Tag Archive | "Roger Torres"

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ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 4: Watch out, 2010 Ferreira is back!

Posted on 12 April 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Dimunitive attackers had their way in Week 4. FC Dallas’ David Ferreira, Philadelphia’s Roger Torres, and Houston’s Danny Cruz and Brad Davis (okay, to call Davis diminutive might be a bit of a stretch) all had significant impact on their respective matches this past weekend. Salt Lake displayed their depth, landing a “reserve” on the Best XI after a sound 2-0 defeat of New England. The Union, meanwhile, posted a third 1-0 shutout for the season. This one over the New York Red Bulls and an increasingly familiar figure was a big part of shutting down an attack that boasts Henry, Agudelo, and the speedy Dane Richards. 

ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 4

GK: Kasey Keller (Seattle)

The old man has still got it in him there’s no disputing that. Thankfully, for Sounders fans, Zakuani and Rosales have spearheaded a reawakening for Seattle’s offense but it was Keller’s performance that secured the win vs. Chicago. The veteran had clutch saves on a particularly active and impressive Chicago offense.

DEF: Carlos Valdes (Philadelphia)

The gatekeeper to the penalty area was stingy with entry against New York, as Valdes played ballhawk in the Union’s final third, refusing to let anything get over his head.  Further, when tested directly, Carlos dispossessed his man straight up several times.  Some may say that Thierry Henry had a down game, but that is downplaying the job Carlos did to make that the case. Valdes was the most important factor in ensuring that the Union’s goal remained untouched for a 3rd time in 4 games. – Sam Toma, ASN Philly

It’s Valdes’ second time making ASN’s Best XI, to go with one Bench appearance.

DEF: Chad Marshall (Columbus)

The Crew have now posted three consecutive shutouts. Unfortunately, for Marshall – the leader of the Columbus defense – the offense is having trouble with consistency. Marshall, in his second consecutive Best XI, kept the Goats silent and organized and kept a defense, that started 2011 on the wrong foot, composed and impenetrable.

DEF: Brek Shea (FC Dallas)

Could the Shea experiment at centerback be over now? Schellas Hyndman moved Brek Shea out to left back in their 3-0 win over Colorado and a lot of good things happened. Sound defensively, Shea also made dangerous overlapping runs that kept Colorado guessing and allowed David Ferreira and Fabian Castillo to roam free. A left flank of Shea and Castillo – even though it’s still early in the season – could be one of the best in league.

MID: Collen Warner (Real Salt Lake)

Real Salt Lake has its’ sights set on winning the CONCACAF Champions League so a team made up mostly of reserves trotted out to take on undefeated New England side at Foxboro. Led by Warner, Salt Lake showed it had depth, handily dispatching Shalrie Joseph and friends 2-0 and giving guys like Morales, Rimando, and Olave some much needed rest. Warner played the architect in the win, assisting on both goals.

MID: Brad Davis (Houston)

The Dynamo grabbed their first three points of the season, blitzing a Vancouver team that were missing key pieces and coming off a midweek game. Davis, providing the service on all three Houston goals, made sure . The traffic flowed through the veteran playmaker and Davis distributed well. Davis wasn’t alone, though, getting help from Danny Cruz on the wings.

MID: Roger Torres (Philadelphia

Came on for Carlos Ruiz in the 67th minute.  Waited all of 30 seconds to change the game (we were actually able to time it at 13 seconds from the time the restart occurred to the time the ball hit the back of the net), barely staying onside on a breakaway with Danny Mwanga off of a turnover, receiving the ball and calmly putting it past Bouna Coundoul into the bottom right hand corner of the goal.  For the rest of his time on the pitch, Torres was an unquestionably positive influence on the match for the Union.  Torres got into space, kept possession and switched fields effectively, all of which wasted precious seconds and served to prevent the Red Bulls from ever mounting a serious challenge to the Philadelphia goal in the waning moments.  Most importantly, he turned the atmosphere from a healthy buzz to simply electric, whipping the supporters into a frenzy with his goal and then keeping them on the edge of their seats every time he touched the ball.  Easily the performance of the year thus far for young Torres.Sam Toma, ASN Philly

MID: Danny Cruz (Houston)

At times it seemed like Vancouver had forgotten Cruz was even on the pitch. The speedster had his way up and down the flanks and if his finishing was any better, he could have thrilled Robertson Stadium even more with multiple tallies. Instead, a great performance from a young player who the Dynamo expect a lot out of this season and in the future.

MID: Steve Zakuani (Seattle)

His gamewinner alone should earn him a spot on the Best XI. The “easy pass” doesn’t come so easy to Zakuani but when given the chance, he has the ability to take over a game. It was White and the former Zip that linked up to get the go-ahead goal and eventual gamewinner in the 25th minute vs. Chicago. He terrorized the Fire defense and had the presence of mind to sense Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson leaving the near post open instead of playing the easy (and probably smart) ball at the penalty spot.

FWD: David Ferreira (FC Dallas) *ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK*

Sure, Ferreira probably would rather drop two goals in last year’s MLS Cup final to lead FC Dallas to victory but  – seeing as that didn’t happen – why not settle for a rematch at the outset of the 2011 season? The diminutive attacker was omnipotent in a 3-0 drubbing of defending champs Colorado, scoring twice and earning Major League Soccer’s Player of the Week award (as well as ours!). Even if he only managed one goal, his goal celebration should have landed him on the Best XI as well. Ferreira pulled a pacifier out of his shorts

FWD: O’Brian White (Seattle)

Just when you think Sigi Schmid may opt to start someone else at striker, White starts showing why he was there in the first place. The UConn product powered home a beautiful header to start the scoring in the 7th minute before the Fire’s Diego Chaves equalized no more than a minute later. Not content to give up the win at home, White supplied Zakuani with the distribution that led to the gamewinner.

Bench: Teemu Tainio (RBNY), Daniel Hernandez (FC Dallas), Bobby Boswell (Houston), Stefan Frei (Toronto FC), Fabian Castillo (FC Dallas), David Beckham (Los Angeles), Chris Korb (DC United), Diego Chaves (Chicago), Chris Schuler (Salt Lake), Davide Chiumiento (Vancouver)

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MLS Best XI, Week 1

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Victory over New York stirs Frenzy and Foreboding

Posted on 11 April 2011 by Breton Bonnette

A second post from new ASN Philly contributor Matt Acciani. Let him know what you think in the Comments section below.

The Celebration, Contributed by ASN Philly's Lee Pease

Let me start with a disclaimer: I am no chicken little. I have no wish to create a perception of watching a clear sky then screaming that the heavens are crashing down. Saturday night was phenomenal and there is little to match the rush of beating a favored New York team, but once the high subsided the crash was a bit harder for me than I would like. I would like to classify myself a pragmatist. Staying honest with myself, I feel as though this match was not won by the Union so much as it was lost by Tim Ream (thanks, by the way!). A dearth of true scoring chances left the coach in me wrestling with the fan. One part of me is ready to charge through the streets, while another is preaching caution. The season is young, and Philly fans know heartbreak too well.

If I’m Piotr Nowak, here are my positive takeaways:

  • Mwanga and Torres are super-subs.*
    • *Mwanga seems, on this team, at this point in time, to be best suited coming off the bench. He thrived in a similar role at the beginning of last season. Coming in against a tired defense that has been tormented by Ruiz and Seba should bring a number of opportunities. The operative word is SHOULD. Torres also seems best suited to his current role. I would love to see his spark on the field over the course of a full game, but I think there are two things holding him back – his physical strength and that he avoids his right foot like many American kids avoid vegetables. He actually might like his right foot even less than that. If he can improve I think he will be one of the top midfielders in the league.
  • Okugo showed he is more than capable in the center of the park.
  • Four games in, the team has more shutouts than through the entire inaugural season.

Here are my concerns: 

  • There is still no connection between the defense and the attack, which means there is little to no possession over the course of a game.*
    • *The asterisk here is that the last ten minutes of the game, in which the Union actually held the ball well, are not indicative of the game’s efforts. It’s far more difficult to maintain possession against a team at 0-0 or down a goal than it is against a team that is desperately chasing a game they had controlled.
  • The commitment to defend is great from the players, but the concern for defense may be preventing the offense from developing.
  • The strikers are not operating as a unit, and typically find themselves isolated when possession is finally created.

When Adrian Healey compares the Union to Stoke City, Philly fans should grimace. Stoke is a solid mid-table team that is capable of competing with any team in the Premiership on any given day, mainly through a grinding physical defense and attacking through long balls, but is not a team that is capable of maintaining excellence over the course of a full campaign. For the Union, three wins in four games is phenomenal, but four games do not a season make.

The 4-4-2 obviously worked better Saturday than it has been, largely due to the fact that Mapp and Daniel actually manned the flanks. I still stand by my assertion last week that the 4-5-1 is the best lineup for this team.

Over the course of the game there was very little movement off the ball. As the ball moved up the field and past players, the Union men were generally content to watch and hold defensively. This typically left Ruiz and Seba to try and work through the Red Bull defense with support from only one to two midfielders. Hence the inability to maintain any real possession. A standard 4-4-2 requires the outside mids to shuttle forward and back throughout the game, thereby leaving the flanks open to counters. A 4-5-1 provides added midfield cover by encouraging the attack to build gradually by playing up to a forward, having them release the ball to a midfielder, then playing an overlapping runner, allowing the team to drive forward together in numbers. Ideally (see Spain’s national team, or Barcelona) a 4-5-1 turns into seven or eight men attacking. The width comes from the outside backs and the extra holding midfielder provides additional cover for the defense.

Compliments of Roger Torres, Contributed by ASN Philly's Lee Pease

Since the Union are so committed to defending as a unit, I see this as the only true option to play with any type of sustained attack while still, if implemented correctly, providing the necessary defensive strength to maintain what the Union have developed so well so far. This also addresses the issue that the defense is unable to connect well with the attackers. I am unwilling to believe the lack of control in the midfield is due to a lack of talent. Instead, too much responsibility is being placed on the center mids. While Okugo acquitted himself well, in my eyes he is a step up from Miglioranzi but not the attacking answer needed. Coupling him with Carroll behind Le Toux would, in my mind, create a devastatingly effective midfield adept at winning AND maintaining possession.

At the very least, the latest version of the 4-4-2 used Saturday could be re-shaped slightly to provide a similar effect. Le Toux and Ruiz spent a great deal of the early part of the game playing side by side with very little success. Without changing the lineup, if Le Toux drops underneath Ruiz slightly you essentially get a 4-5-1 lite. Le Toux will see more of the ball, and Ruiz should have more support when he receives the ball. This would have the added benefit of opening the corners more to release Mapp and Daniel into runs I would love to see more of. If Nowak is not in favor of these types of changes, let’s hope we can carry the fortune we saw Saturday (where the woodwork was given save of the game . . . twice). My heart wants to surrender to the Union, but I can’t quite shake the warning bells from my head.

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Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls: Player Ratings

Posted on 11 April 2011 by stoma

GK Faryd Mondragon (6.5)- Faced with rebounding following the first goal conceded and first loss of his MLS career then a PK loss in the Open Cup on Wednesday, the captain was a little more fired up than usual against New York.  Given that his default setting is “uber intense”, referee Alex Prus and his assistants were in for a long night.  All in all, a solid outing for Mondragon, as he caught a couple of breaks but did what was asked of him throughout.  Neither of Juan Agudelo’s near misses, the shot in transition in the 21st minute that hit the left post and the strike in alone against Faryd that struck the crossbar in the 31st minute, would have been soft by any stretch had they found the back of the net.  Other than those, there was not a whole lot of action for Mondragon, who only faced 1 shot on goal and recorded 1 save and was never seriously tested once the Union went up.

LB Jordan Harvey (7)- Not a lot of opportunity for Harvey to get forward in this match, but for good reason: Harvey was tasked with handling the blazingly fast Dane Richards, which he did with excellent results.  Richards never even sniffed the goal and rare was the occasion where Harvey needed help in keeping him covered, which could have created openings elsewhere.  Jordan was given one job against New York, and he performed it successfully.

CB Danny Califf (6.5)- Another solid game for the former captain.  Nothing spectacular, but he did his job with little drama.  It is becoming apparent that, paired with the quicker, flashier Valdes, Danny will play the role of stabilizer in front of goal, which certainly seems to suit him well.  Califf did have the only major defensive lapse of the night, allowing Juan Agudelo to shrug him off and then lose his mark before seeing his strike hit the crossbar in the 31st minute.  No points off for missing on a scoring opportunity in the 17th minute when Justin Mapp’s free kick found its way through to his feet, although it was comical.  Perhaps Danny thought that since he had scored in the opener off of his left foot, that was his strong side.  Our humble advice is to use the right boot next time, sir.

CB Carlos Valdes (8 *ASN PHILLY MAN OF THE MATCH*)- The gatekeeper to the penalty area was stingy with entry against New York, as Valdes played ballhawk in the Union’s final third, refusing to let anything get over his head.  Further, when tested directly, Carlos dispossessed his man straight up several times.  Some may say that Thierry Henry had a down game, but that is downplaying the job Carlos did to make that the case. Valdes was the most important factor in ensuring that the Union’s goal remained untouched for a 3rd time in 4 games.

RB Sheanon Williams (6.5)- A complete effort from Sheanon on Saturday, as he contributed in his usual manner by pushing forward effectively and also helped to put the clamps down on Dwayne DeRosario defensively.  Sent several crosses in that created scoring opportunities, most notably in the 17th minute when his cross resulted in the Roy Miller handball that led to Justin Mapp’s dangerous free kick and in the 81st minute when the ball he sent in was deflected out to Stefani Miglioranzi, who one-timed the ball high over the bar.  His performance against New York proved what a weapon he can be when firing on all cylinders.

MID Justin Mapp (5.5)- A welcome sight back in the first XI, Mapp provided the stability that the team has come to depend upon on the wing, linking as well as joining the attack on a consistent basis.  His timing may have been a touch off, as he missed Le Toux on an easy through ball to send Seba in alone against the keeper in the 34th minute.   Still, a good first game back and a relief for Union supporters to see him getting after it and not showing any obvious effects of a lingering injury. Came off for Danny Mwanga in the 59th minute.

MID Stefani Miglioranzi (4.5)- For the 2nd straight game, Migs took something off the table.  Coupled with a couple of questionable angles at tackle attempts was Stefani’s inability to avoid telegraphing every single pass he made.  Compared to last season, when Miglioranzi received mostly high marks, the problem is most likely not that he has become any worse himself, just that everyone around him has flourished and improved while he has remained the same.  We wondered here if Eduardo Coudet was redundant playing in the same midfield as Migs; now the question is whether Migs is redundant in a midfield that already has Brian Carroll.

MID Brian Carroll (N/A)- Strained his right hamstring trying to explode for the ball early and had to come off for Amobi Okugo in just the 6th minute.  According to Carroll post-match, the injury is not expected to be an issue going forward.

MID Keon Daniel (6)- Having earned a start in regular season play after his excellent showing in the 2nd half against Los Angeles, Daniel had another effective outing, if not as visibly stellar as his debut.  However, in addition to playing up the wing, Keon proved valuable in tracking back to help out defensively on the vast speed of New York’s attack, particularly Dane Richards and Jan Gunnar Solli, who was perpetually pushing forward.

FWD Sebastien Le Toux (6)- The return of Justin Mapp and Keon Daniel’s inclusion in the starting XI allowed Le Toux to start the match up front.  And this would have worked wonders, as Seba was able to receive the ball in dangerous positions numerous times.  However, there was one problem: Le Toux had apparently managed to leave his first touch on the training ground.  Time after time, Sebastien was left with one man to take on between him and the goalkeeper, but he could never find his way around.  Still, it is clear that Seba needs to play up front in order to maximize his impact on the game and, not to sound like a broken record, but the effort he puts forth every single game is, in most cases, going to overcome any deficiencies in his game on a particular night.

FWD Carlos Ruiz (6.5)- Began the match with a keen sense of the team’s need for offense (or at least offensive opportunities), and tested Bouna Coundoul from distance twice, catching him off his line the first time and seriously challenging him the second.  When the team sputtered in the midfield in the middle of the match, Ruiz went out and got himself the touches he wasn’t getting through the normal run of play.  He even managed to intercept a pass and would have found himself on a one-man breakaway but for an unlucky bounce of the ball backward and over his head.  As has been the case throughout this young season, Carlos also did his job getting under the skin of the New York defense, drawing a yellow card on speedster Dane Richards for a reckless challenge in the 29th minute.   Came off for Roger Torres in the 67th minute.

MID Amobi Okugo (6.5)- Came on for an injured Brian Carroll in the 6th minute and was able to assert himself into the action.  Perhaps it was an uptick in confidence following his highly positive campaign with the national team U-20’s, perhaps just a continuation of the development Amobi had already begun to exhibit during the preseason, but we anticipate Okugo will make a real push for inclusion in the first XI going forward this season.  He showed that he has the ability to be the engine in the middle and more than hold his own defensively.  Depending on what Piotr Nowak and the coaching staff want to do with the formation in the middle, look for Okugo to replace Miglioranzi on a regular basis if current trends continue.

FWD Danny Mwanga (6)– Came on for Justin Mapp in the 59th minute as part of a short-lived three-attacker look from the Union.  This match was tailor-made for Danny, with its wide-open spaces and room down the flanks to operate.  He used the space to draw fouls and keep possession in the New York defensive area.  Mwanga’s efforts to disrupt initiation of New York’s build from the back found the ultimate reward in the 68th minute when he deftly intercepted an attempted outlet by Tim Ream and fed Roger Torres for the match’s sole tally.

MID Roger Torres (7.5)- Came on for Carlos Ruiz in the 67th minute.  Waited all of 30 seconds to change the game (we were actually able to time it at 13 seconds from the time the restart occurred to the time the ball hit the back of the net), barely staying onside on a breakaway with Danny Mwanga off of a turnover, receiving the ball and calmly putting it past Bouna Coundoul into the bottom right hand corner of the goal.  For the rest of his time on the pitch, Torres was an unquestionably positive influence on the match for the Union.  Torres got into space, kept possession and switched fields effectively, all of which wasted precious seconds and served to prevent the Red Bulls from ever mounting a serious challenge to the Philadelphia goal in the waning moments.  Most importantly, he turned the atmosphere from a healthy buzz to simply electric, whipping the supporters into a frenzy with his goal and then keeping them on the edge of their seats every time he touched the ball.  Easily the performance of the year thus far for young Torres.

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Union 1, New York 0: Supersub Torres gets his first to sink Red Bulls

Posted on 09 April 2011 by Breton Bonnette

In front of a PPL Park record crowd, a rivalry and intensity continues to build between the Union and the Red Bulls. The rivalry between both team’s supporters, however, feels like it has been around for years. The supporters of both the Union and the Red Bulls were in full voice for a nationally televised I-95 derby earlier tonight creating an atmosphere that was borderline deafening  as well as a back and forth, game-long supporters standoff that was complemented by an exciting, free-flowing, attack-oriented 90+ minutes of play.

Not even the atmosphere, however, could change the fact that the Union were still searching for that gamechanger. A role Le Toux played last year but Seba had yet to put his mark on a game this season. Enter Danny Mwanga and Roger Torres, both second half substitutes. After a wide open affair for the brunt of the game, in which each team took turns launching counterattacks, a New York defensive mistake left the door wide open for the Union. Mwanga and Torres just walked right in, made themselves at home with Mwanga doing the dirty work and Torres supplying the gamewinner, his first goal in a Union . The result sent New York, and a listless Thierry Henry and Dwayne DeRosario, back to Red Bull Arena with their first loss.

Philadelphia Union Starting XI

———————————Mondragon———————————

Williams————-Califf——————–Valdes————–Harvey

———————-Carroll——————Miglioranzi——————

Mapp—————————————————————-K. Daniel

———————–Le Toux—————–Ruiz—————————

Red Bull New York Starting XI

————————————Coundoul———————————-

Solli——————Ream——————-Marquez—————Miller

————————————Tainio————————————–

Richards———————–De Rosario————————Lindpere

———————–Agudelo—————-T. Henry———————-

Scoring Summary:

PHI — Roger Torres 1 (Danny Mwanga 1) 68

Misconduct Summary:

NY — Rafael Marquez (caution; Dissent) 14
NY — Dane Richards (caution; Reckless Tackle) 29
PHI — Danny Mwanga (caution; Reckless Tackle) 77
NY — Roy Miller (caution; Reckless Tackle) 82

Referee: Alex Prus

Referee’s Assistants: Rob Fereday; Corey Parker
4th Official:
Mark Kadlecik
Attendance:
19,027
Time of Game:
1:50
Weather:
Cloudy and 62 degrees

 

Much more to come…including an extended game report, photos, player ratings, and player quotes/video.


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Union vs DC-66

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Le Toux leads the Union to a decidedly “Philly” home opener win

Posted on 11 April 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Le TouxIt was a different game night for the Philadelphia Union this time around. A little over two weeks after a 2-0 loss to the Sounders in Seattle, the Union gave their supporters a home opener to remember. Continue Reading

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First Kick 2010: Hey, it’s a start…

Posted on 26 March 2010 by Breton Bonnette

ASN Philly’s First Kick sights were taken in at PJ Whelihan’s in Haddonfield, N.J. (the only pub partner in South Jersey). Amidst a crowd of over 50 Union fans packed into the back bar was an atmosphere of tempered expectations and genuine excitement. We’ll have pictures and a couple fan reactions from the Partner Pub Event in Haddonfield up soon. On to the run down…

With a delightfully bizarre line-up (see below) that included two drafted rookies and two youngsters that had never played in a Major League Soccer match before, the Union fell yesterday night to the Seattle Sounders, 2-0, on first-half goals from Brad Evans and Fredy Montero. Mwanga and Stahl were the Union rookies in action while 18-year old Roger Torres and Dave Myrie had never seen an MLS pitch before. As for the bizarre starting XI? Michael Orozco at defensive midfielder, Danny Mwanga at attacking midfielder, I was a little weirded out.

———————–Seitz—————————-

Myrie———Califf———-Stahl———–Harvey

———————–Orozco—————————

Torres————–Mwanga—————Jacobson

———–Moreno————Le Toux—————

The long and short of it is, the Union played relatively well. If you work on minimizing mistakes, the game could have ended differently. No one will disagree that there are true prospects out there but there were also a couple glaring miscalculations. Danny Mwanga in the midfield is one of them. That shouldn’t happen. Why not Torres behind the strikers and a guy like Nick Zimmerman off to the right. Anyways, onto the player ratings:

PHILADELPHIA UNION (we will have player ratings after every game)

GK: Chris Seitz (6) – a decent debut for the young keeper, I think he will get better with time, made a couple key saves

DF: Jordan Harvey (5)– enabled Montero to get that second goal and for the most part had trouble tracking Seattle’s right wing, wasn’t able to push forward as much as Myrie

DF: Danny Califf (6) – Did well for the most part but how do you not realize that the ref is going to be a bit “sensitive” and “card happy” during the first game of the season

DF: Dave Myrie (4) – Beaten on the first goal as he was laboring to catch up with Zakuani who laid it off to a wide-open Brad Evans, his attacking runs were promising however

DF: Toni Stahl (4) – Not too shabby of a first 40 minutes but the red card killed us, I can’t wait to see him in a full 90 which unfortunately is not going to be for a while

MF: Michael Orozco (5)– His job is to disrupt possession, he was doing a decent job of it to himself…too many needless turnovers but when he pushed back into defense after Stahl’s red card, he looked more himself

MF: Roger Torres (6) – This kid is only 18. Showed real promise though, at times, a little lost on the ball. Most dangerous player on the field for Philadelphia. Gets our first Player of the Match nod.

MF: Danny Mwanga (4) – Why was he in central midfield? I’m not sure this experiment, calculated move, or whatever it was is going to work out. But I’ll give it another game to fully decide.

MF: Andrew Jacobson (5) – largely ineffective and uninvolved but he didn’t look too out of place

FW: Alejandro Moreno (5) – his work ethic is second to none, I just wish it would lead eventually to production, still was dangerous however when the Union were a man down

FW: Seb Le Toux (6)– he was there, tracked back on defense, had a few chances here or there but largely didn’t look somebody who was “poised to have a great year” as Nowak says, time will tell

Substitutes:

MF: Amobi Okugo (NA) – 20 minutes but there was very little to be done

FW: Jack McInerney (NA) – He only played 12 minutes but many liked what they saw.

MF: Stefani Miglioranzi (6)– not sure why he wasn’t starting in the first place but he came on at the half for Danny Mwanga, provided a strong presence in the midfield all second half

So five yellow cards, an ejection, and a bitter coach later – the Philadelphia Union ended their first game in Major League Soccer. Despite the mistakes and the scoreline, we must realize it’s going to take some time. I really do believe these guys could gel well enough to make a run for a playoff spot (despite my incessant pessimism), even without a major signing. If Nowak does happen to bring in a proven midfield force, we could see a whole different Union squad near the end of the season.

It must be said. Major kudos to the traveling fans – over 150 Sons of Ben and Union supporters – who repped our city well. Despite the loss, hope you guys had a damn good time. I was three thousand miles away and I know I did.

More First Kick coverage to follow. Next stop – the Linc! Let us know first impressions. Who disappointed? What did you think of Nowak’s decisions? Who impressed?

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Player Profile: Roger Torres

Posted on 06 March 2010 by Breton Bonnette

 
 

Position: Midfielder

Number: #8

Born: July 13, 1991

Birthplace: Barrancabermeja, Colombia

Height: 5’6″

Weight: 137

Previous Teams: America de Cali

Salary: $96,000 (2010)

How acquired (Union): Acquired on March 6, 2010 from Colombian side America de Cali on loan with an option to buy.

Stats

2010 with Philadelphia: 21 games, 10 starts, 6 assists

Did you know?

Discovered by the Union’s head of scouting Diego Gutierrez while in Colombia on vacation.

Was part of an Envigado youth program that developed players like Fredy Guarin (Porto) and future star James Rodriguez (Porto)

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Well looky here, a new player for the Union!

Posted on 06 March 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Roger Torres, photo courtesy of www.philadelphiaunion.com

Though it was about 99.9% clear that 18-year old Roger Torres was in the Union’s preseason camp, no one could really tell you with absolute certainty. Well Union fans, you have your answer (it’s a yes) and even more, we can tell you that the Union liked the creative Colombian so much, they signed him. Now how sneaky is that – no mention but for a secretive addition to the roster page decked out in Union garb.

He will have youth international status (which means a senior contract most likely) and though not confirmed, as of yet, Torres will probably be with us on a one or two year loan (with an option to buy of course). The diminutive playmaker, at one point, earned himself a starting position on a strong America de Cali team before eventually being forced to look for opportunities somewhere else. Torres came up through the Envigado youth system, one that has produced several Colombian talents – most notably Freddy Guarin (Porto). Most importantly, however, Torres has shown well in several of the scrimmages that have  been “open to the public”.

This signing is one for the future undoubtedly but many Union fans might be scratching their heads, wondering what’s with all the youth? Torres gives us a fourth player at 18 or younger with four other rookies – that’s including Noone if and when he signs – on the squad as well. It’s evident Nowak and Hackworth spent most of their coaching careers grooming up and coming prospects but that’s putting a lot on untested shoulders. Though I don’t see Torres taking part in it, Harrisburg and Reading could wind up very happy affiliates at many points this season.

If you missed the YouTube clip we found a while back of Torres and his skills, please re-acquaint yourself. And when all is said and done, we probably shouldn’t be that surprised at the secrecy and or the signing. After all, the first rumor surfaced about Roger Torres in late November of 2009!

Regardless, welcome aboard Roger. I hope you’re not a Franco Neill.

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