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Match report: Philadelphia 1-3 Kansas City

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Sebastien Le Toux wasted little time in opening his account upon his return to Philadelphia, but the Union could not make the result stand up, falling 3-1 to Sporting Kansas City in the 2013 season opener.

As with most recent contests between these two sides, it was a chippy, physical affair, and the Union will be disappointed to have squandered the lead late in a first half they had dominated.

Seventeen minutes into the match, Keon Daniel picked out Le Toux crashing into the box. The Frenchman needed only a cultured touch to settle the ball before powering it past Jimmy Nielsen to send PPL Park into dream land.

Le Toux’s night however, would be defined as much by a chance he missed, when Sheanon Williams found him with the net beckoning, only to see the chance spurned.

Sporting Kansas City’s quality began to show through as the half wore on. Graham Zusi leveled the score after Zac MacMath could only parry Benny Feilhaber’s point blank shot into his path. It was all downhill from there. Kansas City took the lead when Uri Rosell shed his marker for the simplest of free headers past MacMath. Claudio Bieler marked his MLS debut with the third Kansas City goal, ending any chance of a Union fight back.

First half

With his first selection of the season, John Hackworth elected to play a 4-2-3-1 that the team had not shown in preseason. Amobi Okugo was chosen over Bakary Soumare to partner with Jeff Parke at center back, while Ray Gaddis earned a surprising start on the left opposite Sheanon Williams. Captain Brian Carroll and Michael Lahoud paired to shield the Union back four. Expected left back Gabriel Farfan jumped into an attacking threesome alongside his brother, Michael, and Keon Daniel, while Sebastien Le Toux ran alone up top.

From the opening whistle, the Union looked to pin back Sporting KC, and Nielsen was called into action inside of five minutes. When Michael Farfan picked Matt Besler’s pocket in the fourth minute, he did well to find Le Toux in the box. Taking the layoff from his striker, Gabe Farfan’s powerful drive was too near Nielsen who could only parry it back to Farfan’s feet, but his second effort soared over the bar.

Kansas City struggled to deal with the Union’s high pressure, and turnovers led to the Union attacking in waves. First Le Toux chipped just over the bar before Michael Farfan again picked him out, only to see his shot attempt blocked behind.

There was space to be had, but the Union were occasionally sloppy in possession with Daniel, Carroll and Lahoud all conceding possession cheaply in the middle third. Fortunately, the intense level of defensive pressure saw the Union win back the ball with ease.

On 17 minutes, the Union stormed ahead through Le Toux. Breaking forward up the left flank, Daniel hesitated a moment allowing Gabe Farfan to overlap. Frozen by Farfan’s movement, the Kansas City defense sat back, allowing Daniel to flight the perfect ball in between Besler and Aurelien Collin. Le Toux’s touch was clinical, teeing himself up for a strong shot which left Nielsen helpless.

It was a deserved opener, and the Union continued to pour forward as they threatened to overrun Kansas City. They should have been ahead minutes later, again through Le Toux. After Michael Farfan released him through the midfield, Williams launched forward on a blistering run to sprint clear of the KC backline. Spotting his striker ghosting in from the left, Williams rolled the ball into Le Toux’s path, only to see him badly mishit his first time effort, when the simplest of touches could have doubled the Union’s advantage.

Undeterred, the Union crashed forward, this time through the other fullback, Gaddis. Flying past Collin, the Kansas City defender had no choice but to hack down the Union speedster, conceding a dangerous free kick while earning himself a booking. Michael Farfan stepped up and struck the set piece with power and accuracy, but Nielsen flew across to punch his shot away.

With half an hour gone, Sporting finally began to test the Union backline, and Okugo had to be sharp to slow down Bieler and Bobby Convey. Moments later, Carroll was caught out with Convey racing in behind, though Parke slid in to make a vital interception.

On the other end, Okugo nearly opened his MLS goal scoring account on 37 minutes when he rose highest to meet Le Toux’s corner kick, but the his effort flew wide of Nielsen’s near post.

The Union looked comfortable as they coasted towards halftime, but Kansas City grabbed a goal against the run of play on 41 minutes. An awkward header from Okugo and poor spacing from Carroll saw Convey sneak between the pair to hook his cross into the box. Beating Parke to the ball, Bieler headed down beautifully for a wide open Benny Feilhaber. MacMath was able to fight off Feilhaber’s shot from just outside his six yard box, but Zusi pounced on the rebound and slammed it into the net.

Second half

Despite having been outplayed for the first stanza, Sporting was buoyed by their late goal and came out on the front foot in the second half. Bieler nearly grabbed the lead on 47 minutes when he spun to hit his shot after Convey found him at the top of the box. Fortunately for the Union, MacMath watched it drift just wide of his near post.

With all the momentum suddenly against them, the Union began to struggle to connect simple passes, with Daniel and Lahoud the worst culprits.

The Union were furious that Besler received no card in the 51st minute when Zusi’s free kick put the defender in on MacMath. Mishitting his attempted shot, Besler fell to the ground where he appeared to slap the ball to his teammate with his right arm. Explosive protests could be heard from the entire Union side, and nerves began to fray.

Hard fouls from Feilhaber and Sinovic only served to escalate the tensions before Convey finally earned a booking for ripping down Daniel. The Union attempted to press on despite Sporting’s physicality, but looked disjointed in the final third. Neither Le Toux or Michael Farfan could create anything after working their way deep into Kansas City’s box.

Substitute C.J. Sapong entered in the 63rd minute and immediately had an impact. Chasing a ball played to the corner, Sapong tangled with Williams, earning a free kick. Zusi was again over the ball, and he hooked the set piece into the area. Uri Rosell broke free of Gaddis’ marking before glancing his header past an advancing MacMath.

Stunned to find themselves behind, the Union struggled to react, with Hackworth finally making his first substitution in the 70th minute, bringing Jack McInerney on for Gabe Farfan. In need of a goal, the Union fell back to lofting hopeful balls into the box, failing to carve out a meaningful chance until the 77th minute, though it took a Sporting mistake to nearly level the match.

After McInerney worked hard to head Daniel’s service back across the face of goal, it was near calamity for Besler who chested the ball casually back to his keeper, failing to realize that he had fallen into the goal on the cross. Unfortunately for the Union, Nielsen managed to smother the ball before it could cross the line.

Nielsen had to be sharp again moments later when McInerney again got his head to a cross. This time the ball came in from Le Toux, and McInerney’s powerful header was kept out well by the Danish goalkeeper. Pressing forward to find their equalizer, Michael Farfan found Daniel at the back post, but Daniel’s attempted trap came off his arm, ending the chance.

At the other end, it was Zusi again who began the move that put the match to bed. Hooking the ball in deep, Daniel failed to get a touch on the cross allowing Chance Myers to cut the ball back on the endline. Shaking free of his mark, Bieler settled at the penalty spot and his first time strike nestled inside the back post, putting the scoreline beyond reach.

Philadelphia Union
Zac MacMath; Sheanon Williams, Amobi Okugo, Jeff Parke, Raymon Gaddis; Michael Lahoud (Roger Torres ’80), Brian Carroll; Keon Daniel  (Conor Casey ’84), Michael Farfan, Gabriel Farfan (Jack McInerney ’70); Sebastien Le Toux
Unused substitutes: Chris Konopka, Bakary Soumare, Danny Cruz, Antoine Hoppenot

Sporting Kansas City
Jimmy Nielsen; Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers (Jerome Mechack ’90); Paulo Nagamura, Benny Feilhaber (Peterson Joseph ’82), Uri Rosell; Bobby Convey (C.J. Sapong ’63), Claudio Bieler, Graham Zusi
Unused substitutes: Eric Kronberg, Ike Opara, Josh Gardner, Soony Saad

Scoring Summary
17 – PHI: Le Toux (Daniel)
41 – SKC: Zusi
66 – SKC: Rosell (Zusi)
83 – SKC: Bieler (Myers)

Discipline Summary
25 – SKC: Collin (caution)
56 – SKC: Convey (caution)
89 – PHI: Gaddis (caution)

Match Stats

Philadelphia Union Sporting Kansas City
17 Attempts on Goal 7
5 Shots on Target 4
9 Shots off Target 2
3 Blocked Shots 1
6 Corner Kicks 2
19 Fouls 13
22 Open Play Crosses 15
1 Offsides 4
1 First Yellow Cards 2
0 Second Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0
59 Duels Won 52
53% Duels Won % 46%
392 Total Pass 457
78% Passing Accuracy % 80%
46.8% Possession 53.2%


  1. Everyone who raved about the first half needs to understand that we were tied at the end of it. Can’t figure out why last years leading scorer was on the bench, our new acquisition and mls allstar was on the bench and our consensus “best player in training camp” was on the bench for most of the game. The goal is not to control possession, the goal is to win the game. Did not like the lineup at all.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I agree completely. I despised the starting 11 and the timing of the subs. Why was Torres on the bench until the 80th minute… when you are losing 2-1?! That was terrible. Hack needs a better starting lineup and a make better substitutions next week. I know it’s one game but Hack needs to show he can coach and not just develop players.

  2. Missed chances to put the game away early came back to haunt the Union. I thought the game was played well but had we put away the chances we had the game would have been different. Again and again the chances were there. Hackworth need to try a different front line. The backline needs to become more solid. You can’t blame one person on any goal because we have to become more solid defensively. There were moments where you could see how the Union can be a great team and there were moments where you were just wondering why. It was a disappointing game but its the first of many. Le Toux crosses were aweful or maybe those were tired legs. He was also spoon-fed a goal and missed. The one goal he made does not make up for the easy one he should have had.

    • Actually it does. If he scores once every game and misses a chance every game he gets 36 goals. That’s a great season.

    • Le Toux misses a perfect sitter. The reason he’s struggled with long scoreless droughts before and blew his chance to play in England. Garfan misses an open net. I’ll chalk the first shot up to a great save from JN, but the second needs to find the back of the net.

      Frankly, Keon played the best. The assist aside, he manages to hold the ball and pull defenders towards him. Not sure what Eli was watching when he writes that Keon was turning possession over. He’s arguably the Union’s best player at holding and trapping the ball, or making smart/effective passes through the midfield.

      Over Highlight: Casey smashing Collin. Two big, bald-headed guys went up, and Casey trotted away laughing to himself.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        For ever nice play Daniel made he was manhandled and coughed the ball up 3 or 4 times. Even hackworth who never says bad things about players commented that Daniel didn’t give a quality 90 minute effort. The whole union midfield was below par. Daniels assist was sublime and he looked very good from about minute 10 to minute 30 but that does not excuse some of his truly lackadaisical play

      • Daniel wasn’t the only one. This teams is extremely poor at coverage in the defensive 3rd. Gadis, Williams Caroll, M.Farfan. MacMath is not a leader who should be watching a veteran keeper, and the marking sucks. Hackworth can’t adjust! It was truly a team effort.

      • Tough to pick which comment thread to replay to, a lot of good points being made on this one, but I chose this one due to the comments on Le Toux, Garfan, and Daniel.
        For Le Toux, absolutely no excuse can be made for the miss. The first goal was also a gift from a golden cross, and no real skill was required to put that one away. The miss was quite a bit easier, and he blew it. I would have even counted on Carroll to put that away. If Seba wants 36 goals this season(which would be awesome), he needs to put away these easy ones because there will undoubtedly be games where we don’t get any scoring chances.
        Onto Garfan – No excuse can be made for this awful miss either. Sure, the first save could be chalked up to a good save from the Q-Tip, it was really just way too close to him. The second effort I just don’t have words for. Needs to be put away if he wants to keep playing. Otherwise, there are much better options than Garfan to put on the field.
        Onto Daniel – If by manhandled you mean shielding the ball from 2 KC defenders or drawing fouls and by coughing it up you mean retaining possession, then sure. If you went back and watched the game tallying up his possession steals and retains versus his giveaways, the number would come out way more even, if not positive. His possession is best on the team by far, and this is probably another case of people mistaking his style of slowing up the play as “killing the attack”. Some guy in my row was screaming that he didn’t run 1 on 1 at that mongoloid Collin, when he rightfully tried to pick out the player ghosting in on the back post. Just cause a player isn’t running on goal every time he gets the ball doesn’t mean he isn’t making a smart play. And just because a player is holding the ball up doesn’t mean he isn’t opening up gaps for his teammates.
        Can’t wait until he gets a 4.4 for putting the U in multiple positions to score while players like Marfan who straight up ran into 3 defenders and Gabe who missed a sitter get a 7+ because they have a Double Dragon thing going on and we all want them to succeed deeply winthin our hearts.


      • Whoops made a few spelling errors, sorry. Typed this on my phone. Regardless, it should be for the most part legible.


      • Don’t sweat it. I have done far far worse.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        You are entitled to your opinion of Daniel, and I agree that in a weak Union midfield, he was better than the other 4. That said, his turnover rate was quite high. 29 successful passes as compared to 7 unsuccessful and 14 tackled/possession lost. The highest in the midfield. also, he only won 2 fouls, while conceding 2. Michael Farfan won 4, conceding 2. Daniel was the pick of the bunch from the Union midfield, but the Union midfield was awful

      • Wouldn’t let me post under Eli’s next comment, probably because we are too deep in the comment stack, but here goes. Not only was he better than the other 4, he was leaps and bounds better. Even if the rest of the midfield didnt have a great game, he still played well. And if I gather from your comment 29 successful passes vs (7+14=)28 turnovers makes him more successful than unsuccessful in retaining possession? Making your 3 or 4 to 1 ratio from earlier totally off base? Or are there other stats you are factoring into that?

        Also, since you’re saying the union midfield was awful, does that mean that Mike and Gabe will get under an 8 this time, even though they are brothers?

      • Dan Walsh says:

        Yeah, C-Dawg, it is that the comment stack goes too deep. It makes individual comments too narrow. We might tweak that if we can.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Daniel looked much better than I had expected to see. He does a good job slowing the pace, to allow things to happen. That was lacking in the other midfielder’s game. The Farfan’s made a few things happen but looked impatient, and sloppy with the ball. Lahoud and Carroll were nonexistent on the offensive side of the ball and both challenged poorly defensively. Daniel’s only downside was his lack of ability to win possesion of the ball. For a bigger player, he is horrible when challenging for 50/50 balls. The whole middle is, for that matter.

      • The Black Hand says:

        LeToux’s first touch, on Daniel’s cross, was absolutely divine. Insane to say no skill involved. His miss was awful but, on the whole, we were better with him out there.

      • agreed

      • Oh I gotta agree. Aside from a few Danielesque derpy moments. He had a solid game.

    • gaddis is solely responsible for the second goal.

      • The Black Hand says:


      • The Black Hand says:

        *No way

      • let’s see. man gaddis is marking get’s free header. yup. gaddis.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Gaddis’ marking, in the area, was dreadful. I still think that a quality goalkeeper makes the stops. I imagine that, if Hackworth opts for Gaddis at LB, we will see a few more of those breakdowns. He’s undersized and will be overpowered often in the area. Makes the need for a reliable keeper all the more important.

      • I think Gaddis was chiefly responsible for the 2nd and 3rd goals. Look at the open space in the setup to the goal, then look at Gaddis. He’s chasing Keon who is chasing the ball. Gaddis should have recognized that he couldn’t help where he was and looked for the nearest open passing lane, which was right next to him. Maybe he couldn’t have stopped it regardless, but he was way out of position

  3. Also, I would not use the phrase “put the game away”. We lost 3 to 1. We were not in a position to put the game away.

  4. This just shows the weaknesses known by every MLS manager about the Union that were not addressed in the off season or the starting lineup. SKC was a big physical team and the Union’s non-manager was not prepared for a 90 minute game. Did they teach coverage in U17’s and U20’s back in the day? Oh and when do we get Faryd Madragon back?

  5. I was so disappointed from the beginning. Our empty bucket 1 striker formation screamed “We are afraid of losing!” Despite the fact we looked good at times, I found that lineup insulting. I never want to see Lahoud out there ever again (though we’ve all said that a dozen times by now).
    Also, look at the first and third goals. Isn’t the reason why you would play a defensive formation so the other team DOESN’T get wide open shots on your goal? I don’t blame MacMath for the first goal. It was a well saved shot from an open look that was buried by an unmarked trailing run.
    If you are letting the other team get wide open looks like that one goal than your defensive formation isn’t very defensive.

  6. Disappointing game. A season opener. A home opener. A bad loss. Terrible. A terrible season to come.
    Attendance looked a low. Even with the cold it was the season opener!
    After the third KC goal fans began streaming for the exit. That would not have happened two years ago!
    There is no doubt in my mind that this franchise is officially in trouble. Its in trouble because the owner refuses to spend money on the team and acquire real quality players.
    Mr. Sugarloaf, or whatever your name is, sell the team to someone that will care!
    The same problems that plagued the team last season remain. No improvement. McMath is not ready to start. Daniel takes too long on the ball. The offense sputters. Now the defense, once our strength, has also collapsed. There is nothing positive to take away from that game. They can’t play the style that Hackworth wants, that we all want because they are simply not good enought!
    As such, Hackworth, it appears, will be a one season manager. Why is he not starting Casey and McInnerny? Why are the substitutions coming in so late? Why was there no real tactical adjustment? Poor performance not only from the team but from its manager.
    The team came out firing, but as soon as KC got its barrings and began to play the Union collapsed. There is no belief in this team.
    Money, they need to spend it. This is the fourth season without a DP. We need quality. We need a keeper, we need an attacking midfielder, we need a clinical finisher. Nothing has been remedied from last season.
    Yes Le Toux is back. But we now all remember Le Toux. The man that needs several clear goal scoring opportunities to actually put one in. He belongs with the Union, but he is not the answer to the goal scoring problems.
    Nothing has improved. Even the parking situation, after four season, has not gotten better.
    Spend some money! On the team and on the fans. Certainly the fans deserve it. Otherwise, their is no hope of making this into a viable franchise. Otherwise, the stadium will be empty.
    Ok, now I’m done.

    • you are an absolute moron.

    • Your comments about letoux are crazy. Le tour gets all those scoring opportunities because he goes 1000 percent all the time. Sometime that puts him in more of a rush than is needed and he misses. The point is, however, he scored. He did his job yesterday and you are complaining. If the other strikers and attackings mids stepped up, then we would of had a game.

      • Not complaining. Simply stating a fact. People look at Le Toux with rose colored glasses. Le Toux is not clinical. Its a fact.

      • The Black Hand says:

        We are a better club with LeToux but, I agree, he is not a great player. That said, he was playing with heart and many others were not.

      • No question Le Toux belongs with the team. We must, however, have a realistic view of his abilities.

      • He’s been clinical on many occasions. Try searching him on YouTube.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        I believe comments on Le Toux are off base, especially the one above. To suggest that he’s allowed to go off the boil just cause he scored one goal is nonsense. he missed a sitter which likely would have killed of SKC’s fight back before it started. Kansas City could be a juggernaut in this conference and the Union blew a chance to take 3 points off them while they are still gelling. There will be lots of games where Le Toux doesn’t score. When a chance to tap the ball in a wide open net arises, you finish, otherwise you will not be considered elite.

      • I guess since I have seen Van Persie miss an easy one, I shouldn’t call him elite either.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Yes. That is exactly the point. You nailed it. Bravo. Thank you for adding to the conversation.

    • tl;dr

  7. New year, same Union. Lots of possession but failure to convert in final third. Goals given up late in halves, and no clue how to defend set pieces.
    Along with gammara, i too was dissapointed with starting XI.
    And Eli: no mention of Connor Casey coming on and his immediate physical play getting a cheer from the crowd?

    • Totally agree with you. It’s like we didn’t address any of the problem areas that we had last year.

      I heard that Casey was carrying a knock coming into the match which is why he came on so late.

      Knowing how conservative that SKC typically play on the road, I couldn’t understand why we only started out with one striker. Hackworth essentially replaced Valdes & Jack Mac with Parke & LeToux and put out the same line-up that didn’t work in 2012. Sure, we created some chances with that line-up in the 1st half, but we also failed to finish them and conceded late once again. I understand that you don’t want to concede early so you come out more conservative, but that wasn’t the right starting XI IMO. Also, we all know how physical SKC is so why not start Soumare and play Okugo in MF instead of Lahoud?

      At some point, fans will stop buying gear and going to matches after continuing to see the Union make the same mistakes over and over again. Very disheartening to see.

  8. There was some ugly out there. Mistakes were made. Lahoud s selection is puzzling. Gabe is a red card waiting to happen. Marking on free kicks. Casey needed more than five minutes. Mar fan looked day ish in his insistence on one man attacks.

    But this was k c. Only the most optimistic of us could have thought a result likely here. I will not give up on this team after one game. Looking ahead I would expect a point at least in Colorado and three with new England is a must. If that happens I think we will be where we need to be.

    My hope for next game is Torres on for Lahoud and Casey on for gar fan and gar fan moves back to d until gaddis can mark.

    • There is no reason we should not expect to compete with kc. Period. They ain’t Barcelona.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Bingo. Rosell is in his first full season. Bieler and Feilhaber in there first match for SKC and Convey returning from a yearlong injury lay off. That was BARELY the KC we will likely see later in the season. And the Union better be playing to beat them then. No excuse for this at home against that side

      • A few new faces, each with more talent than just about anyone on the Union roster, doesn’t make it a weak team. We had new players and guys at unfamiliar positions, too. That was a savvy, confident unit. The Union could play with them, but a result would have been a surprise.

  9. JediLos117 says:

    Dunno how any one player could be singled out…the Union was eventually outclassed by a complete squad AND coaching staff.
    Did anybody really think we would run as long as we did against SKC?
    In introducing Sapong, vermes essentially won SKC the game. This completely changed the dynamic of SKCs offensive approach…we has no answer.
    Our subs had no positive impact.
    On a positive note, McMath’s distributions have improved

  10. The game was what it was. we had good play in the beginning and some good chances at in the second half but the lineup we had out there was not one to win the game.

    Part of the reason the Union were successful in the first half was some good play but some of the other reasons was that KC was playing really really badly.

    Yea so at first I was thinking “Hey this line up isn’t as bad as I thought. But it evolved into if we had a better lineup out there we would have buried these guyhs in the first half.”

    I was wondering what happened to Baky, a lot of people say he is hurt still and thus a waste of monehy. But I am inclined to believe that Hackworth put Okugo out there because he was playing it safe. But I can’t see how having Soumare out there would have been any worse than the defending we did have.

  11. King Arthur says:

    Tactics my ass. Hackworth played scared. Not starting the best XI and trying a new shape against SKC? Friggin stupid. A bunkered midfield? Embarrassing. A black hole of leadership on the field, on the sidelines and in the office. Get the best lads on the pitch and let them slug it out. Quit trying to outthink the opposition. Ditch the chalk board. Make teams figure out how to stop Seba, Mac and Casey.
    Or, back to Monty Python, “Run away! Run away!”

  12. The Black Hand says:

    I was pleasantly surprised by the way the club opened up. They played intelligent, composed football. The LeToux goal was a great moment at PPL. Daniel and Gaddis both looked to be worthy of their selection. The Union had SKC playing on their heels. I was, actually, feeling like a fool for blasting Hackworth. Then came minute 35, or so. From then on, the club regressed to the bumbling mess that we have come to know so well. Carroll, in a word, was terrible. Daniel, for all his height, offered no physical challenge whatsoever. KC was able to stretch our backing with ease, exposing weaknesses regularly. Possession began to favor the visitors. Now for the most troubling thing that I saw. MacMath… He is nowhere near being a starting goalkeeper. He is just not good. The most glaring weaknesses, that I see are: (1) we have no goalie. (2) Carroll (holding us back). (3) Hackworth (he needs to make timely adjustments)

    • i don’t think macmath is amazing by any means, but i don’t think he’s the problem in the least. those 3 goals were not his fault.

      • The Black Hand says:

        2nd goal was the result of MacMath, not fully committing to the challenge, and cutting off Okugo from his mark.
        3rd goal was not a blistering shot but found MacMath out of position. Not to mention, he did not even make a save attempt.
        This was all seen before and a goalkeeper should have been brought in. Unacceptable team management. MacMath is clearly not ready and continuing to ‘feed him to the wolves’ is going to rattle him beyond repair.
        We were outplayed by SKC, as the game wore on, but the biggest difference was in goalkeeping. Nielsen kept his team in the match. MacMath did not.

      • As someone who’s played keep (and after talking to a friend that played keep for the U17’s) MacMath is at fault. He’s too slow to react, afraid of contact and his angles suck. 1st goal he should have charged out right after making the initial save. A blind man could see there was no coverage in the box and you have to know you are giving up a rebound from that distance. 2nd goal he came out too softly and let the ball come to him. He needs to run through the ball. If he gets run into it’s a foul. Punch the damn ball clear. 3rd goal his angle is way off. He need to slide to his right more after the pass. He was still to close to the post.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Exactly. Although, I can’t blame Zac for the first goal.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Also, CDM should have been covering the rebound

      • I totally agree, but as a keep you have to be aware you don’t have any coverage. I played on a few bad teams.

    • McMohansky says:

      MacMath can’t organize the defense on set pieces, nor play crosses at a professional level. His shot stopping and positioning in open play are below average as well. I don’t see the potential other’s say he possess.
      Not having Soumare out there is a big worry. If he can’t go we are stuck with Carroll and Lahoud as DMs at the same time, because neither can do the job alone, but they can’t really do the job together either.

  13. I wasn’t crushed by the game as I fully expected a similar if not worse result. I’d say the chances we got were pretty good. I really would like someone to provide me with a viable explanation for why Lahoud is on the field/ With Carroll I at least see the stupid American dogmatic idea that a) The person with the most MLS experience has to be the captain and b) that then that person has to play all the time irrespective of talent. But Lahoud is just a some left overs from Chivas…and they are even WORSE than us. I really do not rate MacMath but I don’t think you pull him yet as that is bad business. I would like to see Konopka get a start in game 4 perhaps and go from there. After that I wasn’t horrified with the lineup, I thought that it was at least refreshing to see Gabe Farfan moved up the field. I think the subbing was alarming. My line up for next week would be:

    Williams, Soumare, Parke, Gaddis
    Okugo, Carroll
    Marfan, Mcinerny, Garfan/Daniel
    Le Toux

    Subs….Torres for McInerny (60), Casey for Le Toux (70), Garfan/Daniel switch (whenever)

    • The Black Hand says:

      Carroll’s not capable of covering the defensive midfield alone. I thought that Lahoud played a better match than Carroll, but both were far from quality. The Empty Bucket is not going to work!

  14. McMohansky says:

    I get that Keon isn’t technically polished, but none of the players are. I still thought he was great in the first half- he made himself open and the play generally went up-field through him quickly.
    I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him in the middle, at the expense of one of the holding middies.
    The entire team suffered a confidence collapse after the equalizing goal before the half and never got going after that. That falls on the captain and the coach’s shoulders.

    What worked so well in the first third of the match was never going to continue throughout the match, they simply couldn’t press so hard for 90. Therefore, the coach needs to be called to question for the tactics and the substitutions. What was the plan coming out in the second half? Instead of putting fresh bodies in immediately to get back to what worked at the start of the game, or changing the approach through different personnel (Casey, Torres), they came out worn out and dejected and tried to react and cope with SKC’s more confident and patient play.
    It was so disappointing after a good initial display. Almost painful in its passivity.

  15. Luva Golazo says:

    So when the starters were announced, I turned to guy next to me and told him that I hope Hack is a soccer genius because nobody I read or talk to would have come up with this. Then I watched pretty much what I expected from each of the players and their deployment. They throttled the ksc midfield effectively, put them on their heels, created enough chances for LeToux to score and had lots of possession. It was nice entree for Seba and a good enough tactical approach to finish a match with a lead, but why not come out strong in a season opener with a rebuilt attacking team? And if you plan to bring on the guns after the half to break it open, why wait so long? If that was the plan and it had worked, it would have been a great way to win. As it turned out it was a lousy way to lose.

    • This was my fear. I honestly think Hackworth’s strategy is to put on his attaching players in the final 20 minutes when the team is tired to try and win the game then as opposed to having the team try and win it during the first 70 minutes.

      And that is asinine.

  16. Dan Walsh says:

    Those first 40 minutes were beautiful. And they were beautiful because of Hackworth’s lineup choices. Daniel and the Farfans were terrific in that stretch. LOVE the selection of the Farfans for the wings. Love Daniel in the middle (and love that it opens room for Torres to play there as well, with both Farfans). Le Toux didn’t miss a sitter. He missed a shot made difficult by an excellent goalkeeper cutting off Le Toux’s angle for the more natural left-footed shot. Everyone freaking out over the loss should recognize there’s a lot of good to take from that first half. In the second half, they were outclassed by a better team that adjusted better than the Union did.

    I’ll save my critique for my column later this week. This isn’t all sunny side up. I just disagree with a lot of the criticism I’ve read here.

    • Line up choices? He sat Saumare and started Lahoud. If you start Saumare and slot Okugo into Lahouds slot your team gets 100% better.

      I can’t see Saumare as huge of a defensive liability that could be worse than the defending during the goals.

      • Dan Walsh says:

        Well, I’ll agree with you on that. I just don’t expect to see it happen now. Either Soumare steps into the lineup in several weeks and Okugo moves up to midfield, or Soumare gets traded.

    • Dan,

      I love Le Toux as much as the next guy. However, I just reviewed footage of that miss. Sorry. He should have had it. Yes, the game is difficult. One expects the goal keeper to make the shot difficult. Le Toux had both time and space to make that shot. It was a bad miss. He does make the team better, but he also has great limitations in his game.

      • Dan Walsh says:

        Agreed. Agree that he could have hit the shot. I’m just saying it wasn’t as easy a shot as everyone is making it out to be.

      • The Black Hand says:

        That shot was an easy one. Even with the goalie challenging, there were options galore for the finish. LeToux didn’t even get it on frame. I like LeToux and think he is great for the team. He plays with heart and should wear the armband. An elite talent, he is not and never has been.

    • frankswild says:

      I agree with you completely. I don’t like the loss and there are certainly criticisms to be put out there but I don’t get this talk of a doomed season or anything like that

      • I don’t think the season is doomed, but I am definitely concerned about hackworths ability to see the obvious.

    • Luva Golazo says:

      I disagree with some of it as well but I can’t buy “beautiful”. I saw some very nice ball movement, solid 50-50 play, great work rates and decent attacking, but I would say this was in spite of the line-up choices.

  17. Andy Muenz says:

    This loss has to go on Hack’s shoulders (and I’ve been a Hack supporter in the past). Last year’s biggest issue was finishing. We now have 3 guys who can finish yet for most of the game only one of the 3 was on the field. That’s what we had last year when JacMac was the only one who could score. Unless there are injuries, suspensions, or a huge lead (i.e. 4-0) there’s no reason not to have at least two of JacMac, Seba, and Connor on the field at all times.

    • I absolutely could not agree with you more

    • The Black Hand says:

      I agree Andy. Hackworth’s inability to adjust killed us. Although, that pales in example to his inability to properly assess his club. The choices to go with MacMath and Carroll are going to haunt the club. Both players limit the Union. Carroll, by being a mediocre player in a position that demands more and MacMath, by simply not being a professional level goalkeeper. If those two areas remain unchanged, we will continue to struggle.

      • Did you see the terrible gaffe that gave NY their first goal last night? What about all the terrible miscues Hamid and Johnson has had over the past year?
        I’m not defending MacMath, he looked bad and he can’t make those mistakes.
        But this whole “not a pro GK” rhetoric is sooooooooo nonsense. MacMath is making young and inexperienced GK mistakes. …You know why? Because hes young and inexperienced.

      • The Black Hand says:

        How long will he be a young and inexperienced goalkeeper? He has started 40+ matches and not improved. May be time to call a spade a spade.

  18. I personally feel like there was a dramatic overreaction to the formation. Gabe was tearing it up on the wing in the first half. The bigger problem remains the CDM situation and the lack of positive play. I’d personally like to see a diamond with both Farfans on the wings, Okugo at CDM, and Torres at CAM. Also acceptable would be Gabe at LB with Keon on the wing. Then, alternate amongst the three strikers with who gets the nod up top. Hop off the bench. It’s really not that confusing. Carroll isn’t good enough if we want to play positive soccer. Give Parke the armband and let the best midfielders play.

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