As his teammates showered, dressed, spoke to the media and left after a frustrating 1-1 tie against the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday at Talen Energy Stadium, Philadelphia Union striker Kacper Przybylko sat in a chair in front of his locker stall still in his full uniform – jersey, cleats, shin guards, et al.
The striker’s head was being held up by his right hand, which was resting on his thigh as he looked straight ahead with a blank expression on his face.
No one knows for sure what he was thinking about – he declined to be interviewed – but it’s an easy guess. Przybylko was likely replaying over and over in his mind his near miss to win the game in extra time.
In the waning moments of the contest, Jamiro Monteiro chipped a pass into the box where Przybylko lunged for, and got his toe on, the ball but it whizzed just over the crossbar.
The play, and Przybylko’s postgame mood, epitomized the feeling around the Union’s locker room during the completed three-game homestand, when the team scored just two goals and went 0-1-2.
“Man … I’m mad as hell,” said a flustered Union captain Alejandro Bedoya. “We try to stay positive. In this league, you always have your slumps. All teams go through it and right now we are in a finishing slump.”
And it cost the Union against the lowly Rapids, who sit in the Western Conference basement and have allowed the most goals in the league. Their failure to add to a 1-0 halftime lead, behind Sergio Santos’ goal, came back to haunt them. The Rapids tied the game in the 72nd minute off a goal by Jonathan Lewis.
The lack of offense, and in particular, finishing their chances, was the team’s downfall in the last three home games against Seattle, Portland and Colorado.
“Tonight was not our sharpest night and it was a real disappointing result,” Union coach Jim Curtin said. “It was a night we created a lot of chances and opportunities in the box, but we let a team hang around and we got punished.”
The Union outshot the Rapids, 26-14, which included seven shots on target.
Despite all of the offense generated, it was chances like Ray Gaddis’ blast from 40 yards out that went a smidgen wide or his shot in the box that ricocheted off a defender, or Jack Elliott’s header over the bar or Monteiro’s one-timer in the box that went right to the goalie, and of course, Przybylko’s attempt that left players, the coaching staff and fans shaking their heads.
“You are not going to win (anything) if you don’t finish,” Bedoya said. “It’s frustrating.”
The Union, who still sit comfortably in second place in the Eastern Conference, hope to find their scoring touch in the Midwest on Sunday against a solid Minnesota squad, which is 3-0-3 in their brand-new stadium this year.
“Over the course of a 34-game season, there is going to be tough patch,” Curtin said. “Now, we have to go do the unexpected and get a result on the road and follow that up with a win over the (New York) Red Bulls at home next Saturday.”