“Home is a shelter from storms, all sorts of storms.” – William J Bennett
19,074 fans packed PPL Park for the 2012 Home Opener against the Colorado Rapids. The U in a 3-5-2 formation hit the ground running.
The 1st Half
The pace was so quick that we saw Danny Mwanga taken down as he sprinted into the box in the very 1st minute of play. There was a definite case for a penalty… or at the very least a free kick.. instead Mark Geiger waved play on.
There was a pace and rhythm to the team that was lacking last week in Portland. We saw glimpses of the fluid football we had been promised by Peter Nowak in the off season. My favorite bit of play was the give and go between Michael Farfan and Lionard Pajoy in the 32nd minute. Sadly the flashes of brilliance were not sustained and none resulted in the ball hitting the back of the net.
Like last week I found myself very optimistic as we headed into the locker room with the score at nil-nil. We failed to convert some solid chances, but it seemed like only a matter of time before we found our way past Matt Pickens.
At this early stage in the season our biggest villain seems to be the 15 minute break at half time.
The 2nd Half
The U came out in the second half looking like a different team.. and DEFINITELY not in a good way. They looked TIRED. 11 minutes in saw Zac MacMath set up the first Rapids’ goal with a beautiful alley-oop to Jaime Castrillon. Perhaps the sun was in his eyes? Perhaps he was rattled by the player in his face? Either way we found ourselves losing in front of the home crowd.
In the 57th minute we were given a glimmer of hope when Jeff Larentowicz aka The Ginger Missle launched himself into Keon Daniel with reckless abandon. The terrible challenge saw Larentowicz get his second yellow card of the match and he was promptly ejected from the match. The football gods seemed to be smiling down on PPL Park.
Oh football gods.. Why have you foresaken us!? Less than 5 minutes in to our 1 man advantage we saw the U go down by 2. Chris OLDbright fell over/was tripped/decided it was nap time and Tony Cascio pounced and fired past a helpless Zac MacMath in the 61st minute.
Just when all hope seemed lost Peter Nowak decided to bring on Roger Torres (Clap-Clap-ClapClap-Clap). The littlest engine that could provided a spark only 4 minutes into his 2012 debut and crossed a ball which met the diving head of Lionard Pajoy. 2-1. 25 minutes left. 1 man advantage.
In the 71st minute the crossbar did what Matt Pickens could not do.. it denied Michael Farfan an equalizer. You would have never guessed by the possession, but we were still playing with a man advantage. In the 88th another chance (the last chance) to equalize saw Pajoy blast his shot high and to the right off the outside of his foot. THE AGONY OF DEFEAT!
As disappointed as I am in starting off the 2012 Season with an 0-2 record I am even disappointed by the uprsing of Negadelphians within the most LOYAL fanbase in Philly. 2 matches into season 3 and my Twitter feed is full of the cry of #FireNowak. Well guess what… I Find Your Lack Of Faith Disturbing… The team actually looks quite promising.
IN NOWAK I TRUST!
– JeffreyM (@Section133)
Philadelphia Union v. Colorado Rapids: Highlights