McInerney Header Sinks New England…Again
Can we play you every week…
The 2012 season has not been one to remember for Philadelphia Union supporters. If you’re looking for a silver lining though, there is always the fact that you don’t support New England. In the three years of MLS soccer in Philadelphia the New England Revolution have never recorded a win against the Union. A keeper mistake and Jack McInerney header made sure that streak continued.
The theme of Saturday’s match up was teams moving in opposite directions. Both teams have already been eliminated from the playoff race, but the endings to their seasons will force much different approaches to their off-seasons.
The Union are a young team that have had very little going right on offense this season, but have won 3 of their last 4. There has been no consistent presence in front of the net, but Jack McInerney has now found the back of the net in 3 straight games. Even two of the most inconsistent performers for the Union, Gomez and Daniel, saw some of their best play come on Saturday.
The Revolution on the other hand made some high profile moves during the last year to try and turn around their season, but have only won 1 of their last 15 games. Jerry Bengtson was red hot in the Olympics and was expected to tear apart weak MLS defenses, but put an open net shot off the post on Saturday. Benny Feilhaber was brought in as a stabilizing, creative force to push the offense, but has been a magnet for yellow cards, especially against the Union.
The game was full of sloppy play, leaving neutral spectators little wonder why these two teams will be watching the playoffs from home. Bad man-marking and reading of through balls allowed for open chances at goal that were squandered by poor finishing.
Although the Union could claim control of the game for the majority of play, it was Bengtson’s missed open net that was the best chance of the game. Doing the hard part, Bengtson dribbled around MacMath and with nothing by grass between him and the 1-0 lead he hit it off the post.
As the second half wore on New England was forced into making a substitution for the injured A.J. Soares. Already playing with a patchwork back line the Union used the switch to gain even further control of the game. It wouldn’t be too much longer before McInerney would strike. A nice curling free kick was misjudged by New England keeper Shuttleworth and McInerney beat his marker to the header in what could have been an exact replica to his game winner earlier in the season, against none other than New England. This one apparently did not warrant a leap into the River End.
That wouldn’t be the only piece of deja vu for these two teams. Much like in the 2011 meeting between these teams Benny Feilhaber would assure himself the first shower of the evening. Already on a yellow card for a late kick at Antoine Hoppenot, Feilhaber would take another shot at the rookie well away from the play and be dismissed from the game. After each card the midfielder let Jorge Gonzalez have a piece of his mind. The late nature of both fouls and complete lack of respect for the game day official will all, but assure an extra suspension for Feilhaber. It is safe to say Jurgen Klinsmann will not be happy with what he has seen from the USMNT hopeful.
Even though MacMath held onto a clean sheet and Jack McInerney had another game winner, the two stand out performances came from Gabriel Gomez and Keon Daniel. At this point in the season there is nothing left to play for except for pride and 2013 roster spots. Both Daniel and Gomez have been in and out of the lineup recently and this type of performance will go a long way to keeping them on the roster for the new season.
The international break will give both teams some time to rest. New England will limp home to host Chicago while Philadelphia will go to Houston.