Philadelphia Union coach Peter Nowak addresses his players on Saturday night at Toyota Park.
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Union's brief road success comes to an end

The confidence gained from their first road win in franchise history failed to last for the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, and even another late goal from Danny Mwanga couldn’t save the day.


“We were surprised from the minute the game started,” Union coach Peter Nowak said after the club’s 2-1 loss to the Chicago Fire. “The team that is supposed to play attractive soccer, attacking soccer at home played with 10 guys in the back, behind the ball … I believe that in our league this kind of stuff is not supposed to happen. But it’s a good lesson for all of us. We have to work on breaking teams down who just rely on single individuals, or maybe on one lucky shot.”

The Union topped the Houston Dynamo 3-2 on May 29 for their first-ever win away from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. But goals from Baggio Husidic and Marco Pappa proved too much this time for the Union, who struggled to recover after Husidic’s 14th-minute opening tally.

Mwanga scored during stoppage time for his third goal of the season, but it was too little too late in this one.

"In this game it was tough because we give up an early goal, certainly against the run of play, and now we have to take the game and figure out how to break them down," Union assistant coach John Hackworth said. "We didn’t do a great job of that tonight. Despite having the ball a huge amount of that game, we didn’t create enough true goal scoring opportunities and we didn’t finish the chances we had."

With a matchup against a struggling Kansas City Wizards team on deck June 10, the Union have to rebound quickly to ensure their latest road trip won’t be a negative one.

Following the Wizards, Nowak’s men have a substantial 17-day break for the World Cup. It’s one that captain Danny Califf said the team needs to analyze a season of mixed results thus far.

“I think we need to continue to do what we have been doing,” Califf said. “I think tonight it was a 2-1 result where we had a lot of good chances and we’re doing the right things. I think we need to continue to believe and believe the system the coaching staff has set out. Things will turn around. I’m confident in that. We’re a good team. We’re a much better team than we showed.”