For the second straight week, the Revolution found themselves in the midst of a match where the difference came down to a mental mistake. But unlike their 1-0 win in Chicago, the Revolution left PPL Park empty handed on Saturday.
Despite a promising start that saw Jerry Bengtson press ahead and create opportunities, all it took was a momentary defensive lapse for Philadelphia’s Jack McInerney to punch through the game-winner and send the guests to a 1-0 loss.
“I mean, that’s pretty much how soccer goes,” Revolution center back A.J. Soares told the media following the match. “One play is usually the difference; sometimes it's two plays. We had the chance that it could have been our night.”
The statistics show that Philadelphia got the better of the chances on the whole, as the hosts claimed the advantage on possession (56.4 percent), open play crosses (21 to New England’s eight) and shots on frame (four to New England’s two). Granted, it didn’t look all that pretty on a rainy and windswept early evening in Chester, Pa., but it was enough to force the Revs into a corner in the latter stages.
With the final 15 minutes approaching, the Revs endured a series of Union advances, searching for a way to escape unscathed. Taking into account the conditions, the loss of Clyde Simms for the second half, and the absences of Matt Reis and Kalifa Cisse, a scoreless draw on the road would’ve felt almost as good as a win.
But before they could entertain that possibility, Sebastien LeToux launched a perfect corner kick on the doorstep of an unmarked Jack McInerney. His initial shot was saved by Bobby Shuttleworth, but McInerney followed up his rebound and buried it in the 76th minute.
"I think they were playing zone and they didn't mark me on either corner kick,” McInerney told the media after the match. “(Sebastien) played a great ball in, I hit the header, (goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth) made a good save, but it came right back to me."
Scoring against New England was nothing new to McInerney. In fact, Saturday’s game-winner marked the third time in the last four Union-Revolution contests that he claimed the deciding goal.
“I don’t know what it is with (the Revolution), but I know I get in good spots against them,” said McInerney. “They sit high up (on defense) and I like it because I can get balls played back in behind them in the box that amount to good goals.”
Of course, scoring from the set piece is exactly how the Revolution claimed victory against the Fire a week prior to the Union game. Like McInerney, Bengtson scored right in front of goal after the Chicago defense allowed him to sneak through on a Kelyn Rowe chip.
All it takes is one chance. A single moment when a game can quickly tilt one team’s favor. And on Saturday, the Revolution watched it fall in favor of the Union.
“You know, set pieces determine the game a lot of times and you got to get in the black on those,” Soares said. “We gave up one and didn’t score any, so that’s how the game goes.”