After disappointing draw, Union ready for Chivas


Friday, June 24, 2011
Posted: 3 p.m.

By Ryan Bright Contributor

CHESTER, Pa.The Union walked off the field at PPL Park on Wednesday wondering what went wrong.

After controlling play for 90 minutes and directing a whopping 19 shots toward the Sporting Kansas City net, the home squad was forced into a disappointing scoreless draw. It was their third head-scratching result in as many tries. But instead of letting the frustration of two points lost and a hapless offense fester in the back of their minds, the players in the locker room and coach Peter Nowak all worked to stay positive and turn their attention immediately to Saturdays contest against Chivas USA at PPL Park.

I was very proud of the effort, said Nowak. I think like we pushed the game to the limit and still tried to find the right formula to score goals, but thats not the big issue right now. I think we held our own pretty good after a long weekend and were looking forward to another game around the corner on Saturday.

Looking forward to Saturday against Chivas is about the only thing the Union can do. Scoring just one goal in their last three games, Wednesday was the third consecutive time the Union pushed the pace with nothing to show for it. However, heading into their second game in four days, the Union will get the chance to turn things around.

Its a good thing, said Danny Califf about the quick turnaround. Its a good thing to get back on the horse and try to take this good performance into another good performance.

Although Chivas, who are 4-6-5, sit near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, possesses four players with three goals a piece in former Union striker Alejandro Moreno, Justin Braun, Marcos Mondaini and Nick LaBrocca. Yet that offensive output hasnt helped them lately as Chivas has one win in their last five games and are coming off back-to-back losses.

The team doesnt really matter at this point, Califf said. We just need to score some goals and keep doing what were doing on the defensive side.

According to Califf, the key to victory will be a fast start in order to shrug away the scoring doubt that has accumulated over the last few games for the Union.

The first half is going to be crucial, Califf said. If we can come out and put together the type of performance we did against Sporting KC, its not going to hurt us. We believe in everyone in here and weve shown we can get goals from a lot of places, its just a matter of time.

While the Union, 6-4-5, are winless in their last four games, they have racked up three ties during that span, two of which came at home. In fact, still undefeated at home with a 4-0-4 record, the Union plan on using PPL Park as a weapon against Chivas on Saturday.

Teams know that when were at home, were a team to be reckoned with, Amobi Okugo said.

Chivas is a whole new squad from last year. New coach and coaching staff with some veteran players. Were going to try to get the win and I expect us to play another good game.

Despite being held off the board, helping send a jolt through the offense was the return of striker Carlos Ruiz from Gold Cup service with Guatemala. After missing three games, Ruiz returned and was a steady force on offense. Playing with a potent group featuring Sebastien Le Toux, Jack McInerney, Veljko Paunovic and Justin Mapp, the Unions best chance to take the lead against Sporting KC came in the second half, when a Ruiz header from Le Toux tipped off the crossbar and stayed out of the net. It was one of many chances had by Ruiz and the offensive lineup.

We had a lot of attacking guys out there and I think at times it paid off, we had plenty of chances, said Mapp. We just couldnt find the back of the net. Here at home we want to put them under pressure and obviously play attacking soccer in front of our fans here. That was the plan.

With the offense still struggling and the Union playing their last home game until July 20, expect the same all-out assault against Chivas in an attempt to break the offensive curse and get back in the win column.

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