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Recaps & reaction to win over Montreal, head coach candidates, league results wrap, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

A win is a win

Here’s the weird thing.

After Saturday’s game, I left the stadium feeling more distressed by the Union’s considerably not dominant play than jubilant about the win.

Pretty strange, right? I mean, the Union are now unbeaten in the last five league games with a 3-1-3 record since Jim Curtin took over in June. (The last time the Union were unbeaten in five games was when they went 2-0-3 in June and the beginning of July in 2013. Before that, they went on a 2-0-3 run in June-July of 2011, and a 3-0-5 run in Sept.-Oct. of the same year) If you include the US Open Cup, the Union are unbeaten in the last six games and have a 6-1-3 record under Curtin. To put that in perspective, Curtin has as many wins in 7 league games as the team did in the 16 games under John Hackworth this season. Two of the wins under Curtin have been at home, which is the same number the team had under Hackworth going back to October 5, 2013 when Kleberson rescued the Union with that glorious stoppage time free kick for a 1-0 win over Toronto. But for that moment of heroics, you’d have to go back to Aug. 10, 2013 for another Union home win.

More importantly, Saturday’s win meant that for the first time in what feels like an eternity, the Union are in a playoff spot.

Curtin said after the game, “Did not play a beautiful game of soccer by any stretch; wasn’t really happy with our passing, a lot of sloppy turnovers. Not a great performance but, again, 3 points at home, it’s very, very valuable.”

He continued, “Like I said, at the end of the year, this just shows up as three points. No one’s going to remember that they had the ball a ton, that we didn’t create a lot, we were sloppy with our passes. Everyone wants to talk about the beautiful game but at this point of the year that goes out of the window for me.”

And perhaps it should for me too. A Union win in Tuesday’s US Open Cup semifinal in Dallas will certainly help.

Hopefully, Sebastien Le Toux, now on ten goals for the season following his two-goal effort on Saturday, will be able to play after the nasty challenge that felled him late in stoppage time.

Le Toux described what happened. “He kicked me and my ankle kind of locked. He kicked through me and my ankle twisted and stayed in the ground with my knee going forward. It was very painful. I think he was mad me because I scored two (goals).”

The Frenchman was optimistic about the seriousness of the injury. “It is a big bruise and I will be able to rest tomorrow, but I was very hurt when I got kicked. I had no feeling for the first three minutes, so I was afraid of something bad, but right now it feels better. I hope it’s just a big bruise tomorrow.

More on Le Toux’s injury from MLSsoccer.com and Soccerly.

Carlos Valdes was impressive in his long-awaited return and credited the fans for helping him get through the game. “To be honest I felt tired and for some moments of the game I felt my body heavy. But the confidence is coming because of the people and the fans like the way I play, and I am trying to do the best I can.”

Valdes added, “I’m thankful to the people. Today was a great day. I had a good experience because the people were fantastic. All I can say is, thank you for everything.”

Ethan White said of partnering with Valdes, “Obviously it was a new thing, so we couldn’t get our chemistry yet, but we put out fires and came away with a win. So I’ll take it.”

More on Valdes’ return from InquirerDaily News, Delco TimesCSN Philly, and Playing for 90.

While Valdes made his Union return, Rais Mbolhi, against expectation, did not. Curtin explained after the game, “He had some business to take care of away from the game, we’ll just say, that he has to take care of. He’ll be back, we expect him back quickly.” 

Just when Mbolhi will make his debut is anybody’s guess. If he has “business to take care of away from the game,” that means he isn’t taking care of the business of getting to know his defenders, who themselves are adjusting to Valdes’ return, in practice. If we can reasonably assume that he won’t play in Tuesday’s US Open Cup game, and is also unlikely to play against Houston on Friday, the question arises as to just how many games we can expect to see him play this season with Africa Cup qualifiers coming up. Sticking just to league games, and assuming he doesn’t play against Houston, it looks like Mbolhi could miss as many as six of the Union’s 11 remaining games.

Recaps from PSP, Philadelphia Union, InquirerDelco Times, Main Line Media News, CSN Philly, Soccerly, Philly Soccer News (1), Philly Soccer News (2), The 700 Level, Brotherly Game, MLSsoccer.com, FutbolMLS (Spanish), Montreal Impact, The Canadian Press, Mount Royal Soccer, SBI, Goal.com, Soccer America, ProSoccerTalk, Stoppage Time Soccer, Playing for 90VavelThe Sports QuotientSports Network, and The AP.

Also, video of Jim Curtin’s postgame press conference, locker room interviews with Danny Cruz, Sebastien Le Toux, Zac MacMath, Ethan White, and Sheanon Williams, as well as the postgame quote sheet, here at PSP.

Our photo essay from the game will be up later this morning. In the meanwhile, South Jersey Times and USA Today have photo galleries.

Brotherly Game looks at the game-changing moments in Saturday’s win.

After pointing to the fact that for the second straight game the Union gave away nearly 70 percent of possession, and that “It can’t all be counterattacking,” Armchair Analyst Matthew Doyle writes, “That said… they’re unbeaten in five, and finish the weekend above the red line for the first time all season. I’m betting they stay there.”

With Saturday’s win, SportsClub Stats rates the Union’s chances of making the playoffs at 43.5 percent, up 10.8 percent from last week.

Head coach candidates

Big Apple Soccer’s Michael Lewis reports that, in addition to Jim Curtin, Jesse Marsch, Tony Meola, and John Harkes are among 12 candidates for the head coaching position, a list that also includes three unnamed foreign coaches. Describing them all as great candidates, Nick Sakiewicz said he’s in no rush to make a decision. “Absolutely no rush,” the Union CEO said. “Just really taking my time, getting to know people thoroughly.”

More Union news

In SBI’s midseason MLS Best XI’s lists, Ray Gaddis is named to the third team, while Sebastien Le Toux is named to the fourth team (next to Clint Dempsey). Named to the fifth team is Cristian Maidana (behind Graham Zusi and Landon Donovan) and Amobi Okugo.

In case you missed it on Friday, Matthew De George talks to Brian Brown about scoring the equalizer against Kansas City. Pity he wasn’t able to tap in an insurance goal against Montreal when he had the chance.

Sons of Ben Supporters Summit

You will recall the Sons of Ben Supporters Summit is taking place on Wednesday, Aug. 13 at the Field House in Center City, 7-9 pm. Don’t forget that if you want to attend, you must RSVP. Also. you can submit questions to the SoB board via Twitter with the #AskTheSoBs hashtag or through the feedback form on the SoB website.

Local

Two first half goals from former Union draft pick Robbie Derschang were added to by Antoine Hoppenot’s second half goal after the Union loanee missed a penalty kick. The third goal proved crucial when Orlando City scored two goals of their own in the last nine minutes of regulation time, but Harrisburg City Islanders held on for the 3-2 victory, increasing their win streak to four games and moving them into fifth place. Harrisburg Orlando again on Saturday, this time on the road. Recaps from Harrisburg City Islanders, Penn Live, Orlando City, Orlando Sentinel, and O-Town’s 11.

MLS

In the Eastern Conference, first place Kansas City (39 points) lost 2-0 on the road to Vancouver. Second place DC (37 points) lost 3-0 to Salt Lake. Third place Toronto (32 points) defeated sixth place Columbus (27 points) 3-2 on the road. Fourth place New York (28 points) lost 1-0 on the road to eighth place Chicago (25 points). Fifth place Philadelphia (27 points) defeated last place Montreal (14 points), 2-1. Seventh place New England (26 points) had the weekend off. Ninth place Houston (22 points) lost 2-0 on the road to Seattle.

In the Western Conference, first place Seattle (41 points) defeated Houston, 2-0. Second place Salt Lake (39 points) defeated DC, 3-0. Third place Dallas (36 points) defeated sixth place Colorado (30 points), 3-1. Fourth place LA (34 points) drew 2-2 with eighth place San Jose (24 points). Fifth place Vancouver (32 points) defeated Kansas City, 2-0. Seventh place Portland (30 points) defeated last place Chivas USA (23 points), 2-0.

Nick Rimando set a new league record for clean sheets at 113 with the win.

Real Salt Lake have signed Argentine striker Sebastian Jaime from Chilean club Unión Española.

Vancouver have signed Costa Rican center back Kendall Watson from Deportivo Saprissa.

Chivas USA have acquired Ecuadoran forward Luis Bolaños on loan from Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito.

Seattle’s DeAndre Yedlin could be wearing a Tottenham Hotspur jersey within the next 48 hours.

New York Red Bulls are reportedly working on three player deals, one of which may be a DP.

Sacramento Republic head coach Preki says the club is ready for MLS. “Sacramento is really ready. If Miami messes up we’re right around the corner. We’re waiting and we’re ready.”

At US Soccer Players, Jason Davis on why MLS needs Sacramento.

CNBC weighs in on the league’s expansion strategy.

NWSL

First place Seattle (54 points) drew 1-1 with third place Washington (35 points). Second place Kansas City (41 points) lost 2-1 to fifth place Chicago (31 points). Fourth place Portland (33 points) lost 2-0 on the road to last place Boston (17 points). Sixth place Western New York (27 points) had the weekend off. Seventh place Sky Blue (25 points) defeated eighth place Houston (18 points), 3-1.

The league has announced the playoff semifinals will be held on Aug. 23 (1 pm, Kansas City vs. TBD third place team) and Aug 24 (11 pm, Seattle Reign vs. TBD fourth place team). Both games will be broadcast on ESPN2.

US

The US defeated Brazil 1-0 on Friday thanks to Lindsey Horan’s 82nd minute goal at the Women’s U-20 World Cup, putting them second in their group ahead of Tuesday’s final group game against China (5 pm, ESPN2, Watch ESPN). The team lost their opening match against Germany, 2-0.

Here’s the postgame quote sheet from the US win. More on the game from ASN and Soccer America.

You will recall that we recently linked to a suit filed by a number of women international players about the fact that the majority of the games at the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada will be played on artificial turf. Said USWNT forward Alex Morgan, one of the organizers of the suit, “They are treating us as second class to the men … Using the women as guinea pigs in their experiment is just not right.”

Morgan says there are no plans to boycott the tournament. FIFA has yet to respond to the suit. More on the story here.

Our Lady of Mercy High School has named its soccer field after alum Abby Wambach.

Men in Blazers is moving to NBC for a weekly show that will be broadcast on Monday’s later this month. The duo will also “contribute radio, TV and written pieces for the network’s various outlets.”

Elsewhere

Here’s the latest from Sepp Blatter on those who say he shouldn’t run for another term as president of FIFA: “Don’t speak – go out and fight, then you will see. People, they say I should not be a candidate or I should not be elected – they can take the risk to be in the election.” Asshat.

The AP reports, “Violence before and after a weekend match in Corsica between Bastia and Olympique de Marseille has left 44 police officers injured, with eight requiring hospital treatment, prompting the French interior minister vowing to ban those responsible from stadiums.” Somehow, the report concludes with this: “No fans were injured at the Saturday match at the Furiani stadium, which ended in a 3-3 draw.”

7 Comments

  1. “Like I said, at the end of the year, this just shows up as three points. No one’s going to remember that they had the ball a ton, that we didn’t create a lot, we were sloppy with our passes. Everyone wants to talk about the beautiful game but at this point of the year that goes out of the window for me.”
    .
    Oh I’ll remember Jim.
    I’ll remember.
    .
    I’ll.
    ALWAYS.
    REMEMBER.

  2. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    My god, what can we do to avoid Harkes as the coach? From the players, to the groundscrew, to security, to the vendors, to the fans….. NO ONE’S signifigant other will be safe!

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Haha! Well done. Let’s hope we don’t meet the Atlanta Silverbacks in the US Open Cup!!
      .
      Speaking of that tournament… is it confirmed that there will be no stream of the game Tuesday night?

      • Someone on Twitter said that there will be a steam but I don’t think it was an official from either team

  3. When your clearly inferior opponent is visibly upset at an early give away & score, you are in a position to seize the game & to dominate them in your house. To instill confidence in your side and fear in your upcoming opponents. Instead we put only one other shot on frame – & received another gift. If JC won’t admit that, it’s too bad for us. But if he can’t see that, it’s much worse for the team. Because luck changes.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Yeah agreed. It seemed like everyone in the stadium felt like the rout was inevitable after LeToux’s early goal… everyone except the Union.

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