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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




Le Toux————————————————Nakazawa


Substitutions: Roger Torres, Jack McInerney, Gabriel Farfan

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

Vancouver Whitecaps Starting XI




—————–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
Clear and 45 degrees

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PPL Park alive but the Union falter against the Crew

Posted on 05 August 2010 by Breton Bonnette

It certainly didn’t feel like a Thursday night at PPL Park. The stadium was close to full (18,001), the River End in full voice, and a game that – on paper – certainly had the making of a high-octane thriller.

The Union, unfortunately, weren’t able to deliver a win, falling victim to the heat and a pair of Steven Lenhart headers. The conditions certainly played a part in the 2-1 loss, dampening a generally fast-paced Union offense and wiping out any last minute heroics. As far as the run of play goes, the Union had their chances but aside from Sebastien Le Toux, little troubled the Eastern Conference leaders.

Justin Mapp earned his first start for the league’s newest team and became acquainted with the  ball early on. It was Most of the battle in the first half was stuck at midfield. A testament to that fact was that it was defensive midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi who logged the first real chance of the match. The Union promptly woke up after that. Le Toux and Alejandro Moreno were particularly lively up front the whole first half, almost combining at first on a one-two that was blocked initially by former Defender of the Year Chad Marshall. The ball popped out and Moreno was the first to get to it but big Andy Iro was there to snuff out his second attempt. Mapp continued his impressive play throughout, distributing well and shifting throughout Nowak’s fluid attack but everything generated all around was missing that final touch home. The defense did well to keep a struggling Schelloto off the ball while balancing an insatiable need to get forward into the attack. With that said, the Crew found an opening after a turnover in the midfield. Emilio Renteria, quiet recently but still more than capable of finding net, faked a quick through ball to Steven Lenhart before firing from 25 yards out. Chris Seitz, proving he wasn’t fazed by last weekend’s fluke of a goal, met the rocket head on and parried it away. As fatigue set on, the organized nature of the game fell by the wayside. After an injury sent Miglioranzi to the bench, with rookie Nakazawa making his first appearance post-injury, the Crew found a goal against the grain. Argentinian legend Guillermo Barros Schelloto lined up a curling 35-yard set piece that found the head of Steven Lenhart for his third of the season. The Union pressed on earning a chance right before the whistle. Budding set-piece specialist Nakazawa drove a hard ball into goalmouth that fell at Fred’s feet. The Brazilian botched the redirect but Le Toux was there to collect, swivel, and find an opening. Notoriously aggressive Frankie Hejduk tracked the Frenchman but once Le Toux feinted and went the other way, all he could do was take his legs out. Ricardo Salazar called for the penalty and Le Toux converted his third penalty kick of the season to send this one into the second half all tied up.

It only took five minutes of the second half for first-half substitute Steven Lenhart to make Columbus coach Robert Warzycha look like a bonafide genius. A clever one-two combination sprung Emilio Renteria down the right flank. The Colombian raced to the edge of the box, paused and dropped a beautiful cross onto the head of Lenhart, inexplicably left free to attack the near post. And just like that, it was back to chasing for the equalizer for the Union. The minute Lenhart came in, he was causing Califf trouble and not once, but twice, the captain failed to manage the target striker. The Crew continued to pressure on several well-executed counter attacks led by Renteria. When the Union offense was raised, it was Le Toux who provided the close calls but very little to worry the Crew’s keeper. With the lead on the road, the Crew turned on the time-wasting with every stoppage of play. The offensive effort wasn’t needed, however, as it was on the Union to find the equalizer. Nowak’s answer to the challenge was seemingly Jack McInerney, who celebrated his 18th birthday with an 8-minute cameo. His first touch was a through ball that found it’s way deep into the Crew defense. A square ball fell back to the feet of McInerney who sent a screened ball towards the far post. What looked destined to trickle into the net was finally intercepted and ushered out of bounds by Hesmer. By injury time, the whole of PPL Park was restless and the Union gassed. The Crew ran out the time, sealing fate on the Union’s second defeat at home.

Though Mapp had a second half worth forgetting – as did the majority of the Union’s offense – it’s clear he should be a fixture in this starting lineup going forward. Other than Le Toux, he was the only one taking chances and eyeing up Hesmer’s net. Suspect marking from Danny Califf, however, and errant tackles from Harvey and Orozco Fiscal on the wings should spell cause for concern. Nowak analyzed post match, “There were two mistakes that we made today that cost us the game. That has been the story of the season so far. It’s like Groundhog Day. We have got to work on this, making the mistakes. We have got to keep the focus. We need to play the game efficient and keep it simple”.

The Union will head to Dallas in only three days time to take on one of the hottest squads in the league right now.

Player ratings, photos, and quotes from Mapp, Seitz, and Miglioranzi – who may have a groin strain – to follow over the next couple days. Despite the loss, we also witnessed a bunch of little Union fans gathering around Roger Torres for autographs.

Philadelphia Union Starting XI





————————–Moreno——————Le Toux—————————-

Columbus Crew Starting XI






Scoring Summary:

CLB — Steven Lenhart 3 (Guillermo Barros Schelotto 7) 43
PHI — Sebastien Le Toux 9 (penalty kick) 48+
CLB — Steven Lenhart 4 (Emilio Renteria 1) 50

Misconduct Summary:

CLB — Brian Carroll (caution; Reckless Foul) 37
PHI — Fred (caution; Reckless Foul) 42


Columbus Crew — William Hesmer, Danny O’Rourke, Chad Marshall, Andy Iro,Emmanuel Ekpo (Leandre Griffit 83), Shaun Francis, Brian Carroll, Frankie Hejduk, Emilio Renteria (Duncan Oughton 73), Jason Garey (Steven Lenhart 27), Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

Philadelphia Union — Chris Seitz, Cristian Arrieta, Danny Califf, Michael OrozcoFiscal, Jordan Harvey, Fred (Andrew Jacobson 77), Eduardo Coudet, Stefani Miglioranzi (Kyle Nakazawa 40), Justin Mapp (Jack McInerney 82), Alejandro Moreno, Sebastien Le Toux.

Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee’s Assistants: Paul Scott; Brian Poeschel
4th Official: Abiodun Okulaja
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Cloudy-and-83-degrees
Attendance: 18,001

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Union will feel hard done by tie with New England

Posted on 31 July 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Le TouxThe Union returned to league action after a whirlwind of international friendlies and a flurry of roster changes to end July. Young goalkeeper Brian Perk was shown the door while a trio of new players joined the Union fold. Veteran Justin Mapp, journeyman Eduardo Coudet, and local boy J.T. Noone were on hand to take in the battle between two in-form sides. The Revolution are coming off three straight 1-0 wins in SuperLiga play while the Union enjoyed wins over Celtic FC and Toronto FC – much to Preki’s dismay – and a hard-fought loss 1-0 to Manchester United.

Two of the three new additions saw time on the day as New England and Philadelphia settled for a 1-1 stalemate after creating plenty of chances. Marko Perovic, as he has been recently for the Revolution, was the deciding factor in the Revolution’s fate scoring a late, fluky free kick to steal a point from the industrious Union eleven.

Early on, Fred looked the liveliest providing some creativity but the final touch was lacking. On more than one occasion, Fred’s final decision was just a step off from connecting with forward Danny Mwanga and Alejandro Moreno. It wasn’t until the 14th minute that there was a definitive chance on net but in spite of the lively play by the Union, it was New England’s Sainey Nyassi that provided the heart-stopping moment. A fantastic build-up started by Marko Perovic led to a wide open shot from Nyassi that missed just wide of the far post. Play continued to build back and forth but Fred and the revolving forward trio of Le Toux, Moreno, and Mwanga finally broke through in the 25th minute. Pinpoint interplay from those three allowed Le Toux the space to rocket a rolling Mwanga ball into the top right corner catching New England’s Matt Reis off guard. Le Toux’s 8th goal of the season proved to the Union faithful that just because his first half of the season was All-Star worthy for Le Toux, that doesn’t mean he plans on letting up in the second half. Danny Mwanga deserves huge credit on the goal, holding off Emmanuel Osei to create enough room for Le Toux to curl it far post. After the goal, things got a little chippy out there, especially in the midfield. Joseph, tired of the pesky Union distributors, was booked after chopping Miglioranzi down about 30 yards out. Referee Jasen Anno did the right thing to minimize injury time and blow for the end of the first half.

The start of the second half was slow to begin with the physical nature of the game wearing several of the players down. Moreno saw more time on the ground then on his feet as Emmanuel Osei chipped at him throughout the half. A possible handball on Califf in the 54th minute left Zach Schilawski jumping up and down, hoping the referee would change his mind. Much to his dismay, the whistle stayed quiet.

With Eduardo Coudet already enjoying an impressive debut, fellow new addition Justin Mapp entered the game for Danny Mwanga in the 56th minute. Mapp’s entrance caused quite the stir from the raucous River End, a very warm welcome after such a hasty exit  from Chicago. New England showed real signs of life with the entrance of Kenny Mansally for Zach Schilawski and allowing talisman Shalrie Joseph to push forward. Twice, a scramble in the box almost led to a New England player poking the ball home. Joseph’s mere presence in the penalty box forced Danny Califf and Cristian Arrieta to clear in a hurried manner. The chippiness continued with potshots being taken on both ends but the Revs firmly getting the calls that counted. In the 71st minute, after a questionable foul called on Marko Perovic roughly 40 yards out, the Serbian attacker unleashed an ambitious dipper that bounced in front of Chris Seitz. The shot’s english bounced the ball up and over the diving Seitz to tie things up and end Seitz’s bid for his first MLS shutout, a product of consistent pressure on the counterattack. It was a goal even New England’s coach admitted was a bit “lucky”. Piotr Nowak did not hold Seitz accountable for the goal, blaming it instead on something in front of the goal or “maybe, it’s the Jabulani?” he joked. Jack McInerney entered in the 83rd minute for Coudet announcing Nowak’s intention of attacking for the three points. McInerney put fresh legs into the attack but it was the dangerous Perovic that almost negated his influence on the game finding space at the top of the box and cracking one just over the bar in the 84th minute. The physical play continued but Anno was content to let it continue as the Union pressed for yet another dramatic turn of events. In the 88th, a loose ball caromed off the omnipresent Le Toux. One hard touch later, Le Toux – six yards out – rocketed a shot that was blocked by Emmanuel Osei. Less than a minute later, Le Toux found space from marker Shalrie Joseph and looked free to head home a Jack McInerney redirection across the box. Joseph tugged at Le Toux from behind sending the 18,147 in attendance rightfully clamoring for a penalty kick. Anno refused to give the crowd what they wanted and the game was over, a relatively lopsided 1-1 tie.

The Union still created chances amidst a hostile back and forth between the two teams. Danny Califf played admirably, snuffing out the opportunistic and Zach Schilawski and pacy Kenny Mansally. Once again, however, it was a story of missed chances and lack of execution with the final decision. The Union will have to execute in the final third this Thursday if they want to have a chance at grabbing more than one point from the visiting Columbus Crew.

We will have much more up tonight and tomorrow including pictures, video, and quick chats with Danny Mwanga, Justin Mapp, and Chris Seitz.

New England Revolution Starting XI






Philadelphia Union Starting XI


Orozco F.—————-Califf—————–Arrieta———————-Harvey


Le Toux—————————————————————————-Fred



PHI — Sebastien Le Toux 8 (Danny Mwanga 3) 25

NE — Marko Perovic 4 (unassisted) 70


NE — Shalrie Joseph (caution; Reckless Tackle) 45

PHI — Fred (caution; Reckless Tackle) 60

NE — Marko Perovic (caution; Reckless Tackle) 85


New England Revolution — Matt Reis, Kevin Alston, Emmanuel Osei, Darrius Barnes, Cory Gibbs, Sainey Nyassi, Shalrie Joseph, Pat Phelan, Chris Tierney, Zack Schilawski (Kenny Mansally 61), Marko Perovic

Philadelphia Union — Chris Seitz, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Danny Califf, Jordan Harvey, Cristian Arrieta, Sebastien Le Toux, Fred (Andrew Jacobson 77), Stefani Miglioranzi, Alejandro Moreno, Danny Mwanga (Justin Mapp 56), Eduard Coudet (Jack McInerney 83)

Referee: Jasen Anno
Referee’s Assistants: Thomas Supple; Steven Taylor
4th Official: Lee Suckle
Weather: Sunny and 83 degrees
Attendance: 18,147

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San Jose 2, Union 1: Take two in Chester a heartbreaker

Posted on 10 July 2010 by Breton Bonnette

There were several storylines to whet the appetite for tonight’s Union match vs. the San Jose Earthquakes. Native son Bobby Convey returned to Philadelphia with his first visit to PPL Park. Two Rookie of the Year candidates in Danny Mwanga and San Jose’s Ike Opara would go head to head. Shea Salinas, an eventual substitute, would potentially face his former squad of 2009. Most importantly, however, the Union sought to keep their home record squeaky clean and PPL Park untarnished.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. In front of a crowd of 17,158, two counter attacks led to two San Jose goals locking up three vital away points for the Earthquakes. In an otherwise engaging and entertaining performance, the Union defense on counter-attacks were best summed up by Piotr Nowak as “professionally naive”.

The Union came out with possession, controlling most of the play in the early going. Nothing clicked, however, until the 12th minute when an Orozco Fiscal attempt from 25 yards just whizzed past the upper 90. Only three minutes later, on a Chris Seitz goal kick, Philadelphia found its opening. Danny Mwanga flicked on a 70-yard boot from Seitz right into the path of an onrushing Fred. Fred corralled the ball and put a shot that squeaked past San Jose’s Jon Busch and into the back of the net.  The Union continued the offensive pressure when a short corner found its way to Andrew Jacobson who ripped a low shot from 20 yards out. The attempt flew past an outstretched Busch and nicked the post, bouncing out of play. The momentum remained with the Union for most of the rest of the half but they fell guilty on several occasions of preventable turnovers in the middle of the field. San Jose midfielder Joey Gjertsen – the Quakes most dangerous man of the night – almost made him pay after cutting inside on Orozco Fiscal and rocketing a shot from 30 yards out that clanged off the crossbar. Yet another turnover allowed the Quakes back into the game after Wondolowski found space near the endline and cut a ball back to the six where Cornell Glen was waiting to put the ball away. It was a bad end to an overwhelmingly good half for the Union.

By the 46th minute, Danny Mwanga had the Rookie of the Year scuffle with San Jose defender Opara all locked up. His touches on and movement off the ball had the Quakes backline in trouble most of the game. A seemingly benign headed through ball from Alejandro Moreno had Quakes centerback Bobby Burling  backtracking a bit. Mwanga used his strength and speed to outmuscle Burling and produce a one-on-one with Busch. Busch produced a wonderful save, a common occurrence all match. Mwanga kept the pressure on throughout the second half and his cause was aided with the addition of attack-minded Shea Salinas and Roger Torres. Ultimately, however, Mwanga couldn’t find his 6th goal of the season. Once again, the offense was sharp at creating chances but unable to finish off the efforts. Led by a surprisingly physical Fred, the Union outran and outhustled the Quakes but had trouble finding the go-ahead goal. Sebastien Le Toux came alive late in the game slaloming defenders but failing to deliver in the stretch. What the Union failed to do in the final third, the Earthquakes executed perfectly. With few chances to their name and a counter attack that only looked dangerous on several plays, San Jose stuffed home two of the handful of quality shots they mustered. Arturo Alvarez acted as San Jose’s supersub, after a Roger Torres turnover, shooting past Chris Seitz to win the game for the Quakes. Jordan Harvey tracked back to intercept Alvarez but the midfielder – excellent in one-on-one situations – struck from 20 yards out to give San Jose the lead and the eventual 2-1 win.

It was undeniably a heartbreaker for the Union as they controlled the run of play but two goals near the end of each half will always make it hard to come out with three points. It is completely understandable to push for the attack but a “lack of concentration” and “inability to anticipate what could happen” – in Piotr Nowak’s words – kept the Union from getting a result.

Despite the first loss at home, fans stuck around to show their appreciation for the attacking display and pursuit of the win. The Quakes left, however, with the label of being the first team to win at PPL Park. San Jose coach Frank Yallop was the first to acknowledge that the Union played well but as for the three points?

“We’ll take it”.

Philadelphia Union Starting XI (3-9-2)


Orozco F.———Califf————Arrieta————Harvey


Le Toux—————————————————–Fred


San Jose Earthquakes Starting XI (6-4-4)





Scoring Summary:

PHI — Fred 2 (Danny Mwanga 2) 14

SJ — Cornell Glen 1 (Chris Wondolowski 1) 45

SJ — Arturo Alvarez 3 (Bobby Convey 8) 90

Misconduct Summary:

PHI — Fred (caution; Reckless Foul) 52

SJ — Chris Wondolowski (caution; Reckless Foul) 69

SJ — Ramiro Corrales (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 93+

Attendance: 17,158

We will have much more to come (except for photos – our photographer went MIA!) including a talk with Philly native Bobby Convey and player ratings! Next up? Celtic FC on Wednesday night.

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