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Same old story: Union tie Rapids

Philadelphia Union 1 – 1 Colorado Rapids

Larentowicz 59′

Mwanga 73′

Danny Mwanga and Sebastian Le Toux continued their strong play, but for all their sustained possession and pressure Philadelphia Union made the same mistakes that have plagued them all season.

Union fans must wonder if the standings are correct when they see performances like the one the home team put on today at PPL Park. The Union took twice as many shots as Colorado and put twice as many shots on goal. They took four corner kicks and allowed only one, yet they earned a single point from a game in which they were clearly the better side.

The Union deployed Eduardo Coudet as their midfield distributor, and the 35-year-old moved the ball around the field with depth and vision. Le Toux started in a wide right position and was given space to operate away from goal. As a result, much of the Union’s early pressure came down the right side. Michael Orozco Fiscal put an early ball across the box that Danny Mwanga should have put on net. The young striker airmailed his header over the net, but it got him involved early, and that has shown to be the key to his production as a starter.

While the 17,000 plus fans at the stadium were treated to a typically dangerous performance from the Union’s strike force, they endured another nail-biter show from goalie Chris Seitz. The big keeper struggled with his punches from the get-go, pushing his first effort onto the feet of a Rapids midfielder at the top of the box. Although the shot squibbed wide, it proved to be the start of a bad trend. Seitz was aggressive in his movement but hesitant in his punches. He would arrive to spots on time but wouldn’t put the required oomph into his punch. If you’re wondering whether this would end up haunting the Union… well.

Alejandro Moreno, the third and squattest prong of the Philly attack, was very active early. He stepped offsides in the 17th minute when receiving a fantastic ball from Coudet, then he shot well over after collecting a deflected Fred shot atop the 18-yard box. In the 32nd, Moreno took a bouncing ball at the back post and fired it hard… into the back post. Fred followed the rebound with a shot that might have hit your car if you parked within five miles of PPL Park.

In the 20th minute, Jeff Larentowicz commited what was to become the first in a series of vicious fouls on the Union’s key players in the center of the park. Larentowicz flew through Danny Mwanga, and only a small leap from the striker prevented him from receiving a multiple-stud tattoo far up his leg. Larentowicz received a yellow card but continued his rough play throughout.

After Moreno’s miss in the 32nd, the game fell into a ten-minute lull, with Philadelphia maintaining the majority of possession. Le Toux snapped Philly out of its malaise with a cutting ball to Coudet down the right wing. Coudet’s cross was overhit and came to nothing, but it woke up the Philadelphia offense. A series of seven passes culminated in a Moreno flick to Mwanga, who laid a ball into Le Toux’s path at the top of the box. Unfortunately, Le Toux had to hit it with his left and couldn’t get off the shot he wanted.

Colorado inserted Mehdi Ballouchy at halftime, the supposed heir to Kyle Beckerman who has instead been the heir to whoever used to sit on that part of the bench. Ballouchy sat behind zippy forward Omar Cummings and tried to create more possession for the visitors.

Mwanga and Le Toux were at the top of their game in the 46th when Mwanga played Le Toux wide. The resulting cross was blocked.

In the 59th minute, Justin Mapp entered for Moreno and pushed Le Toux higher up the field. Moments later, a Rapids free kick was weakly punched by Chris Seitz. It appeared the Union number one could have caught the ball, but his poorly timed clearance instead fell to Larentowicz who powered a half volley into the far corner of the net.

Colorado sat back after scoring but they were no match for Mwanga and Le Toux. After spending most of the match passing around the midfield, the Union tried the direct route when Danny Califf sent a diagonal ball to a streaking Le Toux. He gathered it deep in the Rapids box and centered it to Mwanga, who took a deft touch around his marker and passed the finish between Pickens’ legs.

The Union continued to push and Le Toux was through on goal when Moor held him up by grabbing the shirt. The initial foul was outside the box, but Moor remained attached to the striker until the play finished with Le Toux on the ground. Referee Terry Vaughn inexplicably allowed play to continue. Vaughn had a quality game until late in the second half when he failed to deal with a number of deliberate delays of game by the Rapids and missed the Le Toux foul.

In the end it was another could-have-should-have game for the Union. If you were there, what are your thoughts? Is it still fun to go and watch your team dominate even if they can’t pull it off in the end? Is your passion fading?

Here at PSP these results just make us even more dedicated to lifting this team to the top with our quality writing, editing and graphic design. We hope you feel the same!

(Photo: Philadelphia Union)


  1. I have said for weeks that harvey has looked horrible at left back for the Union. If you were at or watched this game I think anyone would agree that he needs to be removed from the starting line up. Besides the one cross that led to Moreno’s almost goal he offered nothing going forward, repeatedly out of position on the defensive side and yet offered nothing going forward. If you noticed Le Toux and Fred both attempted to slide in front of him at points and both were continually frustrated by his passes and lack of them. At one point I witnessed Le Toux and Fred both actually scream at him and throw their arms at their sides. He needs to go. The entrance of Torres and Mapp into the game really changed everything. Union looked more likely to score and the play was building out of the midfielders instead of the defense like in the first half. I would like Nowak to experiment a bit in the DC game, since it is unlikely we will make the playoffs its time to see who we need to protect in the expansion draft and start building for next season. I say start Mig, Coudet, Mapp, Torres in mid next week and give fred the week off as he seems in a bit of dull period and Torres and Mapp have looked amazing. Le Toux and Mwanga up top. When Salinas is back I would like to see Salinas Califf Gonzalez Orozco. Otherwise Harvey for Arrieta, hell I would take Stahl for Harvey at this point.

  2. Mike, I’m with you except for Mapp

    Mapp? Amazing? The man has only one foot and could not possibly be slower. He provides this offense with no spark. When he plays wide right he predictably cuts the ball into the middle of the field, inevitably passing backwards and when he is on the left, he cant run passed anyone so he cuts in on his right, which is useless so he just steps on the ball.

    Having watched him in Chicago I thought he was way more useful than this and was surprised to find myself hoping for Jacobsen today when they needed some fresh legs.

  3. Wow. Eli.

    I could not have said it any better. I’m confused by Mapp. He has great feet but plays like he doesn’t start thinking until the ball is at his feet. Is he just out of practice or what?

    Mike – I agree with you almost completely too. I like Coudet, but I’m fine with him getting 45 mins a game max. We have a ton of young CMs who could use the bottom half of this year to make an impression. What do you think?

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