Union match reports

Match Report: Philadelphia Union 3-3 Colorado Rapids

Despite taking a 3-1 lead into the 75th minute, Philadelphia Union were only able to hold on for a 3-3 draw against the Colorado Rapids Saturday night at PPL Park. Michael Lahoud was shown a straight red card in the 76th minute for a dangerous play when he tried to clear a ball with an overhead kick, striking Colorado’s Jared Watts in the face.

The Rapids took advantage of their manpower advantage by converting the resulting penalty kick and adding a late Deshorn Brown goal to salvage a point on the road.

Conor Casey and Dillon Serna traded goals two minutes apart in the first half before Sheanon Williams put the Union in the lead going into the break with a powerful header from a Cristina Maidana corner kick. Andrew Wenger would score to give the Union a two-goal cushion, but what seemed to be a sure victory turned to disappointment after Lahoud’s ejection.

“Obviously when you’re up 3-1 at home, you should close out the game,” interim head coach Jim Curtin said after the draw. “You can talk about the ref, and all the calls all we want, but at the end of the day we should still close that game out on our own terms.

“A lot of good performances went to waste tonight,” Curtin added. “That’s what it felt like. A lot of really good performances by guys really went to complete waste. It’s tough.”

First Half

Jim Curtin made two changes to the team that defeated New England in the US Open Cup on Tuesday. Ethan White made his first appearance for the Union, replacing the suspended Maurice Edu, and Michael Lahoud, suspended for Tuesday nights game, reclaimed his spot alongside Amobi Okugo in the central midfield at the expense of Brian Carroll.

The Union would get their first chance of the match in just the 13th minute. Danny Cruz did well to intercept Drew Moor’s pass to Shane O’Neill, whose late challenge toppled the Union winger, earning the Rapids defender a yellow card for his trouble. Cruz stayed down after the hard tackle, but was eventually able to continue. Cristian Maidana then served up a lovely free kick from 35 yards that Conor Casey was able to get a glancing header on, but the ball ended up just wide of goal.

The Union would open the scoring just three minutes later. A fantastic sequence from Philadelphia saw the ball go from left to right through Cristian Maidana, Fabinho, Sebastien Le Toux, Lahoud, and Casey before the big striker laid the ball off to the right side for Ray Gaddis to run onto. The right back took his time looking for a cross before perfectly picking out Casey, who powered in his shot from 7 yards at the near post.

The lead would be short lived, however, with Colorado equalizing just two minutes later. The goal began with a break down the Rapids right side that saw Dillon Powers get the ball to Dillon Serna on the edge of the box. The Rapids midfielder did well to round Fabinho and create space for a shot, which he blasted past a stranded Zac MacMath.

The Union would have a chance to regain the lead a few minutes later. Chaco Maidana led a Union break after a cleared a corner and found Lahoud wide open down the right wing. The midfielder appeared to have time and space to take a shot himself, but he chose to pass and the move ended with Cruz shooting wide.

Philadelphia would regain the lead in the 31st minute when more fluid movement from the Union saw Cruz get loose for a shot from 10 yards, which Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin did well to parry away for a corner kick. Sheanon Williams would cash in from the resulting corner, meeting Maidana’s well placed service to head past a helpless Irwin from close range.

Second Half

The Union would start the half brightly, looking to add to their lead. Okugo got on the end of a long Williams throw in the 50th minute and headed just over the bar from 6 yards.

Soon after, Le Toux finished a rebound after Lahoud’s shot was saved, but the goal was ruled out for offside.

Substitute Andrew Wenger would give Philadelphia a 3-1 cushion with a close range finish in the 75th minute. Okugo did very well to fight through multiple challenges as he broke down the left side, getting in a cross just before the end line. The ball fumbled past Casey and two Rapids defenders and broke to Wenger, who was able to poke a rolling finish into the empty net.

But the Rapids would respond quickly once again to cut the lead when, in the 76th minute,  a hopeful ball was played toward the Union’s back post. Lahoud attempted what would have been a spectacular overhead clearance, winning the ball but also clipping Jared Watts in the face. Referee Sorin Stoica wasted no time pointing to the spot and producing a straight red card for Lahoud.

Powers would step up to take the penalty kick. A stutter step on the run-up sent Zac MacMath the wrong way and Powers finished to the right side.

While Brian Carroll and Aaron Wheeler were introduced to see the game out for the Union, the Rapids had other plans. Williams and White had done well to contain Dershorn Brown throughout the match, but the Colorado striker would find a moment of brilliance to tie the game in the 86th minute. Williams tried to jump in front of a pass to Brown’s feet at the top of the box, but the Rapids striker held off the Union defender with a smart bump and turn before coolly finishing past MacMath into the far corner.

Both teams would push for a winner in the last moments of the game but the final whistle blew with the scoreline level at 3-3.

Before the postgame fireworks display could begin over the Delaware River, sparks would fly on the pitch.

As players and staff from both teams engaged in the customary postgame exchanges, Amobi Okugo was shown a red card by referee Sorin Stoica. Sheanon Williams was also seen screaming at referee and his crew as they made their way off the field.

In his press conference after the game, Jim Curtin would not comment on whether the team would appeal the card.

“The refs were obviously upset and people were commenting on different things to them,” Curtin explained after the game, “It got relayed that Amobi might have said something that maybe wasn’t said. At the end of the day it’s not going to do any good to complain to those guys at the end of the game. Probably a waste of breath and now it’s going to cost us losing Amobi, so not smart on his part at all. Again, not going to change anything at that stage so he’s just got to accept it and take it for what it’s worth.”

The Union have a quick turnaround before playing host to local rivals New York Red Bulls on Wednesday at PPL Park. Kickoff for the nationally televised game is at 7 pm.

Philadelphia Union
Zac MacMath, Fabinho, Sheanon Williams, Ethan White, Ray Gaddis, Amobi Okugo, Michael Lahoud, Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Cruz (Andrew Wenger 69′), Cristian Maidana (Aaron Wheeler 82′), Conor Casey (Brian Carroll 80′)
Unused Subs: Andre Blake, Austin Berry, Brian Brown, Vincent Nogueira

Colorado Rapids
Clint, Irwin, Shane O’Neill, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Marc Burch, Jared Watts (Marion Hairston 78′), Dillon Powers, Kamani Hill (Carlos Alvarez 65′), Dillon, Serna (Gabriel Torres 83′), Nick LaBrocca, Deshorn Brown
Unused Subs: John Berner, Danny Mwanga, Thomas Piermayr, Chris Klute

Scoring Summary
16 – PHI: Casey (Gaddis)
18 – COL: Serna (Powers)
31 – PHI: Williams (Maidana)
74 – PHI: Wenger (Okugo)
79 – COL: Powers (PK)
86 – COL: Brown (Torres)

Disciplinary Summary
12 – COL: O’Neill (foul)
29 – PHI: Lahoud (foul)
34 – COL: LaBrocca (dissent)
76 – PHI: Lahoud (serious foul)
90+4 – PHI: Okugo (not visible)

Philadelphia Union Colorado Rapids
11 Attempts on Goal 15
6 Shots on Target 5
5 Shots off Target 8
0 Blocked Shots 2
7 Corner Kicks 3
14 Fouls 14
17 Open Play Crosses 20
3 Offsides 6
1 First Yellow Cards 2
0 Second Yellow Cards 0
2 Red Cards 0
47 Duels Won 52
47.5% Duels Won % 52.5%
261 Total Pass 471
69% Passing Accuracy % 83%
36.7% Possession 63.3%


  1. Swapping out Amobi and Lahoud for Nogueira and Edu. There are worse punishments out there….

    • Good point.

    • I guess, but then you have to use some combination of Williams/White/Berry as the CBs. Edu has looked good there in his couple games. I suppose the MF could be Carroll and Noguiera with Edu at CB.

      • I got a feeling White is in for the long haul. Or at least til Berry gets back.
        There is a possibility that we will see White/Berry on Wed. Also there are worse situations to have.

      • Atomic spartan says:

        No, I would have to think that Berry White would be the worst, because I do not think Curtin is about to try the Wheeler experiment again. The whole problem is the destabilization of the back line that started with losing Valdez, Soumare, and Parke, and further complicated by Berry’s unavailability. It was still 3-2 when Williams decided to challenge for the ball instead of getting stuck in. Williams himself has proven serviceable but with greater experience at the position may have made a better decision. White proved serviceable also, but was part of a back line that allowed a goal less than 3 minutes after our goal – a period of time we teach 11year olds is the most dangerous time for your opposition to score. Defense must perform as a team within the team. We have serviceable parts, but not the well coordinated team we need as a back line.

  2. Old soccer coach says:

    Asking Nogueira for a full 90 seems overly risky, especially since he was not used to substitute at defensive center mid for Lahoud implies that he may not be quite ready for full blown extra effort under pressure situations . I would guess Carroll will start with Nogueira subbing with 20 or 30 minutes left to go. Interesting to note that one of the Colorado announcers on the MLS Live streaming broadcast commented that he thought Lahoud’s foul was a penalty kick but a yellow card not a red since Lahoud could not see the Colorado player coming for the ball as he came from behind Lahoud to attempt the head.

  3. LaHoud already had a yellow card. Wouldn’t have mattered. LaHoud should not have attempted a bicycle kick in the defensive box.

    • Are we still proposing alternatives to the Geiger Counter? Because I nominate the Corben Bone-r, awarded to the silliest, most unnecessary, and/or detrimental play of the game. This week’s winner: Mike Lahoud! For kicking a guy in the face in the 18 yard box with a 2 goal lead.

  4. On the other hand O’Neil should have had a red card for a studs up tackle on Cruz.

    Appeal the red on Okugo. Bench Cruz, start Nogueira, Edu, and Maidana in the Midfield. Casey, Letoux and Brown up top.Gaddis , White, Williams, and someome other than Fabhino.

    • Brown isn’t sniffing the starting XI until the Union are involved in a blow out game or are out of the playoffs.

    • O’Neill’s foul will get reviewed by the league and I’m pretty sure he’ll get a 3~4 game ban as the league has been really cracking down on potentially leg breaking tackles the last two years

      • Timothy H says:

        Cruz had a really crazy game. His father seeing him play for the first time in Philly, then getting wrecked by O’Neill, then missing a sitter that resulted in the corner Sheanon scored from.

  5. Lahoud shouldn’t have even been in the field. He was playing like shit and had a yellow. Curtain’s fault that he was in that position.

    Can we all agree that Brian Carroll adds nothing? Union gave up 2 gioals with him in as late game defensive sub! Can we trade Carroll, Lahoud, and Bone for Carlos Valdez?

    So disappointed in the last 20 min of this game. And Amobi’s senseless red card. I was going to make an effort to get to Wednesday’s game against NY, but now…

    • Section 114 says:

      Look, I’m not a Carroll fan, but for the first goal, he was on the sideline.

      Yes, he’s our fifth best DMid. But they have figured that out.

      They haven’t figured out that the team would be better benching Fabinho and playing three in the back. Or, heaven forbid, getting a competent left back during this window.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Carroll wasn’t on the field for the PK so they only gave up one goal with him on the field. The team as a whole wasn’t prepared to play a man down. There should have been 10 men behind the ball most if not all of the time, yet they were still pressing forward up a goal and down a man. Carroll for Casey was 100% the correct sub. The problem was that the third sub should have been Austin Berry for the last 10 minutes or so to help protect the lead rather than Wheeler standing at midfield waiting for clearances.

      • JediLos117 says:

        Wheeler sub was poor decision. At that point it was park the bus for the win time. There is no shame in defending out 3 points with a man down.

  6. I am going to Wednesdays game. How can you blame Carroll for the PK. That was LaHoud all the way. I would take Carroll over Cruz or Fabinho. I can’t believe Fabinho starts. If Berry is healthy put him in Williams on the right and Gaddis on the left.

  7. Heartburn says:

    Dammit. That sucked. Not much to say other than Lahoud lost the game for us. Period. No way they score 2 goals on us without the PK and man advantage.
    Amobi needs to grow up. What a joke. Not captain material at this point in his career.

    • Do you know why he earned the red? Did you see it live? I don’t know what happened. What other information do you have or are seeing to say he’s not a captain. Just because he got a red, for whatever reason, 1 time doesn’t make him an unacceptable captain . The coach isn’t even sure what happened unless I am reading wrong.

      • I wish we could see the ref’s match report, to see exactly what he heard Okugo say. About the only way to get a straight red by talking is with physical threats or racist language. It’s hard to imagine Okugo doing either.

      • Heartburn says:

        To be fair, I have no idea what transpired. I only know it occurred after the game was decided. So he shouldn’t have done it. Perhaps I popped off out of frustration but not having him for nyrb is a damn shame and it was not necessary.

      • Fair point.

      • Me, Grimlock says:

        Agreed. It doesn’t really matter what was said, but it matters that it was said. Even if the referee is really thin-skinned, you have to really go out of your way to earn a red after a match.

      • And we have a a winner for best new commenter name!

  8. I offer no seditious commentary this week. Drawing that game sucked but they at least look like a professional franchise lately. Movement is better. Play is crisper. Passing is better. Goals from multiple parties. What the true reasons for the improved play are— who knows. Edu’s smile when answering Zumoff’s CB question was priceless.
    Ethan White was serviceable.

    • Agreed. In the past, a result like this would have been difficult to take, but the team played well. If we can get a real left back in, get two natural central defenders playing and get another proven striker, I’m happy with the direction that the team is going.

      Fabinho is a huge liability and whenever Lahoud plays significant minutes, you start to see his limitations. Lahoud can never been the one to push further forward between the two central midfielders as his decision making in attack is poor. Maidana and LeToux have been totally reborn under Curtin and I guess that we might be able to add White and Wenger to this list soon enough. I’ll be interested to see how Noguiera does on Wed night since we really haven’t seen him play much under Curtin.

      The one thing that I’ve noticed about Curtin is how little he says to the refs during matches (I sit behind the benches). Hackworth and Vartugian were constantly up moaning to the ref, 4th official and linesman. Even afterwards, Hackworth would have complained about it in the post-game press conference. Curtin didn’t and was focused on the right thing, that the team should have seen a 3-1 lead at home out easily despite what the ref does. I much prefer Curtin’s approach on this.

    • The first goal was as nice as we’ve seen this year. Disagree about White; I thought he looked very unsure of what to do, both with the ball and with who to mark on D.

  9. Not disappointed with White.
    Williams again with questionable defense.
    What I wouldn’t give for a Gaddis/Fab hybrid. The Rapids found all their success on the left side.
    How does Cruz miss that sitter at the end of the first half?

    My fantasy XI.
    Gaddis – White – Edu – Wenger

    Nogs – Chaco – Amobi – Fabinho/Cruz

    Letoux and Casey

    • So Wenger is your left back?

    • there is no world in which fabinho should start ahead of williams

      • Williams’s defense has been really poor. I would rather have Fabinho in a non-defensive position because, I agree, he’s also a poor defender.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Williams CB defense has been really poor. He is a FB playing out of position and that has cost the Union a ton of points this year. AS a FB, I’d much rather have Williams than Fabhino.

  10. attack was pretty good (again). chaco outstanding (again). nice to see wenger get on the board.

    defending was bad. all three rapids’ goals were defensive errors. Fabinho needs to step up and force wide on the 1st, lahoud has to challenge with his head and at least just throw off the attacker, and williams cannot try to intercept as the last man in the middle. blaming bc for the last two goals appears to demonstrate personal animus rather than analysis. i don’t think we need to “trade” for valdes – he’s our player and on the roster as “inactive”. it would appear we just need to convince him to come back. after a few weeks break and negotiating a higher salary, hope it happens. then move williams outside for fabinho – or get a real left back. we cannot close out games because we are weak defensively. and let nogs continue his summer break after an already full season.

    • Suggesting a trade of 3 useless players for Valdes was a joke. Even if we could trade for him we’d have to throw in something of worth as well.

      Carroll and Lahoud played poorly. There’s no personal animus. I’m sure they’re really nice people. But there’s no room on this team for them. It’s too good a team, or potentially so.

      Wenger should play at HCI. His weak toe dribbler goal was all Amobi. Can’t wait for Brian Brown in his place as 1st sub off bench.

      Deshorn Brown was the best player on the field last night. When is the Union going to have a player like that? Ever?

  11. I am the biggest Carroll detractor out there, but he had zero bearing on the two goals (although it was comical that per usual his second pass to a guy only 5 feet behind him went out of bounds)

    Fabinho clearly is responsible for positioning and not properly shepherding his player on the first goal, Williams made a FIFA 14 mistake and tried to intercept a play he should not have even tried for on the third. Two stupid mistakes by a RB playing out of position and a LB who has been a defensive liability for a year and a half.

    Curtin has said he wants CB’s playing CB so kudos for putting White out there and he had no choice with Williams due to Edu’s suspension. They’ve needed a LB since Harvey was traded so I can’t blame Curtin for that. I’m actually starting to like the guy which frightens me. I think he made the right call on all 3 subs too (has the Antoine Hoppenot train finally left the station, not even in 18).

    all in all a very entertaining game that the ref and then Lahoud’s reckless kick ruined. Prior to the penalty, I really wanted the Union to maintain the 2 goal lead to see if Brown would have come on.

  12. i just rewatched lahoud’s red card because i didn’t get a good look at it last night. i was under the impression that if you lower your head and get kicked that it is not a foul let alone a card and watts certainly lowered his head on that play

    • If he lowered down to say waist high like a diving header than it wouldn’t have been a foul. Lahoud’s kick was normal shoulder height though, thereby considered reckless

  13. On the Lahoud foul, He wasn’t goal side with his mark so the opponent beat him and he made a careless and inexcusable foul in the box. He should sit the next game he is available. players need to be made an example of. Once again the great Carroll gets put in and does absolute shit with giving the ball away in the center half of the field and playing timid. I truly am baffled why this guy is still on this team, he is probably one of the worst players I’ve seen in the MLS right now. If we are trying to move forward with this organization then get rid of the guy. If the FO wants to go backwards then keep him on the field and on the roster……..

    • I realize this will be a discussion for a later date, but at the end of the year Carroll needs to be gone, not just for his diminishing skills but because he’s making $185K . . . that’s the same salary as Maidana. Edu should not have his loan renewed either based on his play and his $650K salary, but I have the feeling the Union already committed to something with Stoke before his arrival. That’s basically 25~30% of the Unions salary tied into two relatively unproductive CDMs

    • Brian Carrol might not be playing well right now but the guy deserves our respect for the genuine efforts he displays when called upon. To be honest with you I’d rather have Carrol in DM than Lahoud. I wonder why the old man Carroll is putting more hustle than a much younger Lahoud.

      • Look I have respect for him as a player and a person but his effort? idk. The bottom line is He can’t handle the position, his touch is bad, passing bad, awareness bad, his defense is bad to. when he is on the field the midfield is left open for attack and opportunity to progress forward for the opponent. Any other MLS team or outside team in general would not be playing him after his performance this year, its that simple. But, I can’t argue that Edu has been really bad as well. He was supposed to fill the defensive mid position but has failed miserably. Maybe station okugo and Nogueira as the defensive mids and have chaco as the attacking mid, therefore having a triangle shape central midfield.

    • Dan Walsh says:

      At this point, it’s only a matter of time before people start blaming Carroll for losses when he doesn’t even play.

      • Dan I like the sarcasm but are you saying that I’m totally wrong and that he has been playing great all year?

  14. Why has finishing been a recurring problem – since match 1 – for this team? Curtin is right about them learning how to win. Score, then give one up right away. Two goal lead at home & can’t hang on for 15 minutes. Lahoud hadn’t been playing in these situations, but what about the other guys? They keep frittering away points & they’re running out of time to secure a playoff spot – even in this conference. The USOC wins aren’t giving them the confidence they need in league play. How do you fix it? No excuse for Okugo -especially with personnel management already a challenge right now. More self inflicted wounds.

  15. Tough to watch such poor officiating. Tougher to watch the boys collapse like that. Utter shame, we had that game in the bag. I’m glad Amobi spoke his mind to that ref but one has to be more disciplined. Pink Cows are certainly going to be a more difficult opponent without him in the lineup. Aside from the final twenty mins, great showing, thoroughly entertaining. Chaco is firing on all cylinders. He finally looks comfortable in this league. Fabinho still starts and I have no idea why.

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