Cruz double helps Union earn draw vs. Sounders

DannyCruz (ISIPhotos.com)

By IVES GALARCEP

CHESTER, Pa.–The Philadelphia Union have been relying heavily on the goal-scoring production of Jack McInerney, but on Saturday they saw another player flash some impressive finishing ability.

Union midfielder Danny Cruz scored a pair of quality second-half goals one minute apart to help the Union earn a 2-2 draw on Saturday at PPL Park. The two goals came helped erase a first-half deficit, but the Sounders were able to salvage a point on the road after Mauro Rosales volleyed home a Mario Martinez cross in the 64th minute.

Cruz’s goals were very similar, with a pair of Union shots hitting woodwork before finding Cruz on the right side of the penalty area. On both occasions, Cruz struck his shot perfectly, leaving Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning with no chance to make a save.

The result will feel like a disappointing one for the Union, who created several scoring chances in the first half, only to see those chances wasted. McInerney hit the woodwork with a header in the first half and several other Union chances came close only to miss the mark.

The Union came away especially upset with a missed call late in the match when Sounders defender Leo Gonzalez blocked a shot with his hand in the penalty area.

“That shouldn’t have been a draw in any way, shape or form,” said Hackworth. “There’s a clear penalty at the end of the game. How it’s not called is beyond me.”

The Sounders will take the point after having to play without several key contributors. Oswaldo Alonso missed the match after the birth of his child on Friday, while Steve Zakuani, Obafemi Martins and Shalrie Joseph also missed the match.

“We have to take the point today, like it or not,” said Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid. “It was a good team and a strong and physical team. To take the point, we wanted three and it was possible but in the end you one man down and have to take the point.”

The match was marred by some physical play that eventually led to some ugly moments late in the match and a pair of red cards to Sheanon Williams and Lamar Neagle. Sounders rookie DeAndre Yedlin was also issued his first career red card for a tackle from behind on Gabriel Farfan.

All three yellows were questioned in the post-match interviews, with Williams insisting he did nothing worthy of a red card.

“(The referee) said that we both head-butted each other, which is false,” Williams said. “I didn’t head-butt (Neagle); he didn’t head-butt me either. I asked (Neagle) when we were going off if he thought that I headbutted him, and he said ‘no.’ He didn’t headbutt me, and that’s the explanation that the referee gave us.

“If you want to give us a yellow for a shoving match, that’s fine, but to throw us out of a game for something that we both didn’t do, I thought that was just a little unfair.”

Referee Jorge Gonzalez’s terrible performance was capped by a missed handball call in second-half stoppage time as the Union pressed for a winner.

Union head coach John Hackworth didn’t pull any punches in his post-match press conference.

“Look, I’ll raise my hand and take a fine,” said Hackworth. “It has to be said that we cannot be in this league and have this level of play and have officiating be as bad as that.”

While the Union were angry with the missed penalty, one player who left PPL Park with a smile is Danny Cruz after the first multi-goal game of his career.

“That’s like a season total for me,” Cruz joked after the match (his career season best is, in fact, two goals). “I couldn’t be happier just to be able to contribute to this group of guys. Coach has faith in me and that’s something that has continued to drive me.

“I was just happy to see the ball go in the back of the net both times and hopefully can continue, in the upcoming weeks, to continue to contribute.”

For the Sounders, they will take a road point and prepare for a match on Wednesday against Sporting Kansas City. Seattle continues to have issues with injuries and other absences, which have kept the team from enjoying any sort of continuity this season. That is an advantage Schmid

“Today was our 10th different lineup in 10 games and our next game will be our 11th different lineup in 11 games,” Schmid said. “Philadelphia I think has played the same team the past four games, we haven’t had that luxury.

“So once we get to that level I think it will improve our play.  It’s just guys missing, not knowing what the guy next to him is going to do. This is the first game Eddie and Lamar have played together. If you play more games together you have a better understanding of what the other person is going to do.”

Here are the match highlights:

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20 Responses to Cruz double helps Union earn draw vs. Sounders

  1. Larry says:

    Thought the referee sucks he was the same ref that game Williams a red card before. What I saw was Williams shielding the ball and Neagle pulling at his shirt. Williams gave him a shove and the guy shoved him back. How about the push to Williams’s face by Neagle. Both players should have gotten a yellow card. The red card was stupid. Referee Jorge Gonzalez needs to go ref recreational soccer.

  2. Travis says:

    All three reds should have been yellows to me. The ref let both teams be extremely physical throughout and then he suddenly starts giving out reds, terrible effort from him. It was funny watching Williams and Neagle walk off cause you can tell they are both like why did we both get sent off? Also missed a very clear penalty at the end. Simply awful from the ref, needs to be told that he will be taking a couple of games off. Overall the game was actually extremely entertaining to watch, Seattle were a bit lucky to get a point, the Union just lacked composure in front of the net.

    • Drew says:

      Williams and Neagle should have been yellows. Yedlin deserved the red – reckless challenge from behind, automatic red. Johnson should have saw red for throwing the knee – intent to injure another automatic red.

      • Travis says:

        Disagree, it wasnt from behind looked like the side. Also a Philly player did a very similar tackle earlier against Gonzalez well after he cleared it, probably like the 65th minute and didn’t even get a talking to. That tackle happens every single game and it rarely is given as a red, it was hardly reckless either. In regards to EJ he pulled a punk move and I am sure he will hear from the league office on it.

        • Elite Hunting says:

          It was clearly from behind and he made no attempt at the ball. No question it was a red. The right call was made.

          • Travis says:

            clearly from behind? i watched the replay and it was on the side and frankly farfan looks like hes falling before he is even touched. Also how do you know he made no play on the ball? he had literally just won another tackle, he was going for the ball and just missed badly. this happens every single game, i am not sure why yedlin is getting killed over it. It was stupid and rash but I never see that tackle given a red, ever

            • Travis says:

              it is what is i suppose but if MLS refs are going to give that tackle a red then there should be a lot more reds given out than there are, like probably one a game

  3. Wagner says:

    Great work by Cruz. Fastest double in MLS history? it was 30-45 secs.
    Could have gone either way with the first 2 reds. 3rd was red was deserved. Bad miss on the PK at the end.

  4. ed - houston says:

    More excuses from Seattle fans and the coach. I hope that Cruz shut his critics up.

    • Travis says:

      Sort of, he had those two goals but he also sent in a ton of really bad crosses and some wild shots. It has to be tough cause you can see the talent but he seems to panic alot when he gets in spots

    • Esteban de la Sexface says:

      Cruz was miserable in the first half and he repeatedly fell over when the ball came near him. Both goals were very, very well taken but overall, he was pretty poor and then ran out of gas in the 70th minute. I still don’t see how he starts ahead of Le Toux.

  5. Marco says:

    A game the Sounders needed .. too bad about the -deserved- cards,.. but character is coming back in to the side. Sounders continue with positive points momentum on the road.. a hard month lies ahead..

    #BoomboomClap

  6. AzTeXan says:

    The main take away I had from this game was how the Union were able to STAR WARS!!!!

  7. Kman says:

    The Union were robbed. A blatant handball at the death. Should have been the full 3 for the U! I was fine with all the reds. Can’t dispute any of them.

  8. Esteban de la Sexface says:

    For what it’s worth:
    – Best game of the season for Michael Farfan. Hopefully this is a sign of his return to form.
    – Conor Casey is fantastic. Combo of great touch and physical presence that few, if any, in this league possess.
    – Keon Daniel isn’t good enough in the center of midfield.
    – Brian Carroll cannot accurately pass the ball longer than 10 yards.
    – Cruz was bad save for the two goals which were pretty fantastic.
    – If Jeff Parke is out for next game, Philly is going to be very thin at the back.
    – The ref was crap.
    – Still unconvinced by Hackworth.
    – Good crowd at the game.

    • Sebastian Le Drew says:

      Agree with everything except the crowd… Was pretty thin in some areas and got about 3 emails to buy tickets day of the game

      • Esteban de la Sexface says:

        True, but it’s better than what it’s been this season. I should’ve put “relatively good crowd at the game”.

  9. Con says:

    Cruz is a nightmare on the field. BFD that he scored 2 goals. He is consistently the worst player on the field every game he plays. There is no reason to play him over Le Toux, Kleberson, or Torres. Hack has to go!!!!

    • Esteban de la Sexface says:

      Cruz IS a nightmare and I’ve seen nothing from Hackworth to make me believe that he shouldn’t go as soon as his contract is up. Can’t see him being fired though.