When you play 45 minutes of solid soccer, that usually means the opposition will make some adjustments at halftime.
That's exactly what happened to the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night at San Jose. After coming out bright and composed in the first half at Buck Shaw Stadium, Peter Nowak's men were thwarted by the Earthquakes in the second half and fell 1-0.
"That was our whole point – to go out there and not give them anything at all,” said defender Michael Orozco Fiscal of the Union's effort from the opening whistle. “We contained them the first half and we had to keep doing that during the whole game. They had one opportunity to score and they put it away."
That opportunity came midway through the second half by way of Chris Wondolowski’s ninth goal of the season – a lovely placed header in an area where he was given way too much space to operate.
"If we would have been a little bit more focused, I think we could have cleared the ball and keep it 0-0 in the back,” Union defender Orozco Fiscal said of the untimely goal. “That would have been great for us and keep attacking, but things didn't go that way. A little second of miscommunication and they score."
The goal was due in large part to the altered tactics installed at the break by Quakes head coach Frank Yallop. One of his counterparts, Union assistant John Hackworth thought despite the changes, his team were competent and could have got more from the match when it was all said and done.
"It was a little different but we still really didn't give up any true opportunities,” said Hackworth after the match. “We weren't getting penetrated, they weren't playing through us, we were aware of where [San Jose forward] Geovanni was at all times and felt that we did a good job on him. We at least had a chance and we didn't give that up.”
Philadelphia have a long 10-day break before their next match against Chivas USA, one that will require a complete effort if they want to take anything from the match and effectively keep their slim playoff hopes alive.