Amid crazy finish, Hackworth praises Union's grit

Brian Carroll (right)

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WASHINGTON – Philadelphia Union interim manager John Hackworth was definitely upset about the craziness in the final few minutes of Sunday’s game against D.C. United.

He wasn’t upset about the result.

Shortly after a heated 1-1 draw between the Eastern Conference rivals, Hackworth defended his team, even though they let a one-goal lead slip away in the second half and made some critical errors down the stretch.

“You Philly guys are tough, you know that?” Hackworth said in the postgame press conference. “We just got a point on the road. We’re good. That’s a good result for us. I’m not disappointed.”

Part of the reason for that feeling stems from the fact that Dwayne De Rosario missed a penalty kick in the 87th minute – shortly after making one but getting it called back because teammate Hamdi Salihi went into the box too early.

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Had the initial kick counted, D.C. United would have gone ahead 2-1 – and likely would have walked away with a full three points.

“A point on the road in this league is really important,” Hackworth said. “And we haven’t had that. For us to get a point on the road, no matter all the craziness, it’s important for the team.”

Hackworth admitted the Union didn’t play their best in the second half. But he was pleased to see Brian Carroll score against his former team in the eighth minute and then everyone keep the pressure on until the halftime break.

“I’m kind of amazed we didn’t put a second one in the back of the net,” he said. “It would have been a much different story.”

As for what he called the “craziness” at the end of the game – in which there was a scuffle, two D.C. United players (Branko Boskovic and Emiliano Dudar) got red cards and Philly right back Sheanon Williams was shown a second yellow and the exit – that was a different story.

While D.C. United coach Ben Olsen said that kind of stuff is good for the rivalry, Hackworth was not impressed.

“My opinion is when two teams play each other, it should be about soccer,” Hackworth said. “It should be about good soccer in all ways. And I don’t think that was the last five minutes. Maybe that’s great for TV. Maybe it gets people all excited, but that wasn’t what the game was supposed to be about in my opinion.”

Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at djzeitlin@gmail.com.