CHESTER, Pa. -- It didn’t matter that Philadelphia Union’s young defenders took the field opposite some of the biggest stars in Major League Soccer.
They weren’t intimidated.
In fact, it was rookie right back Keegan Rosenberry who scored the dramatic game-tying goal -- the first of his MLS career -- to lift the Union to an exciting 2-2 draw Wednesday night at Talen Energy Stadium.
“The biggest thing is, we’re not going to be scared,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “This team is not scared of anyone.”
Rosenberry certainly took that to heart, not only scoring a huge goal in the 63rd minute to electrify the home crowd but also making a couple of huge defensive plays to keep the game level.
Still, echoing a sentiment that came from his coach and teammates, the rookie was not entirely satisfied with the result.
“To be honest, I think the way the game flowed and the way we performed, it feels like two lost [points] again, kind of similar to last week’s [2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on April 30],” Rosenberry said. “I think maybe that will be surprising to some people. But I think we generated a lot of chances. I thought we were the better team tonight.”
The Union certainly had the majority of the chances, firing 22 total shots -- and six on target -- while the Galaxy scored on their only two shots on goal.
They also carried most of the momentum after Rosenberry tied the game on a goal that Curtin chided was a “nice shot from distance” while walking into his postgame press conference. The shot actually came from right in front of the goal line during a post-corner kick scramble.
“It’s thrilling,” Rosenberry said. “Obviously there wasn’t too much into the finish but I mean, right place, right time.”
Second-year center back Richie Marquez admitted he was “just as excited as Keegan was” after seeing Rosenberry open his MLS account on such a big stage. And like Rosenberry and rookie center back Josh Yaro, he said he tried to push aside any nerves from playing against Giovani dos Santos, Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane and the rest of LA’s high-profile players.
“I think all of us knew how to approach this game -- to approach it like any other game and not give them too much fear,” Marquez told MLSsoccer.com. “After the game, it was like, ‘Oh wow, did I just play against Gerrard? That must’ve been pretty cool.’ But before the game, all of us had the mindset to just go out there and do our job.”
And even though they were disappointed not to get the full three points, they still believe they did that job well.
“It’s so valuable to get games like that,” Curtin said. “It’s a big-boy game. You look out there and that’s a game with a lot of men on the field, a lot of former champions on the field. It was fast, the tempo was high. There were good plays from us, there were good plays from them. I think both teams put a ton into the game.
“To walk away with a point each, it’s as exciting of a draw as you can have.”