Union can’t beat the Colorado Rapids as they draw 1-1

The Philadelphia Union finished a three-game homestand with a draw against the Colorado Rapids. The boys in blue only managed two points in those three games.

Union starting XI: Blake; Wagner (Aaronson 83′), Trusty, Eliott, Gaddis; Medujanin, Bedoya; Santos (Picault 60′), Monteiro, Ilsinho (Fabian 67′); Przybylko

Colorado starting XI: Irwin; Wynne, Smith, Abubakar, Rosenberry; Acosta, Bassett (Vines 85′), Blomberg (Lewis 63′), Mezquida (Sema 72′); Shinyashiki, Rubio

Jim Curtin decided to mix it up a little for this midweek match, with Ilsinho and Sergio Santos getting the start over Brenden Aaronson and Fafa Picault. Along with the lineup changes, Curtin also made a formation change, switching from the diamond midfield to a 4-2-3-1.

Colorado, on the other hand, did go with the diamond midfield. Rapids top scorer Kai Kamara got some rest with Diego Rubio joined up top by Nicolas Mezquida. Union fans who wanted to see the retiring Tim Howard one more time were disappointed, as with Clint Irwin getting the start at GK for the Rapids, reportedly due to a hamstring issue for Howard.

The boys in blue had the better of the run of play in the initial part of the first, though they by no means dominated. They played well enough to get the match’s first goal in the 26th minute, with Sergio Santos getting his second goal of the season. Jamiro Monteiro won a 50/50 ball just outside the 18-yard box, and he poked it to an unmarked Santos who beat Irwin to give the Union the initial lead.

After the goal, the Union couldn’t take control. Both sides got their chances, but no one could finish, and the Union enjoyed a 1-0 halftime lead.

The Union came out stronger in the second half, and looked more and more dangerous as the half wore on. Despite many chances, they were unable to get past Irwin and the Colorado D. The Rapids finally made the Union pay for their lack of finishing when Jonathan Lewis scored off a beautiful cross from Andre Shinyashiki in the 72nd minute.

The goal ignited a fire under the Rapids who took control for the next 10 minutes. Curtin tried to inject more scoring power by replacing Kai Wagner with Aaronson, and the move almost worked as the Union came close to scoring a couple of times in the dying minutes of the match. There best shot came in the last minute, when Kacper Przybylko tried to nudge the ball over Irwin, but the Rapids GK was up to the task. Ultimately, they could not find the winner, and the boys in blue had to settle for a draw that felt a little bit like a loss.

Fortunately for the Union, DC United also tied in their midweek match (3-3 vs Chicago Fire), so the U stay in second place, one point below DCU.

This was a match they should have won. Colorado is in last place in the Western Conference, and they recently fired their coach. And the Rapids were without their top goal scorer. It was raining boos in Talen Energy Stadium as the final whistle blew. The Union can’t afford to keep failing to get wins at home. Montreal and Atlanta are breathing down their necks in the table. If they want to be in the playoffs, they gotta do better.

Final thoughts and notes:

  • The game was delayed by an hour due to thunderstorms passing through Chester. Fortunately, that was all for the bad weather this night. The pitch at TES hasn’t looked good all season, but the it seemed to drain pretty well after the torrential downpours.
  • Jamiro Monteiro is a straight up stud in the midfield
  • Raymon Gaddis took a couple of shots and they were both good ones. The second one was a rocket from distance.
  • The Colorado back line had a good night. Lalas Abubakar in particular stood out with some crucial shot blocking.

The Union will try to make up some of those lost home points when they travel to Minnesota on Sunday.

 

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