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Union held to second straight scoreless draw



Photo by Mikey DeAngelis

The last thing the Philadelphia Union wanted in their midweek contest with Toronto FC Wednesday night was to get into an end-to-end shootout but while they were able to hold the Reds’ high-priced attack in check – Lorenzo Insigne’s absence for paternity leave helped – the Union’s scoreless draught has now reached 190 minutes after a second straight scoreless draw.

Yes, it’s a positive that a team that was conceding goals at a pace not seen since the Obama Administration now has entered pizza and beer territory with three straight clean sheets but posting a 0.7 xG at home isn’t exactly a recipe for getting back into a groove either.

Fresh off the news that Andre Blake will be out for at least another month, backup goalkeeper Oliver Semmle stepped up when called upon in the first half with a massive save on Derrick Ettiene Jr. while Jack Elliott’s blocks and Toronto FC’s corn-rowed attacker Federico Bernardeschi missing a wide open chance did the rest to prevent what would’ve been a fifth straight home loss for the boys in blue.

The attack was better in the second half and the miscues Toronto was unable to punish in the first half were cleaned up, but Sean Johnson’s routine stop on a Alejandro Bedoya header and a Quinn Sullivan shot from outside the box that went wide was really all the Union attack had to show in terms of clear chances on a night when Julian Carranza was a late scratch due to a knock to the ankle he played through in training.

Chris Donovan and Tai Baribo were both given 12 minutes together pairing up top but neither had much to show either outside of completing all four of their passes and the attempt to find a winner fizzled in anticlimactic fashion.

Given the interest in Carranza abroad and the possibility of him being transferred this summer, the draw was anything but a confidence builder in terms of fans facing the prospect of losing the prolific Argentine up top.

Whether it’s conceding too many goals, getting small details wrong or forgetting how to score as they’ve done lately, the 2024 season continues to be a confounding one for a Philadelphia Union team now firmly in the middle of the pack of the Eastern Conference with two games to go until the midway point of the season and multiple players set for international departures after Saturday.

CF Montreal coming to town on Saturday would seem like just the team to snap the now five-game home winless streak but they will be coming in flying high after a 4-2 win over DC United.

Subaru Park is no longer the fortress it once was and the Union are teetering on the edge of a lost season if something doesn’t change for the better. No amount of reserve team winning future is bright optimism will suffice if fans continue to endure the kind of underwhelming and dispirited performances that have become too common for comfort in Chester this season.

Matthew Ralph is the managing editor of Philadelphia Soccer Now / Brotherly Game. He's covered soccer at all levels for many years in the Philadelphia region and has also written for, NPSL, PrepSoccer and other publications. He lives with his wife and two young children in Broomall, Pa., but grew up in South Jersey and is originally from Kansas.

Copyright © 2024 Philadelphia Soccer Now and Brotherly Game

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