Tag Archive | "Match Recap"

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Union take sole possession of first in the East with convincing 3-0 win

Posted on 18 July 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Courtesy of MLSSoccer.com

For joint Union and US Women’s National Team fans, there was only one thing that was going to wash the bad taste out of their mouths after that heart-breaking loss in the World Cup final: a Union win. If it was convincing, all the better but three points were hoped for. With Shalrie Joseph suspended for the Revolution, it’s safe to say that three points – World Cup final loss or not – were actually expected.

The Revs came into this game without a win in 8 games and having endured a midweek run-around with Manchester United. The Union, almost completely the opposite. Without a Major League Soccer match until July 29th, the Union were looking to throw everything into this game with an 11 day competitive rest coming up and two friendlies against Everton and Real Madrid scheduled for the coming week. They didn’t disappoint.

Carlos Ruiz, fresh off his re-confirmation that he will not be going anywhere anytime soon, got the Union started off on the right foot in the 12th minute.  His headed through ball started the offensive drive that eventually wound up full circle. Justin Mapp ran on to the pass and hit ball far post to a charging Keon Daniel. The winger, instead of opting for an off balance shot on net, nodded the ball in front of the net, wrong-footing the Revolution’s Matt Reis in the process,  to an onrushing  El Pescadito. The poacher did the rest, putting it home for an early 1-0 lead and his 6th goal of the season. That goal pretty much set the tempo and feel for the rest of the game. The Union dominated, much like their play against San Jose the week prior, but they finished their chances in this one. The Revs looked wounded without their talisman Joseph and their only other real playmaker on paper Benny Feilhaber did nothing but hurt New England in this one. It was his sending off midway through the second half that sealed the loss for New England.

Carlos Valdes poked one home only 10 minutes after Ruiz’s opener, his first of the year, and Sheanon Williams got his first, as well, late in the game as the Union built on their hot streak. Philadelphia will now have a little fun this week facing up against European powerhouses Everton (July 20th) and Real Madrid (July 23rd) before returning to Major League Soccer regular season play after the MLS All-Star break on Friday, July 29th against the defending champs, Colorado, at PPL Park.

For the FULL game story, head to the Revolution ASN site here.

Scoring Summary:

PHI — Carlos Ruiz 6 (Keon Daniel 1, Justin Mapp 2) 12

PHI — Carlos Valdes 1 (Sebastien Le Toux 7, Kyle Nakazawa 3) 24

PHI — Sheanon Williams 1 (Danny Mwanga 3) 93+

New England Revolution — Matt Reis, Kevin Alston, Franco Coria (Darrius Barnes 46), A.J. Soares, Chris Tierney, Sainey Nyassi (Zak Boggs 46), Pat Phelan, Benny Feilhaber, Stephen McCarthy, Kenny Mansally (Zack Schilawski 79), Rajko Lekic.

Philadelphia Union — Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Gabriel Farfan, Justin Mapp (Danny Mwanga 63), Brian Carroll, Kyle Nakazawa, Keon Daniel (Stefani Miglioranzi 79), Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz (Michael Farfan 74).

Misconduct Summary:

NE — Benny Feilhaber (caution; Reckless Foul) 49

NE — Benny Feilhaber (caution; Reckless Foul) 66

NE — Benny Feilhaber (ejection; Second Caution) 66

PHI — Keon Daniel (caution; Dissent) 72

Referee: Chris Penso

Referee’s Assistants: Hector Vergara; Eric Boria

4th Official: Mark Geiger

Attendance: 13,414

Time of Game: 1:51

Weather: Clear-and-85-degrees

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Union Defeat Chivas, Come Away With 3 Huge Points

Posted on 26 June 2011 by stoma

As the Union approach midseason, they find themselves ensconced in the doldrums of what folks in baseball commonly call the “dog days of summer”.  Since erupting for 6 goals in Toronto on May 28, Philadelphia was winless in its last 4 matches coming into this game, with 3 ties and a loss.  Worse, they have scored 2 goals over that stretch.  Worst of all, they have been in the midst of what should have been the easy part of their schedule, facing off against the cellar dwellers in the Western and Eastern Conferences (Vancouver and Kansas City, respectively) with the mid-table Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake mixed in.

The good news is that there is still time to get fat off of the competition as Chivas USA come calling with little to write home about in their season to date.  With only 1 win in their last 6 matches and fresh off of 2 straight losses, Chivas in entrenched in 8th place in a loaded Western Conference, their playoff hopes dashed before the return matches even begin.  However, the Union’s recent struggles show that no opponent can be taken lightly.  If they were to earn 3 points against Chivas, they would have to take them.

Coming out in the same 4-3-1-2 formation as against Kansas City, Philadelphia looked for much better production and, from early on, it seemed as though they would rather lose than go scoreless once again.  From the start, the match picked up a wide open pace, with both squads playing fast and loose with their formations.  The momentum began to swing towards the Union around the 10th minute, as the home team put together several chances in a row.  As has been the trend, however, they were not able to find that last necessary touch that would spring them for a goal.  Jack McInerney, growing more comfortable with his 2nd consecutive start, boldly took on Michael Umana in the 25th minute, turning the defender around badly.  Not so boldly, he passed up the shot in favor of a lay-off to Sebastien Le Toux, who took the shot on with his weaker left foot that never even found its way to Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kenedy.

Union captain and goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon was tested for the first time in 2 matches in the 27th minute, when Nick LaBrocca ripped a shot from the top of the area that appeared ticketed for the back of the net when Mondragon dove left and upwards, parrying the shot up and over the bar, bailing out his defense in the process.  This was not the case following the subsequent corner kick, when a deflection and then a headed pass from Ben Zemanski landed on the head of Umana, who nodded it past an already beaten Mondragon for the game’s opening tally.

The Union threatened to respond immediately, when Sebastien Le Toux sprung free after the restart only to have his shot deflected wide of the right post.  Philadelphia at that point recaptured the early momentum, yet were still unable to turn that momentum into a goal despite several excellent chances.  Halftime arrived and the home team was facing a 1-0 deficit.  This had the feel of a moment that could be one of several key turning points in a team’s season.  Either the Union could rejuvenate their campaign and solidify themselves as a team to be counted, or they could ride this tailspin into MLS irrelevancy.

Philadelphia took all of two and a half minutes into the 2nd half to make certain their intentions, as Justin Mapp sent a cross in front of the net that newcomer Veljko Paunovic drove into the net, reclaiming the crowd and, perhaps, the season. But they still needed that second goal; without the win, the team would stay stuck in neutral.  Chance after chance went by the wayside as the Philadelphia forwards seemingly had forgotten the offsides rule altogether, with Carlos Ruiz in particular garnering 5 calls against him.  All told, the Union had 9 plays called back for offsides, most notably what could have been a second goal when Ruiz slotted home a hard through ball from Sheanon Williams only to find that he had been standing approximately 5 yards beyond the closest defender when the ball was struck.

Finally, sweet release for the team and the 18,139 in attendance, who had spent the initial 68 minutes in a mixture of trepidation and disbelief, when Ruiz took a long ball in the air from Paunovic, settled it, took two touches to his right, and beat Kennedy on his short side.  Instead of opting for his shark’s fin celebration, El Pescadito stared into the crowd as if to announce that he would not be going anywhere, as had been the rumor the last couple of weeks.

But pulling themselves out a hole this deep would not be so simple.  Following a Philadelphia giveaway at midfield in the 77th minute, Jorge Flores sent a through ball into the air that did not appear destined for anything in particular, until Justin Braun materialized all by himself, having gotten behind Carlos Valdes and beaten Danny Califf.   All that was left to finish the equalizer was for Braun to poke it beyond the reach of Mondragon, who had come of his line when he saw his defense beaten so badly.

It would take something truly special to win this game.  An extraordinary play from an exemplary player.  The Union got such a play from such a player in the 82nd minute when Le Toux sent a ball across to Danny Mwanga, who had replaced McInerney at halftime, about 5 yards above the penalty area.  The second-year striker settled, took one touch to his right, then let loose an absolute laser beam across his body and across the goal mouth, beating Kennedy on his right.  As the crowd erupted, Mwanga knelt, as though expelling the spirits that had plagued the team over their stretch of poor play, and the crowd knew their home side had secured the win and 3 points.

And a much needed win it was, as Philadelphia will not see the inside of PPL Park again until their July 20 friendly against Tim Howard and Everton FC.  This three-game road stretch will see the Union against Eastern Conference rival D.C. United before heading out west to San Jose and finally trekking back east to face New England.  The team badly needed a shot in the arm to sustain them; if, in fact, the Union did find themselves on the right end of a season-defining turning point, the next three opponents had better watch out.


Philadelphia Union Starting XI




Le Toux————————-Paunovic————————————–Mapp



Chivas USA Starting XI







Scoring Summary:

28’ CHVMichael Umana 1 (Ben Zemanski 3)
48’ PHI — Veljko Paunovic 1 (Justin Mapp 1)
69’ PHI — Carlos Ruiz 4 (Paunovic 1)
77’ CHV — Justin Braun 4 (Jorge Flores 2)
82’ PHI — Danny Mwanga 5 (Sebastien Le Toux 5)

Misconduct Summary:

64’ Carlos Valdes  (Tactical Foul)

Chivas USA-
Dan Kennedy, Zarek Valentin, Michael Umana (Andrew Boyens 45), Heath Pearce, Ante Jazic, Paulo Nagamura, Ben Zemanski (Blair Gavin 77), Nick LaBrocca, Jorge Flores, Justin Braun, Marcos Mondaini (Chris Cortez 71)

Substitutes Not Used: Zach Thornton, Victor Estupinan, Michael Lahoud, Mariano Trujillo

Philadelphia Union — Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey (Keon Daniel 45), Brian Carroll,), Veljiko Paunovic (Kyle Nakazawa 73), Justin Mapp, Sebastien Le Toux, Jack McInerney (Danny Mwanga 45), Carlos Ruiz

Substitutes Not Used: Zac MacMath, Roger Torres, Amobi Okugo, Michael Farfan

Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee’s Assistants: C.J. Morgante, Corey Rockwell
4th Official: Jose Carlos Rivera
Weather: Mostly Cloudy, 80 degrees
Attendance: 18,139

Time of Game: 1:50


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Union Stay Unbeaten at Home, Yet Find Scoreless Draw Against Kansas City Disappointing

Posted on 23 June 2011 by stoma

Following a lackluster road loss to Western Conference cellar-dweller Vancouver, the Union returned home for a short week to regroup and prepare to face the bottom-ranked team from the Eastern Conference, Sporting Kansas City.  However, Kansas City has been improving of late, surely buoyed by finally having a home, the picturesque Livestrong Sporting Park.  It was there that Kansas City downed the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 on Friday, their 3rd shutout in the month of June.  Sporting is unbeaten in 5 MLS games, 6 if a 5-0 victory over the New England Revolution in the U.S. Open Cup is counted.  The Union are still unbeaten at home in 7 contests.  Philadelphia again saw their standing in the Eastern Conference table see-saw with New York, with the rival Red Bulls pulling into 1st following an away draw against the Portland Timbers, who have quickly made their home a fortress.

Coming into the game, a low-scoring affair was expected, as Philadelphia has given up a mere 12 goals through its first 14 contests, good for 2nd in the MLS.  Meanwhile, both Kansas City and the Union rank in the bottom third of the league in goals scored.  However, Piotr Nowak and his technical staff attempted to buck that trend with a highly aggressive starting lineup featuring two midfielders, Sebastien Le Toux and newcomer Veljiko Paunovic, who are used to playing up top.  This resulted in a formation that came off as more of a 4-1-3-2, with Brian Carroll buttressing the defense while the other midfielders pushed to attack.  This strategy produced uneven results early; while Philadelphia did have chances in the 1st half, they were also vulnerable defensively, leading to several chances for Kansas City as well.  Neither side put anything away, however, and it was scoreless through halftime, although Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen had to record 4 saves to make it so.

Unfortunately for Philadelphia, the pace and rhythm of the game slowed considerably after the half as the sticky air grew even heavier.  Before they knew it, the 80th minute had come and past with no serious challenges on the Kansas City goal.  Instead of pressing even further tactically, Nowak retreated to a traditional, conservative mindset with his substitutions.  Keon Daniel for Jack McInerney in the 60th minute did allow Le Toux to move up top, but it also tacitly acknowledged that the original lineup was flawed. Amobi Okugo for Paunovic in the 66th minute did the same, and while Roger Torres made perfect sense, he came on for Justin Mapp in the 79th minute just as Mapp seemed to be hitting his stride and creating chances.  When pressed on the issue after the game, Nowak did fairly iterate that his side had taken 19 shots, 7 of which were on goal, and that there were several near misses, most notably Carlos Ruiz’s header off a Seba cross that struck the crossbar in the 72nd minute and Le Toux’s strike from 20 yards that inched past the left post in the 80th.

More important than the Union’s chances and certainly more decisive in the outcome of the game was Kansas City’s tactical approach.  The visiting side managed only 1 shot on goal and never seemed intent on challenging the Philadelphia goal or opening up in any manner.  Union captain and goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon thinks that the club will see this tactic at home with increasing frequency as the season goes on, citing it as a sign of respect for the success the Union have had, especially at home.  Mondragon pointed out that “Last year, teams came here and thought they had 3 points granted; they came and they played open.  No longer, the keeper asserted: “This year, this is not the case. This year, everyone is taking the Union very seriously, with a lot of respect, and coming here to PPL Park to get 1 point as a trophy.  We have to learn how to play in this type of game, because this is the kind of game we are going to have from here until the end of the season.

Regardless of what tactic the opposition has taken, the frustration continues for Philadelphia, which must face the fact that they just played the two worst teams in the MLS in terms of record and came away with just 1 point.  As Danny Califf stated after the game, “It’s a bummer when you dominate and you can’t get anything out of it.”  Fortunately, the relatively easy stretch of competition continues with a short turnaround game against Chivas USA on Saturday at PPL Park.  In addition, they have now pulled back into a tie for the Eastern Conference lead with New York, with each team tallying 23 points in 15 games.   Chivas sits in 8th place in the Western conference and has lost two straight.  The Union hope to avoid further frustration and salvage 3 desperately needed points before heading back out onto the road for three consecutive matches.

* POSTGAME NOTE:  Following the match, there was lengthy meeting involving Stefani Miglioranzi, Piotr Nowak and other members of the technical staff. Neither Miglioranzi nor Nowak would comment on the substance of the meeting, although Miglioranzi certainly did not look pleased when exiting Nowak’s office.  Was Migs simply venting his frustration at his lack of inclusion or is there a roster move on the horizon? Stay tuned, folks.


Philadelphia Union Starting XI




Le Toux————————-Paunovic————————————–Mapp


Sporting Kansas City Starting XI







Scoring Summary:


Misconduct Summary:
29’ Julio Cesar (Reckless Challenge)

31’ Veljiko Paunovic (Reckless Challenge)

61’ Sheanon Williams (Dissent)

90’ Jimmy Nielson (Delaying)

Sporting Kansas City-
Jimmy Nielsen, Chance Myers, Julio Cesar, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic, Kei Kamara, Luke Sassano, Davy Arnaud, Birahim Diop (Stephane Auvray 72), Omar Bravo (Michael Harrington 63), Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong 45)

Substitutes Not Used: Eric Kronberg, Korede Aiyegbusi, Milos Stojcev, Shavar Thomas

Philadelphia Union — Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey, Brian Carroll, Jack McInerney (Keon Daniel 60), Veljiko Paunovic (Amobi Okugo 66), Justin Mapp (Roger Torres 79), Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz

Substitutes Not Used: Zac MacMath, Michael Farfan, Juan Diego Gonzalez, Stefani Miglioranzi

Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee’s Assistants: Greg Barkey; Jason Cullum
4th Official: Carlos Rivero
Weather: Hazy, Humid and 80 degrees
Attendance: 18,127


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The Union outlast Chicago 2-1, bucking winless and scoring trends and reclaiming first

Posted on 21 May 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The Union took down two birds with one stone tonight against the Chicago Fire thanks to veteran goalscorer, El Pescadito. Two goals were scored by the Union in a game for the first time this season and the dreaded three game winless streak is now officially over. Much to the Philadelphia faithful’s delight.

It took a while for the Union heat up, especially after Amobi Okugo was forced to leave the game in just the 5th minute with a high ankle sprain, but they eventually did. The first half produced eight scoring attempts but only one that tested Jon Conway.

The combination play of Carlos Ruiz and Justin Mapp was encouraging to say the least for the future of this attack with Mapp taking the game by the scruff and causing a lot of trouble for his former team’s defense. Michael Farfan, once again, played nothing like a rookie – taking defenders on, rolling through tackles, and not shying away from taking an attempt at goal. Danny Califf and Carlos Valdes kept the lone striker Diego Chaves virtually nonexistent in the first half, winning each and every clearance that came their way and jump-starting the attack in the other direction. Yet the score remained locked at zeros to end the first half and something had to budge in the second if the Union were going to produce.

It was more ups than downs for the Union’s only starting rookie, Michael Farfan but the second half was one wild rollercoaster ride. In the 68th minute, Dominic Oduro tied things up after wrong footing the Union goalscorer and putting a damper on Farfan’s night. Once free, the Ghanaian squeezed a ball by Faryd Mondragon to start the game anew. They dodged another bullet in the 76th with Puerari outmuscling Farfan and putting what looked to be a certain goal on frame. Only a slight deflection from Sheanon Williams could save it from nestling in the back of the net. As the Union continued to press forward, chinks in their defensive armor were exposed and the Fire were close to capitalizing on several occasions. The gamble at home paid off, however. As if to not let the Fire spoil the rookie Farfan’s outing, veteran and the club’s leading goalscorer took matters in to his own hands. Sensing goalkeeper and Philadelphia area native Conway out after a clearance, Ruiz fired an impressive volley – perfectly struck with his left foot – that clanged just off the underside of the crossbar. It was a 74th minute highlight that caught everyone at PPL Park off guard. It was that kind of night, however. One full of surprises.

The Union’s fitness took over after that as they fought to preserve the three points, doing well to close it out.

The win moves the Union to 5-3-2 in the Eastern Conference, good enough for first place all thanks to the Red Bulls 2-2 tie with the Dynamo in Houston. Philadelphia will next head to BMO Field to take on Toronto FC and hopefully improve upon their dreadful away record.

More to come!

Philadelphia Union Starting XI




M. Farfan——————————————————————–Mapp

————————C. Ruiz—————-Le Toux—————————-

Chicago Fire Starting XI


Ristic——————-Cuesta————-C. Gibbs——————-Segares




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Mwanga grabs important first goal in scrappy Union tie

Posted on 12 May 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Like in 2010, will his equalizer be the first of many in 2011?

Two years ago from yesterday, the Union formally came in to being. Full house, beautiful night, an absence of any David Beckham hubbub. What better way to celebrate your naming “anniversary” than with a last-gasp equalizer to grab a point against one of the best teams in Major League Soccer?

Head coach for day John Hackworth can think of many. He wanted the win.

The Union were unhappy not to get the full three points, especially amidst a packed house spurring them on as McInerney, Mwanga, Ruiz, and Le Toux grabbed the equalizer and had 10 minutes to find more.

Regardless, it’s a new team attitude in 2011 as they showed resolve after going down early. It was undoubtedly a shaky start for the Union, tested early by the fast paced and fluid Los Angeles attack led by Landon Donovan. It was hard to tell who was the home squad as the Galaxy committed men forward, took chances, and forced the Union defense to scramble. It paid off. In the 24th minute, Juan Pablo Angel’s run into the box was halted as he overstepped the ball. Califf bit and an open opportunity, shielded by Angel, allowed Donovan to step right up to squeeze a shot right past Mondragon’s left. Apparently, a defecit was all the Union needed to step things up. From the 24th minute on, it’s fair to say the Union were the better team.

Bruce Arena would disagree but for Philadelphia, the passes started to string together, Carlos Ruiz and Le Toux started to find the ball more, and chances began to materialize. Sheanon Williams’ forays into the attack were productive, one leading to a near post opportunity for Ruiz in the 34th minute. Both backs, for that matter, were competent in juggling their offensive and defensive duties – a key to the Union staying relevant on attack.

The insertion of Danny Mwanga into the match at the outset of the second half made clear to all of Hackworth’s intentions for the final 45 minutes. Mwanga was instructed to sit in between the Galaxy’s midfield and defensive line and exploit that space. Early on, however, that space wasn’t there. As the half wore on, it was evident he was getting more and more time on the ball. The Galaxy defense held strong, however, with Omar Gonzalez limiting Le Toux’s inclusion and stifling any sort of meaningful involvement of Carlos Ruiz. Once the element of urgency entered into the equation, Mwanga started to find space and allowed him to pressure more, a key to the Galaxy’s costly mistake. It was a scrappy goal but the continued pressure of the Union attack led Sean Franklin to drop an errant backpass that was easily intercepted by Mwanga in the 84th minute. He rounded a sprawling Ricketts and slotted a tight angle shot past AJ DeLaGarza to tie the game up. After that, the young striker played like a man possessed, almost registering a game-winning assist in injury time. Once again beating Franklin, this time on a 30 yard touchline run, he delivered a dangerous cross in to Jack McInerney at the back post. McInerney leapt but couldn’t nod it home.  

The Union were unlucky to get another in the last ten minutes but it should be noted, during that same time, the Union defense thwarted any meaningful Galaxy counter. Faryd Mondragon expertly played his part when he was called upon. A commitment to attack meant Donovan and company had space to manuever if possession was lost. Mondragon’s biggest save came on a 64th minute one-on-one stop of midfielder Chris Birchall after he was put through on net. Unfortunately, on a goal kick later in the half, Mondragon seemed to strain something painful enough for him to ask for a substitution. It is still uncertain how that will affect his availability for Saturday’s game in Frisco.

With the tie, the Union registered their first point against the Galaxy and move to 4-2-2, good for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference.  The Union will have a tough turnaround and a big test against FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park this Saturday.

Philadelphia Starting XI





——————Ruiz———Le Toux——————–

Los Angeles Starting XI





Scoring Summary:
LA — Landon Donovan 5 (unassisted) 24
PHI — Danny Mwanga 1 (unassisted) 83

Misconduct Summary:
LA — Chris Birchall (caution; Reckless Foul) 30
PHI — Brian Carroll (caution; Shirt Removal) 58
PHI — Roger Torres (caution; Reckless Tackle) 76
LA — Omar Gonzalez (caution; Delaying a Restart) 78
PHI — Danny Mwanga (caution; Shirt Removal) 83
LA — A.J. DeLaGarza (caution; Reckless Foul) 87
PHI — Sheanon Williams (caution; Reckless Foul) 92+

LA Galaxy —
Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant, Chris Birchall, Landon Donovan, Juninho, Michael Stephens (Hector Jimenez 89), Juan Pablo Angel (Chad Barrett 89), Miguel Lopez (Jovan Kirovski 82).
Substitutes Not Used: Gregg Berhalter, Paolo Cardozo, Frankie Hejduk, Josh Saunders.

Philadelphia Union — Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey (Jack McInerney 80), Brian Carroll, Kyle Nakazawa (Roger Torres 66), Keon Daniel (Danny Mwanga 46), Justin Mapp, Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz.
Substitutes Not Used: Gabriel Farfan, Michael Farfan, Amobi Okugo, Zac MacMath.

Referee: Andrew Chapin
Referee’s Assistants: Greg Barkey; Matthew Kreitzer
4th Official: Jorge Gonzalez
Weather: Sunny and 73 degrees
Attendance: 19,178

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Union 1, Seattle 1: Last gasp Fernandez header spoils Philadelphia rain dance

Posted on 16 April 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The weather conditions, rain and a steady strong wind, kept quite a few away on Saturday afternoon. The River End, however, did not miss a beat – cheering loud, heckling, and acting as if “doop”ing in the rain was what they were born for. And for what it’s worth, it looked like the result on the field was going to reward the 15,000+ (paid attendance) Union supporters for their loyalty. Two shots on goal, one found the net for Seattle, however, and it came at a time when the Union just couldn’t respond.

Kyle Nakazawa took over for Justin Mapp on the right wing and Amobi Okugo, fresh off a fantastic performance  vs. New York, partnered with Migs in the center as Brian Carroll sat out to rehab a strained right hamstring.

The game was sloppy early on as both sides adjusted to the conditions and several tackles gave the Sounders dangerous restarts in the first 15 minutes. Sheanon Williams had a particularly tough time corralling Mauro Rosales while first touches on the offense were lacking. Le Toux, however, showed a little more of last season’s form when he took a long wind battered ball down in stride and carried it down the field, opting intelligently to ping it off a Seattle defender and take a corner kick. The ensuing 17th minute corner kick from Keon Daniel went through the penalty box and fell to clean up man Nakazawa. The midfielder collected it and fired far post only to miss just wide.

He didn’t get it done then but in the 31st minute, Kyle Nakazawa set the opening goal in motion. After receiving the ball on the far side, he faked Seattle bruiser Alonso out and carried inside. Alonso tracked and he took Nakazawa down in a dangerous position prompting a foul and caution from Terry Vaughn. Carlos Ruiz, taking over for the ineffective Le Toux on set pieces, fired over the wall and to Keller’s right. The veteran netminder got his hand on it but couldn’t keep it from finding the side netting, a 32nd minute goal. It was a product of consistent forward play, productive off the ball runs from Ruiz an Le Toux, and better combinations between the midfielders and  forwards.

The Union started the second half as they ended the first – pressing forward and looking to pin Seattle back but very few chances were created on either end. The addition of Nate Jaqua and Fredy Montero in the 67th minute posed a true test for the Union defensive line. Philadelphia had trouble with true target strikers last season and to have DP Montero up there next to him didn’t help matters much. The Union held strong and took the opportunity to counter as the influx of Seattle attackers left the Sounder backline at three. It was Seattle that threatened first though. The Sounders tactical switch created their best chance in the 78th minute. A re-crossed ball deflected into the box and sat perfectly for Alvaro Fernandez to pounce on. The Uruguayan DP fired on net but Califf, as he had all game, stood strong and took the shot in the upper body, saving the day. The Union continued to try and counter but the clean sheet wasn’t meant to be and not even Califf could stop it from happening. With time waning, the Sounders pushed everyone up for a 90th minute corner kick. The initial service trickled through the danger area but eventually found its way to Montero. The Seattle DP sent a soft chip in, with everyone still camped in the area. It found the head of the other Sounder DP and substitute Alvaro Fernandez for a last gasp equalizer wiping away the impact of yet another strong defensive showing.

To stay positive, think about last year. In five games, the Union have conceded two goals and sit atop the Eastern Conference. Considering the conditions and Seattle’s last minute tactics, it was increasingly likely to hit the mark. According to Nowak, the Union concentrated on the attack this week and not being afraid to push forward more. There was improvement but that second goal never came. “We can’t be afraid to score that second goal”, Nowak said first in his post game press conference.

Both additions to this week’s starting lineup, Okugo and Nakazawa, played respectably well. Nakazawa acquitted himself on the flank, taking men on and providing a link from the back to the frontline. Okugo was impressive for the second week in the row – winning tackles and using his body well against notoriously physical midfielders like Alonso and Brad Evans. And Carlos Ruiz had his best game in a Union shirt, not just because of his goal (see Sam’s player ratings once posted).

The Union still sit atop the Eastern Conference with ten points and will have a week off this coming week to recover and prepare for a April 30th home clash vs. local product Bobby Convey and the San Jose Earthquakes. The game against Real Salt Lake, originally scheduled for next Saturday, has been rescheduled to September 3rd due to RSL’s participation in the CONCACAF Champions League final.

We’ll have player ratings, photos, and much more over the next couple days.

Philadelphia Union Starting XI





———————-Le Toux————Ruiz—————————-

Philadelphia Union — Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey, Keon Daniel, Stefani Miglioranzi (Danny Mwanga 59), Amobi Okugo, Kyle Nakazawa, Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz (Justin Mapp 80).

Substitutes Not Used: Michael Farfan, Juan Diego Gonzalez, Jack McInerney, Roger Torres, Zac MacMath.

Seattle Sounders Starting XI






Seattle Sounders — Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez (Fredy Montero 66), Erik Friberg (Alvaro Fernandez 77), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Mauro Rosales, O’Brian White(Nate Jaqua 66), Steve Zakuani.

Substitutes Not Used: Patrick Ianni, Roger Levesque, Tyson Wahl, Terry Boss.

Scoring Summary:

PHI — Carlos Ruiz 2 (unassisted) 31

SEA — Alvaro Fernandez 1 (Fredy Montero 1) 90

Misconduct Summary:

SEA — Osvaldo Alonso (caution; Reckless Tackle) 30

PHI — Stefani Miglioranzi (caution; Reckless Tackle) 55

PHI — Amobi Okugo (caution; Reckless Tackle) 65

PHI — Carlos Valdes (caution; Reckless Tackle) 88

Referee: Terry Vaughn

Referee’s Assistants: Greg Barkey; Matthew Kreitzer

4th Official: John McCloskey

Attendance: 15,149

Time of Game: 1:51

Weather: Rain-and-52-degrees

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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




Mapp—————————————————————-K. Daniel

———————–Le Toux—————–Ruiz—————————

Red Bull New York Starting XI




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
Time of Game:
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 close preseason friendlies with emphatic 5-0 win

Posted on 02 March 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The Union will train for another week or so in Greece (ending their stay on March 10th) but played their last announced friendly earlier today and after a scoreless but dominant first half, the youngsters took charge and the put the game away in the second. Jack McInerney and newly signed attacker Chris Agorsor led the way with two goals a piece against Hersonissos FC, a third division Greek squad, and with time winding down, Danny Mwanga added the fifth. Roger Torres and Kyle Nakazawa helped the process of opening the floodgates as the Union ended their last scheduled game of the preseason with a bang.

The Union finish their preseason friendly schedule 3-1-2 as they prepare to head to Houston in only two and a half weeks. Sebastien Le Toux dominated last year’s preseason scoring but in 2011, the workload was certainly evenly distributed. Le Toux (despite not taking part in the Greek friendlies) had company in the scoring department this preseason scoring two goals along with youngsters Jack McInerney, Chris Agorsor, and Danny Mwanga. There’s a lot of hope with the maturity of the younger attackers and the addition of a poacher like Carlos Ruiz that the Union’s offense will not stop with just Le Toux and Mwanga this season.  

Scoring Summary:

PHI – Chris Agorsor 1 (Jack McInerney) 48′
PHI – Jack McInerney 1 (Roger Torres) 55’
PHI – Jack McInerney 2 (Roger Torres) 75’
PHI – Chris Agorsor 2 (unassisted) 82’
PHI – Danny Mwanga 2 (Kyle Nakazawa) 84’

Preseason Rundown:
February 6th – vs. USMNT U-17s (1-1 draw, Le Toux)
February 10th – vs. South Florida (2-0 win, Le Toux, Mwanga)
February 13th – vs. Central Florida (1-0 win, Pfeffer)
February 19th – vs. Orlando City SC (1-0 loss)
February 28th – vs. Ergotelis FC (1-1 tie, C. Ruiz)
March 2nd – vs. Hersonissos FC (5-0 win, McInerney 2, Agorsor 2, Mwanga)

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Another Tie, Same Old Questions

Posted on 14 August 2010 by stoma

As the season continues, the frustration mounts for Danny Califf and the Union

Closing out a stretch of 4 games in 10 days, the Union had during that time seen their playoff dreams dashed, their midfield battered (Stefani Miglioranzi) and bloodied (Kyle Nakazawa), and their manager just plain mad.  Could the team pull it together and salvage 3 points to add to the sole point garnered in the stretch?  They certainly seemed determined to do so early, as the first 10 minutes features up and down action dominated by Philadelphia.  As the game settled down, however, it became clear that goals would not be easy to come by.

Nor would the Union concede easily, as the Philadelphia midfield was shored up by the return of Stefani Miglioranzi, who provided top-notch defensive help that has become his staple with the club.  To accommodate the return of Alejandro Moreno from his absence while with the Venezuelan national team, Piotr Nowak decided to bring Justin Mapp off the bench, perhaps taking into account Mapp’s inability to play a full 90 minutes since coming over from Chicago and deciding to utilize him as a closer.

Referee Terry Vaughn called a clean, uneventful game early on, and there were plenty of chances throughout, but neither team could find the final pass or touch required to put themselves in scoring positions.  And when the final pass did come, like the deft touch from Danny Mwanga to Sebastien Le Toux in the 44th minute, the finishes were not quite on the mark.

Eventually, Colorado figured out that they needed to score unconventionally.  Immediately following a restart in the 59th minute, at which time Justin Mapp replaced Alejandro Moreno, the Rapids more or less flooded the area and threw the ball on net.  Chris Seitz was forced to punch the ball out and former Interacademic League champion with Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill Academy collected the rebound, took a touch to his right and rocketed the ball low and into the net in Seitz’s left-hand corner.

For yet another match, Philadelphia clearly dominated the ball but produced nothing for the first 70 minutes of play.  But their breakthrough would come, as it so often has this season, from the combination of Sebastien Le Toux and Danny Mwanga.  Following a long ball in transition from captain Danny Califf that Le Toux was able to chase down and take towards the corner, Colorado’s defense recovered and it looked like another attack would fizzle.  Enter Mwanga, streaking straight up the middle of the area with a half step on his man, Julien Baudet.  Seba slid the ball right into Danny’s path, he lept over a sliding challenge from Baudet and slotted his shot under the diving attempt of goalkeeper Matt Pickens to equalize in the 73rd minute.  As with everything the youngster does, it appeared to happen in one fluid motion.

Piotr Nowak has reached wit's end when it comes to the match officials.

At that point, it appeared as though this would be the breakthrough that opened the floodgates.  However, the fates intervened in the person of Terry Vaughn.  Here iswhere the clean game he had authored got dragged through the mud. After a storm.  In the Amazon.  As the 17,749 in attendance witnessed, Sebastien Le Toux got himself in on a break and between the two center backs in the 92nd minute only to find himself bumped off the ball and ultimately pulled down by the combination of  Marvell Wynne and Kosuke Kimura.  Naturally, there was no call.  The crowd, blood already boiling, got no respite when a seeming sure winner a mere minute later on a header by Michael Orozco-Fiscal was called back for offsides.  At least replays showed that the linesman got that one right, or we may have had a riot on our hands.  Union Manager Piotr Nowak no longer thinks all the calls going against his team and particularly his star player are simply a coincidence.  “If a situation like Le Toux’s had happened to a Designated Player, you have to ask yourself, what would you do?  That’s the part I don’t understand from watching other games,” asserted Nowak, adding that his team has been on the short end of missed calls often recently, noting the missed handball in the penalty area in the San Jose game July 10, Le Toux being brought down in the box by New England’s Shalrie Joseph, and of course today.  Colorado’s head man Gary Smith disagreed with the claim that it was an obvious foul, stating “the ball had gotten away from [Le Toux].  Who wouldn’t try and go down given that he’s not going to get a shot off…knowing that he’s under that amount of pressure?”  Head official Terry Vaughn could only add: “I did not see enough on that play to warrant a foul or a penalty.”

And there was not enough out there to get a win for the Union, who have now run their winless streak to 4 games.  Now, however, comes the luxury of time, of rest, of the ability to have practice because you don’t have to worry about burning your players out.  Then, far into the future on August 22, a short road trip to face the league’s worst team in the standings, a team that Philadelphia has defeated once before, D.C. United.  Until then, the Union players can rest and look forward to a day when they will emerge victorious.

Philadelphia Union Starting XI


Orozco Fiscal.——Califf—————-Gonzalez————-Harvey


Le Toux—————————————————- —————Fred


Real Salt Lake Starting XI





Scoring Summary:

PHI – Danny Mwanga (74’, 7) Assist Sebastien Le Toux (9)

COL – Jeff Larentowicz (59’, 2) Unassisted

Colorado Rapids – Matt Pickens, Marvell Wynne, Julien Baudet, Drew Moor, Kosuke Kimura, Wells Thompson (Conor Casey, 61), Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Jamie Smith, Omar Cummings, Quincy Amarikwa (Mehdi Ballouchy, 45)

Substitutes Not Used:  Ian Joyce, Danny Earls, Ross LaBauex, Claudio Lopez, Anthony Wallace

Philadelphia Union — Chris Seitz, Jordan Harvey, Juan Diego Gonzalez, Danny Califf, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Fred (Jack McInerney, 86), Stefani Miglioranzi, Eduardo Coudet (Roger Torres, 63), Sebastien Le Toux, Alejandro Moreno (Justin Mapp, 60), Danny Mwanga

Substitutes Not Used: Cristian Arrieta, Kyle Nakazawa, Amobi Okugo, Brad Knighton

Misconduct Summary: Jeff Larentowicz (20’, reckless tackle)

Omar Cummings (66’ reckless tackle)

Matt Pickens (71’, delay of game)

Jamie Smith (85’, reckless tackle)

Referee: Terry Vaughn

Referee’s Assistants: – Greg Barkey; Corey Rockwell

4th Official: Lee Suckle

Time of Game: 1:51

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