CHESTER, Pa. – In the only regular-season meeting between the Philadelphia Union and Real Salt Lake, there weren’t many scoring chances – and there weren’t any goals.
The Union (7-12-4), who have now tied their past two matches, have still never beaten Real Salt Lake (13-10-4), who snapped a three-game league losing skid with the result.
The Union had a couple of chances to break the deadlock late – on Amobi Okugo's 90th-minute blocked shot and a final flurry in the box that was whistled back for a offside on Antoine Hoppenot – but in general failed to do much offensively.
HIGHLIGHTS: PHI 0, RSL 0
The game began sleepily too, with both sides looking to control the midfield. In fact, the only first-half shot on target came in the first minute, from RSL’s Alvaro Saborio, and it was easily scooped up by Union goalie Zac MacMath.
The Union, who started the game with Jack McInerney as the only true striker on the field, finally got going in the 42nd minute when playmaker Michael Farfan made a series of moves to set up newcomer Danny Cruz in the box. But Cruz’s good look on net sailed high, and both teams went into the locker room tied at 0-0.
The game got a little more physical in the 57th minute when Michal Farfan and RSL’s Chris Wingert were both shown yellow cards for a scuffle on the grass.
Real Salt Lake played without the injured Jamison Olave and Fabián Espíndola, who was left home to rest.
Philadelphia’s Freddy Adu did not get on the field for the Union until the 82nd minute. But the addition of Adu and Hoppenot, another second-half offensive sub, couldn’t help the hosts get on the scoreboard.
In the 81st minute the Union batted the ball around the box, which led to Brian Caroll being knocked down. But no whistle was blown, despite the Union players' penalty shouts.
In the 85th minute, MacMath scrambled to preserve the shutout by smothering a chance from RSL reserve Jonny Steele after the Northern Irishman had initially rounded the 'keeper.
The Union are back in action Wednesday with a midweek home game vs. Columbus, while Real Salt Lake return home to face another Eastern Conference foe in D.C. United next Saturday.
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at email@example.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Michael Farfan||Impressed with his ability to take players on and create threats, even if they were few and far between in a defensive showdown|
|2||Kyle Beckerman||Put in an uncompromising shift, preventing the Union from ever truly getting a rhythm going|
|3||Raymon Gaddis||Filled in superbly for Sheanon Williams, causing trouble with his speed while remaining defensively solid|