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Philadelphia Union 1-1 New England Revolution

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfdcyr-jqqw[/youtube]

Sebastien Le Toux is great, and referee Jason Anno is not.

Philadelphia Union walked away Saturday afternoon with a 1-1 draw against the New England Revolution in a match decided by one of the most bizarre sequences seen at PPL Park. Up 1-0, thanks to a Sebastien Le Toux, the Union saw the game decided by two questionable calls and a strange bounce.

Just before the 70-minute mark, new Union midfielder Justin Mapp dribbled his way through several defenders before getting knocked off the ball with a shoulder block from a New England defender. No foul was called, and the Revolution counterattacked. Then the Union were called for a touch foul about 25 yards out from goal. Fans booed both the no-call and the call, but they hadn’t seen anything yet.

Marko Perovic then lined up the free kick. It bounced inside the box on a trajectory that looked like it might skip low. Union goalkeeper Chris Seitz dived accordingly. The ball bounced high though, as if it hit a divot that changed its direction. The ball went over the diving Seitz, shocking the crowd to silence and giving the final score.

Overall, the game was pretty evenly matched. The Revolution controlled the first 25 minutes, then momentum swung to the Union for much off the match. Philadelphia continued to play interesting, attacking soccer, and they were countered by a very fast New England back line. Here are some things that stood out in the match.

  • The officiating was terrible.

Referee Jason Anno made questionable calls both ways, though more seemed to go against the Union. At game’s end, fans booed mercilessly, largely because he botched a goal kick call right before the final whistle and gave a corner kick on a play where the ball went out of bounds a good foot above Seitz’s hands. He failed to call a penalty when Le Toux went down in the box on a header. Not to be too biased, he also awarded the Union a goal kick after Danny Califf made a great clearance that Anno apparently thought went off Shalrie Joseph. We don’t spend much time harping about officiating in Major League Soccer here, but today, it was just horrid.

  • Sebastien Le Toux is playing some ridiculous soccer.

His goal was part instinct but driven by confidence. A momentarily loose ball left by Danny Mwanga that Le Toux just pounced on and blasted. He is in terrific form, and Saturday’s performance shows the talk about him being an MVP candidate isn’t silliness. He’s been brilliant. (Also, my favorite line of the game was from the guy in the seats behind me, who said, “He’s the only Frenchman I don’t hate.” Ah, America.)

  • The Union are wasting too many corner kicks.

They got six corner kicks and didn’t do anything with them. Too many corners are coming up way short. They need someone who can adequately send corners into the box at a high enough level to get over the first line of defenders. For all his great play, Le Toux has not been that man.

  • The Union have no depth on defense, and if someone gets hurt in-game, they’re in trouble.

Cristian Arrieta went down briefly with an injury, and you suddenly realized, “Whoa, there’s not another defender on the roster.” Shea Salinas is out with a broken leg. Toni Stahl is the only option, a defensive midfielder who’s had trouble each time he’s appeared at center back. The team roster only includes four players who came into this season as defenders. The Union still have two open roster spots. Look for at least one to be filled by a defender.

  • PPL Park seems better every game.

The more games you watch there, the more you realize just how spectacular a venue it is. The great thing is it’s not even done yet. Outside, grass has yet to be planted in some spaces along the Delaware River. I joined some folks from The 700 today for tailgating and grilling, and the view is just terrific.

  • No goalkeeping controversy here.

The Union are still the league’s only team without a clean sheet. But with rookie goalkeeper Brian Perk inexplicably cut this week, don’t expect anyone to be calling for Seitz’s replacement any time soon. Not that Seitz has earned a benching. Still, after that bizarre goal, if you had the temptation to blame Seitz, you couldn’t call for Perk, the new fan favorite who impressed so many fans in games against Celtic and Manchester United. All you had to do was check out people’s incredulous responses on the Union’s Facebook page to see just how much fans liked this guy. Maybe the Union will pick him back up, because they now only have two goalies.

Player ratings

Chris Seitz: 4

Bad bounce or bad play? Maybe a bit of both on that goal. The bizarre bounce was clear to anyone at the stadium. Could Seitz have taken a better angle by attacking the ball? Were there issues of setting up the wall? (See comment below.) Possibly, but it’s hard to say. Otherwise, he wasn’t challenged much Saturday.

Jordan Harvey: 6

Decent game for Harvey. He pushed up well and showed his usual hustle on defense. Overcommitted on a play that nearly led to a goal early on.

Cristian Arrieta: 5

An up-and-down game for Arrieta. At times, he looked very solid, hustling for open balls. Then in one stretch beginning around the 55th minute, he seemed completely lost. Then he played fairly well again. A difficult player to figure out.

Danny Califf: 8

Califf stole a goal from Joseph in the 66th minute with an instinctive clearance. He passed well from the back, with only maybe one off pass the whole game. Remained in good defensive position much of the game. An excellent game.

Michael Orozco Fiscal: 5

Didn’t play poorly but was not much of a factor at right back. He still seems out of place there, not nearly the force he is in the center of the field, where he can more drastically change a game.

Fred: 6

Fred did what he does best, playing excellent possession ball throughout. A spinning back heel to control the ball in his own half along the left sideline was a thing of beauty.

Eduardo Coudet: 6

Coudet didn’t look spectacular, but he seemed to make the right passes at the right times. It’s just one game, but I’m wondering whether he’ll prove to be a defensive liability, as New England really controlled the center more than any team has against the Union in some time. (That may say more about how terrific a player Joseph is, though.)

Stefani Miglioranzi: 6

If you notice Migs too much, chances are he’s not having a good game. We may just have to repeat this every game. A few good clearances, a few good passes, one or two errant passes – a typical Migs game.

Sebastien Le Toux: 8

A beautiful goal. Active throughout. Weak on corner kicks. We can accept near-perfection.

Danny Mwanga: 5

Mwanga did well to fight for position to pick up some long passes, but once he had the ball, he did too little with it.

Alejandro Moreno: 4

Relatively invisible, save for some hard shots to his body and harder falls. His reputation for diving is resulting in him getting fewer calls than he should get.

Substitutes

Justin Mapp: 6

Mapp showed a little hop in his step, dribbling through the New England defense on several occasions and putting one or two good crosses into the box. Got a nice applause upon entering in the 56th minute.

Andrew Jacobson: 5

Didn’t have much of an impact after coming on in the 77th minute.

Jack McInerney: n/a

Came on in the 83rd minute. Nearly set up the game-winning goal when Le Toux went down in the box on a header.

(Photo: Philadelphia Union)

16 Comments

  1. jack stiller says:

    i dont know who wrote this shit but you dont know nothing about soccer change job

  2. Mike Servedio says:

    The NE goal was embarrassing in the fact that Seitz neglected to set up the wall. They were a good 5 yards off of the post. If they were in the right place, maybe that shot doesn’t get through and take that weird bounce. I’m calling for the goalie controversy. Perk was good against Celtic and Man U, but he seemed to lack the size to be a full time keeper in the MLS. Brad Knighton has looked good enough in what I’ve seen of him, and Seitz has made too many mistakes and cost the Union too many points.

    Mapp was positive when he came on and I think he’ll be a good addition when he gels a little more. Though I don’t understand at all the decision to put him in for Mwanga and not Moreno. Moreno is a waste of space out there.

  3. Mike. Agree on Perk. Even with the youth teams for the US, he’s just too small to be the man in the long term. Seitz isnt doing the the little things correctly to lock down his first clean sheet. With a number of matches in quick succession Novak might get a chance to “rest” him for at least one.

    I was also shocked to see Mwanga, not Moreno come off. It has reached a critical level for Moreno. He is getting bludgeoned to death out there but his diver’s reputation has seen him come up on the wrong end of a series of calls. He needs to be sat down for a spell and refocus his efforts, at the moment he is of no use to the UNION.

    I thought the refereeing was atrocious mostly in the manner that it differed from all the other matches we’ve seen this season, it was as if the ref had received a league initiative to issue as many play on calls as possible. I’m all for keeping play moving but when the players are that confused something is wrong.

    I’m used to MLS games where every little bit of contact is blown down, apparently so are the players, but as we keep seeing consistent inconsistency is what we have to live with.

    My biggest concern is the UNION’s great stockpiling of holding midfielders without the addition of an ATTACKING midfielder. Le Toux and Mwanga have to drop way too deep to get the ball because there isn’t a proficient attacking midfielder pulling the strings and playing dangerous balls into them

  4. Mwanga has been dealing with a twisted ancle the past couple of weeks. He said himself he thought he was only at 70% which is why he came so early in the second half. Mapp is an attacking midfielder, so is fred, so is torres, so is Salinas. I would like to see fred and mapp on the wings for midfield and have Le Toux and Mwanga up top. I have had enough of Le Toux as middie, he is good at it but we need him more up top. There were points like when Orozco sent that ball across goal and Moreno didnt time his run and missed it that show we need Le Toux up top not in midfield.

  5. Josh Trott says:

    Re: the boo at the end on the corner kick call was wrong- the ball took a deflection of a Union arm- so I was glad the call was a corner, and not a free kick (still a blown call, but for the Union). Eli, I think Coudet is the guy you are talking about, if you mean someone who will distribute and create chances from the middle, and I think Fred isn’t bad at that either.

    I agree that Moreno had a bad game- and I haven’t seen the last two league games- but at the beginning of the season he was effective.

    I was disappointed by the number of times the Union dropped the ball to Sietz, and then walked upfield and waited for him to kick it down- New England did this often as well. I don’t know if this was a, its a hot afternoon in July, we’re not going to run around the midfield, decision, or if we just forget how to work the ball on the ground. I know it’s MLS, but I always like the Union for the way that they worked the ball up. On the play that resulted in a goal I think seven passes were completed before the shot. I also thought that in the second half the Union did not seem very intent on scoring until they lost their one goal lead.

    I also wanted to tell Jack Stiller that if he feels he can comment better, than he should.

    Regarding jack stiller, maybe you would like to comment on the game.

  6. jack stiller says:

    change career, believe is the right thing to do

  7. Jack Stiller you can barely put 6 words together into a logical order and you are criticizing one of the best soccer writers in the region. Say what you do not like about the article otherwise shut up.

  8. Didn’t Nowak promise to elaborate on his reasons for dropping Perk after this match? I get the size issue mentioned in a few of these comments, but if that were all then surely he’d have come out and said it. No, there’s got to be something else… Maybe another addition to the roster? Maybe a defender? Here’s hoping.

  9. You gotta wonder if another keeper is coming in because it is rare for professional teams to only have 2 keepers on there roster.

  10. Patrick Martin says:

    It seems to me that Seitz played the ball all wrong, divot or no divot. It seems his first reaction was down, thus putting him on the ground, which is the last place he should be.

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