That got out of hand fast: Union hit new low in 5-3 loss that wasn't that close (but Nogueira's goal was sick)

That got out of hand fast: Union hit new low in 5-3 loss that wasn't that close (but Nogueira's goal was sick)

[nbcsports_video src=http://player.theplatform.com/p/C_ZQDC/OBXnIiiPouAX/embed/select/NMuy1wkrhmUn?params=zone%3Dunion&autoPlay=true width=620 height=339]

Well, that "maybe they can turn this around" feeling was fun while it lasted.

Coming off Wednesday's shocking win at Sporting Kansas City, the Union carried some hope onto the field with them on a beautiful night Saturday at PPL Park.

The hope was gone pretty quickly.

The Union lost, 5-3, to the New England Revolution in a game that wasn't NEARLY that close. Despite facing the red-hot Revolution, it was, without question, as embarrassing a loss as the Union have had in their 4-plus years of existence.

Defender Sheanon Williams provided a quote after the match that was as tone-deaf as it gets for a player whose team just got embarrassed at home.

"“Let’s face it…everything they shot was a goal and it was just simply one of those nights.”

It was a lot more than just "one of those nights."

Without Maurice Edu (U.S. National Team), Brian Carroll (injury) and Fabinho (yellow card accumulation), the Union stuck with Amobi Okugo in the midfield and started Austin Berry and converted striker Aaron Wheeler at center back. Somehow, the two players who combine for 12-and-a-half feet of height got beat on an A.J. Soares header to give New England a 1-0 lead and then watched Diego Fagundez put the Revs up 2-0 in the 26th minute.

Ten minutes later, Vincent Nogueria -- who is easily the Union MVP this season -- created the highlight of the night for the Union with a goal that is easily a top-fiver all-time for the Union. The best part was his non-smiling, "I'm a boss, high five me if you are worthy, let's keep playing" celebration.

[nbcsports_video src=http://player.ooyala.com/iframe.js#pbid=4bfc225f82bf46c48dfb065eda97f74f&ec=BuZXB4bTpvuXBFqjjGLWJs2IIRZFqf6T width=620 height=349]

Things really got out of hand after that, as the Revolution went up 5-1 and John Hackworth stared his future in the face from a seat on the bench.

Fans in The River End resorted to the following in their loopy, beer-fueled stupor:

  • Singing Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"
  • Chanting "Ohhhh, Danny Mwanga," a player who hasn't been with the Union since 2012.
  • Calling for 18-year-old Zach Pfeffer to come off the bench (he eventually did once the game was out of hand).
  • Setting off what seemed like a season's worth of smoke bombs when Sebastien Le Toux converted a garbage time penalty kick.

According to reporters after the game, the locker room was quiet and somber, and the coaching staff and front office members -- who usually hang around, were nowhere to be found.

 

Whether that means John Hackworth has held court for his last press conference as Union manager, I don't know. But know that LOTS of fans left early, and there were many many boos raining down as the team left the field.

The Union play in Los Angeles twice over the next two weeks -- next Sunday at LA Galaxy and the following Saturday at Chivas USA. They play one more game at home before the World Cup break, June 7 against Vancouver.

Hackworth is not the only one to blame -- the players need to stand up and be counted -- but he will end up taking the fall for the most disappointing season in Union history. I would be SHOCKED if Hackworth steps on the field at PPL Park again for a match.

Complete highlights below:

[nbcsports_video src=http://player.ooyala.com/iframe.js#pbid=4bfc225f82bf46c48dfb065eda97f74f&ec=Ryd3B4bToWewAGwpjWoTDMejcw0sgWOP width=620 height=349]

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Being immersed in the team is important for Nerlens Noel, and so is continuing his rehab. 

While the Sixers are on the road for three days to play the Grizzlies and Pelicans, Noel will remain in Philadelphia to work out at the training complex in Camden, New Jersey. The team is not scheduled to practice in between games, so staying back allows Noel another day to get on the court.

“[I want him to] just start playing more and have a ball in his hands, get hit, physical, feel people, play one-on-one,” head coach Brett Brown said.

Noel has yet to play this season because of elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October. He rejoined the Sixers after completing the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Alabama. There still is no timetable for his return. 

Brown has said there is a “classroom” element to Noel’s return. He has to learn a roster with new players and schemes. 

The on-the-court side of it is a reacclimation to the intensity of the league. Regardless of how many games Noel already has played in the NBA, there is an adjustment period getting back into the grind of the competition. Brown believes the time in the gym this week will help Noel prepare for the level of intensity he will face in his return. 

“It’s such fool’s gold to think somebody’s going to jump back into NBA basketball after you haven’t played for so long. I don’t care how athletic he is,” Brown said. “It’s a man’s world, this league, and there’s a physicality and there’s a real-time reaction you have to have to play in the game. You can’t make that up in practice, you can’t make that up playing one-on-one, but you can better position him instead of just going out to get shots. I want him to feel a body, get hit, hit back, play one-on-one, those types of things.”

Noel had been assigned to the Sixers’ Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, to get in practice time when the Sixers had a game. The Sixers may forego another assignment and keep Noel at their facility as the Sevens also have two games in the next three days. 

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

Joel Embiid has been making the NBA look easy. Rookie of the Month honors, five double-doubles in 13 games, seven performances of 20 points or more … all having missed the last two years rehabbing from foot injuries.

Embiid, though, still is a player learning the league. Night’s like Monday’s lackluster showing are going to happen, even if it seemed unexpected against the struggling Denver Nuggets. 

“We’ve been used to seeing Jo have superhuman nights,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers’ 106-98 loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought Joel was down tonight.” 

Embiid tallied a total 16 points (5 for 15 from the field, 1 for 3 from three, 5 for 6 from the line) with four rebounds, one assist, a career-high five blocks, three turnovers and three fouls in 25:32. 

He had a quiet first half with six points (2 for 5 from the field) and one rebound in 9:21. The biggest struggle came in the third quarter. Embiid scored a single point off a free throw and shot 0 for 6 from the floor. By the end of three, he was shooting 18.2 percent. 

The big man said he needed to be better at passing out of the double team. He committed two turnovers in the third. 

“I wasn’t getting to my spot and I wasn’t getting what I’m used to getting,” Embiid said of the first three quarters. “I’m going to go back and watch the tape and see what I did wrong.” 

Embiid bounced back for another Embiid-like offensive effort in the fourth. He dropped nine points off an efficient 3 for 4 shooting in 7:31. Still, it wasn’t enough. 

“I made a couple shots,” Embiid said. “It didn’t help us win, so I don’t think it matters.”

Brown noticed Embiid rushing his game. He also thought Embiid’s balance was off, something the big man has been dealing with all season as he continues to find his legs. 

Embiid will not play in Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. It is part of his workload management in which he does not play both games of a back-to-back. Expect him to hone in on game film until his next matchup, and get back on the roller coaster that can be a first year in the NBA. 

“It's just part of a young man's growth,” Brown said. “It just happens. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it. I think, in many ways, to expect from time to time not as good of a performance as we have been used to is fair enough.”