Who cares if Union didn't play well? Coach John Hackworth happy with result in Toronto
CHESTER, Pa. – Considering the fact that the Philadelphia Union only mustered two shots on target despite being up a man for nearly 50 minutes of Saturday’s game against a struggling Toronto FC side, you might think that manager John Hackworth wouldn't be painting a particularly rosy picture about a 1-1 draw.
But that was not the case.
Despite admitting that his team didn’t play its best soccer, the Union manager chose to mostly praise Toronto FC’s style while expressing some satisfaction about escaping Canada with a point.
“To get one back and get a result here on a day like today, it’s good for us,” Hackworth said.
Here’s what mostly made the Philly manager happy: in the first half, while the squads were still at even strength, the Union didn’t buckle under heavy Toronto pressure. And he thought his team’s energy was good, even though they were playing their third game in eight days and needed to make a very early substitution because of an injury to starting central midfielder Kleberson.
“They came at us and we were going to have to weather the storm one way or another,” Hackworth said. “And we did. We dropped our line knowing they were going to come at us. They’re a team that has to get points right now. In the end, the fact that we made a sub so early in the game and we were still able to push is a credit to our fitness.”
After taking a man-advantage following Doneil Henry’s second yellow card late in the first half, Hackworth noted it was “really disappointing” to give up a Jonathan Osorio goal in the 66th minute.
Nevertheless, he still thought his team “did a good job early in the second half” dictating possession and credited his team’s resolve for “trying to fight back” in a tough road environment following Osorio’s go-ahead tally.
And, of course, there was nothing not to like about seeing star striker Jack McInerney bail the Union out with his league-leading 10th goal of the year in the 91st minute.
“He’s just got to wait for his opportunity and he certainly did that today,” Hackworth said. “He just continues to score and it’s fantastic.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.