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Peter Nowak said before Wednesday night’s supremely disappointing draw with Kansas City, “We want to give other guys a little time…We can mix things up, create a different look, make other teams guess who’s gonna be playing and what kind of quality. All of [the strikers] have different qualities. We feel like we can change the outlook of the game. That’s the advantage of the whole situation.”

The result?

No doop for you.

When the PSP’s man in the press box, Adam Cann, texted me the Union’s starting lineup, I thought he was making a joke. As Kerith Gabriel writes in the Daily News, “It was nearly impossible, after a first glance of the Union’s lineup for last night’s match against Kansas City, to look at the some of the names on paper and not ponder: WTF?”

Turns out he wasn’t. There was even less to laugh at after the game.

26 shots, seven on target, zero goals. For only the third time in Kansas City’s history, the Wiz, I mean the Wizards, Sporting—whatever—failed to record a shot on goal.

“Just as frustrating a point for a scoreless draw as the result was gratifying for Sporting Kansas City,” said the SBI match report.

“Yeah, it’s a bummer when you dominate and can’t get anything out of it,” Danny Califf said after the game.

“It’s not going to get any easier,” said Nowak.”“I think other teams have recognized that they come here and just play defense and look for a goal and look for a counter. But even in the second half, I don’t think Kansas City was looking for a counter-attack or looking for a goal. That’s how it’s going to be. We are where we are in the standings and the teams are coming to be happy with the points.”

“I think like we pushed the game to the limit and still tried to find the right formula to score goals, but that’s not the big issue right now,” Nowak added, leaving the question of just what exactly is the big issue if it is not scoring goals unanswered.

“I know this team is used to expecting everyone to come here and take all the points and play open,” said Faryd Mondragon. “This year, this is not the case. This year, everyone is taking Philadelphia Union very seriously. With a lot of respect, teams are coming here to PPL Park to get one point as a trophy.”

“It’s fantastic for us to be able to walk out of here this way,” said Kansas City manager Peter Vermes.

“We did all the things right except score,” said Justin Mapp. “The effort was there, we just have to do a better job with the final product.”

“If someone looked at the game after, they’d say it’s impossible how these guys didn’t win the game,” said Veljko Paunovic.

“It’s frustrating to have another team come in here and tie us when they didn’t even get a chance on goal,” said Jack McInerney.

“There was a lot of freedom out wide,” said Sebastien Le Toux. “I can help my team by running a lot, and I found more space out there. I like it, playing [out wide]. There are more chances to go 1v1 with the defense. But it was also a long time since I’d played there. On Saturday, hopefully it’ll get better and hopefully I’ll find the net.”

“We’re going to take these next two days, get our regeneration and get ready for Saturday as best we can,” said Sheanon Williams.

Wondering what was the deal with Danny Mwanga, who wasn’t even on the bench. He said after the game, “I got kicked and my right knee was bothering me all week. I am not 100 percent and the training staff and coaching staff didn’t want to risk it. They want to take it slowly.” Will he be fit for Saturday? “I hope so,” Mwanga said. “I’m going to do everything I can with the trainers and listen to them.”

Stefani Miglioranzi met with the Union’s technical staff after last night’s match for nearly an hour, delaying the postgame press conference. After the meeting, the usually talkative Miglioranzi had no comment other than “I enjoy playing in Philadelphia.” Nowak would only say “Stefani Miglioranzi was on the bench, I have no comment on Stefani Miglioranzi. [The technical staff] had to go over and clear a couple of things up before this weekend.” Could it be that his days are numbered?

Section 133 and The Brotherly Game rounds up video of the Sons of Ben display of solidarity with New England supporters in the 12th minute of last night’s game. TBG also link to video of Stuart Holden’s visit to the River End.

The Farfans turn 23 today. Happy Birthday!

The Everton website has a preview of what the team can expect when they face the Union and DC United. The author praises the Union “a hard-working team” and described PPL Park as “a really nice stadium, right on a river – it is very picturesque. He continues, “They have good support too. They are a team that has a fan group called ‘Sons of the Band’ which is a name for Ben Franklin.”


Marc Narducci profiles Independence and USWNT forward Amy Rodriguez in this segment of his series on the Women’s World Cup.


Clint Dempsey’s 76th minute goal puts the US in the Gold Cup Final against Mexico, who defeated Honduras 2–0. Soccer America has player ratings.

Grant Wahl writes that Dempsey, Donovan and Adu—that’s right, Freddy Adu—proved their worth last night.

Jozy Altidore will miss the Gold Cup final with a hamstring injury.

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Union


  1. Just to note, that’s my own video in the story. Otherwise, great job as always.

  2. My two cents – I can only hope Ruiz goes during the transfer window.

    Almost $400K in salary, and all he does is stand there and wait for long balls to be sent his way. He’s too short to counter against any header, and his overall lack of effort disgusts me.

    Yes, his header almost won the game for us, but again, that was his lone piece of effort in 94 minutes of soccer.

    • Last night Nowak was adamant that Ruiz remains the first name on his team sheet.

      • Nowak is a COMPLETE joke, but honestly I can’t take too much away from Ruiz’s performance.

        It wasn’t good, but its also clear that the team has been told to bang long balls into him. It’s a terrible strategy, given his height and aerial weaknesses, but that again is Nowak’s bad.

        So yeah, Ruiz wasn’t sterling, but his performances have definitely improved.

        To say that he is the first name on the team sheet is a disgrace to all soccer. I’d rather see Nowak leave than Ruiz, and thats saying something.

      • Amen. I’ve had it with Nowak. I’d like to see the SOB’s turn their backs when he’s introduced the same way they do to the opposing team’s starters.

  3. ruiz had a fine game last night. the header, excellent control and receiving balls at the top of the box, excellent free kick, etc. since the union doesn’t want to work with his style i’d be fine seeing him go but seriously people need to get off the anti-ruiz bandwagon.

    • Nick, I admit I have first class reserved seat on the “anti-ruiz bandwagon” but did you seriously use the word excellent twice to describe his game last night. It was definitely, in my opinion, his best outing to date and I remarked just that to those in my section but come on. His play had bordered on horrendous all year. His total inertia has strangled the offense too many times to count. It is for that reason we don’t want him. His total lack of effort. It is because his previous play has been so poor that you are praising his mediocrity last night. He needs to be better, a lot better and has not only failed to show the ability to be better but hasn’t shown any desire to be better. The bottom line is Nowak has better options available and refuses to use them and so deserves more blame than Ruiz.

      I say sack them both.

    • I agree Nick, I thought Ruiz had a nice game. Especially earlier in the game. He did a nice job settling difficult long balls for wingers to turn into opportunities. I’m sure part of the Ruiz-hate here is inertia (which I was inclined to follow at the beginning of the game too), but we need to give him his due

  4. I’m curious about LeToux’s quote. Are we to infer that he’s been told they are switching him to an offensive midfield position more permanently? At least for the near future? If so, I can only imagine that means Ruiz and Mwanga up top and LeToux as an OM, which pretty much removes Daniel from the equation unless they sub Ruiz out and move LT back up to make space for Keon. Either way it’s just wrong, wrong, WRONG!

  5. I agree with nickt 100% and I would add that Eli needs to get off his personal anti-Nowak bandwagon.

    • I don’t think Eli’s take on Nowak is personal. I share it and every Union fan I’ve spoken to (and there are many) also agrees. I respect your right to differ but I think you’ll currently find many more people frustrated by Nowaks tactics than appreciative of them. Nothing personal in that.

    • I agree with Rob. There’s no way Eli’s take is personal. Nowak’s management of this team has been absolutely baffling all season. Given the above anti-Nowak arguments, it’d be repetitive of me to go into one of my own…I’ll spare you the agony.

      • nowak is definitely baffling and angering at times and yet he still has the union tops of the east. none of us saw that coming before this season. i’m right there with many of you in the “WTF, Nowak!” department at games but i’m still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt if over the course of the season he has the team exceeding expectations.

      • Union is not first; they are second based on goal difference!!! Moreover, by not beating the weakest teams they soon will slip further down the ranks. Novak has no business experimenting during these games from the start. Stick to what works and only experiment after going ahead 2 or 3 goals. Or score the winner with a super sub. Last night’s starting line up was a joke and I also almost fell into the river (since I was standing and not sitting) when I heard it.

        Boring / frustrating game. Wish I had stayed home watching the US game on TV.

  6. I hope Eli, himself runs Nowak out of town, I do not care if his anti-Nowak is personal or not he is right, as we all have seemed to concur. The anti-ruiz bandwagon may continue as well and here is why… He is no way close to the playing style of the U and he has taken up Mwangas spot, that reason alone is enough to be anit-Ruiz. Ruiz had one of his best games in the blue and gold last night, with that being said, he still, at times, just does not put in the effort that is needed. The game last night was a decent showing of the U’s offense, but they are still not what they can be. This is due to the idiocracy that Nowak seems to be running. Whenever someone tries to defend Nowak, all I have to say is, he signed a striker that hasn’t played in 2 years. And automatically I win the argument. I was about to say “I’m sorry but Nowak has to go” but Nowak does not deserve a sorry, he is running this team into the ground and he needs to go. The past couple of games could have been put on the players, but how would your level of confidence be if you were the players with the signing of Panouvic? He has not played in 2 years, he is not even close to match fitness but yet he gets the start? That has to throw off the players minds and morale. I have said this before and will continue to say this, we are absolutely lucky to have such a mature player in Danny Mwanga. Last year he should have been rookie of the year, he was brilliant last year yet, he is sat in the beginning of the year because of Ruiz yet still is a supersub and scores goals. Once again Mwanga is sat because Nowak just has to have his crap signing start, but we will have to wait and see how he reacts, if Mwanga does not play well whenever he gets his chance again, I would not be surprised or angered in anyway and I will drive him to the airport and help him pick out his new house at any other club that would love to have is abilities. Sorry that was really long.

    • Mwanga was injured. Yes, he was benched in Vancouver, but I’m pretty sure he was supposed to start Wednesday instead of McInerney

  7. Let me just make it clear where I stand as a founding member and big Union fan.
    I’m also puzzled by some of the choices Nowak made, like not starting Daniel or one of the Farfan twins as a winger. But Nowak is the one that signed Farfans and Daniel when many were questioning the need for more midfielders and reasons for trading Jacobson. Well, I believe we are all very happy with those choices. So let’s not forget that he built a very good team that is performing better then most of us expected. As for line up changes, I think when you play three games in seven days, rotation is necessary especially since this year’s team has more depth.

    As for Ruiz, I think he had a very good game last Wednesday and he is not as bad as some of the comments suggest. I listen to “The Football Show” on XM radio with Giorgio Chinaglia and recently (in a context of USMNT and Gold Cup), someone was talking about how hard one of the players worked and Giorgio said “I don’t want them to work hard, I want them to score goals”. Well, in the last game several players worked much harder than Ruiz but who came the closest to score? At the same time, if he left during transfer window, I would not be sorry at all. In fact if I had a choice to keep Ruiz or Panovic, I would keep the latter and use him more as a CAM than a forward.

    • I’m with you mostly (especially in the context of this community. Although Paunovic over Ruiz? really? you mean CDM?).
      My problem with Nowak is that he values eldership (I’m making it a word) more than I do.
      But I always laugh when Philly fans talk about running one of our coaches out of town during a positive season. Andy Reid has faced this his entire career. Fan group-think is useful as an interest group prodding the team one way or another, but if the team’s management were left up to the fans, Danny Califf and Jordan Harvey would’ve been fired a year ago, Sheanon Williams would probably never have been signed out of the minor leagues, and the Union would likely be fighting Toronto for not-last, performing as they did in 2010, possibly scoring more goals but giving up tons of goals, and Mondragon would be an enemy of the River End.

      • thanks Chris for the explanation on the Philly fans. I didn’t grow up in the area (I’m originally from Holland) and while I do follow other Philly teams, it’s not nearly to the same extend as the Union. I have say that the Union fans are just great especially SoBs, and they make it fun even during the boring moments.

        I don’t think Paunovic is a better player then Ruiz, what I meant was that assuming the salary difference and also assuming that part of their job is to mentor younger strikers, Paunovic would be a better “deal”.

      • I see. Also, I want to make clear I’m a Philly fan throughout and I don’t mean to bash us at all (not that you took it that way).
        I’ve always felt that the difference between us and other cities is that we give our teams both greater highs and greater lows. You succeed, you get enormous fan support, you underperform and you get anger coming your way (including week-to-week good/bad performances, especially with coaching)

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