The Philadelphia Union turned in one of their worst performances of the season and saw their four-game unbeaten streak snapped as they fell 1-0 to the Vancouver Whitecaps at Empire Field.
Peter Nowak came out with a new look on offense, with new signing Veljko Paunovic starting alongside Sebastien Le Toux at forward. Stefani MIglioranzi also returned to the starting lineup, and played with Brian Carroll in midfield.
Philadelphia actually created the first good chance of the game as Paunovic passed the ball in a dangerous position to Justin Mapp, but Vancouver defender Jay DeMerit made a good defensive play to clean it up. Soon thereafter, Whitecaps left back Alain Rochat struck with a deceptive, curling shot that rocketed into the net in the 12th minute.
The Union seemed to be shocked by the goal, and failed to do much of anything on offense for about an hour of game time. The next real chance for Philadelphia came in the 78th minute, as Brian Carroll just missed with a low shot. In the 81st minute, Le Toux gained control of the ball near the six-yard box but amazingly failed to even put it on frame. As the match came to a close, the Union had a solid period of possession during stoppage time but couldn't even muster a shot on goal. More after the break.
With their unbeaten streak over, the Union will now look to rebound quickly as they take on Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday at PPL Park. Carlos Ruiz will probably be back for Philadelphia by then, as his Guatemalan national team was eliminated from the Gold Cup earlier Saturday after El Pescadito's early goal was overcome by Mexico in a 2-1 final.
Ironically, perhaps it will be Ruiz who can restore offensive output to the Union, as the Guatemalan has more goals in his last two competitive games than the entire Philadelphia team has in theirs.
The Union's position as co-leader of the Eastern Conference will now come into jeopardy, as New York takes on the Portland Timbers on Sunday night. Here are the full match highlights from the 1-0 loss to Vancouver: