It was a win of epic proportions for the Philadelphia Union.
Down a goal, but up a man, the Union scratched their way back into their match against the New England Revolution on Saturday night and managed to come away with a vital 2-1 stoppage-time victory, their second on the road this season.
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Union assistant coach John Hackworth thought it took his team took a while to break down the 10-man Revolution, but a much improved effort in the second half really put the pressure on the home side.
“Yeah, definitely longer [to wear down New England] than we thought,” said Hackworth on Philadelphia's 6-ABC TV after the match. “I think our sustained pressure really wore them out over the course of the second 45 minutes. We managed to score two late goals, one to equalize and one go to ahead, so it was a good result for us tonight.”
Philadelphia have been hindered all season by mistakes and referring issues, but in this one, they finally got a call go their way when Cory Gibbs mistimed his tackle on Eduardo Coudet in the 41st minute, resulting in a straight red for the Revs defender.
Regardless of how the calls have gone this season, Hackworth is most concerned with the end product, and on Saturday, thanks in part to Gibbs, it was a good one for the Union.
“You can’t worry about that kind of stuff,” said Hackworth of the tough calls the team has endured. “Decisions are going to go against you, and we certainly feel like we’ve had our fair share of decisions go against us. I think we showed great character tonight in coming back and taking care of the things we can control and then getting the win.”
The game was decided in injury time as Justin Mapp was able to slot home the winner off of a quick Union break started by ‘keeper Chris Seitz.
According to Hackworth, the team had been working on the move in training the entire season, and it came off perfectly for them when it was most needed: with the game tied late with two massive points on the line.
“We’ve been working on that all year – for Seitz to recognize if he can play an early ball over the top and put us into space,” said Hackworth. “It just so happened that it worked out beautifully. We got a good break and Justin had a great finish and we got our three points tonight.”
The Union will welcome Mexican side Chivas de Guadalajara to PPL Park on Wednesday for their third international friendly of the season with the hopes of continuing the solid work put in on Saturday at Foxborough, Mass.