COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) — Normally an attacking team, the Philadelphia Union took a patient approach to its game with the Colorado Rapids. And the Union won with the more deliberate style.
“We are a team that likes to push the ball and likes to press,” Philadelphia coach John Hackworth said. “With having to sit in the hotel room and dealing with the storm, it was going to ask a lot to take the game to them.”
Jack McInerney scored in the 79th minute as the Union defeated the Rapids 2-1 on Sunday. Severe weather conditions forced the postponement of the game originally scheduled for Saturday.
“We sat back too much and gave them too much of the ball,” Hackworth said of the Union’s 36 percent to 64 percent possession disadvantage. “To our credit we fought hard and capitalized on a great sequence there to get the winner.”
Amobi Okugo added a goal for Philadelphia (1-1). The third-year MLS expansion team was 0-3-2 in the first five meeting with the Rapids.
Longtime Rapids forward Conor Casey did not make the trip with Philadelphia because of an injured right hamstring.
Antoine Hoppenot found McInerney in stride along the right side. Hoppenot beat goalkeeper Matt Pickens past the left hand to break a 1-1 tie.
“Antoine beat his defender and did a great job of holding up the ball,” said McInerney. “I made a run at the defender, I had the shot right in front of me and I was able to finish.”
Jamie Smith scored in the 69th minute for Colorado (0-2). The Rapids had been unbeaten (6-0-3) in their previous nine home openers.
Colorado played without midfielder Edson Buddle, held out with fluid buildup in his right knee.
“We had our chances and just didn’t finish,” Colorado coach Oscar Pareja said. “We should have been more urgent.”
Philadelphia had a huge disadvantage in possession time in the first half and rarely had the ball in the scoring zone, but led 1-0 at the break. Aside from the goal, the Union had one serious threat, a free kick by Keon Daniel in the 23rd minute that curled around the right post.
The Rapids had their chances. Forward Deshorn Brown missed the right post off a corner kick in the 10th minute and had a shot from deep inside the Philly zone blocked by Union defenders in the 26th minute.
In the 19th minute, Kevin Harbottle found Hendry Thomas in front of the crease, but goalkeeper Zac MacMath blocked the shot and swatted it out of harm’s way.
The Union got their first goal off a corner kick by Sebastian Le Toux. Okugo outmuscled Colorado defender Marvell Wynne for the ball and put the ball into an untended part of the net.
Colorado lost injury-plagued midfielder Pablo Mastroeni to a left hamstring injury in the seventh minute.
The Rapids had two chances get away early in the second half. Brown caught all turf on an empty net opportunity, and a second chance from 20 yards sailed past the left post in the first seven minutes.
Michael Farfan broke free along the right sideline in the 57th minute, but goalkeeper Matt Pickens came well out of his crease to keep it a one goal lead.
The Union had a goal by Brian Carroll waved off by an offside in the 59th minute.
Smith scored on a long pass by Brown in the 69th minute. Smith got behind the defense and sent a left-footed shot past MacMath.
Philadelphia responded with McInerney’s winner in the 79th minute.
“It’s early in the season and sometimes the breaks don’t go your way,” Colorado defender Nick LaBrocca said. “The chemistry will only get better and that’s when you get those bounces.
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