With losses mounting, Philadelphia Union bemoan lack of finishing

CHESTER, Pa. – Philadelphia Union striker Andrew Wenger sat down in front of his locker on Saturday, looked over to center back Amobi Okugo, and apologized.

His message: The Union’s offense needs to do better for the team’s defense.

“It’s frustrating because we’re defending well,” Wenger told MLSsoccer.com after the Union’s 1-0 loss to D.C. United. “They had one chance all game until we started pushing at the end. One chance. And we can’t score goals. You should be able in this league to score two goals a game and win every game. It’s the honest truth. And we haven’t scored in – I don’t even know.”

While the team has certainly had some defensive issues this season, Philly’s lack of scoring has indeed been the clear problem in recent weeks.

In their past five games, the Union have scored just twice – on an own goal and a penalty kick. The last time a Union player scored from the run of play was a month ago – in a 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake on April 12.

“I’m frustrated,” Wenger said. “The rest of us are frustrated. You can say we have new guys or that we’re getting unlucky, but at some point – I don’t know, I’m just frustrated right now.”

It’s easy to see why Wenger’s frustration is mounting. Early in the second half of Saturday’s loss, the forward made a terrific turn in the box to get a clean look on D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid (video above).

But Hamid saved Wenger’s shot and then made another save on Conor Casey's rebound attempt before the D.C. defense desperately cleared away two more follow-up attempts from Danny Cruz and Cristian Maidana.

It was a wild scrum in the box filled with scoring opportunities that left the Union players shaking their heads.

“We can’t get a break,” Cruz said. “It’s obviously rough. It’s been a rough year. We had three guys, including myself, have a chance to get it and it just didn’t cross the line. But there are guys laying their bodies out, giving everything they have. And we’re hoping it kind of gets going here soon.”

The Union may soon get some help to get their offense going. Asked after the game if the Union will need to look for a new striker, manager John Hackworth answered that “it certainly looks that way.”

“The problem isn’t getting into the box,” Hackworth said. “But being a team that’s dangerous in front of goal is definitely a problem right now.”

Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at djzeitlin@gmail.com.

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