Union match reports

Match Report: Philadelphia Union 2-2 Real Salt Lake

For the second consecutive match, the Union conceded a stoppage time equalizer, despite being up a man on both occasions. Javier Morales scored from the penalty spot in the 97th minute after Ray Gaddis had handled the ball in the box. It was RSL’s second tying goal of the match, both coming after Lovel Palmer was sent off.

Sebastien Le Toux got the Union off to a great start, touching home Conor Casey’s cutback to give the visitors the surprise lead after 13 minutes. The match continued in dour fashion until Palmer’s ejection in the 59th minute changed the complexion of the match.

Even after the ejection, the Union remained timid, allowing RSL to probe and try their luck, despite the numeric disadvantage. In the 75th minute, Luis Gil shook free of Brian Carroll on a corner, burying his header. Casey came to the rescue though, pushing the Union back into the lead a minute later after Antoine Hoppenot stripped Nat Borchers and found the big forward racing into the box.

But RSL would have the final word. Deep into added time, Gaddis’ handball set the hosts up for the chance they needed to steal a point at home.

First half

With Jack McInerney missing his first match while on international duty with the US Men’s National Team, John Hackworth made only one change. Leo Fernandes came into the starting XI, deployed in a new position as a withdrawn striker behind Conor Casey.

And the early returns were not good as the Union struggled with their spacing and movement. Fernandes bounced between the midfield and forward lines, trying to find his place, while RSL was content to keep the ball and develop a rhythm.

But it was the Union who would have the first real chance of the match. Getting his head up in his own half, Carroll found Sheanon Williams with space on the right flank. Williams in turn spotted Casey’s run up the touchline. Racing towards the end line, Casey took advantage of RSL’s aggressive, young centerback, Carlos Salcedo, waiting until he entered his sliding tackle before pulling the ball back and beating him in the box. With Le Toux arriving through the middle, Casey’s soft pass was easily finished, sending the Union into a 1-0 lead.

RSL hit straight back following the goal. While MacMath had to be alert to Palmer’s low cross and he did well to smother it. Moments later, he was late arriving on Morales’ corner, flapping at the ball and was ultimately fortunate that Borchers failed to make solid contact on his header.

Robbie Findley was the next to threaten the Union goal. After Joao Plata beat Gaddis up the wing, the diminutive attacker found the streaking Findley with inside position on Williams. While the ball was played to the right spot, Findley’s header was just wide of the far post.

With RSL controlling play, and the Union failing to create meaningful possession, the hosts coasted through the half, but were unable to unlock the defense with a final ball. They nearly managed to in the 35th minute when a missed clearance by Le Toux allowed Plata to race into the box. Alluding the tackle of Okugo, he stung MacMath’s palms at the near post from a shallow angle.

On the rare counterattacks the Union mustered, the passing was sloppy and allowed RSL to recover before the danger became real.

Second half

The second half began much as the first ended, with the hosts controlling possession and territory but unable to to carve out clear cut chances. Ned Grabavoy was nearly through on goal, but the offside flag called him back.

With Jason Kreis looking to add attacking prowess to his team, Olmes Garcia and Luis Gil were introduced. They had been on mere minutes before RSL was down to ten men.

In the 59th minute Palmer streaked across the field, entering a 50-50 challenge with Michael Farfan. Winning the ball, Palmer’s fall through brought his studs down onto Farfan’s foot and ankle. While it was reckless, it seemed unintentional and Palmer was shocked when referee Ismail Elfath brandished his red card.

Up a man for the third straight match, the Union immediately found chances to grab an insurance goal, but substitute Antoine Hoppenot twice struggled to find his target and the chances went begging.

At the other end, substitute Sebastien Velasquez proved a handful, and after he beat Gaddis to get into the box, he found Morales driving the net. Finding himself too close to get a shot off, the RSL playmaker back heeled to Velasquez whose low drive to the back post was well-saved by MacMath.

Minutes later, RSL was able to find their equalizer. After Jeff Parke cleared the ball behind in the 74th minute, Morales stepped up to swing in the corner. Easily shaking free of Carroll, Gil rose to meet Morales’ delivery, burying the free header.

But the hosts barely had a moment to celebrate before Casey put the Union back in front. It was Hoppenot who turned provider when, after nicking the ball off of Borchers, he cut back to find Casey for a simple finish.

Finding themselves in the lead again, the Union continued to struggle to hold the ball and see out the match. In the 79th minute, Garcia got in behind the Union to MacMath’s left. Squaring the ball enticingly across the face of goal, Garcia found Gil at the back post only to see the young US international badly mishit his shot attempt.

After Morales failed to find the target from distance, the Union caught a break when MacMath strayed too far off his line. Racing out to challenge Garcia at the top, left corner of his box, MacMath arrived too late, leaving Garcia an open look on his unprotected goal. But for the second time in 5 minutes, the Union were let off the hook when Garcia fanned on his chance to equalize.

Time was drawing late for RSL and three minutes into added time, Le Toux found himself with a 60 yard breakaway with only the goalkeeper to beat. But after slowing down to see who was chasing him, Le Toux hit his shot directly into a grateful Josh Saunders, keeping RSL’s hopes alive.

And in the 95th minute, they were handed a life line. After Saunders punted the ball into the Union box, it pinballed around until it struck Gaddis’ outstretched arm as he reached to get his head to it. Elfath emphatically pointed to the spot, and Morales stepped up to take the penalty kick. Sending MacMath the wrong way, his effort struck the inside of the post before settling in the back of the net.

The Union now travel to Houston to do battle with the Dynamo on Saturday and look to put two disappointing results behind them (7:30 pm, TCN, MLS Live).

Philadelphia Union
Zac MacMath; Sheanon Williams, Amobi Okugo, Jeff Parke, Ray Gaddis; Danny Cruz (Matt Kassel ’66), Brian Carroll, Michael Farfan (Antoine Hoppenot ’61), Leo Fernandes (Aaron Wheeler ’86); Conor Casey, Sebastien Le Toux
Unused substitutes: Chris Konopka, Roger Torres, Chris Albright, Don Anding

Real Salt Lake
Josh Saunders; Lovel Palmer, Nat Borchers, Carlos Salcedo, Chris Wingert; Ned Grabavoy, Morales, Yordany Alvarez (Luis Gil ’57), Khari Stephenson (Sebastien Velasquez ’71); Joao Plata, Robbie Findley (Olmes Garcia ’56)
Unused substitutes: Attinella, Aaron Maund, Kenny Mansally, Devon Sandoval

Scoring Summary
13 – PHI: Le Toux (Casey, Williams)
75 – RSL: Gil (Morales)
76 – PHI: Casey (Hoppenot)
97 – RSL: Morales (penalty)

Discipline Summary
33 – PHI: Carroll (caution)
59 – RSL: Palmer (ejection)
90 – RSL: Wingert (caution)
94 – PHI: Wheeler (caution)

Referee: Ismail Elfath
Attendance: 20445

Real Salt Lake Philadelphia Union
13 Attempts on Goal 9
4 Shots on Target 7
6 Shots off Target 2
3 Blocked Shots 0
5 Corner Kicks 2
14 Fouls 11
14 Open Play Crosses 4
3 Offsides 1
1 First Yellow Cards 2
0 Second Yellow Cards 0
1 Red Cards 0
38 Duels Won 49
43% Duels Won % 56%
499 Total Pass 291
81% Passing Accuracy % 68%
63.2% Possession 36.8%


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Absolutely unacceptable. 4 of the last 5 goals the Union have given up have been after the other team had a red card. That’s 6 points the Union have given blown (going back to Toronto). There is no reason why the Union don’t have a clear lead in the East. The team has no ball control. The team needs to learn to trap the ball and hold on to it. Ray Gaddis has setup the tying goal in both of the last two games. (Yes, against Dallas, Albright shouldn’t have fouled and MacMath should have punched the ball, but it was Gaddis’s horrendous ball control that led up to that).

    • Southside Johnny says:

      So last year we couldn’t buy a goal with a platinum Visa card until Jack got hot, but could save our dignity with generally sold defending and bunkering for ties. This year we score goals consistently and give away games late with almost comical defense. Sometimes defending corners looks like scenes from Walking Dead.

  2. I’m pretty sure the ref pulled out the wrong card on Palmer’s red. He looked as surprised as the rest of us for a second.

    I hope they have something left for the Houston game, since I’m going to be there.

  3. All year we have been complaining that Ray Gaddis didn’t have a left foot; now we know that he has a left arm, at least. Again, the Union demonstrates the same inability to stall the game. They continued the vertical, attacking style that had worked all game, despite being up a goal and a man after taking the lead as late as they did. Why not side to side, attack the corners, instead of the long ball continuation? Strategy, guys, strategy!

  4. Yea I got nothing.

  5. Philly Cheese says:

    Painful finish. Ruined what was supposed to be a relaxing day off today with sleepless night. “Timid” is definitely the correct word for the last 30+ 7 minutes of play. Ball control and getting another goal should be the plan…..not bunkering down for 37 minutes. Please don’t take the ball into the corner to play cute footsey when you are playing a first place team at their home. The second goal shows what can happen when you stay aggressive and keep pouring it on. How many balls were kicked over goal line or directly to keeper…maybe 100? Random thoughts, but did I tell you I couldn’t sleep last night?

  6. Seba needs to rediscover his finishing foot.

    That being said, it’s not his fault the Union absolutely suck at defending set pieces and have no idea what possession means.

    Again, we were out-coached. Maybe not tactically during the game, but definitely on the training ground.

    • Is it LeToux’s fault they suck on set pieces. When have you ever seen him challenge and win a head ball? I’ve never seen a (man?) so afraid on contact in my life. LeToux, Gaddis, Cruz and Carroll need to sit.

    • When we’re playing RSL, even short four international players, and we get a draw, we’re not out-coached. We don’t have the players to play possession. Le Toux? Cruz? Carroll? We need a lot more technique for that. We defended well. That was a good coaching decision.

      • To say that we defend well is a joke. This team has the fourth worst goals against average in the league this year. Sitting back and allowing teams to pressure is not what they have done well this year.

  7. nucl2013 says:

    In advance of the Gaddis-haters that will surely have something to say after this game…

    Give the guy a break. In regards to the hand ball, $hit happens. Obviously he wasn’t trying to hit the ball with his hand. He has been playing out of position for the whole season, and I’m sure many of the mistakes he makes at LB would be nonexistent on his stronger foot.

    You should be focusing your complaints more on the man who plays him out of position.

    • … you’re not really proposing that him playing left back is why he left his arm flailing out to the side, are you? While Gaddis might not be getting positioned ideally, I would expect plenty of hate on Jack McInerney if he swung his arm out wildly and cost the Union 2 points, so hate-away everyone.

      Also, if Gaddis played his natural position, he’d be on the bench, because Williams > Gaddis, so all complaints suggesting we bench Gaddis are perfectly valid in your book.

      • Dan Walsh says:

        He got pushed by Velazquez. That’s why his arm flew up. It doesn’t make it a better play, but upon watching that stretch of the game again on replay, it’s clear that’s what happened.

      • getting pushed is a poor excuse for that flailing arm.

  8. Despite us being in 3rd does anyone disagree that Hackworth is one of the worst coaches in the league? Maybe not in a “forever a bum” category but maybe in the “still waaaaay too young and inexperienced to succeed in the pros” category.

  9. First of all, props to all the hustle that each and every Union player put forth last night. It looked like everyone was highly motivated to take back those lost points on Sat. That they failed to do so is the fault of Hackworth’s substitutions and negative approach despite being up a man.
    Zac MacMath punched the ball like a boss last night. He at least learned one thing from last week’s game. The next thing he needs to learn is how to give a hit rather than take it. But that’s gonna take some experience and time in the weight room. For the time being, his teammates need to back him up better than they did last night. Hit our GK? You’re gonna get crunched soon afterwards.
    Terrible, horrible, no good subs by Hackworth. Matt Kassel had zero presence once coming on. Hoppenot passed the ball out of bounds or to an RSL player every time he touched it. Wheeler got stuck playing CAM in a 4-5-1 because of our our ridiculous shape after the subs were made.
    After the red card, this game screamed for Roger Torres. If you’re not going to play him when we have plenty of space but need more possession in the center of midfield, then why is he on the team? Why is he wasting a space on the 18?
    If you can’t score a goal when you’re 1on1 with the keeper with 40 yards to run towards the center of the goal and no one else within 10 yards of you, then your name must be Sebastian LeToux.
    Hey Ray, don’t throw your arm at the ball while you’re in the box in the last play of the game. I wish I gave you this advice yesterday, but I figured you already knew better. So we’re both at fault, really.

  10. Southside Johnny says:

    Casey…wow. Fernandez…so lost. Le2…outnumbered 1v1. Gaddis…LiaBility. McMath…new turnover and long distance records set. Cruz…please sub me. WTF guys? Gaddis seemed to regress to constant recovery and chase mode. Farfan…a chip, seriously? Why? These points will haunt us.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Gaddis was done in by Cruz. If you take into consideration that he was defending two players, at all times, he really wasn’t that bad. Defensively, Carroll took a step backward. His coverage was lacking.

      • I was thinking the same thing all game, how many times did Gaddis have to decide between two players, do you take the player with the ball and let the other fly past you to get a free pass and free cross into the box? Most of the time he just split the difference and tried to hold them up, even though he’s fast you can’t defend like that the whole game.

      • You know I’m not a Carrol fan, but I put this more on LeToux, Farfan, and Cruz…and Hack. RSL plays almost a Mexican style, pass-and-follow throught midfield. Those 3 weren’t tracking their runners.

      • Southside Johnny says:

        Listen. I like Gaddis and admire his progress, but for no reason I could see he was often way too central while focused on the ball with no awareness of runners blasting up the flank behind him for the switch until they were past him.

    • You’re way off on Leo. He was playing the #10 role and showed very well.
      He basically told Farfan that even though Keon and Kleb aren’t available, I’m coming for your job.
      And wow, Farfan. He’s like a one-liner comedian. Just wants to pick his head up and hit one long ball (or terrible chip shot). And he barely defends.

      • Southside Johnny says:

        I also like Fernandez, but in this match, he wasn’t nearly as positionally sound as last time. Playing the 10 doesn’t mean camping out when you can join the attack.

      • SSJ: I’ll give you that. But its not as though Farfan or Daniel provide a desire to attack the box.
        Other than Casey, Leo was the only one who showed any thought of orchestrating.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I would take Leo Fernandez, at the 10, over Farfan. He couldn’t possibly be worse than what we have seen from our CAM’s. Kleberson’s sample size has been small and, in all honesty, he has underwhelmed as well.

      • Southside Johnny says:

        Sadly, I would take Leo as well. For whatever reason, Farfan has lost it and the Brazilian has no balls.

  11. Someone needs to teach this team how to close out a game, pathetic is the nicest word coming to mind right now.

    • They are a bunch of amateurs; especially the coach with his ‘half glass is full’ approach ….

      • The Black Hand says:

        They never seem to have any strategy. Passing was atrocious!

      • Again Hack shows that he has no feel for the game at all. Everyone knew Hop was coming in, even though he had no business in a game where we needed to find more possession. But that’s what Hack always does (yeah, Hop made that 2nd goal, but it was luck & some hard work, but the strategy was wrong.)
        Then he brings in Wheeler..for Leo? It should have been Torres on in the 60th to help possess. Wheeler for Casey for fresh legs.
        I support Gaddis as a good defender, but I still think we should have a LB who can be a treat going forward and wide, instead of having to turn in and back.

  12. George H says:

    Looking at those stats above, one would think that RSL had a man advantage for 1/3 of the match. There are many other things to complain about, but I’m not going waste my energy on it as we all know what they are. Should have been a much more enjoyable night, given the gifts that we were fortunate to get.

    Enjoy your 4th, everyone.

  13. First, after the Union, RSL is my favorite MLS team. They play possession, they play positive. They have Joao Plata, and that kid should be too small for a league where fouls given is seen as a positive stat, but he’s a giant-killer.

    So when I saw us come out in banks of four and five I didn’t want more than a draw for the Union. We didn’t deserve it, and somehow that ref had a terrible game that really helped us.

    I don’t agree that we’re horrible. Starting this game, we hoped for a draw. We got one. RSL is a better team than us, at home.

    Now, we can’t play possession at all- that’s a big problem not just tactically, but philosophically. As Adam pointed out, Hack said he was a ball movement guy, but that vision has not emerged.

  14. The Chopper says:

    Damn, it’s so frustrating to be a fan of this team. Looking at the schedule we all would have been fine with draws in the last two matches. But to give up leads in the 97th minute with a man advantage twice in a row is unacceptable.

    Hate to say it this club misses Keon Daniel. For all of his deficiencies , the center of the park is a disaster without him right now. And Michael Lahoud can’t come back soon enough. I think his presence would have really helped late in both these games.

    I am not going to harp on the individual errors that led to the late goals, that has been covered enough. But I will give credit in one regard, that was about half an MLS roster the Union sent to Real last night. And they put themselves in position to win with it. So the glass might be half full.

    Great to Casey play like the Connor of old. MacMath does make great reaction saves. He simply has no control of his box. At least he remembered to punch. But I have to think Sheanon Williams conceding a late corner is attributable to him having no confidence in his keeper to handle that ball.

    And while I am not part of the Roger Torres chorus, when Farfan gets hurt (and has not accomplished a thing) why not? Might as well start him in Houston, it can’t hurt and you could use the fresh legs.

  15. The Black Hand says:

    We need to put clubs down, if we are to be considered one of the better clubs. RSL, like Dallas, was ripe for the picking. It could of, and should of, been 4-2 Union (maybe even 5-2). The bright spot was Conor Casey. HE IS A BEAST!!!

  16. I prefer to believe I feel asleep in the 91st minute and the rest was a bad dream…

    As bad as LeToux’s miss was, can someone explain to me how he then proceeded to kick the ball out of bounds when he was playing the rebound back to Casey? He had time & space to make a good pass, or take the ball to the corner flag and kill another 20-30 seconds either way. If LeToux keeps his wits after the miss, the Gaddis mistake never happens because the match is over.

  17. So first, that red card was not a red card. That being said, I’m not surprised RSL got a red card in that game, just not the player that got it. The ref was bad (shocker!) he would let really ruff stuff go then give cards for stuff that was barley a foul. I know Gaddis was the end result with the hand ball, I think he was trying to seal off the player with his arm, got under cut a little and flailed putting his arm up, it was a hand ball but not intentional. Gaddis wasn’t great last night, but I don’t fault him too much, he is playing out of position with NO help in front of him. I was for the Gaddis experiment at the beginning of the season whe Garfan was going to be in front of him protecting him, but that’s not an option anymore so Hack needs to figure out a better solution than Cruz. I think le2 was thrown off by how open he was, he looked behind him twice on the way to goal, that’s the only explanation I have for him missing that goal. I don’t know what is going through Hacks mind anymore, his subs are mind boggling. Casey is BEAST! Not happy but not sad, a tie is a tie is a tie, but we could’ve one that, that’s 4 games that I can think of off hand that we were up a man and finished in a tie this year.

  18. I can’t help but really appreciate RSLs game. So jealous of Kries. However, they might be the most foreign team in the league.
    I do appreciate all of our American players, with some foreign influence mixed in. I just wish we would get a more progressive coach like Kreis or Porter to help teach our young Americans a better style…
    but maybe we would just have more quality CONCACAFERs, etc. like those two seem to favor.
    It was a good game, but the ref ruined it. Red Cards ruin every game, no matter what side your on.

    Then we have Houston on Sat, which will probably be the exact opposite. Complete ugliness.

  19. Farfan’s days have to be numbered. He lacks the pace to play.

    Gaddis…yuck. Maybe he should consider track and field to soccer.

    Casey…thank you for not sucking and showing us all what a hold-up forward looks like.

    Union scouting…is it possible to sign a player that is not injured and likely to play in the year you signed him?

    RSL hairstylists…wow. Clearly there’s a reality show there.

    what a weak finish.

    • you are so right about the hair…do the players take turns cutting their own hair? is that a bonding exercise?

      • That is goddammit I am a soccer player hair. I think RSL have surpassed last years New England team as my favorite team, hair wise.

        But lets give credit to Zac Macmath trying to rock the Bundesliga technopop thing.

      • i can’t say i was into the rsl hair but i will credit them for trying. the union is a serious disappointment in all soccer hair departments.

  20. I cant believe you guys are acting like the U lost the game…leading up to the game all i saw was we will be lucky to come out with a point…and now youre mad you got the point…i know i know 10 men RSL yadda yadda yadda…well karma came back around for the non-red red card given…accept it and move on…stop blaming gaddis, he didnt reach up and swipe at it…he was shoved and flailed to sell the shove and the ball hit his hand, not the other way around….you philly fans never fail to amaze me.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Those points are going to be huge, come October. Let’s face it, we are not a very good club. We are going to need every little scrap we can get. We left 4 points, that were begging for us to take them. Tough to be psyched about that, Joe.

    • Jaap Stam says:

      @Joe 97th minute? Up a man? Dude, that stings. Is your heart made of ice?

    • Shoving happens in just about every play during a match. Keep your arm down.

      • indeed no excuses. that flailing arm was bullshit.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Ray was throwing himself in the scrum, trying to break something up. The flailing arm was just bad luck and could happen to anyone. I give him credit for the efforts. He’s a little guy.

  21. If you told me there would have been four goals scored in the match, I would have bet $100 that at least three of them would have been for RSL.

  22. We all know the drill of who played good etc. and I’m still stinging to really complain about any of our players. I will say though, for my 2 cents, carlos salcedo is by far the worst player in MLS this year. I haven’t hated an opponent so much in a looooong time. Even if the Union lost, I’d rather have our guys than those bunch of whiners. They were the definition of petulant brats. Can anyone else think of a more childish opponent from this year?! I get there good, but there still an embarrassment to MLS for the way they carry on.

    • Southside Johnny says:

      I’m glad you brought that up and I completely agree. Further, our boys may not always set the pitch on fire, but even when they suck they have a lot class. Hack is getting pretty whiney, but not the lads.

  23. PhillyHotspur says:

    The MF is shit

    Gaddis is shit

    Hack’s tactics are shit

    Same old at Chester

  24. i seem to be in the minority on this point, but i’m fine with that red. that’s exactly the type of challenge that results in broken bones.

  25. I’m glad to see people are taking Hack’s “Gaddis was fouled” line and running with it.

    Two games in a row Hack was unwilling to take any responsibility and blame the officials.

    Although I suppose that’s easier than figuring out why you as a coach find going up a man to be a difficult situation.

  26. The Black Hand says:

    Hack is a muppet.

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