There are no bright spots for the Philadelphia Union right now.
Once snug and secure in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff pack, the Union took yet another frustrating, déjà vu-style 1-0 home loss to Houston on Saturday night. Combined with a Chicago win over New England, it meant that Philly officially dropped below the red line for the first time in months.
No wins since early August, no goals in three weeks, and if the season ended today, no playoffs.
“It has been a really bad stretch for us and this night is gonna be a really difficult to accept,” said head coach John Hackworth, who yet again saw his once-scalding forwards fluff numerous chances. “There is no question that the effort of the group was fantastic and their competitiveness showed right from the get go. They put a lot into this game and it is unfortunate that we are sitting here talking about this result but that’s sports and as I said it’s cruel sometimes.”
It didn’t look like it was going to be a cruel night at the start, as the Union were let off the hook early when Houston’s Cam Weaver pinged the woodwork when he should have scored. Philly took the momentum shortly after that, playing what Hackworth deemed “one of our best first halves” in terms of dictating play and moving the ball.
But it wasn’t to be. The Union front line matched Houston’s miss for miss, and when the Dynamo finally broke through with a goal off a restart, there would be no answer.
“No one is happy right now,” said winger Danny Cruz. “We are in a bad spot, we are in a tough spot—we know that. We know we have made mistakes, we know we have put ourselves in a really tough position. Obviously we came into the locker room and looked at the scores and we are in some trouble.”
If there’s any sort of silver lining, it’s that Philly now have two weeks off to get themselves in shape and prepared for the five-game run to the finish.
“Look ourselves in the mirror and just get back to work, five games anything can happen,” said Amobi Okugo. “I think we need at least three wins to even have a remote chance, so far this season other teams have been helping us out so hopefully they can keep doing that and we get some wins.”