Union offense stalls again in scoreless draw


Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Posted: 9:50 p.m.Updated: June 23, 12:25 a.m.

By Ryan Bright
CSNPhilly.com Contributor

CHESTER, Pa. -- Like a reoccurring nightmare in which the protagonist is running but cant gain ground, the Union offense, once again, got caught in suspended animation.

Despite dominating play and earning an overwhelming number of chances, the Union failed to break Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night at PPL Park and it resulted in a disappointing, 0-0 draw.

They didnt have a chance all game, we were on them for 90 minutes, said striker Jack McInerny, who logged 59 minutes. The ball just seemed like it was getting closer and closer to the goal but it just didnt go in. If I was them, Id be thrilled with the point.

Its frustrating to have another team come in here and tie us when they didnt even get a chance on goal.

It was the second consecutive home draw for the Union, who equally crushed Real Salt Lake on June 11, only to come away with the 1-1 tie. The Union, now 6-4-5, are winless in their last four games but remain one of three MLS teams undefeated at home with a 4-0-4 record.

Were trying to build on this and see where we can improve in the attacking third, said midfielder Amobi Okugo, who made his first appearance in the 66th minute since missing four games with a high-ankle sprain. Teams know that when were at home were a team to be reckoned with. We have to be able to adjust because were leaving precious points on the table.

Sporting KC is now undefeated in their last six games, going 2-0-4 during that span. Sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, Sporting KC has pushed their overall record to 3-6-5.

I think its a great result for us, said Sporting KC captain Davy Arnaud. This is a tough place to come in and play. I dont think theyve lost at home all year, so for us to keep our streak going of picking up points in the last six or seven games now, its huge.

For defender Danny Califf, the disappointing result did not come without positives.

It was a good team performance and we showed good work ethic, said Califf. We generated quite a few chances but to leave that many chances is frustrating. Aside from rest, over the next few days were going to look to sharpen that end. Were just going to try and get some confidence going forward.

Imposing their will on Sporting KC throughout the contest, the Unions best chance came in the 72nd minute, when Sebastien Le Toux, playing in the midfield, sent a hard cross high over the box to an uncovered Carlos Ruiz on the far end of the crease. The Guatemalan striker headed the ball over a committed Jimmy Nielsen but off the crossbar, keeping the game scoreless. Five minutes later, with the field tilted, Justin Mapp nearly gave the Union a lead when he cut to the slot at the top of the box and sent a hard low shot that was fought off by the goalkeeper.

It felt the same way against Salt Lake, said Califf. We threw the kitchen sink at them tonight and couldnt get anything to stick. Its tough and I wish I had some answers.

But it wasnt just the second stanza that was owned by the home team. The Union loaded up on the offensive chances in the opening half, earning four shots on goal, 11 attempts and four corner chances. The work done in the offensive third was in similar fashion to how they dominated Real Salt Lake. However, like against Real Salt Lake, the numerous chances didnt translate onto the scoreboard.

The Union began rattling off shots in the fifth minute, when Ruiz launched one from the top of the box off a corner kick from Le Toux. The hard line drive fired into the chest of Jimmy Nielsen and kept out of the net. Ruiz received another opportunity in the 30th minute when he fired off another low shot that was curling toward the left post. Sheanon Williams and McInerney also recorded a shot on goal, but to no avail.

Its reminiscent of some of our past games where we play well but just cant find the back of the net, said Okugo. We cant get discouraged and have to keep pushing to get as many points and goals as possible.

Not helping the Unions attack was the absence of leading scorer Danny Mwanga, who didnt dress. He told the media that he was resting his right knee after being kicked. The injury is thought to be a contusion.

Serbian striker Veljko Paunovic played 65 minutes in his second match with the Union since being acquired. He registered two shots. ... The attendance at PPL Park was 18,127.The Union complete their two games in four days with a home match against Chivas USA on Saturday.

E-mail Ryan Bright at ryanbright13@gmail.com

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