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“Unacceptable”: Reports from opening loss, Adu speaks (sort of), Eastern Conference results, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

OK, it was but one game. But, c’mon, why did it have to look like so many games from 2012?

John Hackworth said after Saturday’s 1-3 loss to Kansas City, “I’m extremely disappointed. I feel like we let the fans down. I feel like we let ourselves down.”

Hackworth explained his starting lineup, which raised more than a few eyebrows when it was announced, was based upon a desire to take the game to Kansas City from the opening whistle. And it worked for the first 40 minutes or so. “I’ve said it—they were tough choices. You guys get to write that they were the wrong choices now. But in reality, it’s choices that a coach has to make and I’ll take full responsibility for that.”

Familiar themes repeated themselves: not finishing chances, giving up a late goals, set piece defending, an inability to adjust in the second half. Hackworth said,

We had them on the ropes. You can’t let a team like that off. There’s a reason they’re winning so many games. There’s a reason why those guys dig down…Look, I mean everything we thought we could take advantage of worked. And it worked not just for a couple of minutes, but for almost the first half. If we execute on the chances that we have I think we walk into half time up two, maybe three goals, and that unfortunately didn’t happen. Then it’s a matter of us managing the game, reading critical moments, and execution. On the flip side, that’s what Sporting KC did tonight. I’m looking at the stats, we have 17 attempts on goal, they have 7. We pushed the the game the right way and did what we wanted to do. At the end of the day we didn’t execute.

Hackworth elaborated that tactical objectives meant that Conor Casey and Bakary Soumare didn’t start.

Hackworth said, “I can’t think of any way to feel good about anything that just happened. I am glad [Sebastien Le Toux] is here I am glad he scored a goal in his first game back, but this is a team sport and from our perspective it’s unacceptable to play at PPL Park and lose the way we did.”

Brain Carroll: “I start we started off well and had the game in our grasp. Unfortunately we could make that killer play to go up two and put out final stamp on the game and take control of it.”

Ray Gaddis: “You’ve got to be disappointed. You’ve got 18,000-plus here cheering you on in an exciting atmosphere and everyone is excited to see you play and you don’t go and get a result, that’s disappointing. There’s no excuse that it’s Game One. We have to tighten things up. When you’re given an opportunity to make or break the game, you’ve got to take advantage.

Sheanon Williams: “If we score the second goal the game is over. Their heads would have dropped and maybe then we get a third and fourth. That didn’t happen. After they got a goal we put our heads down. We didn’t start the second half the way we wanted to. It wasn’t a good second half and we have to do betterI think this team is trying to move forward and trying to get better. We’re kind of tired of learning. We need to go out and do it. The time to learn was preseason. Now, it’s time to play and that’s what we’re going to do going forward.”

Sebastien Le Toux:  “I’m disappointed about the result, I’m not thinking about my goal todayI should have scored [again]. It would have made it 2-0 and changed the game, so I’m mad at myself. I’m disappointed.

More reports and recaps from PSP, the Union website, The Inquirer, Daily News, DelcoTimes, CSN Philly, PennLive.com, Philly Soccer News, Union Dues, Examiner, Philly Sports Live, Kansas City.com, the Daily Wiz, ProSoccerTalk, Sporting News, SB Nation, MLS Talk. the Sports Network, the AP. Post game quote sheet here.

Brian Straus concluded, “There’s a long way to go, obviously, and there were reasons for Philadelphia to feel good about its 2013 debut…But SKC clearly is a different class.”

SI’s Tom Dart wrote, “Kansas City won its opening match for the fourth season in a row, and did so without playing anywhere near its best…Philadelphia largely was able to control the midfield…The Union, however, weren’t in charge in the match’s decisive moments. While possession and territory matter, they’re just the journey, not the destination. And Philly was slack in each 18-yard box.”

Matt De George praises Ray Gaddis’ play against Graham Zusi.

ProSoccerTalk dug Zusi. I never realized what a whiny little b!tch he was before Saturday.

Freddy Adu issued a statement through Alexi Lalas (of all people!) on ESPN on Sunday. Here is the statement as reprinted at The Goalkeeper:

The entire situation saddens me. While I have made mistakes and am trying to learn from them, a lot of what is said about me is not accurate. The truth is that I have been frozen out by the Philadelphia Union solely because I refuse to take a huge pay cut.

I am prepared to honor my contract with the Union, or any other club in MLS. and I don’t think what has to happen to me is right…

All I want to do now is play soccer and try to progress my career. But I will stay strong in my position and hope that I can be back out on an MLS field soon.

Here is my translation: I am not playing because I won’t take a pay cut. I still won’t take a pay cut so I won’t be playing anytime soon.

The Union’s “wonderful cast of young talent still under construction” figures in ProSoccerTalk’s top storylines of the new season under the heading of “The 2013 rebuilds.”

In case you missed it on Friday, Dave Zeitlin has a terrific article on what it means to local lads Chris Albright, Jeff Parke and Jim Curtin to be playing or coaching their hometown team.

Danny Cruz makes ASN’s list of underrated US players.

NJ.com has a nice story on what is feels like to be a part of the greater Union fan community on gameday.

ASN asked MLSsoccer.com correspondent Matt Thacker to describe the 2013 Union. The Word? Unimaginative. Predicted finish in the Eastern Conference? Ninth. “The Union should remain competitive in most games, but the team is still too young and inexperienced at key positions.”

A poll of 18 members of North American Soccer Reporters published before Saturday’s game has the Union finishing eighth in the East. At MLS Talk, two of the four author’s in their prediction table have the Union finishing eighth, two have them finishing ninth.

The Delco Times has more from the makers of the Sons of Ben documentary.

Local

So you’re the editorial staff of the Inquirer. It’s opening weekend for one of Philadelphia’s pro sports teams. How do you mark the occasion? You run was not amused.

MLS

In other Eastern Conference action, Vancouver defeated Toronto 1-0. Houston defeated DC 2-0. Montreal snuck past Seattle 1-0. Columbus destroyed Chivas 3-0 and Chicago was destroyed by LA 4-0. New York drew 3-3 with Portland.

The announced attendance at the Chivas USA game was a mere 7,212, and that was extremely generous, no doubt.

Awww, Ricardo Clark and Carlos Ruiz have made up.

That Mike Magee fellow, he had a good game against Chicago.

Don Garber sees a resolution to the Cascadia Cup trademark kerfuffle between the league and Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver supporters groups. “It’s their trademark, it’s not our trademark. So our goal is by meeting and talking about what our concerns are, that we could have a mutual agreement on what’s best for that tournament.”

Garber spoke on a number of different issues during halftime at the Seattle vs. Montreal game.

StubHub has bought the naming rights to the Home Depot Center, which will be known as StubHub Center after June 1. The article mentions that the Union receives $1.81 million per year from PPL in a deal that expires in 2020.

MLS in Miami? Yeah, that worked out well the first time. More here and here.

US

The US fell 3-1 (AET) to Mexico in the final of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship.

Despite the loss, US U-20 coach Tab Ramos saw a lot of positives.

More on the game from MLSsoccer.com.

Jozy Altidore set a new goal scoring record for an American abroad, scoring his 24th of the season in AZ’s 2-1 loss to RKC Waalwijk, moving him past the record set by Clint Dempsey at Fulham in 2011-12.

US Soccer unveiled its new Centennial kit on Friday. I think it’s awesome and so does Business Insider, Dirty Tackle and SB Nation.

Sportslogo.net casts a more critical eye to the new kit and includes a link to this interesting article about the design concerns of the US kit in terms of brand identity.

Here’s a Q&A with former USWNT coach Tony DiCiccio.

Elsewhere

In the wake of a series of corruption scandals, China has hired David Beckham to be its global ambassador in an attempt to improve its image. No word yet on whether Beckham will donate his fees to a children’s hospital in Beijing.

14 Comments

  1. Most of us were not expecting 3 points from the home side, and I think that the better team won, so “unacceptable” seems misplaced. Perhaps the manager has not properly assessed the talent of his squad? Although Le Toux’s right-footed strike when the ball was on his left foot is pretty close to “unacceptable.”

    • JediLos117 says:

      Reading some of the comments from yesterday, it appears that Hackworth isn’t the only one who has not properly assessed the talent of the Union roster…

      • I know! I didn’t even post a comment yesterday. Too much hate, especially for this site.

  2. If I had to describe the fans, I would use the same word: “Unacceptable.”

    The team’s attitude was a direct reflection of the fans attitude: Everybody is happy and can’t believe we are winning. Then the world end’s as soon as we go down. I even heard fans booing other fans. wtf?

    I was at the game and I think we could take a lesson or two from Portland’s fans last night. Stick by the team and they stick by you.

    • frankswild says:

      +1000
      This is certainly an unprovable claim, but I think that game was winnable/drawable and I don’t think the players giving up is unrelated to the fans giving up (and leaving 10 minutes early). This isn’t to give them an excuse, just sayin

      • The players didn’t “give up.” This is absurd. Don’t overestimate the fans’ role in this. The players win and the players lose. They say the right things, but really, they’d be fine in front of an empty house. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the atmosphere, anyway.

      • Oh, sorry, I thought the overwheliming statistics showing home teams do better had something to do with the fans’ support…

      • That has more to do with a lack of familiar surroundings and the wear-and-tear of travel. I know a lot of fans like to pretend they’re responsible for the outcome of the game, but they’re really marginal in most cases, I believe. If anything, I think it adversely affects the opponent more than it buoys the home team. Maybe if PPL were like Azteca, you’d have a point, but in a stadium the size of PPL, you’re not going to get the intimidation you do in a larger stadium. A slightly more subdued crowd in cold weather after the team fell behind was not the reason we lost. Not even close.

  3. In all honesty it was one game. I wish everyone would have a little more faith. Was the loss disappointing? Absolutely, but the season is a marathon not a sprint. Let’s reserve judgment for at least a month or two. I thought hope sprung eternal? Look, I have been standing by the same seat watching every game for 2 years, singing myself hoarse in the process for months at a time. I know how everyone feels, but please lets just give the boys a chance.

  4. Enjoyable U20 game last night. Unacceptable US coach there as well. Ramos only subbed 1 and that in the 105th minute! Those on the field fell apart in overtime and got scored on 3 times (a good goal was disallowed for offside) in 30 minutus. Passing of the US in the 2nd half also left much to be desired: often they had problems putting 3 passes together. Mexico had problems passing as well, but Mexico had some amazing players who made things happen (their winnng goal was scored by a sub…). US should have had a another penalty but I think Mexico’s win was deserved.

    • I think Ramos only made one sub because he only had one extra player on his bench. The u-20’s didn’t have a full squad for the game with alot of players being recalled by their club teams after we qualified for the u-20 world cup. I wouldn’t blame Ramos for the lose.

      • maybe; I know some left and were recalled but he had a lot of players warm up and any types of fresh legs in that heat would have been better…

      • Most of those “fresh legs” were backup keepers.

  5. I agree ever one calm down, they were the better team, lets be honest about that, and it took them a few years to get there. People when they changed their name they were already on there way to where they are now, this didn’t happen overnight. This is about the team I was expecting this year, they are about a middle of the table team, does that mean I won’t tear my hair out yelling at the TV this year, no, but I will also try and be patient . The only real concerns I have are the Adu situation and the fact that we are still making a lot of the same mistakes. We have been making for the last 3 years and I don’t know what will fix that other than time, we tried a new coach which I hoped would fix that.

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