Union battle Real Salt Lake to scoreless tie

Posted: August 25, 2012

Needing a result, the Union got the better of the play but could only manage a scoreless tie with Real Salt Lake Friday night in front of 18,441 at PPL Park in Chester.

"For us to get a shutout and not score at home, it's disappointing," said Union interim manager John Hackworth. "But I'm excited by the type of soccer we played. . . . They fought hard. They played good soccer. They did it against one of the best in the MLS. I felt like we deserved a little more."

Hackworth knows as well as anybody that c"It's tougher after tonight," Hackworth allowed.

The Union had more possession in the Salt Lake half of the field, and a couple of near misses near the end, but didn't really test Real keeper Nick Rimando until those final minutes. Second in the Western Conference behind overall Major League Soccer leader San Jose, Real Salt Lake had trouble most of the night stringing passes together, to the Union's credit.

Union midfielder Freddy Adu, who hadn't been happy about getting pulled in the 69th minute Sunday at D.C. United - "I wish I was out there," Adu had said afterward - didn't have that issue on Friday night. He didn't start, not entering the game until the 82d minute.

"I felt like I did enough in D.C. to make [Hackworth] happy," Adu said. "Today he thought Salt Lake would clog up the middle. I'm not a 'traditional' winger. I thought for the most part we did a pretty good job against them."

Adu didn't grumble about his seat on the bench. Asked about it being hard to create offense in 10 minutes, he said: "Of course, sure, it's hard."

Hackworth directed his ire in another direction, saying: "I don't think the Philadelphia Union is getting the respect we deserve."

He wondered why there were only three minutes of extra time added after a number of second-half stoppages. He felt his team kept its composure after some hard fouls. Those fouls, called and uncalled, seemed to go both ways.

In the end, this was more of the same for the Union, who coming in had lost twice and tied once since their last victory, July 29, at New England.

Their best chance before halftime came in the 42d minute, when new arrival Danny Cruz, from D.C. United, took a nifty feed from Michael Farfan just to the right of the penalty spot and sailed the point-blank shot over the crossbar.

It was that kind of night.

Contact Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489 or mjensen@phillynews.com. Follow @Jensenoffcampus on Twitter.

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