Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 3-0 Chivas USA

In a battle of MLS strugglers, Philadelphia Union took advantage of a depleted Chivas USA side and earned a 3-0 win Saturday at the StubHub Center.

With the visitors in need of consistent goalscoring, Conor Casey emerged as the hero, opening his 2014 account from the penalty spot before powering a diving header past Dan Kennedy to put the result beyond doubt. Cristian Maidana rounded out the scoring when he shot through Andrew Wenger’s legs, with the clearly offside striker not being flagged for his infringement.

Still, after the drubbing the team took from the A Galaxy and New England the last two weeks, the team will be more than happy to take the three points and end their two-game losing streak.

“It’s been a tough week for us out here,” Union manager John Hackworth said after the game. “It was a tough result last Sunday in the same building, and for the players to respond during the week under some pretty good pressure — and as a staff we didn’t back down on them — they responded tonight. I think you’ve got to work through these hard times, and sometimes, adversity makes you stronger. So it was a good response from our team tonight.”

First Half

With Brian Carroll struggling to regain full fitness, John Hackworth made a change, and Fred got the call, making his first start of the year in central midfield. Maidana also returned in favor of Leo Fernandes, and Casey replaced Antoine Hoppenot up front.

While the Union were quickly on the front foot, much of their early success came with their hosts choosing to drop 10 players behind the ball from the opening whistle. Fred and Vincent Nogueira quickly found themselves in the unusual position of having time and space in the attacking half of the pitch, as Chivas dropped defensively into their own box in what can only be described as an attempt at damage limitation.

When Chivas USA broke forward, it was haphazard and disjointed, with the Union easily winning back possession. But for all of their possession, the Union struggled to break down Chivas’ defensive organization.

Between Chivas’ persistent fouling and the shear number of bodies clogging up the center of the pitch, the Union looked to push the ball wide for the runs of Danny Cruz. While the winger worked hard to get himself in good spots, the final ball never came.

Fortunately for the Union, referee Allen Chapman inserted himself into the game by awarding an indirect free kick in the Chivas box for goalkeeper Dan Kennedy violating the six-second rule, sending the hosts in furious remonstrations. Off the quick tap, Maidana’s shot ricocheted off of the arm of Martin Rivero as the defender threw himself towards the shot. Many officials would have deemed it a case of ball to hand and allowed play to continue, but Chapman wasted no time in pointing to the spot.

With regular penalty-taker Sebastien Le Toux unavailable, Casey stepped up and confidently stroked the ball past Kennedy, giving the Union the 1-0 lead.

“The PK I wanted to take and, luckily, Mo let me do that to kind of get this year kicked off,” said Casey. “I hadn’t scored yet, so it was nice of him to let me do that, and I was happy to be able to put it away.”

Minutes later, it was nearly 2-0, as a flowing move nearly saw Fred open his own 2014 account in impressive fashion. With the ball pushed forward from Amobi Okugo at the back, Cruz dummied on to Nogueira, who flew up the right flank and whipped in his cross towards Fred. The Brazilian did not get enough on his flick to direct it past Kennedy, and the Chivas USA goalkeeper got just enough on the effort to keep the ball out.

Second Half

In need of some semblance of attack, Mauro Rosales came on for the hosts, and they fashioned the first chance of the half. With Ray Gaddis up field, Leandro Barrera slipped past Cruz and found space as he raced towards the end line. But with numbers queuing up in the box, Okugo slid in to cut out Barrera’s delivery before it could find a teammate.

At the other end, the Union looked to reestablish their earlier momentum, but more persistent fouling from the hosts made sure the match stayed choppy and slow. Finally, after keeping his cards in his pocket for an hour, Chapman cautioned Barrera, Erick Torres, and the Union’s Fabinho in the 63rd, 64th and 65th minutes, respectively.

Once the dust settled from the flurry of cautions, Casey made sure the match was beyond doubt. Maurice Edu, who struggled with his passing accuracy throughout the night, made no mistake in the 67th minute, cutting the ball across to the left where Maidana was advancing towards the box. Spying Casey’s run, Maidana curled the ball into his path, and the big forward dove to powerfully head home past Kennedy.

“Chaco played a great ball in, put it on a platter for me, and I was able to put it in from a couple of yards out,” said Casey. “Great ball from him, good movement. Happy I was in the right place.”

The second goal killed off any chance of a Chivas fightback, but the goalscoring was not finished. In the 77th minute, Maidana again picked up the ball on the left corner of the box. This time, he chose to cut the ball back onto his right foot, firing at the back post.

Not only was Wenger, who recently had replaced Casey, in an offside position, but he dummied the ball through his legs and took up a position that kept Kennedy from diving for the shot. But Chapman and his crew failed to see the obvious, and the Union were rewarded for it, with the scoreline stretching to 3-0.

Minutes later, Chapman went a step towards further incensing the StubHub Center crowd when he sent off Oswaldo Minda for a challenge on Edu, with the Ecuadorian shaking his head and laughing as he walked to an early shower.

With the victory, the Union leap 2 points above Chicago into 8th place, though the Fire are in action on Sunday against the Galaxy and hold four games in hand.

A more confident Union return home to host Vancouver on Saturday, June 7.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to take that confidence with us this week,” Casey said. “We need to follow this up with points at home. We haven’t played well at home and we know that we’re behind point-wise this season. We’ve played a lot of games and haven’t gotten points. We need to make sure, especially going into the break, that we follow this performance up with another good performance.”

Philadelphia Union
Zac MacMath; Ray Gaddis, Amobi Okugo, Sheanon Williams, Fabinho; Maurice Edu, Vincent Nogueira; Fred, Cristian Maidana, Danny Cruz (Zach Pfeffer ’86); Conor Casey (Andrew Wenger ’75)
Unused substitutes: Brian Holt, Ethan White, Brian Carroll, Leo Fernandes, Antoine Hoppenot

Chivas USA
Dan Kennedy; Erik Avila, Eriq Zavaleta, Tony Lochhead, Donald Toia; Carlos Alvarez (Ryan Finley ’68), Marco Delgado (Mauro Rosales ’46), Oswaldo Minda, Martin Rivero; Leandro Barrera (Agustin Pelletieri ’87); Erick Torres
Unused substitutes: Tim Melia, Michael Nwiloh, Kristopher Tyrpak, Matthew Fondy

Scoring Summary
28 – PHI: Casey (penalty)
67 – PHI: Casey (Maidana)
77 – PHI: Maidana (Nogueira)

Discipline Summary
63 – CHV: Barrera (caution)
64 – CHV: Torres (caution)
65 – PHI: Fabinho (caution)
73 – CHV: Avila (caution)
84 – CHV: Minda (ejection)

Referee: Allen Chapman

Chivas USA Philadelphia Union
6 Attempts on Goal 14
1 Shots on Target 6
1 Shots off Target 4
4 Blocked Shots 4
2 Corner Kicks 4
18 Fouls 12
22 Open Play Crosses 20
1 Offsides 1
3 First Yellow Cards 1
0 Second Yellow Cards 0
1 Red Cards 0
44 Duels Won 43
50.6% Duels Won % 49.4%
329 Total Pass 571
74% Passing Accuracy % 87%
37.6% Possession 62.4%


  1. DarthLos117 says:

    Can we play Chivas every week?

    • or at least have that ref.

      • + 1

      • Atomic spartan says:

        Knew ref was going to be bad when he started waving throw-in locations back to his precise preferred spot. Youth league crap that disrupts flow. Did he ever warn Kennedy not to take 6+ seconds before penalizing him? Then he wonders why he has to start throwing yellows like candy from a punctured piñata. Brotherly Game has it right: Union 1, Ref 2, Chivas 0. Or maybe it’s just karma for all the Geigeresque games at PPL. Too bad you gotta win that way, but we’ll take the 1-nil and go from there

      • I’m glad Maidana’s goal wasn’t the game winner, that was pretty clearly interference. And that PK call was weak, though it was funny to see the Chivas player rolling around holding his face. A cynical person could say he knew he was up to no good and was trying to act his way out of it.

      • despite the harshness of the handball call, he definitely knew that it was possible he would get called on it and that is why he was pretending like it hit his face

      • Even though his back was turned.

  2. we beat Chivas. yeah. better than not beating Chivas. this game really highlighted to me the lack of clear offensive identity- save cross after cross, which I guess is actually a clear offensive identity. Hmm. I’m stumped.

    • i am really happy we won this, but i was thinking the same thing as i was watching. i kept asking myself what it is that we were trying to do. what would their ideal attacking situation look like if everything was going exactly as they want it to. i couldn’t even imagine what it was

    • To be fair, Chivas did pack it in. No Burling or Bocanegra probably had something to do with that. Nice to play someone else with CB chaos. At this point I’ll take any win we can get.

      • There’s a global shortage of central defenders. The U seem to be coping worse than some clubs, perhaps better than others.

      • I’m available. I’d have to continue my work as a RN though, the pay to be a professional soccer player isn’t enough for my 4 kids.

    • kingkowboys says:

      The cross after cross approach seems to be the Union taking what the opposition gives them which is usually the corners. Hack has talked about taking what they give you before, and it seems that teams will give us the corners knowing that our wide players will just send in crosses to be headed away.
      Having said that, it’s very difficult to break down a team with 10 guys behind the ball and all those players in the box. I would have preferred to see more shots from distance though. I think there were a few times where a rip from about 25 yards could have resulted in something positive.

  3. Does this make us ONLY the second worse team in MLS? LOL

  4. George H says:

    I can come up with a dozen reasons why this win doesn’t mean much, but the reality is that the team responded from an awful performance last week to get 3 pts vs a bad team on the road which is nothing to sneeze at. That’s something positive to build on. Hopefully, they can beat Vancouver at home and then have some momentum heading into the 2nd half of the season.

  5. Cum on the U says:

    Chivas SSSSSSSSSSM. It is better than a loss.

  6. Chivas. They suck so much.

  7. Didn’t even watch the game, which is a first in a while.
    Good to see we won again without Brian Carroll (not saying he’s bad,again, but just pointing it out).
    But more important that Pfeiffer is getting some regular minutes. Though why start Fred over him is baffling and frustrating, even if he played well.
    I’m hoping for a VAN loss next week. Even though they won last night, I just can’t take a full season like this.

    • Where’s the person who always posts our record when Carroll doesn’t play? I’m wondering what it is now.

    • John Ling says:

      The Fred start was baffling. But I thought he actually looked good. He and Nog seemed to click, and there was a lot of good movement and short passing. Unfortunately, that short passing eventually ended up with the ball wide to either Cruz or Fabinho, which resulted in a cross.
      But hey – small steps, right?

      • Hey John. I am curious what you found baffling about the 15th different lineup in 15 games.
        it is as baffling to me as Ian Drake explaining in todays friendly how important it is for our back 4 to figure out how to play with one another/ communicate in the next two friendlies before Cup starts.
        I was dumbstruck by the truthfulness of the comment. We are about to play 3 of the finalists and thereby greatest teams in the world with defenders who have never played together beyond a Send Off game or two. Huh?

      • kingkowboys says:

        The Fred start was classic veteran over promising youngster. I was surprised to see Fred get a start but thought it was a good decision at the start of the game. Fernades’ form has waned recently and we needed this game. Throwing Pfeffer into a pressure situation like this game was probably not something Hack was comfortable with.

    • I think Hack is a little wary of putting a young guy in the CAM role after Leo’s hit or miss starts. Fred provided a nice veteran calm at the joint between the midfield and attack on a night where we needed to make good plays. It’s unknown if Pfeffer can do that yet.

      • Let’s find out. 16th different lineup in 16 games. I am all for it.

      • Question: are Fernandes’ “hit or miss” starts related to his youth, or to the fact that the lineup around him has constantly been in flux?

        Seems like he and LeToux had developed a good chemistry on the pitch, before injuries and coaching decisions kept them apart.

        One thing is clear: despite yesterday’s result, this lineup du jour approach isn’t going to get the Union very far.

  8. Tracy Kuntzler says:

    Watching Fred’s composure with the ball I had to wonder why guys like Fernandes and Hoppenot get selected over him. I assume Hack’s see’s the young guys’s potential upside but geeeeeez Fred looked so much better. He should have played weeks (months?) ago.

    • I’d like to see Fred against a real team before I anoint him the savior.

      • Definitely. Fred played well, but playing well against Chivas doesn’t count.
        Before Fred started to show well, I was pissed that he got the start over Pfeffer. Positives and Negatives of it: I guess Hack hasn’t given up on the season, playing the veteran over the young guy, but at this rock-bottom point last year for DC, Olsen was playing their young guys, trying to get them ready for this season.
        imo we’re starting to see Hackworth’s quest to save his job conflict with the best interests of the team.

  9. – Chivas is really really bad with a couple exceptions. I wouldn’t mind having Barberra or Avila.
    – I thought Chapman did a fine job. Chivas was hacking something fierce. Kennedy has a claim on Wenger’s interference but that ball was going in regardless.
    – Union were quite careless with the ball AND time to make decisions. I’m thinking of a few ill-advised crosses, give and goes, etc. Edu, Maidana, Fred, Nogs, were all guilty.
    – Williams almost had another gaffe clearing the ball. He takes an ice age to move to ball as well. He is definitely not the solution to Okogu’s partner.
    – Liked everything I saw from Pfeffer. I wish we could see more.
    – Chivas is really bad and that might have been the worst MLS game I’ve seen.

    • Chapman called a 6 second violation ion Kennedy in the 26th minute.
      The handball? Dubious at best.
      he slowed the game down to a crawl. Worst ref ever.

      • I never saw the 6 second violation because MLS has a fascination with tracking the back of people’s heads or replays in the middle of play. Still, I do think Chivas’s persistent fouling was real and not imagined.

      • The 6 second call, though unclear to us watching on TV, is always questionable. Particularly that early in the game, and with no obvious signs that he was warned before it. I though the handball was pretty legit though. If his arm’s down by his side, it’s a no call, but the arm looked to be extended up and away from his body. Seemed like the right call to me.

  10. It’s hard to believe beating Chivas counts for 3 full points.

  11. Tracy Kuntzler says:

    Glass half full. Chaco Maidana looked great. Conor Casey could possibly be hitting his stride. The Defense looked better with Edu shielding the back line and everyone including Hack saw it. And perhaps most importantly the Eastern Conference stinks. We can absolutely beat Vancouver. The standings will look not so horrendously terrible next Sunday morning. It’s a marathon not a sprint. We’re gelling! We’re gelling!

  12. Tracy Kuntzler says:

    We only get one team. I don’t want to root for some other MLS team, or some Euro squad thanks. We need this team to pull it together and they can. Everybody saw the offseason on boarding of talent. No way we suck this bad. Life is cyclical. We will get on a roll. No time to bail. What’s the point? So we can start over? No thanks!

    Go Union. Beat Vancouver and leapfrog nyrb. C’mon the U.

    • Tracy, thank you. The Union are making major mistakes every week but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the potential to pull it together, even this late in the season. Yes, losing sucks but geez I’ve seen some real bandwagon jumpers recently. And for everyone that wants to sell their tickets because the team isn’t doing well, fine. If you can only enjoy games where your team wins, root for someone else. I like watching MacMath, No, heck even Cruz regardless of the score.

      • It’s the opposite. We enjoy our team when we see process, even without wins. Hack worth getting sacked would bring me back.

        And a roll right now doesn’t to much. So we move up a bit until everyone else in the standings plays their 5 games in hand. And any momentum may get dispelled in the WC break.

        And I said this in 2012: Hack doesn’t understand off. or def. tactics. Nothing at all has changed since then.
        For more understanding of the situation, see Reid, Andy.

      • Hope you (or would it be all of you) have to wait a good long time. Just cannot see the validity of blanket statements or hoping for the worst for the team and it’s members and downplaying any success or progress. Reality matters, which means one should look for results and progress/process. I didn’t enjoy watching sitting back and countering. Harder to play the other way and in the long term better way to strive for success.

  13. We got the shutout, but I don’t think we actually fixed most of the defensive woes to deserve it. The defensive lapses just didn’t show as much because Chivas couldn’t make the most of them.
    Williams still committed multiple turnovers and botched clearances, and Gaddis was caught out of position more than he should have been relative to his offensive contribution. However, the defense did look better-shielded because of Edu.
    Overall, this win is a step in the right direction. But we need to do the same against Vancouver.

  14. OneManWolfpack says:

    I’m trying hard not to be cynical after a win. I mean, yes it was against The Little Sisters of the Poor, but 3 points is 3 points. If this team can put together back to back wins, we might (MIGHT) be on to something. Vancouver isn’t Seattle , but they are far from Chivas… so it’ll be a test.
    Nice to see Casey finally look good and play a good game. It would be nice to see a similar lineup next week at home, save for Fred – who I’d replace with Pfeffer. For the love of god, play that kid.
    Sadly, we still have a shot this season, with the East being what it is, and the World Cup break coming up. I’m still not a fan of Hack, but the season is salvageable with a win this coming weekend.

  15. Chapman was told to make sure the U. won. Chivas belongs to MLS and they only have five fans anyway so Garber said, “Throw the game. It’s for the good of the league.”

  16. Southside Johnny says:

    McInerney was huge in the Impact match. He held up, created and scored against the Revs..Wenger should have cost us a goal. Period. Wenger should be the next fullback experiment.

  17. The Black Hand says:

    A win is a win. We need the pts.
    Reality is; We beat a Chivas side, who was without four starters, and it would have been 1-0 without the help of Chapman’s calls. That was one of the worst reffed games that I have seen in a long time. (He called a foul-throw!!!)
    Fabinho, Fred and Cruz had nice showings. CHaco showed moments of brilliance. Noguiera put in the usual shift. Casey’s header was nice. (We need to see much more involvement from him.)
    We didn’t lose!!!!!

  18. John Ling says:

    Thanks to Eli for clarifying that the indirect kick was a 6-second ruling. I hate that they cut to replays during game play, and it’s made worse by our announcers watching the TV feed rather than being there. Odd call – we seem to get a lot of them against Chivas, like the back pass that was called last year.
    Speaking of our announcers, did anybody else hear JPD *twice* say, “Revolution vs Chivas highlights” when reading copy about the Sports Rise (or whatever) show? WTF?
    Nice to see Casey get his account open. If you go back and look at his stats from last year, at this point in the season he had… 2 goals. He scored against NY on March 30th, and again against DC on April 21st. He didn’t score again until June 5th against Columbus (and added a brace his next game, June 25th, against NY). So last year, he didn’t really seem to hit his “stride” until right around this time of the season. So maybe this is a sign of things to come? Maybe? Anyone?
    I want to see more of Pfeffer, and I know it was “only” Chivas, but I think Hackworth has to roll out the same starting 11 against Vancouver. I know Chivas parked the bus early, and the ref tossed us some odd calls. But a win is a win, and so this group gets another call in my opinion.

    • -nickt.- says:

      i’m not sold on casey as back. he had a nice run onto a beautiful cross from maidana but i didn’t really notice him the rest of the game. i’m not against a poacher per se but i still think the union can do better there. that said, what have we seen from anyone else in that spot this season…

  19. MD Jessup says:

    Another Glass half full point: After four games in which there was only one goal and that was off a PK, the U have now scored 9 goals in four games (2 PKs).
    Is there any chance that Carlos Valdes comes back after the World Cup? I thought I read that he was in South America on loan in order to be closer to his coach and get full consideration for the Columbian WC squad and I thought the loan is supposed to expire after the WC final. We surecould use a world class center back.

    • Dan Walsh says:

      There is an option to buy on the loan. If his Argentine team doesn’t want to buy, then the Union can call him back at any time.

  20. george fleck says:

    Did anyone beside me notice the Sackworthy was actually on his feet, calling out to his players and waving them into position?
    Looked like the “coach” was actually coaching — amazing!

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