Union not dwelling on loss

New coach's changes cause for optimism

Posted: June 19, 2012

DESPITE a new coach, the Union experienced the same result Saturday in a 1-0 loss to D.C. United at PPL Park.

The Union has not won a Major League Soccer game since April 14, but came away with some optimism for the future as the players get further acclimated to interim coach John Hackworth's system.

"It was a great night for the Philadelphia Union in a lot of ways," Hackworth said afterward, while acknowledging the disappointment of missed opportunities.

"And I was excited. I was confident, relaxed … We prepared … the players need to know what they're doing and I thought they did, and they went and tried to do that, and so, it was all good."

Hackworth replaced Peter Nowak on Wednesday.

United's goal came in the 78th minute as Chris Pontius knocked in a long free kick for the score.

"It's a new stage for the team; we lost a coach that left us many things," Carlos Valdes said. "Now, we have a coach that showed us a change in order to win. In soccer, these kinds of things happen; no one is indispensable on a team. Now we, as players, need to contribute to this new process."

Among the changes was increased playing time for forward Jack McInerney, who got the start after seeing limited action under Nowak.

"There is a bit of relief," he said. "I saw in the press conference that he said they are going to start changing some faces in the starting lineup and I just hoped I was one of those faces. It felt good and it was a confidence booster."

The Union played without forward Lionard Pajoy, who was suspended one game and fined following an incident in the team's most recent MLS game, against Toronto, on May 26.

The lineup also featured forward Jorge Perlaza, acquired in the trade with Portland for Danny Mwanga.

"I think that the team showed a good style of play," Perlaza said. "We didn't get the result we wanted but now we're going to keep on working during the week, correct our mistakes and think about what's to come, and try to get the win."

The Union hosts Sporting Kansas City on Saturday at PPL Park (7 p.m., The Comcast Network).

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