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Match report: Union 1-2 Rapids

The throwback combo of Le Toux and Mwanga was working well early. The two strikers found each other with regularity but the Union could not find a final pass.

Neither team could wrestle control of the tempo, as evidenced in how they would forgo switching fields to remain trapped on the same side for for long periods of time.

It wasn’t until play moved to the left in the fifteenth minute that the first chance came to Kyle Nakazawa. Bullrushing the box as Le Toux collected a loose ball on the left, Naka found the bounce too high and failed to touch on net.

In the 19th, Colorado had an opportunity fall in their lap. Carlos Valdes under hit a pass to Nakazawa in the middle of the park and Omar Cummings took it the other way. Trying to thread Sanna Nyassi through was a bridge too far, as Sheanon Williams’ recovering run killed the play.

After more back and forth in the middle, the Union handed Cummings another shot. He was free up the right with only Valdes to beat, but good hold up play from the Colombian brought Califf into the action and they combined to clear.

There was no point of attack for Philadelphia. Justin Mapp was too high, Kyle Nakazawa was too static, and Keon Daniel was receiving the ball much too deep to take anybody on. Additionally, Brian Carroll’s cross field balls were falling short of their runners.

In the 25th, Keon Daniel tried to jumpstart the match from a set piece. After Le Toux was drilled four yards outside of the box, Daniel stepped up and curled a left-footed strike against the top of the bar.

The Union were in the ascendancy, with Sheanon Williams streaking up the right and putting a low cross inches in front of a hustling Mwanga.

Then Keon Daniel used fancy feet to work his way past two men on the wing and play wall ball with Le Toux. Only good defending kept the final ball off Mwanga’s feet.

And then PPL Park got silent. And with good reason, for the Union were caught fast asleep. Off a throw on the right, Pablo Mastroeni snuck away from Kyle Nakazawa, received the throw, and turned Danny Califf. It was a simple matter to curl a lefty shot beyond Faryd Mondragon.

Unfazed, the Union tried to pull back through Carlos Valdes. The defender flicked a Sheanonthrow inches over the bar. Danny Mwanga followed with a scissorkick effort moments later.

In the 45th, the Union lost the ball in midfield and Cummings broke for a third time. Now, however, he had Nyassi and he knew it. Sliding a coy pass beyond Valdes, Cummings broke the Union’s defense and Nyassi finished into the far corner.

Peter Nowak’s halftime subs showed he felt the team needed a quick spark. Nakazawa and Daniel left for the more dynamic Michael Farfan and Roger Torres. Almost immediately, Farfan put on his cape and beat two men, but his shot somehow made it over the bar.

Colorado was sitting back and giving Torres space. This is exactly what the playmaker wanted, dribbling at opponents and taking the Union forward.

But in the 65th, Sheanon Williams was blasted by a rough tackle without a call. Sheanon made a move towards the linesman when he stood up and, when halted by the ref, said something that earned him a yellow. He waved a hand at the yellow and promptly was tossed from the match.

Whatever Sheanon said, it must be something you can’t even utter on HBO.

But with Michael Farfan manning the right side alone, Philadelphia only pushed harder. The referee subtly apologized for his short temper by issuing two quick yellows, first to Caleb Folan and then to Brian Mullan.

Le Toux almost put the Union down three when he lost the ball at the top of his own box, but scrambling from Califf forced a wide shot.

Paunovic came on for Mapp in the 73rd after the left-footed specialist elected to try one too many flocks when the easy pass was a better option.

After the 80th minute, Colorado tuly ceased any forward play and settled into their own zone. Roger Torres took this as a sign to turn it up one more gear. In the 83rd, he took on two players and fired at Matt Pickens, who blocked the shot into Le Toux’s path. The striker could not put away the bouncing ball.

Danny Califf put a header on net from a corner kick in the 88th, but it was Torres again in the 90th that brought the Union within one.

Torres brought a cross down with a man on his back. He cut inside the first man, faked a pass and turned inside a second defender. A deft touch past Marvelle Wynne got Torres into the six and alone on Pickens. Powering up, the smallest man on the pitch unleashed a big shot into the right side of the net.

But it was all the Union would get. Just before the final whistle blew, Carlos Valdes blasted a header at Matt Pickets, who pushed it out as he fell across the goal line.

The whistle blew and the Union, devoid of magic and points, began preparing for Chicago on Wednesday.

What else is there to do after losing at home?


  1. There were only 2 things to take from this game:

    1) Torres needs to start.

    2) Le Toux needs to sit.

    Torres is an engine for the offense. With Carrol being the perfect D mid, Torres is the perfect compliment to him.

    Le Toux is still making horrible touches and horrible decisions. He literally passed away offensive chances tonight. Time to sit him and play Jack Mac.

  2. And Ruiz is leaving!!!! YES!!!!

  3. MikeRSoccer says:

    Never been so disappointed walking away from a Union game. The whole team did not show up to play today. Mapp has been horrible lately, but today was just absurd. We have seen Williams has a mouth on him and sometimes loses his cool, but today he lost total control. I will wait to see a replay, but at first glance the yellow and maybe even the red were correct. Regardless, I am happy he got a red. We have one Desean Jackson in Philadelphia, we don’t need another. Nowak needs to use this as an opportunity to put Williams in his place and teach him to keep his mouth shut.

    Also, I sit in 131, I am a SOB and have an excellent view of 134 (apparently the SOB riot section). That section has been out of control for quite a while. I go to every game and that was not the first time I have seen fists thrown, people kicked out, or members throwing objects on the field from 134. It’s unfortunate that one section is causing so much trouble. Never thought I would see the day when a couple of guys in SOB garb (or at least sky blue shirts) would be fighting and knocking over Chester cops. If the Union’s response to this is not harsh then expect Chester police or CSC to respond harshly. Dark day for the Union and SOBs.

    • I get it that there is animosity between the Corner Creeps and the SOB, but Mike here seems to be intentionally distorting the facts and misleading in regards to the fight last night.

      • MikeRSoccer says:

        While i still feel there are some issues in 134 they were certainly not the antagonists in Fridays game. Brotherly game has a pretty detailed round up of the situation. I saw people in SOB gear fighting in 134, but that wasn’t the whole story. Sorry to the members of 134. What i witnessed was correct, but where i assigned blame was not.

  4. @mike- the object thrown was from 135. can’t say much about the fight except that it looked stupid. that said i’ve never seen a fight in that section before from my vantage point in 135 so i can’t exactly see where you’re coming from there.

    • MikeRSoccer says:

      There were two beer bottles thrown. The one that everyone saw land on the field and then another person in 134 (3rd or 4th row?) threw one that landed down in front of him. We saw him get taken out first before the fight and everything happened. The other “fight” I am referring to happened in June. It happens that my father was with me for this game and the game in June. Both of us, along with others in our section, remember a game in june where two guys were taken out of 134. One was bleeding from his head. I didn’t witness that event like I did this one, but saw the two being taken out of 134 by cops and CSC.

    • Absolutely correct. I stood in 135 row j last night and saw the whole thing unfold in front of me. After the second goal a big guy in 135 row e or f threw a beer bottle onto the field almost hitting the Colorado player. Immediate boos rang down and people from all sides were pointing at the area the bottle came from. The guy’s drunken companions began pointing back at people in 134. The back and forth jawing continued until a few guys from 135 went into 134 and fists started flying. It was disgusting- girls in 134 got punched in the head, children were caught up in it, security and then cops came up and they went tumbling down a few rows trying to separate people. I’d say 20-30 people were involved. The fight occurred in 134 but the whole thing started from a group of fat, drunken idiots in 135 row e or f. I went over to the SOB capo or whatever the 135 section cheerleader is called and told him where it all stemmed from.
      Complete disclosure- I am not a SOB member, nor do I have any affiliation with the corner creeps (134). I don’t normally sit in the supporters section but have had a great time before when I have. Not sure if I will again soon.
      I really hope the SOB finds out who the group of guys in 135 who started the fight are and ban them for life. I’ve seen fights and been in fights- this was just awful and disgusting and gives the Union, Philly, and the SOB a really bad name.

  5. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it Valdes (not Califf) who was beaten for the first goal? Regardless, it was a brutal night for the usual rock in defense.

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      Isn’t the larger point, Matt, that Naka fell asleep? On a throw-in? That’s 101 stuff.

    • PhillyHotspur says:

      you are correct…….it was Valdes.

      Not too mention, missed two sitters via the head when he simply needed to pick a corner………

      Dominated the game but tough result……….

  6. Mwanga and Le Touz were crap all night…I like em both too but aint gonna sugar coat a poor performance like many on this site tend to do including myself at times…Ruiz is gonna be tough to replace and Mwanga aint gonna do it

  7. Performance was not too bad; they just could not finish. Too many shot & headers went straight at the goalie or missed the goal altogether. Also a good forward would have finished at least one of he many low and high crosses that came in. We totally dominated; Colorado was just more efficient with their chances and know how to finish.

  8. PhillyHotspur says:

    The thing w/ Ruiz……..in a game like that where were dominating possession and have loads of chances, he fits in perfect w/ his clinical finishes.

    But a straight up dogfight w/ two even teams, Ruiz seems to do more harm then good………..

    Either way, he was clearly missed last night. oh well

  9. Mwanga had a terrible showing last night, appearing lazy and unwilling to follow through with plays as the game wore on. I think this game makes absolutely clear that he belongs on the bench until late in the game. It’s unfortunate this had to be demonstrated so clearly on the very day we learned that we will have to live without our best alternative. Ruiz will be missed, that’s for sure. This team will have to find themselves all over again.

  10. Whoever thinks we won’t miss Ruiz quite frankly doesn’t no what they are talking about. And I’m tired of hearing excuses for Le Toux, guess what, just because you run around the field aimlessly doesn’t mean you can’t be replaced. Le Toux runs to no avail, sure he provids pressure, but so what, he also leaves Mwanga on an island by himself up there all the time. The whole running around thing is the short-sighted view that most people who don’t understand the game use as their arguement for a guy like Le Toux. Sure its great he hustles, but who cares, when he gets the ball he can’t do anything with it. He gave away so many passes last night, still can’t finish, complains to the refs and other teammates, and pretty much gave them the second goal. I love Mwanga but since when did he lay the ball back every time he gets it and take way to long to get a shot off. If we don’t sign a new striker soon we are going to be in some trouble. Also why take Keon out last night instead of Mapp, Mapp is good about once every three games and last night wasn’t one of them. Marfan needs to start, even if its for nakazawa.

    • Maybe they’ll pick up a better poacher than Ruiz with the cash they save. I see it as a tremendous opportunity. Let’s stay positive; maybe we end up with something better than we had.

    • Andrew, you couldn’t have said it any better. Ruiz was finally starting to click with the team and now he’s gone. I couldn’t stand the guy for the majority of the first half of the season, but it was pretty clear the offense was starting to tick. As for Mwanga…I’ve never seen him pass up on so many shots…his performance was a disappointment.

      Speaking of disappointments…Mapp and Nakazawa…Taking out Keon and leaving Mapp in the game was absolutely baffling. Keon is the team’s most patient player and he looks incredibly confident on the ball. Good things happen when Keon is on the left. So disappointing. Mapp on the other hand just dribbles into the defense and gives the ball away. Other than that he was invisible…but not more invisible than Nakazawa. I heard Nakazawa’s name called in the starting line up, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t on the field. He had no impact at all. He didn’t play defense and he gave the ball away every time he got it. Marfan needs to get a shot at the attacking mid slot because Nakazawa is not the answer.

  11. The Union put it a terrible performance. There was no speed of play, no accuracy, no possession, and complete failure to capitalize on goal scoring opportunities. Even when Colorado went into a shell during the second half the Union failed to organize a proper attach and finish the few opportunities they created.

    Le Toux-Maybe Le Toux can sit a game or two out and regain his consentration.

    Mawanga-Takes too much time on the ball. One touch strikes and accuracy is what makes a good striker. Until he learns that and stops trying to take an extra touch in the box he will never be trully good.

    Mapp – Same way too much time on the ball. Faster! Move! One touch play.

    Nakazawa-Useless out there. Simply useless.

    Torres- I hope he continues to develop. There is great potential there no doubt.

    Nowak – Needs to start taking responsibility for his teams inconsistent and unprofessional play. I’m not sure about his managment.

    In short, the team needs to play professional ball. There not doing so yet, or are doing it inconsistently.

  12. I may be the biggest Union fan there is but the game against was maybe the worst of the year. Le Toux has been nothing short of awful this year. Give him a game off. Start Jack and Torres. Mapp isn’t bad, just a rough game against Colorado, but he needs to get off of his left foot. Torres adds soooo much offensive pressure to the other team’s defense. And where is the width!?!

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