Union / Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia 1-0 New England

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Jack McInerney scored in the 76th minute off a Sebastien Le Toux corner kick to send Philadelphia Union to a 1-0 win Saturday over the New England Revolution at PPL Park.

The Union held 56 percent of the possession in a game marred by wintry weather, as ice cold rain and sleet peppered the players throughout the game. Center back Jeff Parke proved nearly flawless in leading his back line, and goalkeeper Zac MacMath stopped New England forward Jerry Bengston’s point blank shot on goal in the 35th minute to lead the Union to their first shutout of the season.

“We grounded it out,” Parke said after the game. “We only gave them one (good) chance, I think, and Zac played a hell of a game and came up big with the save. So it’s one of those games that doesn’t look pretty, but we got the three points that they couldn’t get. Later in the season, we could be looking back at this game and saying this was important.”

Philadelphia improved to 2-1 with the win, good enough for second place in the Eastern Conference.

“We probably didn’t play the prettiest of soccer, but in those conditions, we found a way to win,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “Especially putting a lot of pressure on them in the second half, (it) just felt like (a goal) was going to come. It finally did.”

The Union opened the match in a 4-1-3-2, with a midfield comprised of Keon Daniel in the middle, Michael Farfan on the left flank, Danny Cruz on the right, and Brian Carroll in the holding role.

That lasted barely seven minutes, however. Cruz, who broke his nose last week against Colorado, took a free kick to the head while leaping as part of the defensive wall. Cruz went down and had to leave the game — over his own objections, according to Hackworth. Michael Lahoud replaced Cruz on the right flank, as midfielders Roger Torres and Leo Fernandes went unused on the substitutes bench. (Gabriel Farfan and Conor Casey did not make the bench due to injuries.)

The first half played out in occasionally chippy fashion, as both teams slowly felt each other out.

The Union’s best attacking moments were typically failed through balls from Michael Farfan, who saw opportunities but could not connect with his teammates on them. Lahoud came closest to net when he blasted a 34th minute volley just wide left.

New England had the better chances, largely thanks to New England attacking midfielder Juan Toja winning some questionable fouls just outside the penalty area. In the game’s first minutes, he and Union left back Ray Gaddis appeared to tangle their legs, and Toja went down and won the foul on a play that could have been a no-call. Then in the 42nd minute, Tojo twisted and fell while trying to dribble past Union center back Amobi Okugo just outside the box. Referee Juan Carlos Rivero called Okugo for the foul and booked for him a yellow card, but replays showed no contact between the players.

Regardless, New England’s Lee Nguyen could not capitalize on the free kicks, and the two sides entered halftime scoreless.

The early second half played out similarly to the first, with a slow buildup and nothing coming to fruition for either side. New England’s halftime substitution of Andy Dorman for Clyde Simms added little to the Revolution’s attack. The team seemed to miss defensive midfielder Kalifa Cisse, who missed the match after impressing last week in his team’s win over Chicago.

It wasn’t until the 67th minute, when Antoine Hoppenot replaced Farfan, that the Union attack gained some punch. Hackworth shifted his team’s formation to a 4-3-3, with McInerney deployed centrally and Hoppenot and Le Toux on the wings. Lahoud slid next to Brian Carroll at the base of a three-man midfield triangle, while Daniel maintain his central advanced role.

Hoppenot took to the attack, running at the New England back line and causing them all sorts of problems on the flanks. In the 74th minute, Lahoud created space and put a blast on goal that New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth deflected just barely above the crossbar.

Moments later, the Union forced a 75th minute corner kick that Le Toux dropped perfectly in front of net. McInerney headed on goal, and goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth stopped it. But the rebound bounced to McInerney, and he tapped it in for the winner.

“They weren’t ideal situations, but good teams find a way to win, and hopefully that’s what we’re becoming,” McInerney said.

The Union are off this week in league play but have a friendly against Mexican side Pumas next Saturday at PPL Park.

Philadelphia Union
MacMath, Williams, Parke, Gaddis, Okugo, Daniel, M. Farfan (Hoppenot, 67’), Carroll, Cruz (Lahoud, 8’), McInerney (Albright, 87’), Le Toux

New England Revolution
Shuttleworth, Soares, Farrell, Goncalves, Alston (Barrett, 79’), Caldwell, Nguyen, Rowe, Simms (Dorman, 45’), Toja (Tierney, 79’), Bengtson

Scoring Summary
76’—PHI—Jack McInerney

Disciplinary Summary
27’—NE—A.J. Soares (Foul)
42’—PHI—Amobi Okugo (Foul)
84’—NE—Bobby Shuttleworth (Dissent)
92’—PHI—Jeff Parke (Foul)

Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero
Attendance: 15689

Philadelphia Union New England Revolution
9 Attempts on Goal 11
4 Shots on Target 2
3 Shots off Target 6
2 Blocked Shots 3
4 Corner Kicks 1
13 Fouls 15
21 Open Play Crosses 8
1 Offsides 2
2 First Yellow Cards 2
0 Second Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0
41 Duels Won 45
47% Duels Won % 52%
452 Total Pass 364
76% Passing Accuracy % 68%
56.1% Possession 43.9%


  1. The Black Hand says:

    Anyone know who called last weeks game? I thought it was Alejandro Moreno, but it wasn’t. The CC was very good.

  2. @ The Black Hand

    It was Peter Pappas and JP if I remember correctly. Pete’s a great guy, good knowledge, and my neighbor.

    • The Black Hand says:

      He was fantastic. I was wrongly giving Moreno all of the high praise. Wish he was calling all of our matches.

  3. One of these days we are gonna play a team that can finish their chances… then we are screwed.

  4. MikeRSoccer says:

    Feeling really good about this team. Defense looks strong and the attack even stronger. The issues are focused around the midfield and if the midfield improves I think you’ll see less chances for the opposition and more for our attack. If JacMac and Le Toux had some decent service they clearly are capable of scoring. We have gotten goals off of relatively few chances.

  5. Gutsy Win! I’ll take it.

    What is wrong with Michael Farfan? He looks out of form.

    How to fix the midfield? One word: Kleberson

    • Southside Johnny says:

      I’m pretty sure the Farfans actually had triplets and the secret evil one has done something with Michael! We must find him!

    • The Black Hand says:

      Same Marfan. The rose coloring is fading from the glasses.

    • I’d like to think it is playing out of position and bad playing conditions. He clearly had the vision Saturday just didn’t realize that he can’t make the long passes like that in that weather.

  6. What are the chances Amobi’s yellow card is taken away by the league? It was unjust

  7. Was very impressed with Park and Daniel but it was Freeeeezing cold. Worst day ever for us. At least when it rained against Seattle couple years back it was relative warm. Great win! Let’s now build on this and start to look like a 2nd place team. Finish the great low crosses by having someone run to the near post, instead of having a defender clear the ball, and try to complete a bit more than 3 or 4 passes in a row. The good thing was that we recovered the ball quickly after losing it.

    • That game was a classic example of Goofus Keon And Gallant Keon.

      Goofus Keon gives away easy turnovers and doesn’t say he is sorry.

      Gallant Keon whips perfectly timed balls to forwards and always cleans his dishes.

      • Good one!!

      • I agree with the Keon example from sieve.Smart play followed up by Goofus play way too often. We need more Gallant Keon! Attended the Game with my son and bride…thought we would be gone by half but my wife gave some of her cloths to the boy…so he wouldnt freeze! He wouldn’t take any from me…hats off to everyone who toughed it out! great win in tough conditions!

      • The Black Hand says:

        Would anyone agree that Keon Daniel was the best player on the pitch? This was the best match that I have ever seen out of our dreaded Predator. He was very smart on the ball and even contributed on the defensive side. He was a bright spot in a very dark midfield. Keon is my “man of the match”, followed by Parke (our best player) and Gaddis. Ray looked very good at LB.

      • Best guy on the union midfield is a very dubious honor these days and in all honesty it would make him the worst midfielder on most other teams.

        He was good at points but considering how the team is playing he doesn’t get special merit.

        And Parke was the best player on the field.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Agree about Parke. I was all hyped up on Keon’s play but Jeff Parke was, again, the U’s top player. He might be the reason we have 6 points, in all honesty. As for Keon, I feel that he played a strong match and is separating himself from the rest of the midfield.

  8. Southside Johnny says:

    I like Le2’s low hard corners way better than the pretty floaters DuDu provided.

  9. Hoppenot has really impressed me so far this season. His first touch seems to have improved, and he was torturing the revs back line with his runs. Parke was impressive, and Daniel wasn’t bad, but what happened to Marfan? Also, Albright instead of Soumare? Really?

    • i kinda wanna see a hoppenot/casey attack. sounds intriguing. albright instead of soumare is mind blowing.

    • Didn’t even think about that…Yeah that sucks. Also I swear John Hackworth, no matter how much you ignore him. I will not forget about Roger Torres.
      That being said I wanted to give a shout out to Mr. Lahoud for some flashes of competence. Still, at that point in the game…should have been torres.

    • Albright actually came in to play left midfield. The 4-3-3 dropped into a 4-4-2 — and even looked a 4-5-1 on defense with Le Toux dropping into midfield.

    • Michael Farfan needs to stop being cute with the ball. Roger Torres needs to play. He worked hard and has done everything required of him. Why isn’t Soumare playing? They won their last 2 games against beatable teams. They almost found ways to loose those games. I wouldn’t mind seeing Hackworth replaced next season with a real professional manager.

  10. The Black Hand says:

    Strong game for Parke, Gaddis, Lahoud and Keon.

    • McCringleberry says:

      Agreed. I thought Okugo had a strong performance as well. I feel like Marfan and Williams had the weakest. But either way the back four plus Carrol and Lahoud shut down Bengston, Nguyen, and Toja.

    • JediLos117 says:

      And Carroll and Hackworth.
      Gotta be tough for Carroll haters, had a solid 90 min shift.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Carroll was awful.

      • The Black Hand says:

        …and that is honestly the nicest way I can put it.

      • Alright I will concede one point. Did we allow a goal? No. And some of that credit obviously goes to our defensive midfield. BUT, Day in day out you stick up for this guy…what about Carroll do you think is so good. What was so solid about his shift…I just want to know. Because it seems to me that he can only play defense…and you can’t afford players like that in today’s game

      • The Black Hand says:

        Defense was far from what Carroll was playing. His lack of tackling set up many of the opponents chances, in each of our three matches. Not exactly helping out the club. There have been several instances, so far, where Carroll actually did nothing more than settle the ball for the opposition. Those clean sheets are the result of Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo and a tremendous deal of luck. Carroll has been underwhelming and far from a leader on the pitch.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Err…I mean the one clean sheet.

      • The lack of a goals for New England has as much to do with their poor finishing as to what the Union did.

      • JediLos117 says:

        By far Carroll’s best match of the season.
        Excellent positioning and composure.
        A defensive midfielders primary responsibility if defense.
        Check the chalkboard for specifics.
        General comparison between Carroll and Daniel.
        37 successful passes
        9 unsuccessful passes
        12 tackled and possession lost
        41 Successful passes
        16 unsuccessful passes
        21 tackled and possession lost.
        Carroll had an excellent game, I really feel that if you cant see it you really dont get what a CDM does and I might even question if you get soccer at all.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I think we are going to have to agree to disagree again, Los I didn’t see any play out of Carroll, that would translate to EXCELLANT positioning and composure. I saw a very soft CDM, who tackled half-assed and had ver little control of the ball. If it wasn’t for the players behind Carroll, we would have been in big trouble.

      • Southside Johnny says:

        Certainly a huge improvement for Carroll. I can’t go as far as excellent, but pretty good. I still can’t figure Daniel. He has moments, tho.

  11. ugly but a win. Lets see if they can get some rythem and purpose to their game play. Wiith these two wins hackworth makes up for the home opener loss. Question is wheher they can build on their success and improve their game.

  12. Any one else notice right before jack got taken down Gaddis got tangled up with some one and started swearing at him, I saw it at the game and you see it a little on tv

    • I saw that too. Thought he was trying to emulate Amobi from the CO game. Pretty funny.

    • frankswild says:

      Yeah I loved that; Gaddis was taking no sass and no guff

    • The Black Hand says:

      Even with his challenges on the Left side, I think that Gaddis is one of our better players. He seems to be gaining confidence, due to Hack’s support, and I commend our manager for sticking with him. I would have had a tough time starting him on Saturday but Hack went right back to the “little hunchback” and is being rewarded with some inspiring play rom Gaddis. I have been incredibly outspoken against Hackworth but his inclusion of Daniel and Gaddis deserve some credit.

      • I agree, a lot of people have forgot that the same complaints people are having with Gaddis we had about farfan when he got thrust into LB duty, I’m willing to give it time if it means we get farfan in the midfield on the wing were we need help.

  13. What a game! I don’t know how much we can really extrapolate going forward due to the absolutely painful conditions. There were times during the game that I considered streaking the field just to get some feeling back in my limbs. What I couldn’t understand was how the team seemed so intent on playing the small passing game. Normally, I wouldn’t mind it, but while playing in the midst of an icy hurricane, it seemed that a few long balls and long-range shots on goal would have resulted in more scoring chances. All-in-all, you have to give it to those guys for the guts shown. Obviously lots of work to continue, but that game will go down as one of my least and most favorite Union matches ever. When I tell the story to my kids, there will be 6 inches of snow on the field and a second-half tornado. Good times at PPL!

  14. The Black Hand says:

    2nd place!!!! Back to back wins!!! Unbelievable!!! Getting out ahead early is huge. The Union can breathe a bit. For the first time, in a long time, the club’s back is not up against the wall. It is great to see the Philadelphia Union away from the table’s bottom. I, almost, can’t believe it, given the last 180’+ that I have watched this club play.

  15. The Black Hand says:

    How about Hoppenot? He has been delivering when called upon. Should he get consideration for a spot in the XI?

    • i certainly think so, but hack doesn’t seem to want to try the 4-3-3. Given that Carroll is going to keep playing, a 3 man midfield of carroll, keon, and marfan with hop and 2 of the other strikers could look solid. personally, i like hop off the bench and i’d start the other three guys, with torres coming on for keon or marfan around 60.

    • Agreed. Coming off the bench his speed shines against tired, frustrated defenders. If I recall he had one (or two?) starts last year and didn’t seem nearly the threat.

  16. I say don’t start keon. He doesn’t add much. is he a good player. yes but not in our XI if everyones healthy from my perspective. I say start roger.
    What i really didnt understand this past week was we missed a great opportunity to give roger 82 minutes but instead brought in lahoud.

    • I actually came away impressed with Lahoud in this game. Did himself alright out on the right, and had 2 decent chances on goal. From someone who’s more of a DM, it can’t be ignored that he contributed offensively.

      • I like lahoud but just question his sub for cruz. lahoud is a good guy to have in the 18 and can fit in nicely in the midfield but I just wondered why not give roger a run out as he is more along the ilk of cruz than lahoud is. If we are up 1-0 and cruz gets hurt than I have not problem with lahoud but a 0-0 game in the 8th minute just seemed like a chance squandered.

      • I asked this question in the postgame press conference. It did seem a spot for Torres or Fernandes. But Lahoud played well, and the Union won. The question is whether the choice negatively affected others (Williams, Marfan).

      • He killed our width though, Lahoud was tucking in so tight that at time it made it look like we had to right sided midfielder.

      • +1. Lahoud stepped up.

      • No complaints on the win. No complaints with lahoud. just a manager manages a game and that strategy usually seems to have a purpose. This one I just can’t wrap my arms around. Lahoud is by definition a more central more defenzive minded player and torres in a more atacking minded player. Pair that with the fact that marfan isn’t getting it done at CAM you have an opportunity to experiment without hurting anyones confidence. IE the switch is caused by a injury not poor play. Thats a managerial thought. not a technical one.

      • Very good points.

  17. Overall we won. In general I don’t understand why Marfan is playing on the left side. He is a right footed player who will tuck inside if playing out left because that is what happens. Also the Lahoud substitution wasn’t horrible in hindsight but overall it did hurt the teams width and attacking ability on the right side. I hate to get on any players case to much in this game the weather was so bad it is hard as a player to play pretty football when you can’t feel your feet.

  18. I thought the pitch held up pretty well. I thought it would have been destroyed by the end of the match, but it looked OK. Three cheers for the grounds crew!!!

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