Daily news roundups

Recaps & reaction to Union’s huge win in KC, Sak backs Hack, local USOC results, more news

Philadelphia Union

Nobody really expected the struggling Union to get a result against first in the Eastern Conference Kansas City on Wednesday night. Under fire manager John Hackworth acknowledged as much before the game, saying, “Pressure comes off of us in that regard because nobody truly expects us to get a result in Kansas City.”

The editors at MLSsoccer.com certainly didn’t.

And when the news came out on Wednesday afternoon that Maurice Edu, who was expected to play the game, had been released to join the USMNT pre-World Cup game after being scratched from the travel roster with minor concussion symptoms, many Union fans no doubt rated their team’s chances at Sporting even lower.

So, when Danny Cruz scored in the 47th minute (following two ridiculous saves from ZacMath in the first half) ending a 329 minute Union goal drought, one that extended to 444 minutes since the last goal from open play, the reaction was a delightful combination of joy mixed with relief.

Thoughts that the night would end with a return to the same old story when Kansas City equalized in the 80th minute were barely formed when Cristian Maidan reclaimed the lead for the Union with a goal barely a minute later.

While the drama would still not be over — 90th minute substitute Corben Bone was shown a straight red card only 54 seconds after entering the game — the Union would see the contest out, handing Kansas City their first home loss of 2014 and ending their own nine-game winless streak.

“I can’t say enough about the guys in our locker room,” John Hackworth said after the game. “That was an incredibly gutsy performance against probably the best team in MLS, coming to a very difficult place to play…We didn’t play our best soccer — might have been in some respects one of our poorer performances soccerwise, but we got the goals when it mattered. The response after the Sporting Kansas City goal was fantastic, and held on till the end.”

The celebrations following each Union goal were as remarkable as the goals themselves, with the team mobbing John Hackworth after Cruz’s goal and Maidana embracing the Union coach on the sidelines after his tally.

Danny Cruz said of the celebration, “It’s definitely something we talked about before. We are behind him. He knows we are behind him and we’ve tried to make that clear to the media, to the fans, and tonight was big for everybody. including him. I think you could see the fight in everybody for that big reason.”

Maidana said of his goal, “This goal was for my family, and all the fans that always support me. And this is for the coach who believed in me from the first moment I got here.”

Asked what his players said to him during the celebrations, Hackworth said, “Guys just saying, “That’s for you, that’s for you.” I keep telling them they’re not playing for me, they’re playing for this organization. But we’re going through tough times and, certainly, we’re battling on, and that was just a great sign, it’s good for the guys to feel that way and that’s a credit to our staff and our organization that we still, through all these tough times, still believe in each other.”

Cruz said of the team’s performance, “You saw a little bit of a different team tonight. You saw a team willing to fight for each other. It reminded me a lot of last year. We had a lot of shots — it was pretty entertaining, I hope, for everybody. But, at the end of the day, we’ve been lacking that bite, that fight for each other, and it came out today, absolutely.”

The Union now face second in the Eastern Conference New England at PPL Park on Saturday. Cruz said, “We walked into the locker room and said we are focused on Saturday now. This game is over. It’s a quick turnaround. We are playing a team that just beat arguably the best team in the league, Seattle, 5-0 last week, and they are going to be good. Our home form has not been good and it needs to turn around. But this is certainly a result we can build off of and I definitely think you’ll see, hopefully, the same kind of fight next weekend.”

Recaps from PSP, here at PSP, we have a postgame quotesheet. USA Today has a photo gallery from the game.

Before Wednesday’s game, Nick Sakiewicz issued a statement backing John Hackworth. “We stand behind John Hackworth, each member of the technical staff and the players. We are working everyday with the resources available to us and are confident that with some additional key players this group can become the team we envision it to be… I can tell you that as of today, we are very active scouring the marketplace to find and bring in attacking talent that can finish the large number of chances our vastly improved midfield is consistently creating during every game.”

US Open Cup

Reading United defeated Greater Binghamton Thunder 5-2 in second round play on Wednesday night, with Union Academy product and South Philly native Darius Madison recording a goal and three assists. The team will now face Rochester Rhinos on the road in third round play on May 28. Match reports from PSP, Reading United, and wicz.com.

The Ocean City Nor’easters’ cup run ended after one game with a 2-0 home defeat to New York American Greek Atlas, a team that included former Union defender Cristian Arrieta. Read more about the game in our match report.

After a scoreless first half, the visiting Harrisburg City Islanders defeated Lehigh Valley United Sonic 4-0 in their second round US Open Cup tie. Former Union trialist Jose Barril opened the scoring in the 47th minute and was joined on the scoresheet by fellow former Union trialist Clesio Bauque for the City Islanders third goal. Assisting that goal was Union loanee Jimmy McLaughlin, who entered the game in the 76th minute for 2014 Union draft pick Robbie Dershang. Harrisburg now face Baltimore Bohemians on the road in the third round on May 28. Match reports from Penn Live and Allentown Morning Call.

Soccer America has a wrap of Wednesday’s second round games.

MLS

Colorado have signed 20-year-old defender John Neeskens, the son of Dutch great Johan Neeskens.

ABC News and The Huffington Post on former Union man Chris Seitz 2012 life saving donation of bone marrow to someone he never met.

Brotherly Game looks at the new TV deal.

Transfer rumors? Here’s some on Alessandro Del Piero and Joe Cole.

South Florida Business Journal reports that the site of the Beckham-backed Miami MLS stadium may be decided by voter referendum.

More on the continuing MLS dreams in Las Vegas.

US

Noting that many of the players that the US will face in Brazil will have recently played in the Champions League and other cup competitions, Jurgen Klinsmann said, “A lot of our guys don’t have the same foundation. We’re behind. We know where we stand in comparison. That’s why we start earlier and work harder.”

Klinsmann said of Chris Wondolowski, “He doesn’t have to change anything. Every time he’s in, he gives everything he has. He gives 1,000 percent. He has built his own case, and built it stronger and stronger.”Klinsmann added: “He’s determined. You give him a 1 percent chance, and he wants to make it 100 percent by the end of the day. He will be one of the drivers in camp.”

DaMarcus Beasley compared the coaching style of Klinsmann with that of his immediate predecessors. “Bruce [Arena] was more relaxed, more laid back approach. Bob [Bradley] was very organized, very straightforward. He knew what he wanted out of every single player. Klinsmann has a little bit of both. He has that German mentality. But at the same time, Klinsmann lets you express yourself on the field. He gives you the lineup and his tactics, and says, ‘Go out and do it, show why you should be starting on the national team.'”

USA Today on how Landon Donovan will have to earn his ticket to Brazil.

While Soccer America looks at the many positional possibilities on the US squad, at SI, Grant Wahl notes that Klinsmann has some tough decisions to make.

Facebook posted a blog article on Wednesday reminding marketers that millions of US soccer fans are on the social media site. “This summer, all eyes will be on Brazil for one of the most popular sporting events in the world. Of the 1.2 billion people who are on Facebook, some 500 million are soccer fans. And, in the US alone, there are 48.9 million fans.”

Bruce Arena on coaching the US team in the 3-2 shock win over Portugal in the 2002 World Cup, his first World Cup game.

The AP reports, “NBC says 4.9 million viewers tuned in to watch U.S. English-language coverage Sunday of the 10 matches on the final day of the English Premier League season. The total was up 172 percent from the previous high of 1.8 million for coverage on the last day of the 2011-12 season on ESPN2 and nine Fox networks. NBC said Tuesday the figures include anyone who watched at least 6 minutes.”

Elsewhere

The Guardian reports, “Qatar has promised to scrap key elements of its controversial labour laws, in the wake of an international outcry over conditions for migrant workers before the 2022 World Cup.”

The AP reports, “Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is under criminal investigation in Portugal for suspected tax fraud and money laundering, according to U.S. court documents obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

10 Comments

  1. Generic Union Fan says:

    Great game!
    We still want a competent new coach, a competent new left back, a goal scoring striker, and a new color commentator.
    Then we will stop whining. OK, maybe just whine about something else.

  2. OneManWolfpack says:

    I would have lost my house betting against that team last night. It was nice to see them play the best game of the year when they absolutely had to. They saved the season last night.
    .
    I want to see if Hack has the balls to start the same starting 11 this weekend. I know it’s a short week, and some guys may be a bit injured, but that was the best game they played since the opener.
    .
    Amobi Okugo deserves to be in the midfield. Period. Team chemistry and success with him in the midfield was not an accident.

    • I want to see if Hackworth is comfortable sticking with the bunker-and-counter approach at home. NE has a lot of talent up front, but they’re young and prone to impatience.

    • It’s a quick turnaround, against a hot team, and we had some players possibly got knocked around. I don’t think he can start that exact same XI. And Fernandes overall didn’t play well (his one excellent pass to Maidana notwithstanding). But I hope he doesn’t make wholesale changes.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Well, we know that Fabinho is definitely out. Williams will go to a flank and Amobi, or Wheeler, will return to CB. (Man, I hope it’s Wheeler!!!). It will most likely be Amobi, with Carroll back at CDM…and it will suck!

    • Fabinho will be out for yellow card accumulation. I liked Amobi at DM but I think you’ll see him back at CB with Williams out right.

  3. What is bones issue. I seem to remember he had some discipline issues in his only other minutes. I said to my wife “hopefully bone won’t do anything stupid” and 30 seconds later I see the back pocket. I can understand wanting to make the most of your minutes but he needs to settle down if he ever wants to see the field again.

    • In some of those other games that were dreadful to watch maybe that type of play sparks the team. But of course when we have a lead on the road he comes in and gets ejected. The fact that he is even in the 18 shows the lack of depth this team really has.

  4. Okugo has to stay as DM. He looked great last night and every bit the leader on the field. Start White or Wheeler at the other CB spot but leave Okugo in the midfield!

  5. The Chopper says:

    I don’t think it’s an accident that we saw more bite and fight with Edu and Carroll gone and LeToux and Casey watching. The young guys are clearly more hungry and the newcomers (except Edu) have something to prove.

    And let’s give the Union and Hack some credit. There have been ups and downs but MacMath, Gaddis and Okugo (regardless of position ) have all developed well here. I would even say the same for Williams (despite recent form). And now that there’s more talent on the field,mew can even see what Hack sees in Cruz. The coach isn’t perfect, but there are some positives.

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