When the Philadelphia Union surrendered two early goals to mighty Real Madrid on Saturday night, the MLS Eastern Conference leaders looked like a team destined to be the latest MLS team blown away by a European powerhouse.
Rather than crumble, the Union shook off the poor start and gave Real Madrid the toughest test the Spanish giants have faced to date during the World Football Challenge. Rookie Michael Farfan scored a beautiful late goal and Roger Torres and Jack McInerney came close to finding equalizers before time ran out, leaving Real Madrid with a 2-1 victory at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Just three days removed from beating English club Everton in a friendly, 1-0, Philadelphia trotted out a stronger squad against a Real Madrid side playing its third match in seven days, but that didn't stop the Spanish giants from dominating early. Madrid's passing troubled the Union, but Philadelphia ultimately settled down and stood toe-to-toe with a team that battered the Los Angeles Galaxy, 4-0, just a week ago.
Sheanon Williams and Carlos Valdes, two of the best defenders in MLS this season, committed early errors to help Real Madrid's reserve-filled starting lineup jump out to a 2-0 lead as Jose Maria Cajellon opened the scoring and Mesut Ozil took a Karim Benzema pass for his own goal.
The quick two-goal lead threatened to grow larger as Real Madrid continued to dominate, but Philadelphia eventually settled down and kept the score 2-0 into the second half, where the Union began to take the game to their opponent.
The Union finally broke through in the 80th minute when Michael Farfan chipped Real Madrid goalkeeper Tomas Mejias. Roger Torres nearly buried an equalizer, blasting a long-range shot that skipped off the crossbar.
Mejias preserved the Real Madrid victory with a diving save of a late McInerney shot.
Here are the match highlights.
What did you think of the match? Impressed with Philadelphia? Surprised Cristiano Ronaldo didn't score?
Share your thoughts.