By most measures, the Union played very well Saturday.
They outshot their opponent, the Colorado Rapids, 16-2. The Rapids could not manage a shot on goal. The Union possessed the ball for 61 percent of the game, drew five yellow cards against Colorado, and played the last 30 minutes with a one-man advantage.
Despite all that, the Union did not score. They drew with the Rapids, 0-0, in the season opener at PPL Park.
"We created enough chances to get three points today," manager Jim Curtin said. "I look at it as two points dropped."
Colorado committed 23 fouls and had five yellow cards. Defender Bobby Burling drew two of them. The first came in the 24th minute for shoving down forward C.J. Sapong. He was sent off in the 68th minute after tripping midfielder Sebastian Le Toux.
Curtin said he was happy with his team's defensive performance, as well as its ability to get good looks and balls into the box. He's confident that the team will be able to score if it continues to play like it did Saturday.
"We kept a clean sheet at home, which is something that we've stressed all preseason," Curtin said. "The goals will come as the group moves forward."
The Union played a 4-4-2, which Curtin said was the formation that the team had the most success with during preseason. The manager said he put the best players from preseason on the field to start the game.
"We are still working on it," Le Toux said. "It was a bit difficult in the first half, playing in a 4-4-2. We did it in the preseason, but playing at PPL is always a different atmosphere."
Both starting forwards, Sapong and Fernando Aristeguieta, played their first games for the Union. While Curtin didn't think a lack of familiarity between the Union forwards and midfielders led to the scoreless tie, Le Toux said it was part of the reason the team didn't score.
Le Toux said the wind and the hard playing surface made it difficult to score.
"It was a bit difficult, even with a man down, to find some possibility to score the goal," Le Toux said.
Sapong took an elbow to the head in the 45th minute from Rapids defender Axel Sjoberg. Cristian Maidana replaced Sapong at halftime. Sapong has a concussion and will be reevaluated Monday.