Playing at home in front of a national TV audience should be reason for celebration. But for the Philadelphia Union, it was more of a nightmare. Not only did they suffer their first defeat at PPL Park, 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids, but they also revealed after the game that leading scorer Carlos Ruiz would be leaving the team.
The Union had the better of play from the opening whistle, with Keon Daniel hitting a ball off the crossbar in the 26th minute. But it was the Rapids who struck first when Pablo Mastroeni flashed some of the skill we have seen all too rarely of late, turning around Union center back Carlos Valdes and striking a perfectly placed ball into the far upper corner.
Just before halftime, the Rapids extended their lead to 2-0 when Omar Cummings led Sanna Nyassi with a perfect through ball. Nyassi was able to get behind his mark and then beat Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon with a quick shot. It was Nyassi's fourth goal in his past three games and gave Cummings his team-leading six assist.
The Union continued to apply heavy pressure throughout the second half, but couldn't break through until Roger Torres scored a beautiful goal in the 3rd minute of stoppage time. He was able to beat two defenders inside the penalty area, cutting back behind Marvell Wynne and then unleashing a perfectly placed left-footed shot.
After scoring, Torres put his hand to his head in a similar way that Ruiz does when he scores goals. It seemed to be homage to Ruiz, who it was learned after the game that he was leaving the team. Union coach Peter Nowak seemed to indicate that fan and media criticism of Ruiz was at least partially to blame.