Union Likely to Miss Playoffs After Goalie’s Embarrassing Gaffe
In a fitting climax to their season, the Philadelphia Union gave up a late goal against the Chicago Fire last night — pretty much ensuring the team will miss the playoffs for the fourth time in its five years of existence.
The Union were unlikely to make the playoffs anyway. With just four games left coming into last night’s game against the Fire, the Union sat three points out of a playoff position. It was generally agreed upon that the Union needed to win last night’s game against the ninth-place Chicago Fire in order to have any chance at going to the playoffs.
And it looked like they would! In the 88th minute, Amobi Okugo pounced on a ball in the box and fired it into the net to give the Union a 1-0 lead. The playoff hope was alive! Until a horrific error from the Union’s new goalkeeper cost the team the game.
With just minutes to go, Raïs M’Bolhi received a back-pass from noted sneakerhead Maurice Edu. Instead of firing it downfield as far as he could, M’Bolhi kicked it directly to Robert Earnshaw, who had what was essentially a breakaway. He chipped it over M’Bolhi’s head and into the net. The game ended in a 1-all draw.
Union interim manager Jim Curtin called it “sickening.”
Making this worse: Raïs M’Bolhi is new to the Union. He was signed this summer with a $400,000 transfer fee — a lot for an MLS player — after a stellar world cup where he was named Man of the Match for his performance in a loss to eventual champions Germany in the Round of 16.
The Union have two other goalkeepers, Zac MacMath (a first-round pick in 2011) and Andre Blake (a first-round pick this year, who has yet to play). Fans and media criticized the team for spending so much on a position where the team already had a glut of players. And now, after the new goalie’s gaffe cost the team a game, those voices are only going to get louder.
The Union are currently in seventh in the Eastern Conference. They have three games left, and are two points back of the last playoff spot (fifth). Every team ahead of them has four games left except for Toronto FC — which has five left.