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“Not a ton of positives”: Reports & reaction as Union youth underwhelm in loss to Crew, more

Photo: Courtesy of Columbus Crew

Philadelphia Union

If you were unable to watch Wednesday’s preseason match between the Union and Columbus Crew, count yourself fortunate. Featuring a starting lineup in their second game of the preseason that, with the exception Michael Lahoud, had a grand total of 6 career first team starts in regular season play between them and was otherwise largely made up of draftees and trialists, the Union appeared to be little more than a scrimmage team for Columbus, who were playing their fifth game of the preseason and are now 4-1-0.

Noting that “There were not a ton of positives,” John Hackworth said of the game, “It was just an evaluation tool really, giving guys an opportunity. The guys that played today for the most part didn’t play on Saturday in our first game and you have got to give guys a look against an opponent in a real game and that’s what this [match] was about.”

Nick Sakiewicz was more to the point. “This game today was about guys trying to make a mark and earning a contract,” said the Union CEO. “For some of them it was good and for some of them it was not so good. This game for us today was about answering some questions—so I think a lot of questions got answered.” After Wednesday’s game, the question of which players will not be continuing in the preseason with the Union might be answered sooner than later.

PSP’s match report concluded, “Luckily, a match dominated by players not expected to be in the starting eleven should not be diagnostic. The Union have plenty to learn from an almost universally poor display. The most worrying aspect of the match for the coaching staff will be how rarely the team appeared calm on the ball and the almost pathological fear they showed for playing a possession game in the final third.”

SBI said of the game, “The Crew have been the best looking team through two days in Orlando…Philadelphia shouldn’t take much out of this one. Projected starters didn’t see any time and this was setup to be much more of a test for guys to either make the team or have increased roles. Should be noted, however, that no one showed particularly well out of that pool.”

Match reports from PSP, PhiladelphiaUnion.com, Delco Times, Philly Soccer News, ColumbusCrew.com, Columbus Dispatch, SBI, and Examiner.com,

Wednesday’s showing certainly appears to have bummed Union Tally out to the point of irrationality. “A bunch of other guys you’ve never heard of played. Heck, I’ve never heard of some of the trialists, and I don’t think there names will come up after the next week or so.” One previously unnamed new trialist, Bulgarian forward Georgi Hristov, came on for Michael Lahoud in the 65th minute.

Gay4soccer.com explains why the Chik-fil-A promotion night on June 5 is a bad idea.


In other Disney Pro Classic games, Danny Califf played the opening 45 minutes as Toronto defeated Orlando City 3-0 to move to 1-1-0 ahead of Saturday’s game with the Union.  Montreal are now 2-0-0 in the tournament after defeating Tampa Bay Rowdies 4-1. A Bobby Convey goal was part of Kansas City’s 2-0 win over DC United.

In the Desert Diamond Cup, Real Salt Lake and New York drew 2-2 while Seattle topped New England 2-0.

The Portland Timbers acquired midfielder Ben Zemanski from Chivas USA in a trade for allocation money and the right of first refusal to defender Jonathan Bornstein. They also acquired right of first refusal for Michael Nanchoff for a 2015 Supplemental Draft pick from Vancouver. Nanchoff has been training with Portland and, like Zemanski, played for new Timbers head coach Caleb Porter at University of Akron.

While MLS continues to struggle for respectable national television ratings, in 2012 it saw ad revenue increase from 121 percent from $3.4 million to $7.5 million. Viewership among Asian-Americans and African-Americans is also up.

The Bundesliga’s Head of Business & Specialist Media Dirk Meyer-Bosse tells Sports Business Daily, “The American Major League Soccer plays an annual All-Star Game, and there are thoughts of sending a Bundesliga team to play against the MLS All-Star team.”

Urban Omnibus is not down with the stadium in Queens plan.


In her 200th appearance for the USWNT, Abby Wambach scored her 153rd national team goal in the 3-1 win over Scotland in Nashville on Wednesday night. Wambach is now five goals behind Mia Hamm’s record.

Post game quote sheet here.

The venues for the Algarve Cup have been finalized. The USWNT begins the tournament on March 6 against Iceland at Municipal Stadium in Albufeira, Portugal. Also in the US’ group are China and Sweden. You can view the full tournament schedule here.

The USMNT dropped four spots in the latest FIFA rankings to No. 32 after recent poor showings. Mexico held steady at No. 15.

ASN asks which country poses the biggest threat to the USMNT’s World Cup qualifying chances in the Hex?

At the Washington Post, Steven Goff has US Soccer’s tax filing covering April 2011 through March 2012. “The federation reported $56.5 million in revenue and $59.6 million in expenses for a shortfall of $3.1 million.” The previous year the federation reported a surplus of $2.3 million.

The latest installment in the ongoing Centennial series at the US Soccer website checks in with Shannon Higgins Cirovski, one of the members of the US team that won the first Women’s World Cup.


A plane carrying fans to Donetsk from Odessa in the Ukraine on Wednesday to watch the Champions League match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund broke up during an emergency landing, killing at least four passengers.

Liverpool have briefed their players on how to deal with racial abuse from the stands ahead of today’s Europa League match against Zenit St. Petersburg (11:50am on Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Soccer 2Go). In December, a Zenit St. Petersburg supporters group issued a manifesto calling on the club not to sign non-European or gay players.

For listings of all of today’s Europa League matches, check out this week’s edition of Footy on the Telly.

The New York Times reports on the man authorities suspect of fixing dozens of matches, “Shadowy Singaporean” Tan Seet Eng.

At SI is an AP wire report that details some of the codes used by match-fixers in Croatia and Turkey.

Speaking of Turkey, FIFA has provisionally cleared Didier Drogba to play for Galatasaray.

How do you think Gus Johnson did?

Did you know that pooping on your opponent is a red card offense? Well, it is, at least if you’re a dinosaur.


  1. While I agree mostly that this was a diagnostic game for fringe players, I am still somewhat concerned at the lack of identity in tactics.
    It wasn’t so much that the players looked bad, it’s that they looked bad playing bad soccer. Hackworth (and various players) have repeatedly said they want to play a possession game with a focus on moving the ball around.
    I didn’t see that, nor an attempt at that. Is that a case of these players simply being that bad, or is the team as a whole still trying to adapt to Hackworths style?

    • I agree, but think we have to hold judgement until we see the first team play a bit more. And I don’t know whether qualifying these players as “bad” is fair. More than anything, they were young and inexperienced, playing against players very much the opposite, which is intimidating.

      • I agree with this, though I do think it’s a combination of inexperience and lack of ability. Columbus has also played more preseason games than the Union and brought in better players for this one.

  2. Excuses excuses…blah, blah,blah…it’s an evaluation tool…blah, blah, blah…earn a contract…la de freaking dah! Its all crap!!!
    I am concerned.
    An able technical staff should recognize potential during training and scrimages.
    The Crew match was a wasted opportunity to develop chemistry among starter and second stringers.
    It’s apparent that we are behind the curve, the Crew look to have taken the pre season seriously and look ready for the season while we aint showing any chemisty, desire and most worrisome ability…to score, keep possession…
    Excuses, excuses.

    • Three games in four days. Gotta figure out which reserves make the cut before they start mixing them in with the first team.

      • The Union didn’t say that they would play an all reserve team for the Crew game. They said that they would increase minutes for those who did not play long in the Orlando game and decrease minutes for those that played long in that same game. A strange change in plans.

    • The Black Hand says:

      You took the words right out of my mouth. Some excuse could be made for the roster last night but, with three weeks until the opener, we should have been way past the point of assessing player talent. The (first team) club looked incohesive against Orlando City and in need of game experience. Going with reserves against Columbus did nothing to remedy that.

  3. Was watching the Champions League games in the Crossbar in Havertown. Good to see both games on big TV’s next to each other. Had a great atmosphere there with plenty of Madrid and ManU supporters; all good fun, especially when the crossbar was hit at one points and everyone shouted ‘crossbarrrrrrr’. Thought Gus did OK for his first game but needs improvements (good article that reviewed his performance).

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