By David F. Cohen
Even though the Union have been eliminated from the playoffs for the fourth time in their five-year Major League Soccer history — what’s up with that, CEO Nick Sakiewicz????? — there is reason to hope for the future.
A pair of rookies led the Union to a 2-1 victory at PPL Park Saturday night, as Brian Brown (photo above) and Pedro Ribeiro both scored their second goals of the year in Philly’s home finale.
Cristian Maidana assisted on both goals for the Union (10-11-12), who snapped a five-game winless streak – but not before the skid eliminated them from the postseason race.
Maidana now has 11 assists on the year, tied for the sixth most in MLS.
With the game deadlocked at 1-1 in the 71st minute, Ribeiro scored the game-winner shortly after coming into the game, easily depositing a cross from Maidana, who was sprung free down the sideline by Sheanon Williams.
The goal was the second of the season for the 2014 first-round pick, who emerged as one of Curtin’s preferred attacking options down the stretch.
Trailing 1-0 in the second half, Sporting Kansas City found their equalizer after Union goalkeeperZac MacMath took down Soony Saad in the box in the 53rd minute to prevent a breakaway attempt that developed after Vincent Nogueira committed an open-field turnover.
A minute later, Dwyer drilled the penalty kick to move within three goals of Golden Boot leader Bradley Wright-Phillips of New York. Dwyer also had a great chance to score in the fifth minute but pushed a left-footed shot just wide of the far post.
Brown opened the scoring in the 45th minute, playing a ball out wide to Maidana, making a run between the SKC center backs, and then finishing a perfectly placed cross from Maidana.
Both of Brown’s goals this season came against Kansas City.
US internationals Matt Besler (thigh) and Graham Zusi didn’t play for Kansas City, though Zusi was on the bench. Union leading scorers Sebastien Le Toux (ankle) and Conor Casey (knee) sat out for Philly.