Philadelphia Union Drop 2012 Home Opener to Colorado Rapids 2-1
The Philadelphia Union kicked off their 2012 home schedule on Sunday afternoon when they hosted the Colorado Rapids in front of a sold out crowd of over 19,000 people at PPL Park.
Fans, including the Sons of Ben, flocked to the stadium early in the day to tailgate and take in the beautiful spring-like weather before the 4pm start time.
The Union, who made the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals last season, have a much different look in 2012 having replaced many fan favorite players like Sebastian Le Toux and Faryd Mondragon. Philadelphia added several new players to their roster including free agent Chris Albright who attended Penn Charter high school in Philly in the late 1990’s.
The Union came out firing in the first half, creating several scoring chances for strikers Danny Mwanga and Lionard Pajoy. However, Colorado GK Matt Pickens was stout in the net and at the break the score remained knotted at 0-0.
The second half started off the same as the first but despite the up-tempo play of the Union, Colorado scored the game’s first goal in the 56th minute when Jaime Castrillón tapped a ball past Philadelphia GK Zac MacMath.
Things appeared to be looking up for the Union when Colorado’s Jeff Larentowicz received his second yellow card of the game moments later, sending him to the bench. Unfortunately for the home team, Colorado scored its second goal in rapid succession, when Tony Cascio booted a ball under the leg of MacMath in the 62nd minute.
Down 2-0, Union coach Peter Nowak went to his bench a minute later, subbing in Roger Torres. Four minutes later, Torres placed a crossing kick into the penalty area where Pajoy nailed a strong header past Pickens to bring the Union back within a goal, 2-1.
The Union had several chances to tie the game, including near misses by Pajoy and Michael Farfan, but were not able to find pay dirt again. They eventually lost 2-1. With the loss, the Union are off to their first 0-2 start in club history after also losing their MLS home opener 3-1 at Portland. With the win, the Rapids improve to 2-0 on the early season.
The Union next play on Saturday, March 24th at Chicago before returning home the following Saturday when they host Vancouver.
[photo credits: Michael Green]
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