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“We didn’t execute”: reaction to Union loss; USWNT in Olympic quarterfinal today, more news

Photo: Michael Long

Philadelphia Union

PSP’s match report from the Union’s 2-0 defeat by the Impact. Look for our photo essay as well as analysis and player ratings later this morning.

More recaps and reports from MLSsoccer.com, the Union website, the Inquirer, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, ImpactMontreal.com, Montreal Gazette, The Canadian Press, SI, SBI, ProSoccerTalk, The Guardian, The AP, ESPN, Goal.com, The Sports Network, SB Nation, and Business Insider.

John Hackworth said following the loss, “[A]s a team, we did a lot of things well tonight. We didn’t execute in front of goal, and when you don’t do that, when you don’t finish your chances, that’s the most important part of the game.”

Hackworth continued, “Our gameplan was to come out and drop the line a little bit and make sure we conserve a little bit of energy. We thought it was going to be a 90-plus minute game. And it was in a lot of ways. We got two great looks in the first half, but we didn’t finish one of them. The game is cruel sometimes like that… In the second half, we were down a goal. We came out and tried to force it. We created a couple of really good chances, but we didn’t get it. There are a lot of things we can take from this game.”

Freddy Adu said, “Giving up a goal before halftime, you don’t want that when you are on the road. Then we had to go chase the game in the second half and that’s what we did. Eventually, they were going to get a second one because all they did was counter, counter and counter. And that’s kind of what happened.”

Much of the talk following Saturday’s loss was about the Nelson Rivas headbutt to Antoine Hoppenot and Jack McInerney’s subsequent shoving of Rivas, actions that resulted in red cards for Rivas and McInerney. Hackworth said,

Jack goes to defend our player [Hoppenot], who our medical staff is looking at right now. You cannot tell me that a headbutt to the nose and cheekbone, and a player literally going to push another player, is even justifiable for equal punishment. There’s no possibility…We always fight for each other, so I think that’s what you saw Jack McInerney doing. He’s a young player who watches his teammate get headbutted, and he’s sticking up for his player. But what he does – and anybody can go watch it on video – go watch it, because he doesn’t do hardly anything on the play, and he gets a red card. Same as the Montreal player does. I just can’t understand how that is done in this game.”

Carlos Valdes said, “Rivas made a foul and that was obvious that he was getting a red card. We made a mistake, when we came to him and tried to create a big problem. I think we’ll have to learn all these things.”

Adu said he spoke to the ref after the game, who told him, “Jack tied his hands by pushing the guy [Rivas] down to the ground. I was like, ‘Listen, we just want to protect our teammate.’ We’re a team, we’ve got to stand up for each other.”

Adu continued, “At the end of the day, yeah, we’ve got to do a better job of keeping our heads…[But] we’ve got our teammate’s back, plain and simple. The referee thought Jack’s push was worthy of a red card. I never thought a push was worthy of a red card. I thought it was a yellow card. A headbutt is a red card, yes, but a push – I think that’s a yellow card. At the end of the day, the referee made the call, and we live with it.”

ProSoccerTalk agrees that a caution would have been more appropriate for McInerney. “[W]hat the young Union man did was nothing more than we see in so many MLS matches, a shove into the upper body area. Considering what Rivas had just done, McInerney’s reaction was understandable. A caution was more in line with the sequence of events.”

ProSoccerTalk says the Union would have fared better in the loss if Michael Farfan and Adu had been more involved. “Farfan is coming off injury and didn’t look as dynamic as the player we saw before the all-star break. Adu, playing on the right, just never got involved, for whatever reason.”

Bakary Soumare played the full 90 minutes in Sunday’s Reserve League contest at the Stade Saputo on Sunday. The Impact pounded the Union 5–1 and Porfirio Lopez was sent of in the 63rd minute for a two-footed tackle.


Watch the USWNT in the Olympic Quarterfinals today at 2:45pm (NBCSN, Live Extra).

John Herdman, the coach of the Canada team, says the US uses “highly illegal” tactics when marking players in the box during set pieces. “One of the big threats we’ve got to take care of, and what we’ve paid attention to, is the illegal marking in the box on their corners and free kicks,” Herdman moaned. “Some of the blocking tactics, which are highly illegal, we’ll keep an eye on them in the game. We’ve starting working on that in training without trying to injure our players.

US coach Pia Sundhage said Alex Morgan will be ready to start in today’s semifinal. Morgan suffered a slight knee injury when she collided with the New Zealand goalkeeper in Friday’s quarterfinal game.

Sundhage says of her players’ love of the long ball, “When we play long too often, too early, that’s a stressful situation for me. It’s not as much a stressful situation for the players as it is for me. It’s all about the soccer I want to play.”

Newsday looks at two big scoring threats in today’s semifinal, the USA’s Abby Wambach and Canada’s Christine Sinclair.

Hope Solo says she “feels sorry” for those (such as myself) who don’t appreciate the team’s pre-planned celebrations after goals, that such people are “silly” and don’t know “how to have fun.”

Carli Lloyd said of the cartwheels the team did after scoring against New Zealand, “Our intention was to represent and honor U.S. gymnastics and have some fun with it. We’re not trying to show up anyone…Abby [Wambach] just usually tells us what to do.”

Sydney LeRoux’s joyfully pure celebration after she scored late to put the game away against New Zealand was more appropriate, something that even Wambach acknowledged. “That’s the best celebration I’ve seen yet. I don’t care if you talk about cartwheels or ‘worms,’ she had the most sincere celebration. It made me emotional because that’s what is special about the Olympics. Seeing a kid come in, perform, and do something that she didn’t think was possible. It was brilliant.”

Indeed, it was. LeRoux said, “I just went crazy. I blacked out. Kelly O’Hara was yelling, ‘I’m so proud of you,’ and I think I almost started crying and the game wasn’t even over. I was so emotional, so excited.”

Lloyd reflects on the win over New Zealand in the quarterfinals in the latest installment of her Olympic journal at Philly.com.

The most searched Olympic sport in the US leading up to the opening of the London Games was the US Women’s soccer team.


Goalkeeper Jami Kranich (Villanova; Hamden, Conn.), midfielder Taylor Schram (Penn State; Canonsburg, Pa.), and forward Maya Hayes (Penn State; West Orange, N.J.) have been selected for the USWNT 21-player roster for the U-20 World Cup in Japan, Aug. 19 through Sept. 8.

The Temple women’s team opens camp today.


Kirk Urso, the 22-year-old rookie Columbus Crew midfielder, died early Sunday morning. Urso, a former teammate of Michael Farfan at University of North Carolina, was coached by John Hackworth at Brandenton and in the U-17 World Cup. Hackworth said in a statement,

“Kirk was one of the best kids that I have ever had the pleasure of working with (and I am not only talking about his soccer skills). He was just a great person. I truly respected the way Kirk went about his life. I was so proud of what he accomplished after he left Residency. He will be deeply missed by all who had the good fortune to know him!  My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Also on the U-17 World Cup team with Urso were Zac MacMath, Sheannon Williams, as well as Gabriel and Michael Farfan.

In Eastern Conference play, Houston Dynamo moved into first place after defeating New York 2–0 on Friday night. Kansas City jumped above New York into second place with a 1–0 road win over eighth place New England. Fourth place DC United defeated seventh place Columbus, 1–0. Fifth place Chicago defeated last place Toronto, 2–1. Montreal moved into sixth place with their 2–0 win over ninth place Philadelphia.

Seattle spanked LA 4–0 in front of 60,908 home fans on Sunday.

The ratings for MLS games on NBCSN have been gaining momentum throughout the season and are currently showing a 97 percent increase over average viewership on FSC in 2011.

More on Orlando’s ambition to join MLS.

Here’s the obligatory, “Someday I would like to play in MLS” quote, this time from Cristiano Ronaldo.



  1. James "4-3-3" Forever says:

    I think putting in Soumare and moving Okugo to central mid will help. Soumare obviously adds height in offense and defense, and everything I heard is that he is good with the ball at his feet as well. Central mid, besides Carroll, has been a revolving door with neither Gomez or Lahoud impressing constantly. Putting Okugo there wil instantly upgrade that position and hopefully help our game going forward.
    I think our biggest hole is wingers. They aren’t dynamic enough, they both disappear for long periods at a time. You know it’s bad when our fullbacks make more of an offensive mark than our wingers during games.

    • moving in soumare may help. No matter how much emphasis we put on the wide game I agree that the fullbacks are the only ones who seem to get involved. Our biggest problem is someone erected a brickwall behind the opposing keeper. Youth is great to have but without real veteran leadership the young ones may lose faith and confidence. This breeds frustration, a tendency to force the ball and make bad choices like retaliation after a head butt and two footed tackles.

      • WilkersonMcLaser says:

        Anyone see the reserves game? Before we tap Soumare as the next coming of Califf, I’d like to know just how well he played in that 5-1 thrashing. Because, I’ll be honest, that’s not a scoreline that inspires confidence in the idea to end what is realistically a mostly great partnership between Valdes and Okugo.

      • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

        It has been a great partnership, but there are holes on this team and it’s nothing short of tremendous luck that we have every reason to believe Okugo can be just as great at CM and that we are replacing him with a former Defender of the Year candidate.
        Short of making that trade for Shea or bringing in a DP winger, this is the simplest and also most effective move we can make.

      • JediLos117 says:

        Simplest and most effective move would be to move M. Farfan back to a wing position. Readjusting the core/back bone (Okugo, Carroll and Valdes) of our D could be disasterous. Wilkerson has a great point regarding Soumare…we just really dont know what he is capable of at this point.

      • It certainly could be disasterous but at this point what do we really have to lose. we got smoked by an expansion team. I say if he is healthy and up to speed on what he needs to do then play him. When it looked as if we could salvage a playoff spot I was not for this move but now I feel we have no shot. lets not tinker too much but if hes ready give him a run out. Unless we expect our midfielders to sart roping shots from 25 yards out we need to find a striker who can finish or you could put marfan andywhere you want and he will only be frustrated in a different location.
        one last thing has anyone noticed that we don’t use one half of the field very often and when is the last time we switched the field with less than two passes. there is no speed in changing fields and this allows the other team to clog us up.

      • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

        Ah yeah, that too. I wanted that for a while. Only problem is then you leave a hole in the CAM role. Would Adu be better there? Maybe.
        My point is that we shouldnt never tinker – yes obviously Nowak did it the wrong way but that shouldn’t mean we should be afraid to try a move or two when it makes sense. Soumare in for Okugo who moves to CM and swapping Marfan and Adu makes sense for addressing some of our holes and its not exactly playing a CM at LB or anything either.

      • JediLos117 says:

        Im totally not opposed to tinkering with a lineup but moving Okugo to CM (do you mean the attacking or defensive CM position?) would not solve our offensive struggles. Im pretty sure he has never scored a goal or had an assist. Im kinda confused with your rational. Are you implying that Okugo swaps with Carroll or M. Farfan? I think we should ditch the 4-3-3 for a 4-1-3-2 (4-2-2) with Lahoud at CAM.

      • WilkersonMcLaser says:

        My point isn’t that we shouldn’t tinker, but that Soumare remains very much an unknown quantity. Let’s see some footage or at least a report from the reserves match. Or a run through in the last 10 mins of a league match. On the other hand, we DO know that Okugo has been a revelation at CB. Not “decent,” not “serviceable,” but actually awesome. I think we’re forgetting just how godawfully rare it is for someone to slot in the way Okugo has done (or Garfan at LB, for that matter) and get the job done so well. Yeah, he could use a little more height (though he isn’t tiny at 6’0), but that can be said of much of our lineup.

  2. I don’t know when it happened but somewhere along the way the USWNT has become really arrogant and unlikable.

    • WilkersonMcLaser says:

      I blame Hope Solo. Seriously. She thinks because she’s a decent GK and easy on the eyes that she’s the final word on women’s soccer.

      • Ed Farnsworth says:

        Note that the quote in the roundup from Lloyd says “Abby tells us what to do” when it comes to these pre-planned celebrations. I think it was the 1994 Women’s World Cup (my memory is a little shaky here) but the celebrations of the Norway team when they defeated the US in the semifinals infuriated the US women and were a major motivator for the team as they prepared for the 1996 Olympics.

        In my view, aside from being crass and unsporting, it is the hubris of the celebrations that is so offensive. I mean, are they really so isolated that they can’t imagine how negatively these celebrations can be viewed? Every time I see such a display, I think, “Instant karma’s gonna get you.”

        That said, I hope they kick the stuffing out of Canada later today.

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