The Philadelphia Union have mastered the art of squandering a lead right before the final whistle while up a man

The Philadelphia Union have mastered the art of squandering a lead right before the final whistle while up a man
July 4, 2013, 12:25 pm
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You could probably go a whole season without seeing a team give up a goal seven minutes into stoppage time while playing up a man.

You could probably go your whole life without seeing it twice.

Or you could be a Philadelphia Union fan.

On late Wednesday evening/early Thursday morning, the Union surrendered a goal in the 97th minute to settle for a 2-2 draw against Real Salt Lake despite having a one-man advantage. If that sounds similar, it’s because LITERALLY THE EXACT SAME THING happened on Saturday against FC Dallas – right down to the minute of the goal.

“I’m losing a lot of hair,” Union manager John Hackworth said after the game. “I’m aging like crazy.”

Speaking of no hair, bald striker Conor Casey was absolutely dominant in Utah, setting up the first goal and scoring the second to nearly singlehandedly carry the Union to their first-ever win against Real Salt Lake, one of the league’s premier teams.

That was a bright spot of Wednesday’s game. So was color commentator Alejandro Moreno pointing out that he has a “man-crush” on Antoine Hoppenot, who had a terrific assist on Casey’s goal.

The not-so-bright spots: the Union being outscored 2-1 following the 59th-minute red card and ejection to RSL’s Lovel Palmer, Sebastien Le Toux missing a wide-open breakaway opportunity early in stoppage time, and of course the hand ball in the box from Union defender Ray Gaddis that led to the game-tying penalty kick from RSL’s Javier Morales in the 97th minute. (Watch all of the the highlights below, if you're so inclined.)

“The locker room is gutted right now,” Hackworth said. “This happened to us five days ago. Two times in five days is hard to swallow.”

The crazy part is the Union still managed to earn their first-ever point at Rio Tinto Stadium and they still haven’t lost a game since May. But they’ve been very fortunate since the start of June, going up a man in four of their last five games. Yet, they’ve only been able to win one of those, which could certainly hurt them down the road as they fight to get into the playoffs.

The Union continue their road trip Saturday against the Houston Dynamo (9 p.m., The Comcast Network). If they go up a man and you see there will be more than five minutes of stoppage time, I suggest curling up in a corner and sucking your thumb until the final whistle blows.

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