was just as incredible as the play. As my friend John Whitesall once wrote, you could feel that perfect moment when all of the energy built up and there was that lovely split second of silence as the ball settled into the net. That moment just before the crowd erupted was sheer magic.
The full effort of the team was felt this night. Vancouver, after going up early, pulled back their players to increase their defense. The Union made them pay the price for trying to go home with that 2-0 win. Though Philadelphia couldn’t net three points from the victory, the draw was a strong point with the comeback and Vancouver now unbeaten in its last seven matches.
There were chances throughout the night and one might argue, as Manager John Hackworth mentioned, that the game could have easily been 4-2. Maurice Edu blasted a beautiful shot just over the crossbar at one point and Union Keeper Zach MacMath guessed correctly nearly saving his fourth penalty kick of the season but the ball just squeaked past.
The Union head into a two week break with a lot of positives to build from. “I know the guys we have in our locker room,” Casey said. “I know that things haven’t gone well this year, but we’ve had some games that we’ve played really well. There have been games where we’ve played really bad. Today, first half wasn’t good, but second half was really good. Everyone still bleeds. We have a lot of time left. Although we didn’t win today, it’s been two games now that we’ve gotten really good results. Vancouver’s a good team. We get a little break now and we come back and attack the second half of the season.”
The Union will return to MLS action on June 28th on the road to face New England at 7:30 PM. The Union do kick off 2014 U.S. Open Cup play on June 17 when it hosts developmental affiliate Harrisburg City Islanders.
Phaithful look forward to a return with sound building blocks in place. Like any good Philadelphia team, being the underdog is just part of the fun.