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“We broke the curse,” winning is a youthful feeling, more news

Photo: Greg Carroccio, courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Union

What’s that feeling I have? It’s a familiar feeling but one I haven’t felt for a long time…a general sense of well-being and good will mixed in with a sense of purpose and forward-looking confidence…I’ve got it—it’s the feeling of victory. Welcome back, old friend.

Peter Nowak said of the Philadelphia Union’s win over Columbus, “We came back to the mentality we had in the beginning of the season. It was a tough two months and I think we broke the curse. We were waiting for awhile. These guys fully deserve to get those three points. We played a full 90-minutes of a high-intensity game and we beat the leaders. That’s a positive sign heading into the future.”

Match reports from the Union website, SBI, the Inquirer, CSN Philly, the Brotherly Game, Philly Soccer News, Sports Network, Our Sports Central, Goal.com, SB Nation.

Taking a look at the weekend’s results, Prost Amerika says, “Possibly Philadelphia Union had the best night of all with their defeat of Columbus.”

Now on seven goals with six in the last six matches, Sebastien Le Toux said, “I was happy to start in front, for the first time in a long time. I can score goals there like I did last year. It has the type of action I like.”

Freddy Adu didn’t have a very good night, but he had a great quote after the match. Speaking about Nowak’s rather surprising starting line up, the average age of which was under 24, Adu said, “It just shows you, man, you don’t always have to go with veterans to win games. Soccer is a young man’s game. We’ve got kids who can express themselves, can run around all day and have no fear. That’s what it’s all about.”

Kerith Gabriel writes of the Union youth, “Even more astounding is that this young corps actually replicated the early season play that had the Union first in MLS’ East for a third of the season.”

The young starters played with confidence. Danny Califf said, “I think that also has to do with Peter’s mentality, putting those guys in, giving them a vote of confidence and saying, ‘Look, I believe in you. I think you guys have it in you and I want to give you a chance to show yourselves on a big stage.'”

Nowak said of starting Zach Pfeffer, “I think he was nervous as soon as he saw his name on board. He sensed that he might start a game and during the practice he was very good. He was doing good with the first team. The 60 minutes he played it was a good start. I think he is a confident guy. This kind of experience already being abroad, training with us, knowing the culture, knowing what the team needs. I think he’s right in. It’s a big step but a fully deserved step.”

How did Pfeffer feel? “I was a little nervous and excited at the same time. It was cool to be in the starting lineup. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of since I was really young. Once I got a few minutes under me, I felt better and a little more relaxed.”

Le Toux said of Pfeffer’s start, “I think it’s great for him, being 17 and starting his first game with us. I just told him to stay confident and put the ball in front. I told him that once you find the rhythm of the game that you will see what you have to do. I also told him not to put any added pressure on himself. I just told him to have fun and enjoy the game.”

Don’t forget the win was Zac MacMath’s first league win and second shutout. He won’t forget and he’s humble enough to credit the defense.”It was an experience I’ll never forget. My first MLS win is an experience I had always been dreaming about. It feels great. The defense was just great in front of me and made so many plays which made my job a little easier…“They were great and helped so much. I feel like I have more confidence and I’m talking more with them. It’s great for me and for the club. I’m going to enjoy this one.”

Morgan Langley made is league debut only two days after signing with the Union. Unfortunately, as was the case when Pfeffer debuted against Chivas in a friendly last year, Langley’s name was misspelled on his jersey. When told about the error after the game, Langley said, “Was it really? Wow, I feel bad; I gave it to my brother.”

The Union reserves lost to the Crew reserves 2–1 after an early goal from Jack McInerney.

Freddy Adu came in at no. six in the 24 Under 24 fan vote. In addition to the positives, the “What the TDs and coaches say” section of his profile  says, “He’s still young, but he’s got to start producing and being consistent.”

The “What the TDs and coaches say” portion of Danny Mwanga’s 24 under 24 profile includes these comments: “He makes pretty good decisions but he needs to make better decisions…Needs to keep learning from senior guys as to when to take guys on and when to shoot.” Mwanga came in at no. nine in the fan voting. In a poll that accompanies the profile, some 82 percent of readers believe a Mwanga/Le Toux partnership is the best forward option for Mwanga.

We linked to this article from MLSsoccer.com’s Armchair Analyst on Saturday that argues Freddy Adu would be best utilized as a false 9, but it is worth reading if you missed it. The article is surprisingly blunt in its criticism—none of which will be new to anyone who reads the PSP— of some of Peter Nowak’s lineup and tactical decisions, particularly considering it is coming from the league’s own website.

Carlos Valdes visited the Upper Makefield-Newtown Soccer Club last week with the Philadelphia Union Mobile Tour.

Independence

The USWNT drew 1–1 with Canada in a friendly on Saturday and will play them again on Thursday. Three Philadelphia Independence players were with the national team and here’s a look at what they’ve been doing since the WPS Championship final.

MLS

The Union are now tied for third in the eastern Conference on 39 points with Houston, two points behind Columbus with one game in hand. The Union have two games in hand against Houston, who defeated San Jose 2–1 on Saturday. The Union are one point behind second place Kansas City with a game in hand after Kansas City lost away to Reals Salt Lake 1–0 on Saturday. A 1–0 win on the road over Dallas keeps New York three points behind the Union in fifth place. DC United drops a spot to sixth place on 34 points after losing 3–0 to Seattle. Chicago and Toronto are tied with 30 points after picking up wins over the weekend, with Chicago defeating Chivas USA 3–2 and Toronto besting Colorado 2–1. New England is in last place on 27 points after getting thumped 3–0 in Portland.

The Sporting News looks at how the playoff contenders around the league fared over the weekend.

In the closing minutes of the match with Seattle up 3–0, DC United defender Daniel Woolard put in an ugly tackle on Sounders midfielder Mauro Rosales. The club has confirmed Rosales has a sprained MCL, the extent of which will be known after tests today. Sounders coach Sigi Schmid is seething about the injury and calling for better protection of Rosales.

David Beckham is a celebrity as well as a soccer player. Whatever you think about that, you may like him just a little bit more after watching this performance on the Ellen Degeneres Show:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4yDNWlvK6s[/youtube]

US

Here’s a look at the USMNT’s global search for players with dual-citizenship.

Contrary to what Jurgen Klinsmann says, this ESPN bloggers says results do matter.

Goal.com says Jozy Altidore’s recent blazing performances in the Netherlands are encouraging for the USMNT.

Stuart Holden will make his return from last season’s injury on Tuesday for Bolton against Aston Villa in the Carling Cup.

With the CONCACAF qualifiers kicking off in Vancouver in January, the USWNT v Canada friendlies are more than money makers. With only the top two teams from CONCACAF qualifying for the 2012 Olympics, they represent the start of the national team selection process.

One Comment

  1. Beckham and Ellen, comedic genius!

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