CHESTER, Pa. – Saer Sene scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season to give the New England Revolution a halftime lead but the Philadelphia Union hit back with a pair of second-half goals – including the game-winner from Jack McInerney in the 90th minute – as the Revs suffered a 2-1 loss on Sunday night at PPL Park.
Sene’s swerving long-distance drive opened the scoring in the 12th minute and the Revs (6-10-5, 23 pts.) maintained their lead until the 59th minute when Freddy Adu converted from the penalty spot to pull the Union (7-10-2, 23 pts.) level. The Revs had numerous chances to find a winner of their own in the closing stages, but ultimately it was McInerney who clinched all three points for Philadelphia with a last-gasp header.
The result leaves the Revolution and Union even on points and tied for eighth place in the Eastern Conference, although Philadelphia has two games in hand.
Benny Feilhaber (R ankle sprain) and Clyde Simms (R gastroc tightness) both overcame injury concerns to take their spots in the Revolution’s central midfield, while Sene returned to the starting lineup after appearing as a substitute in last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City.
Sene repaid head coach Jay Heaps’ faith almost immediately by opening the scoring with a wicked strike in the 12th minute. After Kelyn Rowe sprayed the ball wide to Sene on the right wing the French striker cut inside to his left foot and unleashed a vicious drive from 30 yards which knuckled past Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath, who got a hand on the ball but could only push it into the roof of the net.
Philadelphia had a pair of chances to respond within 10 minutes but was twice denied. Revs goalkeeper Matt Reis was well positioned to make an easy save on Carlos Valdes’ close-range header in the 17th minute, while Kevin Alston and Stephen McCarthy combined to prevent Antoine Hoppenot from going clean through in the 21st minute.
The Revs almost doubled their advantage in the 28th minute when Feilhaber’s incisive through ball sent Rowe in behind the Union’s backline, but the rookie’s shot from the top of the box skimmed inches wide of the left post. Lee Nguyen went close in first-half stoppage time when his long-range drive flew just over the crossbar.
New England had a legitimate shout for a penalty kick turned away shortly after the halftime break when Union defender Sheanon Williams used his arm to block Sene’s effort, but Philly was awarded a spot kick shortly thereafter when Alston clipped McInerney outside the box. The hosts took advantage of their good fortune as Adu dispatched his penalty attempt into the left side to knot the score at 1-1 in the 59th minute.
Heaps responded by using all three of his substitutions in short order, bringing on Shalrie Joseph, Dimitry Imbongo and Darrius Barnes in place of Simms, Rowe and A.J. Soares.
Imbongo – making his MLS debut – drew a dangerous free kick in the 79th minute which Chris Tierney curled toward the upper corner, but MacMath was on hand to make the save. Just moments later Sene played Joseph through on goal, but the Revolution captain lofted his shot over the bar as MacMath charged off his line.
Feilhaber (86th) and Sene (89th) were both denied by MacMath as the Revs continued to press in the closing stages, but it was McInerney who found a game-winner for the hosts just as the game neared stoppage time. Williams was the provider with a curling cross from the right wing and McInerney rose highest at the back post to send a downward header into the far side netting.
After playing three straight on the road the Revs will now return to Gillette Stadium for back-to-back home games, beginning on Saturday, Aug. 4, when they’ll host Sporting Kansas City at 7:30 p.m. That match will be the second half of a doubleheader featuring Italian giant AC Milan and Honduran power Olimpia in the first game at 4:30 p.m.
New England Revolution at Philadelphia Union
July 29, 2012 – PPL Park (Chester, Pa.)
Philadelphia Union 2, New England Revolution 1
NE – Saer Sene (Kelyn Rowe) 12
PHI – Freddy Adu (penalty kick) 59
PHI – Jack McInerney (Sheanon Williams) 90
New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares (Darrius Barnes 71), Stephen McCarthy, Kevin Alston, Kelyn Rowe (Dimitry Imbongo 69), Lee Nguyen, Benny Feilhaber, Clyde Simms © (Shalrie Joseph 60), Saer Sene, Ryan Guy
Substitutes Not Used: Tim Murray, Flo Lechner, Blake Brettschneider, Fernando Cardenas
STATS: Shots 14, Shots on Target 5, Corner Kicks 3, Saves 3, Fouls 9, Offsides 1, Passes (percentage) 351 (79.2%), Possession 40.9%
Philadelphia Union: Zac MacMath, Gabriel Farfan, Carlos Valdes ©, Amobi Okugo, Sheanon Williams, Brian Carroll, Gabriel Gomez (Michael Lahoud 60), Michael Farfan, Freddy Adu (Josue Martinez 82), Jack McInerney, Antoine Hoppenot (Lionard Pajoy 78)
Substitutes Not Used: Chase Harrison, Porfirio Lopez, Keon Daniel, Raymon Gaddis
STATS: Shots 11, Shots on Target 5, Corner Kicks 7, Saves 4, Fouls 14, Offsides 2, Passes (percentage) 507 (86.6%), Possession 59.1%
* Note that all statistics are unofficial
NE – A.J. Soares (caution) 25
NE – Stephen McCarthy (caution) 39
PHI – Michael Farfan (caution) 67
Referee: Edvin Jurisevic
Assistant Referees: Steven Taylor, Craig Lowry
Fourth Official: Kevin Terry, Jr.
Weather: Parly Cloudy and 77 degrees
New England Revolution: 6-10-5 (23 pts.)
Philadelphia Union: 7-10-2 (23 pts.)
- With the loss, the Revs moved to 0-3-2 all-time against Philadelphia
- Tonight’s loss was the team’s first on the road against the Union … the team is now 0-1-2 at PPL Park
- The teams will meet two more times this season: Sept. 1 at Gillette Stadium and Oct. 6 at PPL Park
- The Revs are now winless in their last four games (0-3-1)
- The team finished the month of July winless, marking the second time this season the team went winless in a month (April )
- The Revs are now winless on the road against Eastern Conference teams – 0-5-2 … overall, the Revs are 1-8-2 in away games this season
- In July, the Revs scored four goals in five games, and were shut out twice … the Revs also posted two defensive shutouts
- Tonight’s meeting marked the fourth time in five meetings that the game was decided by a goal in the 70th minute or later
- Kevin Alston made his 100th career start and his 100th career appearance tonight … he is the first player drafted in the first round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft to reach 100 career appearances and starts
- The Revs scored the game’s first goal for the ninth time this season … the Revs are now 4-3-2 in those games
- This was the team’s 11th one-goal game this season …. the Revs are 2-9-0 in those contests, including an 0-7-0 mark in away games
- Saer Sene scored his ninth goal this season with his 12th-minute goal … Sene’s nine goals are the team’s most in a season since Taylor Twellman scored 16 in 2007
- Saer Sene’s goal was his first since June 30 in a 2-2 draw against Seattle
- Kelyn Rowe recorded his third assist of the season on Saer Sene’s goal …, he is now tied for second on the team in assists with Shalrie Joseph, who also has three
- Kelyn Rowe’s assist was his second assist in the last three games … he also recorded an assist – coincidently also in a 2-1 loss – at Montreal on July 18
- Dimitry Imbongo made his MLS and Revolution debut when he checked into the game in the 69th minute … he was signed by the Revolution on July 16 and joined the team for his first training session on Tuesday, July 24
- Tim Murray was named to the game day 18 for the first time this season … usual back-up goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth entered the week with a left knee sprain that he suffered in practice this week
- After the game, Stephen McCarthy received six stitches to close a cut over his right eye that he suffered in a stoppage-time collision