- RT @WEXP_RADIO: The 15th Person to Retweet this wins a FREE pair of #EvilDead tickets to use at your leisure. 1 month ago
- Bring on adu I guess. Need a spark or something 8 months ago
- Quote of the night so far "Duka your family is here and they are mine" #doop #crew 8 months ago
- Enjoying this #elclassico just making tonights game better! 8 months ago
- Excited for tonight. The union walking away with 3pts 8 months ago
Tag Archives: Union
August 5, 2012Posted by on
With the soccer tournaments winding down in London, and the US women marching on with grace and style to what could be a gold medal, it’s hard not to feel a sense of frustration that the men did not qualify. Especially with the build-up that this US team had, with such talents as Fabian Johnson, Danny Williams, Joe Corona, Brek Shea and Terrance Boyd. The Olympics would also be a chance for the Union to show off some of their youth products with Sheannon Williams, Freddy Adu, Zach MacMath, Jack McInerney, Amobi Okugo and maybe even a Farfan or two being considered for the team. With the way the Farfan’s have been playing it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that they coul have gotten a call up. The Olympics would have been a great showcase for the Union to show off some talent and for the youngsters to gain experience. Even for the Farfans, Williams and MacMath who likely wouldn’t have started, the international stage would have given them a great chance to grow as players.
Going into the MLS season it was expcted that the US team would qualify for the Olympics, and many Union fans were excited at the chance to see players like Okugo and McInerney who had, at the time, seen limited minutes for the club over the last two seasons. Of course the US didn’t qualify and the Union imploded. Piotr Nowak imploded, the team got rid of many players, and they were almost entirely eliminated from any hope of the playoffs before Nowak left. If the US qualified it would have been the worst thing for the Union hands down. This run they are going on, which may be saving the season, would likely never have happened. With Okugo and Williams (and possibly others) gone the Union would have to resort to playing Albright, Jordan, Gaddis, or even Lopez (ugh). It would be ugly, not saying Gaddis wouldnt do a great job but Williams is starting for a reason. Who would be in net? I love Chase Harrison, but he is not Zac and more importantly has never held down a starting job. Plus it would not help to play the second string goalie with an alreaedy weakend defense. There is of course the arguement that the Union have Soumare to help out on defense, but he would have been barely coming into fitness while Okugo was in camp tuning up fro the Olympics. Hack would have had to rush him back to fitness, which he hasn’t shown any intrest in doing with Okugo available. Now lets look up top. With Adu and Mac gone who would fill in? Hoppenot is great off the bench but asking him to carry a team is a very different thing. Pajoy would have to step up along with Perlaza, Martinez or Hoffman or whoever Hack might have had to bring in. Lots of inexperience. Adu would be replaced by the injured Roger Torres who has looked less than impressive in his brief moments since getting back to fitness.
The US missing the Olympics has saved the Union for the short term, but also the long term. WIth players like Okugo getting minutes in the Olympics it wouldn’t be surprising if a European club made him an offer he couldnt refuse. He is no high-roller here in Philly and a lower division European club could pay him more then he would make here. The same could be applied to any youth player. Of course whether or not the Union would sell, or what they would get back would make it very interesting.
So to really think about it, I along with many Union fans were excited about potentially seeing some Union players represent the US. I got what I wished for, in the sense that I am now watching players who were not getting alot of minutes, just not for the US. Do not get me wrong, as a Union fan and a US fan I would love nothing more then to see Union players contribute to the national team at any level. But for now its in the best interest of the club that the US missed the Olympics. It is crazy how the world works. This is not the ideal scenario. The season has been a dissapointment. The ideal scenario would have included Nowak keeping Le Toux, Mwanga, Califf et al. and putting together a winning season. Ideally the Union would be in contention for the top spot and the some Union players would be thriving in the olympics. Ideally we would have our cake and eat it too, but we dont.
In short, the Olympic woes of the men’s national soccer team benefits the Union and keeps a slim sliver of playoff hope alive. To quench your US soccer thirst, watch the women they are playing amazing football right now as usual.
July 18, 2012Posted by on
Last week our writer Pat posted a list of 15 reasons why you should have been at the US Open Cup semi final. We decided that we will try to post a similar list once a week on a variety of MLS or soccer related subjects. Today we will look at why the Philadelphia Union, and MLS as a whole, deserve more media coverage then they are receiving.
1. The Union recently look good
Over the past few weeks Union fans have been enjoying some of the most exciting soccer we have seen from the team since their creation. We are scoring goals, playing incredible defense, and using an entertaining style of soccer. If non-soccer fans are going to watch a match, this is the type of team they should take a look at. Unfortunately, Union games are only broadcast on the Comcast Network with a minimum amount of advertising. The games that do make it onto channels like ESPN 2 or NBC may hit more viewers but still are not marketed well. When was the last time you saw a commercial for a soccer game on a major network that was not shown during another soccer game? Exactly.
2. Other Philadelphia teams either look bad or are out of season.
The Eagles are in pre-season, the Sixers and Flyers are also in their off season, and the Phillies are in last place of the NL East with a 40-51 record. Being a Philadelphia sports fan is a bit of a drag right now. Many people in the city are looking for a team that has been performing well and strives under pressure; the perfect fit for the Union. Sport’s news has also been slow and will probably continue to be until the Olympics start, so why not fill some of that gap with a local team?
3. There is an audience for soccer in Philadelphia
PPL Park holds a little over eighteen thousand fans and the Union have consistently sold out the stadium for league games. When the Union played Spanish giants Real Madrid at Lincoln Financial Field last season the total attendance was over 57 thousand. Over 30 thousand fans came out to see the US Men’s National Team play Mexico last year also. These numbers all prove that soccer does have an audience in the Philadelphia area. Of course teams like the Phillies and Eagles have a stronger hold on the sports fans of the city but these numbers are not low enough to 100% cut soccer out of the media spot light.
4. Philly is already a sports town
As mentioned multiple times above, Philadelphia is a huge sports town. The city tends to soak in any major sporting event that comes to it. If more marketing and advertising were done in the area, there is no doubt in my mind that the number of Union and soccer fans will grow. Thankfully the city is seeing its fair share of large teams coming in, with the next being the return of Real Madrid as they play Scottish Premier league champions Celtic. These games with well known foreign teams are probably the best advertisement the Union can get until they are shown more through television ads.
5. The Union and fans can basically market themselves
Anytime I bring a soccer virgin to a Philadelphia Union game they always leave telling me the same thing: “the atmosphere was amazing.” Yes, the River End is full of passionate and loud fans but so is most of the stadium. Being part of this “third team” in the stands whose only purpose is to yell at players and question the referee’s decisions is quite the experience for most non-soccer fans. It makes you want to go to as many games as you can and to support this club. The team also wants you to pay attention to them. They are a third year team full of young but talented players. This underdog of a team basically is a movie script. All you would need to do for commercials is show the passion of the SoBs and the youth of the team and BAM, commercial. Then you would need to air it once in awhile. I know the Union have some commercials like this already but how often do you see them used?
6. No one knows who we are
You ask any Philadelphian to name some players on the Philadelphia Union and you will get one of two responses: either “The Philadelphia who?” or “Freddy Adu”. There is no connection between the Union and Philadelphians mostly because no one knows who is on the team. Even if you are not a football fan you knew who Donavon McNabb was. The signing of Freddy Adu was great if just to give the team a face that people recognize. Now that the team has a player that most people have at least heard of we can start getting him out there more. Get him interviews on TV, then start bringing in a few other players with him. Eventually, and slowly, the city will start recognizing the faces of the team.
7. Watch the future of American soccer grow up
Last summer we learned that the only time America cares about soccer is during the World Cup. What many people in Philadelphia don’t know is that there are many players on the Union that have a legitimate chance of playing for the US Men’s National Team either this World Cup cycle or early next cycle. Talented players like Amobi Okugo, Sheanon Williams, Freddy Adu, Michael Farfan, Jack McInerney, and Zac MacMath all have shot to be called into the men’s camp. Of course not all of them will be chosen but wouldn’t it be cool to say you were a fan of them before they became national sensations?
8. You still have time to be a fan and not a bandwagoner
Since this team is only three years old the fan base is still growing. If you start following the Union now you will not be thought of as jumping on the bandwagon because you will be one of the originals. Add the fact that the Union started off shaky at the beginning of the season and there is no way you can be called a front runner. Being able to market the team to the population by saying they can be part of the beginning is not something many franchises get the opportunity to do.
9. Union fans are awesome
As passionate as the Union fans are, they are also genuinely good people. There is a sense of community among fans, particularly the Bens, that you do not get with many other teams. I have met numerous awesome people by just going to a few tailgates, walking around the parking lots before games, or talking on Twitter. The Sons of Ben give back to the community by holding charity events or doing public works. The SoBs will be joining the Philadelphia Union Foundation with building a playground in Chester that was partly designed by Chester kids.
July 16, 2012Posted by on
On July 25th thousands of MLS fans will file into PPL park to watch as the MLS All Stars take on Chelsea FC. For Union fans, it was questionable if they would be able to watch one of their own play against the London giant but this question was answered on Sunday as the Commissioner’s two picks for the All Star team were release. Don Garber choose two defenders: Ramiro Corrales of the San Jose Earthquakes and our very own Carlos Valdes.
Valdes is coming of an amazing game against the Montreal Impact where he not only put in a stellar defensive performance but also went on to score the winning goal in extra time off a Sheanon Williams long throw. As of now it is still unknown if the Philadelphia Union captain will be starting as he will have to beat out other talented defenders like New York’s Heath Pearce and Whitecap’s Jay DeMerit.
I believe there is a good possibility of Valdes getting on the starting eleven for the MLS All Stars. He is a talented center back with the ability to communicate well and also hold good positions. He has been extremely consistent all season and has come up huge when called upon by the Union. If put on the pitch, Carlos Valdez will be tested against players like Fernando Torres and newly signed Eden Hazard.
July 10, 2012Posted by on
There have been many changes this season to our beloved Philadelphia Union with the loss and gaining of numerous players. As of late, the Union have arguably been playing the best soccer of any MLS team. So how does this new team compare to that of previous seasons? To investigate this we will take a look at how the starting line up the Union used this past Sunday against Toronto FC compares to ex-Union players that still currently play in the MLS.
Union Starting XI vs Toronto FC:
Macmath; G. Farfan, Valdez, Okugo, Williams; Gomez, Carrol, M. Farfan; Adu, McInerney, Pajoy
Ex Union Players Still in MLS starting XI:
Seitz; Harvey, Califf, Thomas; Mapp, Salinas, Nakazawa, Jacobson; Le Toux, Mwanga, Moreno
Before I start, I want to state that I have respect for FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz. Despite the anger that was aimed in his direction by Philadelphia fans for his questionable playing in 2010 he has always been respectable toward Union supporters and Front Office. This season Seitz has made four starts ending with a record of 0-2-2 and allowing five goals. It is hard for me to even make an argument on how this can be better than Zac Macmath’s stellar performance so far this season. With 14 starts so far, Zac has allowed 16 goals and posted 5 shut outs. Macmath can thank the back four in front of him for making this season easy for him so far. Zac has only had to make 37 saves in league play this season compared to current save leader Matt Perkins’ 70. The 20 year old goalkeeper has also come up huge when the game called for it by making amazing saves particularly at point blank range. The Union’s starting keeper has only had one noticeably bad game and that was the season opener loss to Portland where the wet conditions, turf field, and nerves may have hindered his ability to perform at his potential.
When it comes down to it, it is a no brainer on who is having the better season in 2012. Chris Seitz simply has not played enough this season to even raise an argument against Zac Macmath. The fact that he did not walk away with a win from any of his starts does not help either.
Winner: Zac Macmath
The Back Line:
I cannot say enough good things about the Union defence this season especially Carlos Valdez. They have consistently locked down in front of goal and also made great desperation plays when necessary (i.e. those few goal line saves against LA last week). Defensive midfielder turned center back Amobi Okugo has fit in nicely alongside Valdez after the departure of Danny Califf while Sheanon Williams has been phenomenal like usual. Losing ex-union captain Califf was a blow to the team this season but after trying a few differently back lines the team has started playing the same great defence they have been known for.
The Philadelphia Union have lost three defenders that still play in the MLS: Jordan Harvey (Vancouver Whitecaps), Danny Califf (Chivas USA), and Shavar Thomas (Montreal Impact). These are three strong defenders with the weakest one, in my opinion, being Thomas. Both Thomas and Harvey find themselves just beginning to become regular starters for their respective teams. Thomas has taken over for injured Matteo Ferrari in the last four games for the Montreal Impact who came away with one win and three losses in those games. Those games included a 3-0 loss to Toronto FC at home. Although the 11 goals scored against the Impact in those four games cannot be fully blamed on Thomas, he is partially the involved. Harvey has recently earned a starting position again for the Vancouver Whitecaps and it appears he will stay there for bit. Jordan started on July 4th against Colorado due to the suspension of first string left back Jun Davidson. His performance that game led Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie to say it was “… the best he’s played since I’ve come to the club”. Harvey played well enough against the Rapids to earn his spot in the starting eleven again this past weekend where he put in another worthy performance even though Davidson was available. Lastly we have Danny Califf. The former Union captain was only just sent to the west coast team but has been doing some solid defending alongside Rauwshan McKenzie. Califf has always been a consistent defender and that trend has continued in LA. Chivas may not be putting up big numbers on the scoreboard but there defense has been making sure their opponents don’t either, for the most part at least.
Maybe it is my bias but I feel that Philadelphia’s defense wins this over the past Union players. Posting three shut outs in their past five league games, the Zolos have been making it tough for every offense they go up against. This is especially amazing when you consider that half of the back line is not even listed as a defender.
Winner: Current starters
The midfield is where the comparisons between current and ex Union players start to get interesting. While our current midfield has been incredibly creative and does more then it’s fair share while attacking with the ball, defensively they have been mediocre, even laughable at times. Opponents have been able to easily work their way through the middle of the field forcing our defense to work harder than they should. We saw this multiple times in last week’s game against the Galaxy. I understand our midfield tends to be more offensively minded, but this is not an excuse for shabby defending. Offensively the midfield has been amazing. They have been making it easy for Jack Mac and Antoine Hoppenot while also being able to keep possession and pass the ball around when needed.
Of the four former Union midfielders still in the league only two have been consistently getting time on the pitch: Justin Mapp of the Montreal Impact and Andrew Jacobson of FC Dallas. Justin Mapp has been proving to be a force in the midfield, exploiting space given to him and helping to create chances. Unfortunately, Mapp has the same problem he had while playing with the Union last season (other than only using one foot); he seems to show up and disappear too often. There has been multiple times while watching the Impact this season that I have 100% forgot Mapp was on the field. Despite this, Justin Mapp has been playing well enough to consistently make it into the Impact’s starting lineup. Andrew Jacobson is part of a team that has not won a game since April 14th. With a winless streak that long, it is not just one person’s fault; it comes down to the whole team.
Although all the ex-Union midfielders are talented players, it is hard for me to talk up a midfield whose top player is Justin Mapp. It also does not help the former players’ cause that the current squad has been playing great soccer lately.
Winner: Current Union
This comparison is probably the hardest to decide between. The current Philadelphia offense has been putting on a clinic, scoring fifteen goals in their last five games. The scary part is that this offensive onslaught is only a recent development and I am still a little hesitant to say that the form the players are in is here to stay. Of the three starters up top against Toronto FC, Jack McIerney has been the most consistent, scoring 3 goals in his past 3 league games. Freddy Adu has looked better than he did earlier in the season and had an amazing game this weekend causing many iffy moments for the Toronto defense. Still the weak part of our current starting lineup appears to be Lionard Pajoy. Pajoy has been more involved lately but still has major weakness that lead to missed chances. The most noticeable of these weaknesses is his first touch on the ball. For a striker, if your first touch is not near perfect every time scoring will be a rarity.
Chivas USA may not be playing the best soccer lately but one thing is consistent for them, Alejandro Moreno. Moreno played for the Union in 2010 before being sent to Chivas. While at Chivas, Moreno has played very well, creating chances for his team and holds the number two score of all Chiva’s players on MLS’s Castrol Index. In spite of only having two goals so far this season, I still feel he is a necessary force to have on the field. Playing only 300 minutes for his new team, the Portland Timbers, Danny Mwanga is one of the most recent Union departures. Other than scoring a magnificent goal last week, Danny is having the same problem he had when he played in Philly; he cannot seem to gel properly with the team that is playing around him. His lack of shots and goal scoring opportunities makes him a minimal threat to most defenses. Lastly, we look at a player that holds a special place in most Philadelphia Union fans’ hearts, Sébastien Le Toux. While wearing the blue and gold Seba was a goal scoring machine while also being an all-around good guy. Since joining the Whitecaps, Le Toux has played nearly every possible minute but has not found the back of the net nearly as often as he did when he was in Philadelphia, scoring only 4 goals in his 2012 campaign.
Choosing between these two line ups is tough for me. If I chose off of the form players held while they still played for the Union, I would go with the former players in a heartbeat, but if I was going off of how players are currently playing I would go with our current lineup. When it comes down to it, and if I was forced to choose, I would go with what we have now. Our offense is scoring multiple goals per game but the horror of our early season performance still hangs in the back of my mind.
Winner: Current Union
The moral of the story is that things could be much worst. We have a great team that is scoring consistently and is defending beautifully. Although some of the above could stream from my personal love for this club, I still feel that most of what I stated holds true. My only hope, and I’m sure it is the same hope that all Union fans have, is that our team continues to play the same game they have been playing for the past few weeks.
July 10, 2012Posted by on
Sunday’s match against Toronto FC saw an event which many Philadelphia Union fans have waited months for; the return of fan favorite and Colombian midfielder Roger Torres. Torres has not seen the field for a league match since March 24, 2012 due to a knee injury. Coming in Sunday in the 83rdminute to an enthusiastic crowd chanting his name, Roger’s first touch was less than decent, directly to a Toronto player, but he quickly recovered by feeding a beautiful through ball to a darting Antoine Hoppenot which was unfortunately snubbed out by the Toronto defense. Playing only seven minutes, Torres did not get many opportunities to show off the ball control skills Union fans have grown to love over the time he has spent here, but the fact that Torres did not play noticeably poor during his short time on the field should give Philadelphia fans hope that this major injury won’t be career changing for the midfielder. Although it will likely be a few more months until we see Roger starting, especially with the competition ahead of him, I would expect to see him regularly used as a late sub for Michael Farfan or Freddy Adu.
Roger’s absence in the midfield has allowed players like Marfan and Adu to step up and become a creative force on the field. It will be interesting to see how Coach John Hackworth organizes his midfield as Torres becomes closer to match fit.
Personally, I never really liked Torres as a starter and think he does better coming on early in the second half, where he can use his creative ball-handling on tired defenders to open up passing lanes or to get shots off. Also, the way Marfan has played as of late proves that he is needed on the field. This is the problem with a team that has so much depth; you see many talented players that would likely start at other teams benched. Torres will be joining a bench which already holds many other skilled young players like right back Raymon Gaddis and likely defensive midfielder turned center back Amobi Okugo due to the recent signing of Bakary Soumare.
When all is said and done, I am excited to see what the return of the Roger Torres era has in store. He is a player that is not scared to shoot which has been a major problem for Philadelphia Union until very recently. As Torres is slowly reintroduced to the midfield, Union fans will be watching to see if he is still the creative, offensive minded player that he was before the injury. We saw small glimpses of it against Toronto allowing the Union faithful to hold the hope that one of their favorites will make a triumphant return to the pitch later this season.
January 9, 2012Posted by on
There’s been a lot of noise around my latest post on a quote from a friend that the Union will be host to the MLS All-Star Game this year. The idea isn’t really a surprise to anyone as it had been mentioned as one of four potential host cities a few months ago, but there hasn’t been an announcement. I took the texts from a friend and decided to put them up here because I trust his judgement and know that he does hold the position he told me. If I were reading the article that I wrote, I wouldn’t trust it either to be totally honest. I believe him and have already had conversations about wo would be interested in going to the gam, but if I lived farther away I wouldn’t be ordering plane tickets just yet.
I had two intentions writing that post, first putting out the information I have and making sure that the way I wrote it carried just as much doubt as I had about it. I’m far from sure it’s true. I only had very little information, but I knew that a lot of people would love to have that information.
I haven’t seen much official acknowledgement of this, but Daily News writer Kerith Gabriel tweeted that it was false. I guess we’ll find out eventually.
November 10, 2011Posted by on
So the Union were the best team in the league with a one or two man disadvantage. I know a lot of people I watch with noticed this and really almost saw the team become more comfortable when they went down a man. Not particularly surprised by this but its nice to see the stats back up what you see. Also the Union were 5th in the league with the man advantage.
|oal Differential – One or Two-Man Advantage|
|3||Real Salt Lake||168||5||0||+5|
|Goal Differential – One or Two-Man Disadvantage|
November 8, 2011Posted by on
To no ones surprise C.J. Sapong won the MLS Rookie of the Year award that has had his name etched on it since halfway through the season. Sapong led all rookies in both assists and goals and had a huge role in bringing Sporting Kansas City back from the dead. He looked extremely impressive and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in a USMNT jersey before we see his teammate Teal Bunbury in one again.
In the battle for second place Union midfielder Michael Farfan won! He had impressed many of us at home for quite a while. As a rookie in a lineup that was constantly being turned over, Farfan established himself as a starter and a real key to the Union’s offensive . His skill on the ball has impressed many. On another day he’d deserve a look for a wing spot for the USMNT, but with Donovan and Shea starting to look entrenched there and the team having a ton of high quality midfielders available it is unlikely we’ll see him around for a while.
November 6, 2011Posted by on
So two years in and we got eliminated in the second rounds of the playoffs. With a bye to get past the first round the Union managed to slip into the second round of the playoffs. Despite losing to Houston in a series that was not particularly well played their performance this year was extremely impressive. We were expected to be improved, but did anyone expect us to be in contention for first in the east on the final day of the season? Or to lead the East for a large portion of the season? What impresses me most about this team is this.
Williams-21 Valdes-26 Tait-21 G. Farfan -23
M. Farfan-23 Adu-22 Torres-20 Daniel-24
Subs:Pfeffer-16, Nakazawa-23 Richter/Langley/Houapeu-22
If the Union had to start a game tomorrow with players who were at or under the league average age this is what it would look like. There are three players on here who absolutely should be starting. If we add Le Toux, Carroll and Califf into this lineup for McInerney, Okugo and Tait we have a lineup that I might even have preferred to the teams Nowak put out for the playoff games. I was much more upset to see Miglioranzi on the field than I would have been to see MacMath.
Williams-21 Valdes-26 Califf-31 G. Farfan -23
M. Farfan-23 Adu-22 Torres-20 Daniel-24
Mwanga-20 Le Toux-27
Subs:Okugo-20 McInerney-19 Nakazawa-23
Obviously my point doesn’t heal the wounds of a poorly played and poorly managed playoff exit, but it shows that the majority of our starters are (well) below the league average age. This team is extremely young and will only get better. Next year they will bring back Keon Daniel, bring back a healthy Freddy Adu who seemed to carry an injury through much of the season, along with just about every other player improving purely by getting a year older and wiser. If they can keep this team together, not the easiest thing in MLS, they will surely be competing at a higher and higher level for the next few years.
October 30, 2011Posted by on
So playoffs are here lets play an entirely different formation than we’ve played all year! I like the idea behind playing this 32-3-2 formation with both Marfan and the Sheannomenon playing as wingers and Migz moving back into the hole to play as the third defender. It’s a very cool idea but there’s a few obvious reasons its not working well so far.
1. Brian Carroll isn’t sure where to play. He hasn’t had much of the ball and is usually one of the most important ball controllers for the team.
2. Sheannon hasn’t gotten enough action going forward. He started off attacking a good amount, but he’s been pulled back by some strong wing play from the Dynamo.
3. Gabe Farfan looks totally lost. He just looks flustered and uncomfortable.
Positioning has been very confused, the Dynamo have dominated possession and they looked as good as we were afraid they would on set-pieces. If Migz stays in, the game will be won or lost by that position and the mess it creates for everyone.
The strike force of Le Toux and Mwanga has looked good, but I expect to see someone come in to start the half who will drive possession and make the possession more effective. I can’t see Miglioranzi staying in the game much longer, he doesn’t look bad, but his position is causing problems. They have to figure out that first and foremost before this game gets out of hand. I expect Torres to come in for Migz although I could see it being Adu, or even Okugo playing a more natural DM position than the hybrid sweeper spot Migz is playing. The Union are only down 1, but they are being outplayed by Houston and need to change something to get to the end of this game safely. They can absolutely mount the comeback; there’s tons of time left, but they do have to make a change. Nowak’s got his hands full here; I’m very curious as to what changes he makes.