Union match reports

Match Report: Philadelphia Union 3-1 Chivas USA

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union came from behind to defeat Chivas USA 3-1 amid a driving rainstorm Friday at PPL Park.

Conor Casey scored one goal and assisted on another on a night where the weather was the main story and both sides struggled to produce consistent quality due to extraordinarily difficult conditions.

The visitors struck first when Amobi Okugo slipped and allowed Jorge Villafana to feed Jose Correa for a simple tap-in early in the first half.

Chances were limited as the players did their best to minimize mistakes as the conditions continued to deteriorate.

Despite trailing 1-0 at the half, the Union came out the better side for the second 45 minutes, forcing Chivas USA to play in their own end. The Union found the equalizer when Conor Casey headed Sebastien Le Toux’s short corner off of Brian Carroll and in.

With the Union pressing for the match-winner, they were handed the chance they needed when referee Jorge Gonzalez harshly judged Josue Soto to have intentionally passed back to goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. Michael Farfan smashed home the resulting indirect free kick following a touch from Le Toux.

Casey rounded out the scoring in the final minute of regulation when he turned home debutante Fabinho’s cross from the left flank.

First half

With Michael Farfan and Danny Cruz available for selection, John Hackworth returned to the lineup he deployed against Real Salt Lake. Leo Fernandes sat behind Casey, with Le Toux and Cruz on either side of Farfan and Carroll in the midfield.

And with the rain pouring down, the Union got off on the front foot, pinning Chivas back into their own half. Fernandes had the first two chances, but after shooting over the bar, he served the ball too close to Kennedy on the second play.

The footing was treacherous all over the pitch, and Okugo’s slip in the 13th minute proved costly for the hosts. Sliding to the turf while in possession, Villafana had the simplest of tasks to find Correa in the center of the box. The lone striker was quick to slot home before the Union could scramble back into position.

Casey nearly hit straight back, but after Le Toux played him into the box, his shot was wide of the far post. Aside from the goal, the Union were controlling possession and territory, but their crosses consistently were too close to the keeper.

In the 31st minute, Cruz had the best chance of the half for home side. After a scramble in the box, Fernandes laid the ball back for Carroll. Instead of shooting, Carroll quickly played in Cruz to his left, but the winger’s first touch let him down, taking him too wide and allowing Kennedy to cut down the angle and make the save.

Cruz had another chance moments later after Ray Gaddis burst through the midfield, beating two men before playing Cruz into space. Cutting onto his right foot, Cruz let fly towards the near post but missed the target with Kennedy beaten.

Second half

Eager to atone for his earlier misses, Cruz served up the first chance of the second half when he raced up the left wing and found Fernandes at the back post. The rookie made good contact with his header, but Walter Vilchez got his body in front of the ball to make the block.

At the other end, Zac MacMath had to be alert to race off his line to challenge Correa on a breakaway. The Union keeper got his timing right, arriving to win the sliding challenge just before the Chivas attacker could get a touch on the loose ball.

In the 58th minute, the Union found the equalizer they sought from a set piece. Farfan played the short corner to Le Toux who whipped the ball into the box. Charging to the near post, Casey drove his header off the back of the unsuspecting Carroll and into the back of the net.

Buoyed by the equalizer, the Union kept pressing and searching for the go ahead goal. Le Toux had a chance in the 64th minute, but with a handful of teammates in the box, he chose to put his head down and shoot, missing wide of the far post.

Minutes later, Jeff Parke shook free of Vilchez but could only bounce his headed effort over the bar from Le Toux’s corner.

In the 76th minute, the Union had a penalty shout turned down when Mario de Luna went to ground while defending Le Toux in the box. The whistle was not blown and Le Toux found an open Casey, but he could only lay it back for Sheanon Williams, who shot wide. Hackworth was left seething on the sidelines and was ejected by referee Gonzalez after exchanging words with the official.

In the 78th minute, Fabinho entered the match for Cruz and was immediately involved in the action, driving a low, hard cross in on Kennedy. When the Chivas keeper was unable to hold the delivery, Casey pounced and slid into a 50/50 challenge with the recovering Soto. The Chivas man won the ball, popping it up into the air and allowing Kennedy to gather. Surprisingly though, referee Gonzalez blew his whistle, signalling for an intentional back pass, sparking furious remonstrations from the Chivas players. In the melee, Soto bumped Gonzalez and was sent off with a second yellow card.

When playfinally resumed, the Union were left with an unusual indirect free kick 8 yards from goal. With the Chivas players backed up to the goal line, Le Toux’s tap set up Michael Farfan, who blasted his first time shot into the roof of the net.

Down a man and a goal, Chivas’ resolve began to fade, and Michael Farfan almost doubled the advantage in the 86th minute when he ripped a full volley just wide of the near post.

But with one minute to play in regulation, Casey made no mistake. Again it was Fabinho with a dangerous cross, and when the Chivas defenders flocked to Le Toux’s near post run, Casey was left alone at the back post. Waiting for Kennedy to dive towards his near post, Casey calmly cut the ball back across his body, rolling it inside the far post.

Back to winning ways, the Union jump up to second on the Eastern Conference table, providing them with much needed momentum going into next Saturday’s showdown with the high-flying Portland Timbers (7:30 pm, TCN).

Philadelphia Union
Zac MacMath; Sheanon Williams, Amobi Okugo, Jeff Parke, Ray Gaddis; Sebastien Le Toux (Matt Kassel ’90), Brian Carroll, Michael Farfan; Danny Cruz (Fabinho ’78); Leo Fernandes (Antoine Hoppenot ’70), Conor Casey
Unused substitutes: Chris Konopka, Chris Albright, Aaron Wheeler, Roger Torres

Chivas USA
Dan Kennedy; Marco Delgado, Mario de Luna, Walter Vilchez, Josue Soto; Eric Avila, Carlos Alvarez, Gabriel Farfan (Carlos Borja ’77), Edgar Meija (Bobby Burling ’83), Jorge Villafana (Julio Morales ’67); Jose Correa
Unused substitutes: Marvin Iraheta, Jose Manuel Rivera, Tristan Bowen, Patrick McLain

Scoring Summary
13 – CHV : Correa (Villafana)
58 – PHI: Carroll (Casey, Le Toux)
83 – PHI: Farfan (Le Toux)
89 – PHI: Casey (Fabinho)

Discipline Summary
21 – CHV : Soto (caution)
35 – CHV: Vilchez (caution)
42 – CHV: Delgado (caution)
56 – PHI: Okugo (caution)

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Paid attendance: 15172

Philadelphia Union Chivas USA
21 Attempts on Goal 7
6 Shots on Target 2
11 Shots off Target 4
4 Blocked Shots 1
6 Corner Kicks 4
12 Fouls 21
28 Open Play Crosses 4
1 Offsides 1
1 First Yellow Cards 2
0 Second Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 1
57 Duels Won 36
61% Duels Won % 38%
365 Total Pass 287
73% Passing Accuracy % 65%
56.4% Possession 43.6%


  1. Well, we won.

  2. Scottymac says:

    That may have been the most clown shoes call MLS could ever MLS.

    I feel for Chivas fans, there’s no joy receiving a 24 foot indirect and a man advantage on that.

    In a weird twist for Philly fans, the recent referee decision trend is against the run of narrative on how hard done by we are.

    • Section 114 says:

      Yes, the back pass was bogus. But Soto not only bumped the ref, but shoved with his right hand. That was a legit second yellow. Vilches and Avila could have picked up yellows too.

    • John O'Donnell says:

      Is this Yoda?

    • I agree that the ref sucked. But in my mind, that back-pass call made up for the handball call he missed earlier in the game.

      In the end, the result was fair.

  3. Jaaaaap Staam says:

    YESSSSSSS…..!!!!!! Damn that win sure feels good. I was thinking to myself that this game will be a great gauge of our growth. Down 1-0 I wondered if we were going to go down meekly to another sucky opponent or storm back and WOW our boys got the job done! Congrats to all the players for a truly ballsy effort.

    I liked Fabinho on the left wing. Shocked (I shouldn’t be) that he got selected and then went out and produced. I was worried about his small stature as a LB but as a midfielder it makes perfect sense for us.

    Welcome back the great Michael Farfan. Superb game. Played inspired!

    Conor Casey is a Beast. Plain and simple. Big and fast with mad skills. Continues to impress every game.

    ……and Sebastien friggin’ LeToux. What else can you say? This guy is having an amazing year. How many of us prattled on that he just CANNOT play on the wing? I was soooooo wrong. He is DANGEROUS!

    I did not make it to yhe game but those that did go should all get a pat on the back as well. Super “12th man” performance. On TV our fans looked absolutely rabid. Go Union. Weeeeee Hooooooo….Winners!

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I haven’t watched the DVR yet, but I’m curious to see how full PPL Park looked on TV if we were that strong a 12th man. There were probably only about 3-4 thousand in actual attendence. Even the SOB’s were less than half full. A few sections appeared just about completely empty. (From a TV perspective, we may have gotten a little lucky since sections 126-128 appeared to be the fullest and they were probably on view the most.)

      • You’re Welcome.

        -Sec. 127

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I’m in Sec 127 too. When I turned around and looked behind me, the section and the ones on the sides looked fuller than the rest of the stadium.

      • Andy: so, why did we get so wet? is that big white thing over our heads a tarp? did it just get saturated with all the rain? I didn’t get wet during the New England match, and it rained a lot that night

  4. Section 114 says:

    One thing we haven’t heard about was LeToux’s strategy on the indirect. Notice where the kick went — right over Williams’s head, who held his position to keep that part of the line from on-rushing.

    • Section 114 says:

      And, yes, I know Marfan took the kick, but if you watched them, Seba was the one who scripted everything.

      • Dennis Bergkamp says:

        Agreed. you are right on with this. You can see Seba plotting everything as the ref was sorting things out with Chivas. Props goes to Carroll too who noticed that Chivas still had 11 men on the field and pointed that out to the ref right before the kick

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    It wasn’t the prettiest win and obviously there was some questionable calls, but the Union got the result they deserved as they were clearly the better team all night.

    I was happy to see Zak continue to punch the ball rather than risk having a wet ball slip through his fingers while trying to catch it.

    In addition to having a little luck in getting credit for the first goal, I thought Brian Carroll had a very high energy game and seemed to get to a lot of loose balls.

    Hopefully they can play this well against Portland and Vancouver and then get a rested Jack Mac back for the stretch run.

  6. Had to watch the game with sound off (at work), and was perplexed by that indirect call, but I’ll happily take it. I cant believe how much i enjoy casey! It seems that every team that plays us is guaranteed to get a red card. Kind of telling that the only game we haven’t been a man up was the loss to Houston. I don’t want to beat on a dead horse but I hope roger Torres gets transferred soon, he deserves better. Anyone else think Kleberson must be made out of paper mâché?

    • Andy Muenz says:

      The Union have been up a man in 5 of the last 7. Besides Houston, Columbus was the only one without a red and that game was over so early, no one was really competing hard enough to get a card.

  7. That was a tough call with that backpass but it was probably the right call. I saw someone quote a release from USSF about it

    “The offense rests on three events occurring in the following sequence:

    – The ball is kicked (played with the foot) by a teammate of the goalkeeper,
    – This action is deemed to be deliberate rather than a deflection, and
    – The goalkeeper handles the ball directly (no intervening touch of play of the ball by anyone else)

    When, in the opinion of the referee, these three conditions are met, the violation has occurred. It is not necessary for the ball to be “passed,” it is not necessary for the ball to go “back,” and it is not necessary for the deliberate play by the teammate to be “to” the goalkeeper. ”

    What happened followed those criteria

    • Watched it again and remembered my days as a USSF youth ref and it is technically right. Just something you don’t see at this level. Still no excuse for the insane behavior of the chivas players.

      • Yeah, definitely no excuse for that behavior. I feel like a lot of people are forgetting that the guy was sent off for getting physical with the ref, not for the back pass.

  8. Finally a win against a team we should have beaten! Was afraid it was going to end in a tie… Looking forward to the next few games. Hopefully we can put 4 consecutive wins together before the end of the season,

  9. Well that was a win. Fabinho seems to have quality service from the left. I would like to seem more of him. Cruz is absolutely useless. Absolutely. Why Hackworth keeps playing him is incomprehensible. Hackworth lost it and got sent of because he was terrified of loosing to Chivas at home. Understandably so. They need more quality players. We can’t just chalk it off to weather.

  10. Philadelphia Union has played tremendously well against Chivas USA. Philadelphia has showed their great team work through their play style. Form the match statistics it is observed that this team has remarkable passing efficiency and attacking formation.

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