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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Sunday, August 19, 2012


(Associated Press)
WASHINGTONFreddy Adu said something to me tonight that was poignant and spot-on, while also self-critical. Didn’t see it coming, to be honest.

“We’re not going to get a lot of chances on the road. We got them and we didn’t put them away,” Adu said, following the Union’s 1-1 draw at D.C. United. “I thought we did enough to get a second goal, and we didn’t get it done.

“At the end of the day, we were able to hold on and hold on, but we took our foot off the pedal.”

That sentiment is something he said way back in March, after a season-opening loss at Portland. Back then, he referred to it as a reluctance to “pull the trigger.” Sunday night, it was a pedal reference. It’s the same thing, only separated by five months.

The Union are in a holding pattern. Every time they inch closer to relevance in the MLS Cup Playoff picture, they suffer a setback – or, in this case, a series of them – in stumbling to a three-match winless streak. With 12 matches to go, the Union are all but out of it. Returning to the postseason for a second straight year seems distant, with the team requiring about seven wins in the final dozen times out to get it done. Doesn’t seem likely, does it?

Adu was critical of himself when speaking of the Union’s inability to get a second goal. (For more on that, pick up Monday’s edition of the Daily Times. I devoted an entire column to it.) Union manager John Hackworth said it, too, but he didn’t call out any player in particular.

“I think we should have scored two, all right?” Hackworth said. “We’ll talk about execution, but we did what we needed to do in a hostile environment.”

There were a few too many shoves to count, and too many red cards issued to call this one a clean game. But the Union surrendered more than one chance at a second goal. They should have had it. Could have had it. And taking down a team like D.C., which – as Ben Olsen said – is still clawing for a spt in the playoff race would have done wonders for the Union.

Instead, they are where they are – and that’s outside the playoff picture.

A couple notes from the match:
  • Rave reviews for former teammate Lio Pajoy were plentiful, as the Colombian striker – traded Thursday from the Union to United – made his D.C. debut against his old side. Union captain Carlos Valdes didn’t like having to mark Pajoy. “He is (freaking) fast,” Valdes said. (I omitted a certain seven-letter expletive in there.)
  • When things got chippy, and D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid left his box to break up a fight, Union keeper Zac MacMath said the thought crossed his mind. “It’s something I want to do, but obviously MLS doesn’t like goalkeepers coming out of the box. I got a yellow card earlier in the year for that, so I just have to restrain myself.
  • D.C. coach Ben Olsen gave the quote of the night … after he left the podium. On his way out of the press room, after eight solid minutes of ranting against referee Mark Geiger, Olsen let this gem fly: “Drop some money off for my fine.”
That's it. Final dispatch from D.C. See you all in Philly, with Hackworth's Wednesday presser and the Union's match Friday night.

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