FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Philadelphia Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz stood outside the visiting locker room at Gillette Stadium with a weary look on his face.
“You’ve gotta finish,” he said, before slumping in the chair and saying the same thing again.
It certainly is a point worth repeating.
Despite dominating the possession game and getting off 18 attempts on goal, the Union could not find the back of the net in a scoreless draw with the New England Revolution on Saturday – a familiar theme in what’s been a season of aggravating misses.
WATCH: NE 0, PHI 0
“It was a frustrating night,” said Union manager John Hackworth. “Despite us having a lot of the ball and in possession we did what we needed to do, it wasn’t good enough in front of the goal tonight.”
The Union certainly did everything but score, especially in the first half when they thoroughly dominated the statistical battle. Before the break, the Union had 69.5 percent of the possession, strung together nearly 200 more passes than the Revs and limited the hosts to zero shots – on or off target.
But because they controlled the tempo so much, Hackworth felt like his team “took their foot off the gas in the little bit” in the attacking third, which led to a not-so-nice halftime chat.
“Let’s put it this way,” Hackworth said. “I was not happy with the guys in the locker room at halftime.”
Saturday’s game marked the ninth time this season the Union have been shut out, which is a franchise regular-season record. They’ve only scored three times in the past six games, with no attacker finding the net during that entire stretch.
“Tonight for me, too many guys were not anticipating and too many guys weren’t reacting when they had opportunities,” Hackworth said. “It has to be a collective effort with our team. We have to know that we have to put numbers in the box – in a way that when Michael Farfan turns the corner and dribbles into the box that we have guys that are at the back post and in the middle and at the front post. And when Amobi hits one off the crossbar, we have to be ready to pounce on it.
“We’re just a half-second slow right now.”
While most of the players shared Hackworth’s frustration and lamented the club’s lack of a killer instinct, winger Danny Cruz made sure to praise New England goalkeeper Matt Reis, who made a couple of big second-half saves to stop Antoine Hoppenot and Brian Carroll from point-blank range.
“This time, for me, the chances were good chances,” Cruz said. “We weren’t missing wide. We hit the target numerous times and Reis had a good game.
“But, at the end of the day, we’re not happy. If you came in here after the game, everyone’s heads were down. We want to win. We need to win.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.