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Late goals end historic CCL run for Philadelphia Union

The Union had their chances, including a saved penalty, but their exit from CCL became all but inevitable with a Club America goal in the 79th minute

Philadelphia Union v Club America - CONCACAF Champions League 2021 Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

There are a ton of emotions after the Union’s 2-0 loss to Club America to send them out of the Concacaf Champions League, just one step away from making the finals.

It is easy to feel extremely disappointed after the unfortunate result in Chester. The Union had the opportunity to do something the club had never done, and move one step closre to becoming the first MLS club to win the Concacaf Champions League. It’s easy to be frustrated at how the Union played extremely well for most of the second half, had chance after chance to win the match and advance, including a missed penalty kick, yet somehow lost by two.

Surely everyone in the stadium thought that some magic was happening when Kacper Przybyłko was taken down in the box for a Union penalty in the 47th minute. Surely in front of the rabid home fans in Subaru Park. It was not to be, with the legendary Guillermo Ochoa doing what he does best and breaking opposition fans’ hearts. The Union had attempts after but the air really felt sucked out of any fan watching, that was the moment. The two America goals by Nicolas Benedetti and Henry Martin were merely a formality to a result that was becoming more clear with each passing kick of the football.

It’s the same frustrations with the club that have been there all season, a team currently sitting under the playoff line in the Eastern Conference. Take a step back though and look at the bigger picture, and the feelings of anger and sadness can turn into appreciation for the unprecedented run in Union football.

The season this year hasn’t gone that well, in all honesty most of the Union’s club history hasn’t gone that well. For a team that hasn’t made it past the quarterfinals in the MLS Playoffs since the club’s inception, this run in the CCL has been a fun ride. Just think of what the Union accomplished this year in international competition.

Who could forget the thrill of them traveling to San Jose and getting a 1-0 win in their first ever CCL match, or the 4-1 thumping they gave Saprissa at home? Defeating Atlanta United 3-1 in Atlanta will go down as one of the biggest highlights of the year, and one of the biggest in club history. Just the chance to play such a renowned power such as Club America, a team that has won gold in Mexico 13 times, is a chance of the lifetime and the Union gave them their all in Chester.

For a team only a little over a decade old, this run has been historic, and one every fan who supports the team should be extremely proud of. Yes the end result wasn’t what everyone hoped for, but the Union are now no longer a bottom feeder in the MLS. The Union are a team that has competed at the highest level of American football and should take great pride in that fact. With their historic run now over it’s time to put all focus on the home stretch of league play and making it back into the MLS playoff hunt.