Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth knew two things for sure going into Saturday’s game in Columbus.
One, the Union had never won or tied at Crew Stadium. Two, this Crew team was very good.
So even though Philly lost a 1-0 lead by allowing a late equalizer, Hackworth was relatively pleased to leave town with a point in his pocket following a 1-1 draw.
“Of all the teams I’ve seen, I think they’re one of the best teams in the league right now,” Hackworth said. “So to come into this stadium where we’ve never gotten a point and to do it against one of the best teams in the league, you’ve got to walk away thinking, ‘OK, this is a good result.’”
For much of Saturday’s game, the Union didn’t look like a team that’s winless in three all-time meetings at Crew Stadium. Philadelphia's offense was sharp, putting five shots on target, outshooting the hosts 15-10, and taking a 1-0 lead on a classy first-half finish from Jack McInerney.
But not bagging a second goal would came back to haunt them as the momentum shifted in the second half and Columbus had the Union back on their heels.
“It was one of those crazy games,” Hackworth said. “I thought we were the much better team in the first half and should have had multiple goals. We just kept on missing opportunities. Then in the second half, they were really good and the tide turned a little bit on us.”
After the Crew tied it up on a Dominic Oduro strike in the 72nd minute, the Union put some late pressure on the hosts in an attempt to grab their first win at Crew Stadium. The visitors came closest to doing just that when Antoine Hoppenot took a shot that was denied by the crossbar in the 79th minute.
The draw may not have ended the Union's winless run at Crew Stadium and it was the fifth time this season that Philadelphia failed to score more than one goal in a game, but Hackworth remained positive about his team's effort nonetheless.
“Of course we walked a way feeling frustrated a little bit, but at the same time I have to keep it in perspective,” Hackworth said. “They are such a good team and they played a really good game in the second half. I thought my team did a good job trying to negate what they’re doing. But, in the end, they got a great goal and we walk out of here with a point.”