The Union outlast Vancouver, starting first win streak in club history

Posted on 26 March 2011 by Breton Bonnette

A long distance rivalry was born on the Delaware River as the Union beat the Vancouver Whitecaps in a physical, at times reckless encounter. A sell out of 18,591 witnessed the Union and the Whitecaps trade blows in a stalemate that was finally broken by new acquisition Carlos Ruiz in the 77th minute.

The Union were put on their back foot early on as Vancouver pushed forward to attack right out of the gates. The team that might have remained frazzled last year was able to keep shape, collect themselves, and push right back on Vancouver. With Justin Mapp out with injury, however, however, the Union attack didn’t have much of a conductor to spread the field and attack the wings. After the first 15 minutes, when things were cordial, the play became one of which team can be more physically dominant. Eric Hassli, Vancouver’s two goal hero from their debut, kept at it with marker Danny Califf and occasionally sparred with Sheanon Williams. Eventually, his aggression earned a yellow card which would eventually prove crucial and prompted a flurry of reckless challenges on both sides here and there. By the end of the half, three Union players (Califf, Nakazawa, and Mwanga) added cautions of their own and Vancouver’s Nizar Khalfan got in on the party.

The second half started off on the same foot with Vancouver defender Alain Rochat grabbing a yellow card of his own. The Union’s offense was starting to put things together for the most part after a nice run but it still wasn’t threatening much. The whole course of the game, however, changed dramatically after recklessness took over in the 57th minute. Vancouver’s first week hero Hassli hit zero after an errant tackle. The challenge sealed his exit leaving the Whitecaps in a tough spot. Eventual goalscorer Carlos Ruiz ramped up the pressure in the 65th and 66th minute with close-range chances off of corner kicks. One was parried nicely by Vancouver keeper Joe Cannon and the other blocked but it was a sign that the trifecta of Mwanga, Le Toux, and Ruiz were ready to wake up. The attack heated up but never broke through even with a perfectly positioned Le Toux set piece. One that looked exactly like the free kick that broke the 2-2 in 2010’s Home Opener vs. DC United. It wasn’t to be, however.

The breakthrough finally came  in the 76th minute after a deflected shot from Stefani Miglioranzi fell to the feet of LeToux. With only the goalkeeper in front of him, instead of rocketing on net, he laid a pass to a wide open Ruiz who couldn’t miss. After Ruiz opened his account, the Union remained in control the rest of the way distributing wide, testing the resolve of an undermanned Whitecaps side, and polishing off another sloppy win. Carlos Valdes and company continued to shut down any Vancouver advances as the Union fought to consecutive shutouts and a seat atop the Eastern Conference standings.

It was a huge win once again for the Philadelphia defense with Califf and Valdes starring yet again. These two victores are ones that would have escaped the Union the majority of time in 2010.  Even 2010’s captain Califf is aware of that (quotes to come). It’s a confidence brought on by the presence and experience of a Carlos Valdes, Brian Carroll, and Faryd Mondragon. A minimization of the dramatics and defensive miscues that led to easily conceded goals. If it continues and the Union attack starts to gel as all are expecting, this could be a playoff bound team.

Player quotes, photos, and player ratings to come. Keep checking back!

Philadelphia Union Starting XI

—————————-Mondragon—————————

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

——————-Carroll———Miglioranzi——————-

Le Toux————————————————Nakazawa

———————-Mwanga——–Ruiz———————–

Substitutions: Roger Torres, Jack McInerney, Gabriel Farfan

Substitutes Not Used: Chris Agorsor, Michael Farfan, Levi Houapeu, Thorne Holder.

Vancouver Whitecaps Starting XI

—————————-Cannon——————————-

Leathers——–Janicki————Rochat————Wagner

Khalfan———Dunfield———–Koffie————–Teibert

—————–Hassli—————A. Harris——————-

Substitutions: Wes Knight, Camilo Sanvezzo, Long Tan

Substitutes Not Used: Jeb Brovsky, Bilal Duckett, Brian Sylvestre, Kevin Harmse.

Scoring Summary:

PHI – Carlos Ruiz 1 (Sebastien Le Toux 1) 77’

Misconduct Summary:

VAN — Eric Hassli (caution; Reckless Foul) 25

PHI — Kyle Nakazawa (caution; Reckless Foul) 26

PHI — Danny Califf (caution; Dissent) 31

PHI — Danny Mwanga (caution; Reckless Foul) 35

VAN — Nizar Khalfan (caution; Reckless Tackle) 46+

VAN — Alain Rochat (caution; Reckless Tackle) 48

VAN — Eric Hassli (caution; Reckless Foul) 57

VAN — Eric Hassli (ejection; Second Caution) 57

Referee: Yader Reyes

Referee’s Assistants: Craig Lowry; Paul Scott
4th Official:
Chris Penso
Weather:
Clear and 45 degrees
Attendance:
18,591

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