CHESTER, Pa. – After 60 minutes of play in Sunday’s Eastern Conference game between the New England Revolution and Philadelphia Union, both teams went to their bench.
The result was immediate as Bunbury had an assist on the game-tying goal in the 64th minute and then scored the game-winner in the 76th, while the Union were left to lament what went wrong as they blew a second-half lead for the third time this season.
“It’s a funny game,” Union captain Maurice Edu said. “I think the guys that came off the bench, they tried to create a spark, they tried to lift their teams. They got a goal off of their guys that came in. And ultimately, I just think that we came up short on the day. I don’t think we were as sharp as we know we can be.”
Curtin agreed with Edu’s assessment that the Union weren’t at their best in what was their third game in nine days.
But he was reluctant to accept that it was because of his substitutions, stating that he had planned all along to take Cristian Maidana and C.J. Sapong out after 60 minutes because both are still recovering from injuries.
And even though Carroll was brought on for Maidana – who scored Philly’s only goal on the day – specifically to lock down the 1-0 lead in a holding midfield role, Curtin shifted blame away from the MLS veteran.
“Brian Carroll had nothing to do with the goal,” Curtin said. “Ray [Gaddis] gets beat 1-on-1 in a spot where he never gets beat 1-on-1, and today he did. So to put that on [Carroll] is ridiculous. If you want to put it on me, that’s fine. But at the same time, I knew going into the game, I was subbing those two guys around the 60-minute mark with the thought [that we were playing] three games in nine days.”
On the Revs’ first goal, Gaddis was indeed burned by Bunbury, who then played a curling ball across the face of goal to set up Charlie Davies. And on the second goal, Bunbury made a strong run into the box to get to a cross before another Philly fullback – Sheanon Williams – and put New England ahead for good.
But when asked about the kind of impact Bunbury had on the game, Gaddis did nothing except blame himself.
“Just to be honest, I’ll take full responsibility for our loss today,” Gaddis said. “As a leader on our team, that wasn’t good enough for me on the day. … Take nothing away from Teal Bunbury. It was a great play. But you got to step up and play. Mostly, it’s on me.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at email@example.com.