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FC Dallas 3 -1 Philadelphia Union

A ten man Union squad suffered a disappointing 3-1 loss at the hands of FC Dallas on a hot summer afternoon. Alejandro Moreno’s first goal of the season put the Union up less than 10 minutes into the game, but Brad Knighton’s first league start turned into a disaster when he was shown straight red after a failing to control a long ball into the box and taking down Brek Shea (real name) after 24 minutes. The red card was clearly the turning point on a scorching Texas afternoon and the Union struggled to attack with much intent after going down a man. They kept the score tied until the 74th minute when Dallas broke through with Jeff Cunningham heading home from close range.  The points were sealed when Cunningham fired home from eight yards on 81 minutes.

Peter Nowak continues to tinker with the line up. Knighton started his first league game of the season, with Chris Seitz supposedly falling victim to some sort of illness (the inability to cleanly catch a ball?). New boy Juan Diego Gonzalez partnered Danny Califf in central defense, while Kyle Nakazawa started for the injured Stefani Miglioranzi. Justin Mapp and Eduardo Coudet both started their second straight game as well.

Some notes on the game and watching it on FSC:

I’m liking the new guys

Juan Diego Gonzalez could be one of the missing pieces. The big Colombian looked assured in playing beside Califf. He got a full 90 minute run on his debut and made no huge mistakes.  He closed space well and was solid in the air. Coudet was positive with the ball and chased tirelessly on defense. Mapp was forced off when Knighton was red carded, but was positive in his short time on the field. When Salinas, Miglioranzi and Mwanga get healthy, our starting 11 should look really solid.

We need a goalkeeper

I have not been the biggest Chris Seitz fan all season. I’ve been calling for Knighton for at least a few games and was happy to see him in the starting line up today. But he was no better. He wasn’t tested really, but failed to deal with the first tricky ball at him and threw away the Union’s early lead. Not only did he fail to deal the bouncing ball into the box, he turned around and brought down the on rushing Shea to see straight red. Was the card harsh? Maybe a little. But as the last man, straight red is the rule.

Seitz was decent when he came in. He made two solid saves on hard shots from distance, but bobbled a bouncing ball that should have been poked home. He really can’t be faulted for any of the goals. He guessed correct on the PK and Cunningham’s finish was clinical.

I’m kind of sick of Fred

Andrew Jacobson’s introduction seemed to add a little spark for the Union in the second half. Within minutes of coming on, he fired a great shot from distance that Kevin Hartman could only parry straight to Fred. Granted, it was a ball traveling with some pace, but somehow Fred’s first touch took him from standing on the edge of the box to the sideline, completely losing his chance at goal. I’ve had better touches in the rec league at Pennypack Park. He continued to pass up shots from mid-distance to dribble around at the top of the box, even after going down to ten men.

Where was everyone?

The announced attendance was over 8000, but I find that hard to believe. As the terrible FSC announcers (we’re getting to that) said a number of times, it was over 100 degrees at kick off. But Pizza Hut Park (again, real name) was noticeably empty. The crowd shots of 3 FC Dallas fans with a flag were actually kind of depressing. Perhaps might take the terrific atmosphere at PPL Park a little for granted, as I think it would be tough to be excited with such a tiny crowd. And I’m almost positive there are more people at the Independence game that I am watching while writing this then there were in Dallas today.

Fox Soccer Channel still doesn’t put on a great broadcast

Until the PSP goes big time and we can get to the away games, we’re stuck watching them on TV with everyone else. Dave Johnson and Christopher Sullivan were horrid in calling the game. Johnson is listed as the play-by-play guy, but I heard very little actual play-by-play. He definitely knew the designated players on FC Dallas and seemingly a few Union players, but he and Sullivan just kind of aimlessly chit-chatted for 90 minutes. Sullivan definitely noted what a great possession team FC Dallas was late in the game. A great possession team? Philly was down to 10 men and it was 100 degrees.

Player Ratings:

GK Brad Knighton: 1
Awful debut. Saw straight red and gave up a PK after bobbling the first ball sent into his box. We probably won’t be seeing him again for a while.

CB Danny Califf: 6
Was efficient and dealt with many of the balls served at him. Was near Cunningham when he headed home, but it’s hard to fault him.

CB Juan Diego Gonzalez: 7
Seemed assured in his first Union game. Was physical and unbeatable in the air. Closed space and covered for the outside backs when called upon. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.

LB Michael Orozco Fiscal: 6
Moved to left back for this game after a string of games on the right. He was unable to get forward much, a given playing with ten men. Smart yellow card to slow down a Dallas counterattack.

RB Christian Arrieta: 5
Back on the right with the arrival of Gonzalez, he continued to prove that the Union need a real outside back. The third Dallas goal came from his side with Arrieta caught flat footed.

CM Kyle Nakazawa: 6
His terrific service from Thursday night was no where to be found in Dallas. Suffered a nasty head gash in a first half collision and never really made a mark in the game coming out in the second half.

CM Eduardo Coudet: 7
The Argentinian looked confident on the ball and chased on defense all night. Found it difficult to maintain possession being down a man. Probably has attempted more sliding tackles in two games than anyone else has all season.

LM Fred: 4
See my rant above. Aimless dribbling. Mediocre defense. Awful first touch on two potential scoring chances. Fails to give much real width.

RM Justin Mapp: 5
Tough to gauge Mapp because he was forced to come off when Knighton was red carded. Seemed positive in his movements early when in the game.

F Sebastien Le Toux: 6
Worked hard both up top and in the midfield after the red card. Found it difficult to get the ball for most of the game, but as usual was the driving force behind the Union’s goal.

F Alejandro Moreno: 5
Scored his first goal of the season (finally) as he bundled home a rebound from Le Toux’s shot. But even though the score sheet says he played for 62 minutes, the goal was the only time I heard his name.

Subs

GK Chris Seitz: 6
Came off the bench after the red card and made some solid stops. But also failed to deal with a bouncing ball near the goal that should have been scored. Probably didn’t have a shot on either of Cunningham’s goals, but another game giving up three goals.

LB Jordan Harvey: 5
Seemed to struggle with the physicality of the game and lost out on some challenges being a small guy. Was in the area when Cunningham headed home his first goal.

CM Andrew Jacobsen: 7
Came off the bench and was almost immediately influential. Fired a great shot from distance and was involved physically.

13 Comments

  1. Glad to see Harvey out of the game. As soon as Salinas is back have the back line be salinas, califf, new guy, orozco. Nak, Coudet, Mig, Mapp for the mid (maybe torres in for Mapp gotta see) Mwanga and le toux up top. That is a solid line up people. We may have all the pieces… Keeper confuses me though. I have never heard of a team that only has 2 keepers so either Nowak is crazy or they are in the market for a new keeper and Nowak is not crazy… The other thing is Rob Vartughian the Union keeper coach needs to leave. Every time I have seen this guy all he does is take shots or put in crosses as practice for the keepers. He is always suited up like he is going to play or something and looks like he thinks he is hot shit. If you notice during pre-game he puts in crosses to warm up the keepers, never talks with them and that is it. Every other team has their keepers go through a series of various drills besides crosses and shots. Maybe I am being harsh but he just doesnt look like that great of a coach.

  2. off topic, but this deserves to be heard i think. I purchased MLS Matchday for the season as i travel quite a bit and it allows me to watch the games when on the road for work. anyway, apparently FSC imposes a nationwide blackout on this service when they broadcast games. it seems to me like a joke b/c FSC isnt even available nationally let alone not carried in hotels nationwide so I was stuck in a hotel on the road unable to watch the game. poor customer service by MLS.

    • There’s some talk about MLS moving to Versus, which has many more customers than FSC. Considering how MLS is treated as an afterthought by FSC, it’s probably time.

      • couldn’t agree more. FSC does not have the online feature that ESPN does with espn3 so even if one has the subscription, it would still be an inconvenience. followed up with MLS and they’ve taken the stance of “tough luck” with me through e-mail. Not a good approach for a league trying to grow its fan base; but maybe they should worry more about the 200 people at pizza hurt park.

  3. Josh Trott says:

    Mike, after that game, I asked myself about the goalie coach too. Knighton’s mistake, horrible as it was, had to be mental to a large extent. He was nervous rather than confident going into the game. I agree with Servidio about our goalie problems. All we did was take second string goalies in the expansion draft- that was all we could get. I think Nowak is probably like me- loves the ball movement, loves the game, finds it a bit weird that there is a player on each team who uses his hands, but oh well, where are those players that use their hands? Stick one in our goal.

    Gonzelez looked good to me. Harvey was once again marking, or not marking, as Cunningham headed home. The once again refers to the first Lenhart goal from Thursday.

    I would love to see Salinas, Migs, and Mwanga back. Nak should not start- even when his free kicks are beautiful the Union can’t do anything with them because they are in the air.

    Servidio, Fred had two touches like that at the top of the eighteen. The one flew off their keeper, but the other was lovingly delivered from behind by Coudet, and somehow he missed the first touch completely, letting the ball squirt under him. I’m looking forward to not seeing him in the starting line up.

  4. Ed Farnsworth says:

    What does Jack Stiller think?

  5. jack stiller says:

    terrible like always

  6. It’s weird seeing Knighton make a bad move like that. He played alright when he was in for an injured Matt Reis at New England last season. That move though, wow. Ug.

    And god does FSC suck. You can’t find it anywhere and their broadcast quality is lame.

  7. I agree with every point in the article. I can’t help but wonder how Brian Perk would have performed. Re: the attendance. The game was shot from the shady side of the stadium. There were so few fans on camera because that was the hotter sunny side. At one point, I believe during set up for a corner kick, the camera panned up into the stands on the shady side and you could see a lot more people. 8000 is bad enough but it wasn’t as desolate as it seemed.

  8. Pingback: The Philly Soccer Page » Season review: Juan Diego Gonzalez

  9. Pingback: The Philly Soccer Page » Season review: Brad Knighton

  10. Pingback: Union vs FC Dallas quick reference

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