Union match reports

Recap: Sporting Kansas City 1–2 Philadelphia Union

On a night when Sporting Kansas City’s national teamers played the full 90 while the Union’s played none, Philadelphia did what absolutely no one expected. They scored two goals on the way to defeating the defending MLS league champions and current Eastern Conference leaders away from home.

The Union took the lead in the 49th minute when a late run from Danny Cruz saw him finish a deflected pass from Cristian Maidana. Kansas City would equalize from late substitute Dom Dwyer in the 80th minute before Maidana would score the game winner.

“I can’t say enough about the guys in our locker room,” Union manager John Hackworth said after the game. “That was an incredibly gutsy performance against probably the best team in the MLS. We came into a very tough place to play, and you’ve got to give Sporting Kansas City a lot of credit because they are an excellent team. For large parts of the game they put us in a difficult spot.

“But again, credit to our guys—they fought. We didn’t play our best soccer, but we got the goals when it mattered. The response after the Sporting Kansas City goal was fantastic, and we held on to the end.”

Cruz’s goal was the Union’s first in 329 minutes of play and ended a Union goalless streak from open play at 444 minutes. More importantly, it was the first step in ending a nine-game winless streak, not to mention a three-game losing streak, earning the Union three points for the first time since March 15, the second game of the 2014 season. With the win, the Union move up two spots to seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

First half

The Union lineup had some big changes. Maurice Edu wasn’t in the 18, with Amobi Okugo making his long-awaited return to central midfield alongside Vincent Nogueira. In the back, Sheanon Williams slid inside to center back, with Austin Berry beside him and Fabinho and Ray Gaddis outside. Cruz and Cristian Maidana started on the wings, with Leo Fernandes just below Andrew Wenger.

The Union’s plan was clear from the start: Stay compact defensively, look for turnovers, and counterattack with speed when the opportunity presented itself. In the early going, this allowed Kansas City to dictate play, with Zusi finding himself free on the left wing for a cross after ten minutes, followed a couple minutes later with a shot that was blocked.

Zusi was the danger man, but the Union were defending well. But counterattacks tended to fizzle as the new lineup found its groove.

In the 19th minute though, Nogueira collected a loose ball in midfield and immediately sprung Cruz over the top. Cruz’s shot was hard and low, but the keeper did well to push it out for a corner. That would be the beginning of a period of very good play from Cruz, his direct running a constant danger when the Union had the ball.

As the half drifted past the half hour mark, the Union were the more dangerous team, creating multiple chances. Kansas City seemed unable to create anything, until the 33rd, when Zusi again found space for a left-wing cross. While his service was high and looping, it was met powerfully at the back post by Sal Zizzo. But MacMath was equal to it, making a smart reaction save with his knee.

Minutes later, Okugo intercepted a pass in his own half and immediately sent the ball forward, pushing a 30-yard pass straight up the gut to Wenger. The striker did well to receive the ball and turn his man, but he couldn’t catch up to the ball before being challenged by the keeper.

Kansas City would have two more good chances late, with Zusi receiving a cross on the corner of the six but choosing to take the ball down, which allowed MacMath to cover. MacMath then came up very big once more, as a great turn and pass from Benny Feilhaber in midfield led to a point blank shot from Zizzo. But the keeper saved again.

Second half

If anything, the Union started the second half even better than the first and wouldn’t take long to prove it. In the 49th, Fernandes released Maidana up the wing. His cross from the end line was pushed across the six by the keeper, wrong-footing Seth Sinovic, the covering defender. Cruz, however, making a late run into the box, adjusted his feet well and slid in to poke home and give Philadelphia the lead. Nearly the whole team then ran to the sideline and celebrated with Hackworth.

“Definitely something we talked about before,” Cruz said of the team’s goal celebration with the under-fire Union head coach.  “We are behind him. He knows we are behind him, and we’ve tried to make that clear to the media, to the fans…and tonight was big for everybody including him. I think you could see the fight in everybody for that reason.”

The goal seemed to perplex Kansas City. For their part, the Union tried to extend their lead.

A good ball from Maidana in the 53rd gave Wenger a chance to beat his man on the left. He did, then tried to curl a shot to the far corner, but it went high and wide. A few minutes later, a half-breakaway put Wenger in alone. He beat Aurelien Collin, but his eventual shot was saved. The Union recycled, and Maidana had a run into the box on the left. His cutback found Fernandes all alone, but he ballooned his shot well over when he should have scored.

Kansas City began to work their way back into the match, but their offense was primarily limited to crosses from wide, which MacMath did very well to clear on multiple occasions.

As the game ticked toward its final stages, Kansas City brought on Dom Dwyer, scorer of six goals in eight games, to try and find their offensive rhythm. Dwyer made an immediate difference, his physicality adding to the danger of KC’s crosses.

He would make a telling contribution in the 80th minute.

Another Union counter saw Fernandes running at the KC defense, two-on-two with Maidana in support. Receiving the ball from Fernandes, Maidana had time and space to line up a shot, but hit it well over. The quickly taken goal kick was brought down by KC and fed to Paulo Nagamura. Nagamura’s fantastic back flick bamboozled the Union defense and gave Dwyer a free shot with Fabinho closing him down. Under that pressure, Dwyer dove at the ball and smashed a terrific 20-yard shot over MacMath and into the far corner.

It would not have been unexpected for the Union to capitulate. That has been their calling card so far in 2014, giving up leads and failing to fight. But not tonight.

From the restart, the Union pushed forward. Cruz carried the ball to the box, then found Wenger inside the box with a cross. Wenger did well to bring the ball down and hold onto it, sucking defenders toward him. The defense collapsed, taking away his shooting opportunity, but Wenger got his head up and found the open man, Maidana, free in the box. Maidana, under no pressure, slotted the ball across the keeper to immediately restore the Union’s lead and silence the Kansas City crowd.

The game would finish with a series of Union fouls or non-fouls. In the 86th, Okugo stole the ball off Nagamura inside the Union box from behind, sending the KC man to the ground, but the ref correctly gave no foul.

Then Corben Bone was introduced in the 89th minute and almost immediately committed a foul. Seconds later, he was sent off for a rash challenge that appeared studs-up in realtime. Replays showed his feet on the ground, but the red card may have been warranted either way.

The Union, now down a man with five minutes of extra time to see out, started time-wasting. Maidana went down for a “cramp” and was replaced by Aaron Wheeler. Shortly thereafter, MacMath went into the book for delaying a goal kick too long.

While Kansas City piled on the pressure, the Union—for the first time in a long time—held firm, and saw out what may be a very, very big win for their season.

“We showed a lot of fight tonight,” MacMath said after the game. “Especially giving up a goal late and coming back and scoring another goal and holding out to the end. I think it showed a lot of confidence in the team and hopefully we’ll take that into the rest of the season.”

The Union will look to build on the win when they host New England Revolution this Saturday, May 17, for a 7 pm kick off.

Philadelphia Union
Zac MacMath, Fabinho, Sheanon Williams, Austin Berry, Ray Gaddis, Amobi Okugo, Vincent Nogueira (Corben Bone 89′), Cristian Maidana (Aaron Wheeler 89′), Danny Cruz (Sebastien Le Toux 83′), Leo Fernandes, Andrew Wenger

Sporting Kansas City
Eric Kronberg, Igor Julião, Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Aurélien Collin (Lawrence Olum 61′), Oriol Rosell, Paulo Nagamura, Benny Feilhaber, Graham Zusi, Sal Zizzo (Jacob Peterson 55′), Claudio Bieler (Dominic Dwyer 71′)

Scoring Summary
PHI 49′ Danny Cruz
SKC 80′ Dominic Dwyer (Paulo Nagamura)
PHI 81′ Cristain Maidana (Andrew Wenger)

Disciplinary Summary
PHI 58′ Fabinho (Foul)
PHI 70′ Vincent Nogueira (Off the ball foul)
SKC 86′ Matt Besler (Foul)
PHI 90 Corben Bone (Serious foul)
PHI 90+4 Zac MacMath (Time wasting)

Sporting Kansas City Philadelphia Union
15 Attempts on Goal 14
6 Shots on Target 7
5 Shots off Target 4
4 Blocked Shots 3
3 Corner Kicks 1
6 Fouls 20
17 Open Play Crosses 4
0 Offsides 1
1 First Yellow Cards 3
0 Second Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards 1
65 Duels Won 47
58% Duels Won % 41%
548 Total Pass 277
82% Passing Accuracy % 71%
66.4% Possession 33.6%



  1. Glad they won. Still hate Hackworth.

    • Hate is a vile word.

      • John Ling says:

        “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
        Come on, man. You’re only one step away from being a Sith lord. Step up and finish the deal, or back down. No hanging out here on the edge. Strike him down and take your place at my side!

      • Fair ’nuff.

        seriously. Hack has one good game and it’ll somehow reset the clock on every bad decision he has made.

        Now we are stuck with him.

      • This is my same fear. Only way I think he can stay is if he uses a similar lineup as he did last night. If he can’t see that Amobi needs to be a CDM full time then fire him.

      • The Black Hand says:


      • The Black Hand says:

        Tick,tick,tick…still running.

      • John Ling says:

        Nobody has said you can’t want him out. Nobody has said you can’t dislike his tactics, or his sub usage, or his haircut, or whatever. Joel’s only point was that “hate” is a strong word; and I chose to drop a Star Wars quote because of it. This Saturday is Star Wars day at the stadium again, afterall.

  2. Hezekiah Ezekiel Schmitz says:

    MacMath is motm. Ray Gaddis dominated Graham Zusi in a fantastic performance. Chaco was the threat we knew he could be. Great match, boys.

  3. Great effort from the boys tonight. Congrats to Hack and the whole squad for shutting down a pretty whiney set of SKC players. Igor was pretty impressive for them, but Philly played its most cohesive game to date. I hope Hack doesn’t mess with it too much.

    Must keep Chaco and Nogs…Must keep Chaco and Nogs…

  4. Bonesaw.

    • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

      That Red was harsh. Yes he was very late, but cleats were down and it was a straight on slide tackle, not from behind.

      I felt bad for the kid. But Salazar was losing control of the match at that point due to KC’s incessant whining and complaining.

      Collectively I can’t stand them or their coach….. Can someone please buy Vermes a new peacoat? He’s been rocking that one since ’11.

      • +1

      • It’s really hard for me to build up a lot of bile for Vermes – a Jersey guy, from Delran, and a Rutgers grad to boot! – but man, whenever I see him on the opposition sideline, I just want to punch him the face.

  5. Vincent Maidana, the ultimate DP. (Note I appreciate how fast the recap comes out…just funny)

    I feel like I should remember this but is this Corben Bone’s second short appearence ended by a red card? I’m confused why he plays at all…That could have cost us the result, where is Carroll for 5 minutes (not in the lineup from injury?)

    Sucks that we are going to revert to the only tactics that John Hackworth knows…but boy I was thrilled to see Amobi moved up and Fernandes underneath. Would like to see White in centerback this weekend with Sheanon wide left…since we are lucky enough to have Fabinho suspended. Don’t touch that midfield…but bring Letoux sub in earlier and one of the young guys up…

    • I thought the same thing so I looked it up. I learned two things: Bone has played 13 total minutes this year, with a yellow and a red not two reds, and his nickname is Bonesaw. He needs to be cut, immediately. He is a goddamn liability.

      • I feel like Bone should have his own theme music, like an advertising jingle, at the end of which we see a close-up of the Boner and he throws his hands up, shrugs his shoulders and delivers his signature catchphrase: “Whooop-sieeee!”

        [cue studio audience laugh track]

    • Carroll still had a groin injury and lets hope he as it for the rest of the season. This match shows that Carroll should stay off the field for good. As you can see, plays were not disrupted or slowed down by Carroll’s lack of pace and his poor backward, slow the play down passes. Once again we have proof that he does not deserve to be on the field. Sorry to say it but that is the hard truth. Once again, many people will not give Fabinho credit for a pretty solid performance. he had plenty of steals and disrupted a lot of KC,s plays. He also was MOVING on and off the ball and his skill level towers over a lot of players on this team and around the MLS.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Carroll would have been a great sub, last night. With Fernandes struggling and the U up a goal, subbing Leo off for Carroll would have been a great option. (Hackworth wanted to park that bus so bad. He just didn’t have the personnel.) I think that Carroll would be a valuable ‘bus driver’, for when the club is IN THE LEAD. It could be a way for Carroll to remain valuable to the club. (Kind of like a Closer, in baseball). Aside from that role, I don’t see Carroll in this club, anymore.
        Fabinho might have thrown a fork in the Amobi-to-CDM dream, with his upcoming suspension. Thanks a lot, Fabinho!!

      • My bad I forgot how great and efficient the refs are in this league…….

  6. One win does not a good manager make. Decision to keep Corben Bone on this team, and to sign him in the first place, is clear evidence Hackworth a horrible judge of players’ characters and ability.

    • yes, nogeira, maidana, gaddis and all the other bad characters and players hackworth has brought in or put on the field lend great credence to to your view!

      • +1. Corben Bone has been terrible, he’s also only played 13 minutes. Otherwise you got a group of guys we like- though they’ve frustrated us often.

      • He has shown that he struggles with judging a players on field ability in terms of gameday situations. He plays so many guys out of position and shows no ability to change tactics. This is why people want him removed from the sideline and stick to player acquisitions.

      • The same Maidana that Hackworth ran down in an interview?
        The same Hackworth who brought in a bunch of players last year never to see the field?
        Corbin Bone?

      • so Maidana’s no good? Maidana doesn’t like hackworth? Maidana’s feelings are hurt? didn’t seem to matter the other night.

  7. Great game plan well executed by players with tremendous fight. Wenger was outstanding, unlucky not to score. Well done by the whole club last night. Team started to come together last night, far cry from last Saturday.

    • Atomic spartan says:

      This happens to the Phil’s a lot, too. Sometimes you have to get away from us to play your best – pressure free. The only other thing that relieves that pressure at home: winning.

    • Honestly, are you related to Hackworth, R3er? The team played well when Hackworth’s main off season acquisition – Edu – was gone. And when Okugo played he position he should have been playing all along. And this isn’t kindergarten: strikers don’t get credit for trying real hard and almost scoring, they get credit for scoring. Give the players credit. I wouldnt give Hackworth much.

      • Seems a common erroneous conclusion when my view counters another’s narrative, as if I could only have my views out of bias. It it does seem like kindergarten (and bias) in your analysis: hack’s fault when they lose; players credit when they win despite hack. And still no joy in a victory. It’s not fantasy footy – a real team has to play together and different players perform different roles from game to game. A striker who only scores is an incomplete player. Agree that Okugo should play MF. Disagree that Edu was hack’s main pickup – it’s nogeira and Chaco. Honestly, do you support the Union?

  8. George H says:

    Great win and I loved the response after the SKC equalizer. Okugo was absolutely everywhere all night which further reinforces why his future is as a central midfielder. His range and pace is totally wasted at center back.

    • How bout it. He was here then there then there sliding smoothly in to place. God he is a good player.

      • Yeah Okugo is smooth, sturdy, fast and it is not easy to be so composed on the ball in the middle of the field like he is. It seems like he makes up his mind to where the ball should go before it comes to him. Rarely is it a bad decision. Rarely it is a bad touch. Okugo himself is a rarity. Kills me to see Carroll and Edu clogging his ascension. If not for the Union then the USMNT’s sake…

  9. man that was a really fun game to watch. i don’t even know who had the best performance tonight, macmath was on fire, gaddis was really excellent, wenger did a great job aside from not scoring, and okugo and nogueira were working perfectly together in the middle. i thought even fabinho had some uncharacteristic timely interventions and some pretty good interchanges with maidana

  10. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Worrisome injury report. All three subs were injury replacements, Cruz, Nogueira and Maidana. I would guess Nogueira’s is real, as he was ranging much less than usual in the second half, he was the stay-at-home DCM. Okugo, not surprisingly, was gassed by the end of the game, but wasn’t it fun to see him play DCM. If Maidana was faking his injury, he is an excellent actor; as he limped off the details of his body language authentically mimicked being hurt. They will likely play Saturday with four different players since Fabinho is suspended. Note that they won playing bunker and counter not possess and press. Williams played well at CB. Too bad that Hackworth’s critics have far too much emotion invested in savaging him to notice that they beat a top team on the road. Vermes’s quote about being out-fouled by the Union is most revealing. I fear the cupboard is a bit bare for Saturday. Might Richie Marquez get an emergency call-up?

    • i think we see gaddis and williams outside and either wheeler or white with berry. i don’t know if this is just me being an optimistic homer, but nogueira looked more tired than injured and i think maidana had a case of time wasting cramps

    • Detractors detract. I’m guilty of it too at times but the game plan was excellent tonight and the coach deserves credit for that.

      • Amen, Joel. Give credit where it is due. The lineup was solid, the gameplan was solid, and the performances were, across the board, the best of the season.
        This is the team we thought had been created in the offseason.

      • The lineup was dictated by an injury and two national team absences. Don’t kid yourselves, we wouldnt have seen Amobi at CDM otherwise. If he continues to play players in their best positions once all of his players are available, I might stop criticizing.

      • The Black Hand says:


      • John Ling says:

        Two injuries – Edu was out because he has concussion symptoms. But the main point you’re making stands.

      • I agree, We all know that the great Carroll would have been in if he was not injured. If Hackworth does that realize that Carroll needs to be on the bench from now on then he should be fired immediately.

      • Southside Johnny says:

        As always since he took over, Hack only does the right things when circumstances like injuries and suspensions force those changes. Credit the players not him for this.

    • Scottymac says:

      I’ve been on the Fire Hack wagon since day one, but don’t confuse that for not supporting the team or wanting the Union to lose.

      The team showed the fire in game 12 we’ve been asking for all year. I’m hopeful Hack recognizes his two wins came from playing a more offensive team, and when we pair Edu an Carroll the team isn’t as forward thinking. He’ll have some thinking to do for NER without Edu,Lahoud,Fabinho, Bone and possibly still Carroll. White may have to start. Cruz was very positive and only dribbled over the touch line a few times.

  11. So are we trading Corben Bone to SKC now?

  12. kingkowboys says:

    Good win on the road against a good team. A good defensive effort with a few chances for SKC but good teams always have a few chances.
    I was so shocked and estatic to see Okugo at DCM. I almost couldn’t believe it, he really should stay there the rest of the year. Put in a great performance and showed what Carroll lacks, the ability to generate a counter and help the offense.
    Danny Cruz seems to be much better than last year. I’m really happy about this, his energy is always problematic for opponents, so now that he is more of a threat and helping the cause it’s even more of a focal point for back lines. This needs to continue and he should be matched up to either start or be the early sub when appropriate.
    Corben Bone should never see the 18 again, period. I will have his knees taken out if he does.
    Wenger needs to have this 2nd half game film on loop in his locker. Eventhough he didn’t score he did exactly want he should be doing every game. Using his ability to suck in defenders and make runs. His first half needed to be better though.
    Ray Gaddis is insane, if we needed to I would trade Williams for a striker over Gaddis right now. He has so much more upside and is shutting down opponents. Zusi didn’t do shit in this game because Gaddis is a beast.
    MacMath was great once again and is really the key to keeping our season afloat. He’ll be needed more through out the year. Keep it up.

    • I think you are on the nose. We clearly have five building blocks: GK McMath, RB Gaddis, and MFs Nogs, Edu, Okugo.

      We need to fit in pieces around them, and it may be Sheannon at CB, Madaina, Berry. Or not.

      And it would help to find some strikers.

  13. Congratulations to The U and to the manager. It is clear the team still believes and made a definitive statement to that end.
    Please coach do whatever you need to keep Amobi at DM. I’m even okay with Sheanon remaining as a CB, he played quite well there.
    Okugo is not an MLS All-Star. He is a world class player. He sees the game in the future, keeps it simple as a first response, and is a deep lying playmaker capable of the final pass from 60M out and unlike Edu who attempts to direct the game from distance, Okugo was consistently moving towards the ball handler and finding cracks of space to provide outlets. He is far and away the best player on this team and needs to be in his most natural position.
    Please coach, keep Amobi Okugo in his natural position.

  14. John Ling says:

    Fun game to watch. I like the players arranging to take the goal celebration to Hackworth. Shows me a lot.
    Maidana was absolutely fantastic. I’m sure he has in previous games, but I don’t remember him playing so much defense previously. He was doing well to get behind the ball.
    Cruz clearly worked on stuff this off season. Good for him! If he’s healthy, he keeps playing. He earned it.
    I have no problem with a yellow to MacMath – or any keeper – for time wasting. I just wish there was something even vaguely resembling consistency about it. I’ve seen opposing keepers do way worse; hell, I’ve seen MacMath do way worse.
    Corben Bone should be released. Plain and simple. He’s clearly a liability when he’s on the field.
    Ray Gaddis had an absolutely off-the-hook game. He could be man of the match most nights for that performance.
    Whatever “it” is, Zac MacMath has it right now.

    • John Ling says:

      Also, what was up with the coach’s boxes? Were they ridiculously tiny, or was I just seeing things funny?

      • George H says:

        They were talking about that on the SKC broadcast as well. They were very small, but wasn’t sure whether that was league mandated or not.

      • Dan Walsh says:

        They’re small. I don’t know why. They mentioned something on the broadcast about it. (I watched on MLS Live, so I got the KC broadcast.)

  15. Philly Cheese says:

    Random thoughts from last night. Nice to,be able to respond to a win after two months of mediocrity……or worse. Team showed up with energy and a plan of attack. Surprised by possession time difference, but KC ball movement did little to promote their game plan. Foul difference affected by Colin leaving early before he could even out the numbers. Gaddis didn’t have as many forward jaunts, but that neutralized Zusi better than most other matches. The Zusi crosses were always a nervous time, but Williams and Berry responded well. I think Okugo as a DMid could even cover Wheeler moving back,to CB if needed to replace Fabinho suspension. Please don’t let this be an emergency change for Amobi, make it a foundation to build around. Let’s knock off booing team and coach on Saturday.

    • “Foul difference affected by Colin leaving early…” Love it. I’d also point out that KC had 66% posession versus our 34%. While I like Vermes’ comments about us wanting it more (seemed true), a team with nearly twice as much time on the ball has many more opportunities to get fouled.

  16. philpill says:

    Reversal of fortunes: Last night U lost all stats except score. With BC & Mo taken from him, Coach forced to move up Okugo. In defending a lead, no subs better than Seba or Bone? Don’t look now but.here comes a hot NER.team. No Fabinho. What happens when BC returns? Mo?

    • IN chances we lost by only a one or two, and led in shots on goal. Possession we lost, but as is pointed out sometimes, the game is not keep away (unless you are up a goal).

    • I actually think Le Toux is a pretty solid late game sub to see out a victory. His work rate is high, he’ll apply pressure, and you know he’ll track back. I’m with you on Bone though – not sure what he brings to the table.

      • Idk Le Toux has been pretty lazy back tracking and defending, his skill has been horrendous and his decision making has been poor as well. I wouldn’t mind seeing who else we have first before sending Seba on the field.

      • As John points out below, with the options available last night, he probably was the best one. And he came on for Cruz, who’s not known for his defensive prowess.

    • John Ling says:

      There weren’t many options on the bench, to be honest. Unused subs were White, Hoppenot, and Casey. Wheeler came on and effectively pushed Wenger into the mid field. There weren’t really any other options for the midfield, unless you want Hoppenot doing his thing there.

  17. Great One says:

    Excellent games from many players tonight, they all seemed extremely inspired. Great lineup choices from Hack, even if injuries made him do it rather then him thinking. I’ll give him credit for his tactics and the lineup tonight, and for the players being inspired for him.
    Pretty much everyone had varying levels of great play tonight except maybe Fabinho and Fernandes. Keep the lineup though. I would say put Le Toux in but he may actually clog things a little more.
    Danny is playing just like he always does. It’s just better now bc it fits what we need more. Definitely should be getting lots of minutes for sure.

    • Great One says:

      Also, i don’t care who the subs are, Nogs, Okugo, Maidana, Wenger and Cruz were all dead for at least 15-20 mins. With another game on Saturday that is unacceptable

      • Yes. Nog especially needs a rest. He needs a week or two off. He has been playing since August.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        The World Cup break might be the biggest for him. a short respite to break up what will basically be 1.5-1.75 straight seasons.

    • John Ling says:

      See, I thought Fabinho played well overall. Certainly, his defense looked better than usual – to me at least. And he was active in helping to apply pressure on the left side. Getting a card was dumb, but other than that I can’t think of a better overall game he’s had out of the left back spot, at least this year.

      • Thank you John haha. Lets be honest, Fabinho had a great game, he was a critical player on the field. Without him the game could have gotten ugly. As for his card, both players went in 50/50 in my opinion, he never catches a break when playing hard and getting stuck in. The ref. was a joke like usual.

      • Great One says:

        Fabinho played very well in attack and added a dimension there. He also almost gave up two goals directly from his man beating him with a header, and people got in behind him. Notie I want him to stay in there next game. I was just saying compared to some of the others, and the position he plays, he is more of a liability.

      • Yea people did get in behind him but that has been happening to the entire defense all year. I do agree he does need to work on that aspect of his game.

    • Completely agree. Too many turnovers out of Fabinho. He does anticipate plays and break up passes, but is sloppy in posession. A mixed bag for him last night.

  18. Fun game to watch, that’s what I’ve expected from this team all season.
    I think he’s found the Best XI.

  19. I was shocked watching that game. Finally Okugo! Viva MacMath! Chaco!!!!!Everyone has said all the comments I was thinking. Question now is how the team responds back at home. They’re really taking us on a roller coaster ride!

    • I think Sporting was kind of shocked too. With all the drama on the Union, I think KC was expected a walkover like vs. Montreal Saturday. Then when the Union actually showed up, they couldn’t switch it back on. PS, thanks, Peter Vermes, for benching the hottest striker in the league for 70 minutes against us!

      • I have no idea what Dwyer does in practice, but how the hell is he not a starter for KC? I saw a lot of him in Orlando last year and he was a man among boys. He was so dominant, I’m not surprised that his form has carried over for the most part to this level of play.

      • Yea I don’t get it either. Hmmm if he’s been getting benched a lot lets try to bring his ass to the U. We are looking for that potent striker anyway!

      • The Black Hand says:

        I think that SKC sat him out, thinking that the Union were an easy win. Glad to prove Vermes wrong!!!

      • Dan Walsh says:

        He usually starts. I think he got the rest because it was a midweek game against a struggling team.

  20. The Chopper says:

    Funny, I don’t think we missed Maurice Edu for a minute. Fernandez was less than effective at times, but we are used to that.

    Cruz can play. His passing is improved, but more than that the skills he lack are less of a liability and less glaring now that there is so much more quality in the midfield. He makes things happen and this team needs that.

    Too bad Fabhino carded himself out of the next match. I would like to see that back four again.

    As was mentioned in the article rating Hackworth, his players do love him. He still has the locker room. And neccesary or not, he changed his lineup and formation and it worked,

    • Reluctantly I have to agree. Danny Cruz has displayed the right to continue in the starting IX even though the dribbling is maddening- choosing a run with his left foot into the box in 2nd half instead of passing to wide open Fernandez trailing or square to Maidana in space.

    • DarthLos117 says:

      Other than the effectiveness of a percieved 3 man back…that was my biggest take away from this match.
      We may be better without Edu.
      Lets ride the bus to top 5 finish.

  21. The Black Hand says:

    Huge win! I saw none of it.
    Nice gesture, from the club, showing that they still believe in Hackworth. Their previous play looked uninspired and raised doubts as to whether the players still had faith in the boss. It was good to see that put to rest.
    I am still wary of Hackworth, as manager. I liked his XI; but was that Hack’s choice of personnel, or did the National call-ups force him to put that group on the pitch? Will Amobi remain our captain (he should) and our #6 (he REALLY should)??? If Hackworth were to make that change permanent, it would show that he is making a conscious effort to make his club stronger and some of my faith would be restored…some.
    We should not see Carroll in the starting XI again. He should come off the bench, to close out games. He would be EXCELLENT in that role.
    Are we better with Edu??? The answer SHOULD be yes, without a doubt, but Mo’s efforts have been questionable. Will he try even less, after the WC???
    It was nice to see Wenger show what he brings to the club. From what I saw in the highlights, he was very strong on the ball. Maidana’s goal was due to Wenger’s ‘superman’ effort in the area.
    Danny Cruz deserves more respect! Cristiano he is not, but he leaves it all on the pitch…every time he is on the pitch.
    This was a big 3 points. Maidana got his first. MacMath continued to show that he is the Union’s #1. Hackworth pulled one out, from the hot seat.

    • What SHOULD happen when we have our full squad is that Edu and Amobi are our CDM. Edu plays behind Amobi and Amobi is the guy going box to box. Anyone who thinks Edu should be going forward is just flat out wrong.

      Cruz still has no skill whatsoever other than running in a straight line but he does give 100% all game every game.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Edu and Okugo would be great, but Noguiera likes to operate in that space as well. Could be too many chefs in the kitchen.
        Cruz does have some skill. Not a lot, but some. His intensity has created opportunities…that our ‘skilled’ players have struggled to make happen.

      • Will Hackworth be allowed to play Edu at Center Back once he gets back from the World Cup?

      • Soccerson says:

        This game demonstrated that Edu, Carrol and Nogueira occupying the same space are redundant. Having Okugo and Nogueira in midfield should be the main choices going forward from a defensive mindset. Carrol reads the game good defensively but doesn’t contribute going forward and Edu has been a disappointment and I wouldn’t mind seeing him on the bench for a few games until he earns his way back into the starting 11.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I agree. That redundancy has been killing us, up top. Edu’s efforts have been insulting, at times, but I could see him having a BIG problem with taking a seat. We don’t need that distraction. I would tell him to “step it up, or we are buying you a plane ticket back to Europe!”

      • How nice was it watching those 2 link play with one another? They both clearly play the game in the future and at NO point in time was I concerned about what they were doing.
        That was a treatise on how to operate a midfield.

      • As far as Edu goes, I’m very much looking forward to the World Cup decision to be made. Wasn’t real clear to me what Edu was promised as far as playing position when he signed on with the Union. For all I know, he requested a chance to be MFer that got to go forward and join attack so he could show more of his versatility for the USMNT. Whatever it was, after the WC they should only be putting him where it most benefits the Union without worry of showing for Klinsmann. And he really hasn’t offered much to the offense in run of play situations. I kind of hope he has been saving himself lately for the USMNT, because last 5 or so games have been underwhelming.

    • Pretty good assessment for not watching the game.

      • The Black Hand says:

        PSP does a nice job calling the game through the world of social media. That and I rarely let facts get in the way, when formulating my opinions.

  22. Feels great to celebrate a well fought win and take a break from all of the SackHack talk. With the exception of Fabinho (good instincts to intercept passes, but way too many turnovers) and Fernandes (also too many turnovers), the rest of the team all seem worthy of a ‘6’ or better rating for last night’s effort. Cruz has looked so much better these last few games – he may just be the right mix of speed and crazy that this team needs to diversify the attack.

    • Philly Cheese says:

      “Speed and crazy” is a great description of Cruz. Might as well let him do what he does well….and let buildup and ball movement quality be accomplished on left side. Cruz’s touches are always going to,be heavy, but he does stretch defenses. When he sits in middle, speed and crazy don’t work for him.

  23. Well that was fun! A few thoughts…
    Danny Cruz remains a maddening player to watch. At times he was brilliant, and you can see that when his limited skillset is channeled in the right way he can really be a problem for defenses…And then you have moments where we have a breakaway, and after a great run he dribbles into 3 defenders and gives the ball away instead of passing to an open teammate.
    I loved the goal celebration. I’m not convinced Hackworth should be retained, but after a win like that, I really, really don’t want to hear that “Fire Hackworth” chant on Saturday. It would be a remarkably tone-deaf response from the fans to do that.
    I watched the game on a stream of questionable legality, and it was the SKC broadcast…and it was pretty bad. If you think Pappas is a terrible homer, you should have heard Diego Gutierrez whining about the Union’s play. They also kept trying to cut to pointless sideline reports at the worst times – At one point, in the lead up when MacMath stoned Zizzo, the commentary cut to the sideline guy trying to talk to Vermes! While the ball is bouncing around in the box! There was also a really bizarre moment where the SKC CEO came into the box and spent pretty much the whole time criticizing his own team, and doing commentary on the game when he was ostensibly on air to do the usual sterile corporate communications stuff that owners and CEOs do on sports broadcasts. It was super awkward and you could tell the commentary team was totally uncomfortable. Fun stuff!

    • Cheap Ass MLS says:

      We saw the same feed, with the same annoying sideline shot. And our announcers were sitting in Philadelphia. Pappas isn’t any better at PPL, so I’m not sure that’s relevant for him.

  24. Soccerson says:

    Ono more thought… Wenger. What a game last night! He showed energy, pace and skill on both sides of the ball. Granted he didn’t score, but the second goal was half his. First the touch to control Cruz’s ball in the box and then physicality and will to keep it there and find his open man for the finish was impressive and I think he deserves a lot of credit for that. He showed he can create opportunities for himself and open spaces for others to score as well. I loved when he beat Collin as well wen he was with him one on one and a few other plays that kept the union playing in SKC’s half.

  25. I bet the meeting between Hackworth and Sakiewicz today is similar to the meeting between the Grumman guy and Gene Kranz in Apollo 13 when the LEM engines fire:

    “YES! I knew it! How ’bout that team, huh?!”

    “I guess you get to keep your job”

    “you betcha!”

    • GREAT movie reference. At the end of the season, will we conclude that this was a “successful failure” too?

  26. That goal by Dwyer was 100% Berry’s fault. Dwyer goes right past him and Berry is just lolly-gagging nonchalantly back towards him leaving him wide freaking open to fire that rocket past MacMath. I mean WTF? Maybe that’s exactly why Hackworth was forced to play Wheeler because Berry just doesn’t give a crap. His effort on that goal was just like when MacMath save the penalty shot and Berry did nothing to get to the rebound.
    It makes me sick to watch crap like that. No wonder Chicago brought in guys to replace him and then dealt him away for table scraps. Austin Berry = overpaid, overrated and underperforming!

    • The Black Hand says:

      Wow. Berry might have been guilty of drifting too far up the pitch, but he was passed by a well executed give-n-go. Not much he could have done, aside from tackling Dwyer. If anything, Shaenon should accept some blame for ball-watching and forgetting that he was our CB.

  27. @ Black Hand, watch the replay of Dwyer’s goal and watch Berry lollygag in slow motion while Dwyer runs past him. I know it was a give and go, but Berry is a CB, not a midfielder. A guy goes past him, its his duty to run with him.
    I don’t disagree with your Williams comment, just was ticked to see Berry make no effort to run with/after Dwyer.

  28. The Black Hand says:

    He did watch him jog by. Poorly played by both CB’s.

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