Romell Quioto’s cushion header settled the ball down for Amar Sejdic. The 23-year-old making only his third MLS start of the season was having a decent game despite his team trailing by two.
Sejdic plays with awareness, seeking a better-placed colleague when in possession. There wasn’t one. He moved forward, smartly cutting across the tracking run of Sergio Santos, manufacturing more space and time. Twenty-five yards from goal he let’s fly, the ball whizzes between both Union centre-backs, and wide of Tarbell’s outstretched arm... the net bustles.
The 2019 SuperDraft pick had just scored his first-ever MLS goal hauling his team back into a game they should ultimately have tied. It was hardly his fault they didn’t, for again it was a moment of magic from Sejdic that conjured up the gilt-edged opportunity from which Romell Quioto could have... should have... levelled the game.
Quioto’s clever run was matched by Sejdic’s exquisitely threaded ball, perfectly weighted, but for once Quioto’s finishing lacked precision, the final act clipping Blake in the Union goal, the ball gliding agonizingly wide.
But it was the culmination of a good 180 minutes of football from the former University of Maryland national championship winning captain.
“I thought Amar was outstanding [against Philadelphia] not only in the second-half,” said Thierry Henry. “I thought he was good also against Columbus. On and off the ball, every time we had an opportunity it was because he came to hold the ball. Even with his back to the goal.”
The Impact coach spoke highly of Sejdic’s recent work in training, adding the player hadn’t done so well earlier in the season when given a couple of opportunities in the team.
“He didn’t show enough in those games and to go back in the team he has to train well. And Amar has been training well. Doing more before training, more after training, listening to what we want. And right now he’s taking advantage.
“I thought he played well against Columbus away from home, it’s not easy to go and play against that team. Against Philly playing in that midfield against that team? Not easy at all. He managed and more than managed. He should’ve had an assist, but we’re not going to go there again.
“But I thought he was brilliant and right now he is responding. He wasn’t responding before.”
Henry was keen to point out too, that everyone’s place in the side must be earned, reputations count for little, you don’t get in by being ‘somebody’, and that hard work will always reap dividends.
“You can only make your way into this team with how you train. It is not a ‘due’ because you are from somewhere or whatever, that you’re going to play.
“At the end of the day, guys that are training well and working hard will always get their reward. Amar has been working extremely hard in training and eventually he’s going to force your hand.
“And he’s responded in the game, so that’s good for us and it’s good for him.”