BY DAN KARELL
Facing unexpected adversity, it was Philadelphia’s young guns that stepped up.
Amobi Okugo’s first-half goal and Jack McInerney’s second-half tally led the Philadelphia Union to their first victory of the season, beating the Colorado Rapids 2-1 on Sunday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Jamie Smith scored the lone goal for the Rapids.
The match was originally set to be on Saturday afternoon, but on Saturday morning, Major League Soccer announced that the match had been moved to Sunday afternoon due to hazardous weather conditions.
Both sides were coming off opening weekend losses, with the Rapids falling on the road to FC Dallas, and the Union losing at home to Sporting Kansas City.
Colorado had barely enough time to get into the match before their captain Pablo Mastroeni limped off the field with a hamstring strain in the 8th minute. Nick Labrocca replaced the 36-year-old on the field, but his loss had a big impact on the rest of the game.
McInerney made his first big contribution of the match, when he cleared a Rapids header off the line in the 19th minute. His teammate Keon Daniel nearly capitalized two minutes later, with a free kick that curled off the near post.
Philadelphia took the lead in the 34th minute, when defender Amobi Okugo powered a header from a Sebastian Le Toux corner kick into the net. It was the second week in a row that a goalkeeper error, this one on Matt Pickens, had cost Colorado a goal.
Following the halftime break, the Rapids made their second change of the day. Coach Oscar Pareja opted for the more experienced Smith in attacking midfield instead of the rookie Dillon Powers. Smith promptly put a beautifully curled effort into the far corner of the net in the 68th minute on a counter attack, stepping right into the feed from his teammate Deshorn Brown to level the score.
Substitutions in the middle of the second half began to slow the game down, but against the run of play, the 20-year-old McInerney scored the game-winning goal in the 79th minute, finishing low into the far post. The architect of the score was the substitute Antoine Hoppenot, who rode through two challenges before releasing McInerney on goal.
With the loss, the Rapids drop to 0-2 on the season, while the Union improve to 1-1.
Here are the match highlights:
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