Union match reports

Recap: Real Salt Lake 3–3 Philadelphia Union

In a game with six goals scored (and there could have been more), the Union earned a road point in Salt Lake, 3–3, on Saturday night. Four of the six goals were ugly as you like, but the Union would have won the game if not for a very poor referee’s decision late on. The play of new acquisition Fernando Aristeguieta, who scored a brace, was the biggest positive.

“I thought that my team played excellent,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said after the game. “We scored three goals on the road. Unfortunately there were some decisions made that didn’t go our way. I don’t think that we get a lot of respect. Last week I got a call from Peter Walton at pro and they told me that they missed a penalty kick and the referee wound up being suspended. I think it might be a similar situation again. It’s difficult but at the same time I have a bunch of men on my team that fought hard and deserved three points tonight and they got let down at the end of the game.”

First half

With CJ Sapong injured, Chaco Maidana returned to the starting lineup, along with the familiar 4-3-3. The lineup was otherwise the same as against Colorado.

The first half opened at a breathless pace, and never let up. The biggest surprise was that it took nearly half an hour for the first goal to be scored. Within the first two minutes, a cross from the RSL left flew past everyone three yards out, signaling the difficult night ahead for the Union’s wide players. Just a minute later, a long RSL through ball was swept up by Rais Mbolhi, quick off his line. Olmes Garcia left a boot in, connecting with Mbolhi’s face, and earned an early yellow card.

Sebastien Le Toux would come close to opening the scoring in the 8th minute, after good work from Maurice Edu and Vincent Noguiera fed Andrew Wenger high on the left. His cut back found Le Toux unmarked inside the box, but Le Toux’s first-time shot sailed just high. Wenger had a couple of chances just moments later, but found his first shot blocked. His second looked headed for the bottom corner, but Rimando just got a hand to it.

The game was played without pause, end to end, with the Union pressing on defense but overcommitting, which allowed RSL to break through the lines. In the 11th, Mbolhi was called on to make a kick save from Sebastian Jaime. Shortly after, an RSL corner got recycled. Javy Morales crossed to an unmarked Kyle Beckerman at the back post, but Edu was there to block the shot.

Both teams would trade shots, with Mbolhi and Nick Rimando each called on to make multiple saves, but no shots were making the keepers work too hard. But in the 29th, Williams clattered into the back of Saborio just outside the Union box while challenging for a high ball. Morales stepped up and lasered the free kick into the top corner for the first goal. The ball took a slight deflection off Ray Gaddis’s head, but Mbolhi didn’t look close.

RSL celebrated, and it could have been a dark day for the Union, but new boy Fernando Aristeguieta wasn’t listening and soon would get on the board. In the 36th, Maidana, hanging out wide right, stole an RSL pass and moved up the pitch. After cutting back onto his left foot, he sent in a cross. Beckerman was there to deflect it, but the ball was arrowing for the top corner of the RSL goal. Rimando reacted well to keep the ball out, but Aristeguieta was there to nod the ball into an empty net.

Shocked by the unlucky equalizer, RSL fell asleep on a throw-in just four minutes later. It was Maidana again, this time looking to find Aristeguieta over the top. Chris Schuler got a foot on the ball but only managed to settle the ball into Aristeguieta’s path, and as lucky as Fernando’s first goal was, his second was all about the finish, as his first-time strike nestled into the far corner.

“It feels great,” Aristeguieta said after the game of his first goals for the Union in league play. “It takes a little bit of the pressure off you, scoring the first goals.”

RSL had been the better squad until they went ahead, but the Union took advantage of their let-off and went into the half up 2–1.

Second half

The second half began just as breathlessly as the first, with RSL pushing the pace.

Luis Gil put an early shot off the Union post on 48 minutes. On 52, Edu earned a yellow card for a foul on Tony Beltran. Morales’s free kick was well placed, but missed everyone. Two minutes later, Gaddis fouled Beltran in the same spot on the right. This time, Morales found paydirt, though messily. The ball hit Schuler’s leg then bounced off the falling Jamison Olave’s head and over the outstretched arms of Mbolhi for the equalizing goal.

But RSL would go behind soon after. After a defender dived in and missed the ball, Maidana took it on and sent in a cross from the left wing. It was looking to be a 50-50 between Rimando and Fernando, but Olave dove in coming back toward his goal and directed it straight into his own net.

After that, both teams seemed to take a breather, and the game went a little dead for about 20 minutes. In the 84th, though, out of nothing, Beltran found himself in acres of space to measure a cross. RSL’s Jordan Allen put the header on goal, but Mbolhi did well to get low and hold it.

A minute later, the game would be decided by the referee.

Luke Mulholland ran into the box under pressure from Edu, who put his arm across Mulholland’s path. Reaching for the ball, Mulholland went down, and Allen Chapman blew for a penalty. There was little if any actual contact between the two players, and Edu’s arm could not have been said to be obstructing Mulholland’s path, but none of that mattered to Chapman. Saborio buried the PK to level things.

“Was it a penalty? In my book, no,” Mulholland said after the game. “Defender [Michael Lahoud] caught me with his stray leg on my shin and knocked me off balance. Then I just tried to regain the ball again. Then I thought we won a corner, but then the referee gave us a penalty, so I’ll take that. Philadelphia is going to feel it hard; I hope they know that I didn’t take a dive. I got the bruise on my shin to show it, but sometimes luck goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t.  I definitely think it was fortunate to get the penalty. The referee has got a hard decision to make there, because the defender has knocked me off balance, but stopping a goal scoring opportunity I don’t think so.”

Philadelphia would have a few half chances as the game entered stoppage time, but the result would stand. While before the game a point would have been welcomed by most Union supporters — and, on the balance of play, a draw might be the fairest result (though since when has soccer been fair?) — the way the two other points were stolen away will burn.

The Union will look for all three points when they host FC Dallas on Friday at 7 pm.

Philadelphia Union
Rais Mbolhi, Ray Gaddis, Steven Vitoria, Ethan White, Sheanon Williams, Maurice Edu, Vincent Nogueira, Andrew Wenger (Zach Pfeffer, 79), Cristian Maidana (Michael Lahoud, 79), Sebastien Le Toux, Fernando Aristeguieta (Conor Casey, 87)
Subs not used: John McCarthy, Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Fred

Real Salt Lake
Nick Rimando, Chris Schuler, Demar Phillips (Kenny Mansally, 82), Jámison Olave, Tony Beltran, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Luis Gil (Luke Mulholland, 70), Olmes García, Sebastián Jaime (Jordan Allen, 65), Álvaro Saborio
Subs not used: Jeff Attinella, Elías Vásquez, Devon Sandoval, Sebastian Saucedo

Scoring Summary
RSL: Javier Morales — 29
PHI: Fernando Aristeguieta — 34
PHI: Fernando Aristeguieta — 38
RSL: Jámison Olave (Olmes García, Javier Morales) — 55
PHI: Jámison Olave (OG) — 58
RSL: Álvaro Saborio (PK) — 86

Disciplinary Summary
RSL: Olmes García (foul) — 4
PHI: Steven Vitória (foul) — 23
RSL: Kyle Beckerman (Dissent) — 50
PHI: Maurice Edu (Foul) — 52
PHI: Ethan White (Off-the-ball Foul) — 62
RSL: Luke Mulholland (Foul) — 74
PHI: Fernando Aristeguieta (Dissent) — 86

Philadelphia Union Real Salt Lake
10 Attempts on Goal 14
4 Shots on Target 7
3 Shots off Target 5
3 Blocked Shots 5
3 Corner Kicks 5
10 Crosses 27
4 Offsides 4
15 Fouls 12
4 Yellow Cards 3
0 Red Cards 0
291 Total Passes 428
66% Passing Accuracy 84%
39.7% Possession 60.3%
57 Duels Won 43
57% Duels Won % 43%
20 Tackles Won 14
4 Saves 3
24 Clearances 30


  1. To begin, its one thing for a brand of game to be physical but MLS needs to consider the beyond physical and near thuggish manner the game is being played so far- as evidenced by the first two games of the season. This is putting the referee into an untenable position of card after card after card then non fouls leading to terrible calls because the referee is conditioned to act. What a terrible penalty call on Maurice Edu. What an abhorrent display of 8 year old kick and chase.
    It is hard to be intellectually honest and sporting after tonights game but here goes- the GOOD: A point and The Striker displaying a white coat clinical ability to finish and be in the right place at the right time.
    The REST…
    Five of six goals in the game were of cosmic chance and personified the chaos that was the match itself. Mercy. I tap out. Please make it stop. The game was 32 minutes old before the ball stayed on the carpet long enough to complete five passes- 32 minutes my friends.
    Air Ball Ping Pong Marble Ring Toss and utterly unwatchable. This is our game wether by plan or what– I have no idea but we deserve better than this. Our city deserves better. You may say, 2points after 2 games! yea I say bring me something more, some panache style anything but this because after six years of playing and building, this club’s style of play represents the worst of JP DellaCamera’s, “Union play the long ball” route 1 after a winter of snow plows and Alberta Clippers destroyed the whole surface of the road and my car’s axel to boot.
    After that game I was totally and completely worn out. My eyes hurt. My legs were lactic. I needed a nap. Unwatchable and not standing for it. This is unacceptable. Sorry. I had to get it out there.

    • …have seen the beautiful game. Played it with complete strangers able to trigonometry numerical advantages in small spaces on small slivers of overgrown carpet between baseball and lacrosse practices- seen it up close reveled and breathed in its soul satisfaction- nothing fancy just some simple one and two touch and move find the numerical advantage moving meditation- complete strangers and damn fine footballers of italian and french and english and scandanavian descent.
      This is non linear regression- a fugazi- a FUBAR Jack’s aching soccer heartache- it is Tyler Durden pouring lye on the hand to offset the chemical burn of ineptitude. What the hell was that game last night. Can someone ‘splain it to me.

      • The first couple months of MLS always look sloppy because by game time you’ve been watching EPL all morning. Come summer, when the Euro leagues end and this is all we got, it will look pretty awesome.

      • The Black Hand says:

        This is, sadly, so very true!

      • I know….I went form Arsenal….to Barca…to the U…..wtf?????? It should go in the opposite order to prevent indigestion………..

      • Atomic Spartan says:

        Joel, I recommend a rest from the James Joyce and Henry James. Take 2 Hemingways and call me in the morning.

        On the other hand, quite evocative of the stream of kickball that was the game. Evocative.

      • You know my favorite quote from James Joyce,
        “I travel the city of flesh without a map, like a worried tourist- and she was Venice.”
        —— Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

      • …And just then sombody chimed in: “Joel, have a Snickers. You’re not yourself when you watch the Union.” ;-D

      • You, sir, win one internet today.

      • I love this, maybe I am Jessica Tandy at her crotchety best,”football this isn’t football.”

      • LMAO! Well played.

    • I share the long view with you dude…..but where you and I diverge is that I am also a pragmatist. I don’t expect Catalan precision from our club anytime soon. If you are going to do that….start with the academy and bring them into the first team to create that vision and culture. In the meantime, I only ask that you put our players in the best possible position to win matches. I haven’t agreed much with what has been done up until Saturday night….but I can’t get angry on how they came out. They came out in the formation and tactics that I have been asking for since day 1….and I thought they looked 10x’s better than last week.

      • Points noted 215.
        I really struggle with the panic to our play and how much all out running you see at every chance- these long passes- we receive possession then pass it most often in the air back and forth it goes. Something is missing. Some organizational leadership with the ball. It seems Vincent wants to do it but it is not translating cause he is not getting the proper movement- something- I can’t pin it down.
        I know an expectation of tiki take precision is unrealistic and maybe I am being unfair, pragmatism is not my strong suit, but when I watch other higher end MLS teams I see a semblance of sophistication. With this club it just isn’t there.
        While I agree that they organized well on defense the offense is all premature ejaculation. You want to counter attack, fine that doesn’t mean you have to do it every time you receive the ball0- unless it is the only way you are able to play- which by all accounts it seems to be the case.
        My hopes lie with your aspirations that the next generation of kids are well versed in futsal and the demand for quick thinking and SSG and creating the automatic responses of how to utilize space properly will translate in something closer to beauty. For now, I will just point and say this is not the way forward.

      • LA, RSL, Seattle, Orlando, Red Bull, KC….agree, they show shades of class from time to time. We could have used, and are going to need, some of that to kill matches and suck the life out of them in the future to get some results………

      • Joel,

        Here it is. Are you ready?… Edu sucks in the mid-field. You cannot boss the mid-field with your head down.

      • I’m not crazy with him but am trying not to confirm my biases with Maurice.
        He has moments where you can see he is in control and moments where it is almost as if he has attention deficit issues.
        When I argue for Maurice is is almost like telling a lie not to hurt the other person’s feelings, let em down light, when you know your all hollow about it.

      • Mo is a great soccer player. He might be the best American Center Back playing the game today if he wanted to be. His problem is he simply wants to play a position, center mid, where you must play the ball with your head up or you will make dumb, costly passes consistently as he does because he is incapable of catching, moving and passing a ball without looking at it.

      • …and remember dude, the 4-2-3-1..can look that way. Tactically, you tell your players when winning the ball…..their first option A is to play to highest level possible…and build inside out from there…..hence big target forwards that play well back to goal. If that option is not open…play to options B and C….always retain possession……and repeat. Someone forgot to tell our guys….you don’t always have to play to option A!

  2. If Joel’s wrong —

    I don’t wanna be right.

  3. old soccer coach says:

    Of course you were completely worn out, Joel, you sensed the opportunity with the gift of not one but two utterly improbable goals and the flashes of excellent play from both sides. Having spent a coaching career watching play that aspired to the Jugeo Bonita but was rarely there even in a flash, I gently and respectfully disagree that it was truly unwatchable.
    We were constantly trying for tight precise possession triangles to move the ball down the field; defensively RSL was expecting that and put a goodly amount of pressure in the first half in the midfield and our offensive third effectively challenging and frequently denying time and space. They did to to a degree well beyond what Colorado provided, and light years beyond anything we faced in preseason, including Columbus. To our credit, after being back on our heels for the first several minutes we increased our pace and our precision and took it right back at them for a time. Your observation about not connecting passes for the first 32 minutes hits the nail squarely on the head. We did, however, step up our pace and quality, I grant as their initial adrenaline surge began to wear off, but it was still a clear improvement.
    To RSL’s credit they increased the high pressure after halftime taking advantage of the inevitable, almost unavoidable sense of satisfaction that the side perceived by itself to be lesser has when it goes in at halftime ahead. It doesn’t matter how much the coach warns against the let down, getting the intensity, precision and concentration back to where it had been is very, very difficult. Only an experienced, veteran, highly successful side manages it.
    We got the second gift to go back ahead, and tried to match the increased intensity, and the little tiny subtleties of fatigue began to rob us of success. Our best technical players began to miss passes just slightly, and so forth. They train at altitude; we do not. Their preseason faced better quality opposition; their substitutions allowed them to sustain what they were doing more than did ours, some of which are still learning.
    Am I gutted by not getting the win? AAAARRRRGH! Did our guys grow, learn and improve? Emphatically, yes. Do there continue to be plenty of opportunities for growth, learning and improvement in their future? And how!
    While one or two of the card decisions seemed inequitable, and non-calls were sometimes inexplicable, the referee sensed the explosiveness of the situation from the jump and was trying to control it. I credit Luke Mulholland’s honesty about the PK, as such candor is rare. I’d rather have Chapman than Petrescu any day; his game did not need intervention from the local LEOs to protect life and property.
    To quote James Lawrence from the HMS Leopard-USS Chesapeake “incident” in 1807, “Don’t Give Up the Ship!”

    • Your rationality is like warm chamomile hint of lemon touch of sugar.
      I stand by my position but recognize the wear and tear of bleary eyed work at 4am lends to the scorn.
      If see your James Lawrence and give you, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.” -Admiral David Farragut

  4. The Little Fish says:

    I thought it was exciting as hell. We fought hard against a superior foe and came out with a point on the road. It sure as heck wasn’t dull. Tons of fun as far as I’m concerned. Sorry Joel I can’t agree with you this time bro. We were a couple minutes away from an epic victory. RSL only lost once at home last year, no?

  5. Ref was too quick to call fouls on Philly all night. STL got whistles for stuff the Union was just asked to play on.
    Aside from being miffed that we got robbed of two points a second time in a row, I somewhat agree with Joel. It wasn’t that bad, but it was at times pretty bad. We had a hell of a hard time just passing the ball up through he midfield. Gave the ball away time and time again. Union has to do better.

    • Is it any wonder why foreign players have a tough time adjusting to this league. The pace is breakneck with non stop running. Cruyff, “Don’t run so much, right place right moment not too early not too late”
      The more you run in this game the less you understand how it should be played. Chaco never had to work so hard- any wonder he looks slow and gassed- he spent a lifetime right place right moment- but they do not occur with this club this level of MLS play- at least RSL had moments of this insight.
      Last nights game was as if the entire middle 3rd of the pitch did not exist for both teams admittingly but specifically The Onion- save the fortunate combining of a few players- it was circa 1992, 12 year old kick and chase- header header header punt. No tactical acumen- simple good fortune of a few players combining one or two passes then losing control cause the pace is blistering. You want to know the most overrated 2 words in this game- Unlucky and Pace.
      This is not the way forward. This is not the game. No chance to slow the game down even a half second to allow for your support to gain a numerical advantage to build play. To Pause. To play backwards and sideways to FORCE movement of the opposition into positions that best serve your purpose. Intentional.
      Early season. Mid season. Late season as someone above points out it gets better….. – nope I can’t pretend. If I ostracize myself I accept responsibility this is elementary Jogo Bonito we are talking about. Fixed action patterns that should be automatic but are not- simple 3v2 and 4v2- but the speed is too fast- like grilling chicken at 550 degrees between commercials and expecting succulence.
      No. I cannot accept it. I cannot be the moon I can only point towards it. This is not the way forward.

      • Nogs played well sitting deep….and tried to start numerous sequences out of his spot. Only a few times…..he ever got the ball back. When Pfeffer and Lahoud came in….he went higher up the pitch and seemed to be running around just trying to close lanes……..

      • Joel, There is pause, but the pause occurs while the ball is above 6ft in the air. That is when the Gods of chance rule 50 percent your way or 50 percent mine. During that pause every single player on the field except for the few that might bring the ball down “pause” like an epileptic seizing, or a baby falling asleep with the spoon in the cheek or Grampa on Thanksgiving with the belt undone.

        Oh sorry, the pause you speak of is the “pause with possession”. Oh I get it. You mean like the style every other team in the world including the MLS now plays? Playing the ball out of the back and possessing it? It gives me “pause” to think how well NYCFC played possession on the postage stamp sized home field and after having only been together for a few months.

        Philly deserves better. Philly deserves the beautiful game where all players might be played the ball at any given time, including the goalie.

  6. Andy Muenz says:

    Good for Mulholland (even if he does have one of the ugliest arms I’ve ever seen), I can’t remember the last time a player saying the ref got it wrong in giving his team a PK.
    That being said, Chapman was a joke. In addition to that, the yellow on Garcia when Mbolhi slid into the play was a joke. To not call a foul when Williams was taken out in the corner in the first half after making a cross was ridiculous (probably should have been a yellow).
    As far as the Union go, I think both of their first two goals were good work. Yes, the got lucky with the deflection on the first one, but how many times have we seen the opposing keeper not make a clean save but no Union player hustling in? As for the second, it was an alert play. And had the ball not gone in, the Union should have been awarded a PK (although with Chapman you never know) given that Aristeguieta was taken down after he shot the ball.

    • Atomic Spartan says:

      If this were golf, Mulholland would have gone to the ref and admitted he fell/no foul. As this is “The Beautiful Game,” had he been the true sportsman, he would have been benched and his career shortened. What does that say about our love for a game that encourages cheating at so many levels?

      • It’s not about cheating. It’s about the perception of the audience. In this case the audience is the referee. There is truly only one out there and that is by design. Golf is designed for self-regulation because the field is so vast and the corners so dark. It’s also not very entertaining to talk about someone who fools themselves into glory/tragedy, but it happens, believe me.

  7. Andy Muenz says:

    I think one of the stats is wrong. It’s showing the Union had 24 yellow cards. Very hard to do that with 0 reds.

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      That’s what we call in the writing biz a “typo.” Very easy to do that after coming home at 3 am from working a 10 hour shift at a bar on St. Patrick’s Day (what we call in the bar biz “National Amateur Drinking Day”) and then working another hour to edit, and add quotes, lineups, stats, and video, to a recap, while also putting together a separate postgame quotes post. Thank you for pointing it out.

  8. Atomic Spartan says:

    Aristeguieta. Opportunistic finisher. More goals. Good.

  9. Atomic Spartan says:

    Two DFK fouls in the box by Colorado last week and neither called. A no-foul lose-your-balance call against us this week and a PK is called. The Union must be the Rodney Dangerfield of MLS. Yes we had enough missed chances to win the game outright, but that is 4 points lost in the standings.

    I agree that the thuggisness must be influencing the refs’ perceptions. And it will take a long time, maybe years before MLS can root out the wrestling moves and allow skill to take over. But I suggest two small steps to make the game just a little prettier. One, fine the thugs. Don’t just suspend them, because the yellow cards alone are not having the desired effect. That said, whenever a player stops play by immediately standing in front of a free kick, card him. When we see more continuous play, we’ll see more goals, and that is what will put more butts in the stadium seats

    • Play was fairly continuous last night. I was impressed. Goal kicks and corners were taken in about 15 seconds. That’s quite an improvement over typical MLS pacing.

  10. Chapman should be suspended for deciding that game. On top of that: Garcia not a yellow, Vitoria not a yellow and the foul on Sheanon that led to the first goal was marginal at best. Union worked hard and weren’t intimidated at Rio Tinto. Aristeguieta was in the right place at the right time and finished with class. The difference for me was Chaco. He was involved with every goal and is certainly the linchpin of our attack. He has to be in the first XI if healthy. Le Toys must do better with that early chance. That was a god awful miss. I would have liked to see Conor come on at the same time as the others. El Colorado was gassed. Conor doesn’t just bring offense he helps hold possession late. Disagree with anyone who says the game wasn’t exciting and fun to watch until the 86th minute.

    • Set piece defense! Shades of last season . . .

      • I absolutely agree. It continues to be a problem, and seems to show no improvement at all.

      • Yea I agree with both of you, SoB and Tim. How the hell were the Union defense not goal side on Real’s second goal. So goddamn frustrating. It’s soccer 101. always be goal side on free kicks and even corners. Same unawareness and laziness from last year…..

      • The Black Hand says:

        There are some instances when you want to play your opponent offside, on free-kicks…

      • For what? To trap them offsides? Look, where that free kick was being taken, the union should have been goal side and organized and ready. To me they weren’t and were caught off guard, idk it was just really poor defending once again.

      • The Black Hand says:

        In some instances, yes, you want to play your opponent offside.
        That said, I agree. Our set-piece defending is poor…real poor.

  11. Gruntled Fan says:

    Thought it was an exciting game, definitely not the kind of soccer you see at the Premier League level, but entertaining. Just so frustrating when the ref decides the game with a call like that and then to see so many weak yellow cards and non-yellows. Guess we just have to hope it balances out in the long-run and we get some of those gift calls down the road. If the ref gets suspended it is still not going the change the outcome of the game.
    Anyway else notice Chaco’s foul throw-in on the second goal? He clearly lifts his back foot a bit, I guess that is one missed call in our favor.

    • Yes. Said that to my daughter right away, and then they showed the replay which confirmed it.

    • Throw ins have become the in-bound pass of the NBA, refs don’t even look anymore. You can probably see at least 5 foul throws a game in MLS and it’s never called. Hell, last week at PPL Williams had a throw in that had to have curved 30 degrees while in the air and no one batted an eye.

      • Gruntled Fan says:

        Just funny that I’ll see it called on Premier League games once and a while and color man then goes on to rip the player (very entertaining) for not throwing it in properly. Makes me think of my 8 year old boys who only took three months to figure it out.

    • The requirement is that only PART of each foot is planted.

  12. 1) No control in the middle third;
    2) Giveaway after giveaway, especially in that middle third;
    3) How many times, especially in the second half, did RSL just play the ball out of bounds on their left side? Union’s attack up that side was most successful as well, and could have used Casey in front as a target very effectively;
    4) Beckerman looked like he was trying to make the old Broad Street Bullies;
    Much improvement as to spacing and shape this week; less of the donut formation with nothing in the middle. Now, just need to work on controlling the ball when it is in that section. I thought that the Union was close on possession in the first half, although I came in late, and I am amazed to see that they were as close as the stats indicate for the game.
    Can’t complain about getting a point if you play well on the road, but when two of your goals are from defensive miscues (one misdirection causing the goalie to give up a short and easy rebound, and the second a straight own goal) and your opponent comes away with their tying goal on a weak call, I don’t know that anybody can draw any conclusions from this game. I agreed with JP and Pappas, it was entertaining. I don’t think that it was good soccer. Better luck next week.

  13. The U looked not only to be trying hard to win the match, but tactically they seemed to have a clue how to do it. Compare with this past week’s Chelsea matches, the one they didn’t try to win, and the one they couldn’t, and there is much cause for hope. Well done, team. Next time, park the bus late and go home with three points.

    • EDIT: I meant the Chelsea midweek match, boo to negative tactics, and the Manchester City match Saturday, the one that sealed the title for Chelsea.

  14. Once again, the Union snatched a draw from the jaws of victory. All off season Curtin talked about how they were training to be able to close out games. I saw no evidence of that in this match. Sure it was a bad call by the ref but prior to that where was the possession when it was needed? Why can’t they kick the ball around? String some passes together and take some damn time off the clock? They looked like the same old U to me. Moments of good play and even some luck but when it counted they just reverted to long clearances and crossed fingers. The same strategy you see in 6-8 year old pee wee games.The truly frustrating part of watching this team is no matter how well they play or how far ahead they are, the draw or loss seems inevitable. So when the 80th minute comes you’re expecting the wheels to come off and they do with infuriating regularity.

    • i don’t know about what you’re saying here. i can’t see how you can put the late goal conceded on the ‘same old u’

      • I don’t know how I can be any more clear. They had just a few minutes left to hold on and they couldn’t do it. AGAIN. It doesn’t matter that it was a bad call. The point is instead of playing intelligently and moving the ball around they just reverted to kicking it long and hoping that RSL wouldn’t put together a smart run and tie it. They put themselves in position to lose 2 points instead of winning 3. To me that’s the same old U.

    • Rob127, I totally agree. I feel that Curtin doesn’t care much for possession but, in this game we should have been keeping possession every chance we got. The union failed to do that. It is mind boggling that this team can’t keep the ball away from the opponent just enough to create some movement or creativity. See, I feel some ppl do not take keeping possession seriously. I feel this way with Curtin’s philosophy. He just wants to counter, counter, and counter when in reality, keeping possession opens up space and opportunities to create plays and allows a team to be patient, which the Union are not. Of course we need to counter attack, and we are good at it too, but the possession game needs to be equal and flowing throughout the defense to the offense. The U need to incorporate this type of play in order to have real success. They really need to learn how to keep the ball and be more smart with the ball.

  15. The Good:
    – Nando. Keep it up kid.
    – The formation. Nog directing from deep, Chaco going forward. Maidana has to be in the starting XI.
    – Despite giving up 3 goals, Mbolhi had some nice saves and commanded the box well.

    The Bad:
    – Was Wenger on the flight to Utah? And I kind of wish LeToux had not been. Awful game from those two.
    – The back 4 still look disorganized. Things need to tighten up there or Union will need 2 or 3 goals every week just to get a draw.

    The Ugly
    – MLS referees.

    • Le Toux has had an awful first two weeks, his touch looks like lead. Wenger was not quite as bad.

      • Le Toux needs to be a sub right now. He has been horrible in front of net and once again his ball control is a disaster. I would put Sapong or Pheffer or Ayuk in place of him

    • The RSL TV analyst (Brian Dunseth) was repeatedly talking about how he thought Mbolhi didn’t command the box well. Interesting to hear a dissenting view. I’m a little torn, but it does seem like he’s not a fan of coming off his line much.

      • Just saw the highlights from last night at HT on ESPN. Mbolh does seem planted to his line on the 2nd RSL goal. I’m remembering a few aggressive punches on corners from early in the game for my positive rating.

      • I was thoroughly disappointed in Rais for not coming off his line more often. It seemed like after Garcia kicked him in the face he was done.

  16. Well it was interesting anyway. Really not very smooth play on either side. Couple points, just like last year, set piece defense and late loss of leads burned us.
    Worst thing so far this year has been Curtin. Last week was abysmal as we all know. This week he was forced to play the best formation. For the second week in a row the subs were at least 10 -15 mins too late. Also, it was very clear that we came out of half saying “only defend and punt, defend and punt”. It was way too early for that, it’s like playing prevent defense, it inevitably gets beat.
    All in all, a point there is a good result, but the way it happened was brutal. And we should have best Colorado, so at best we are 1 point behind where we should be, at worst we are 4 points behind. Makes a difference at the end of the year.

  17. The Chopper says:

    The Union have plenty to work on. That being saiid, they have put themselves in position to have six points after two games if not for the abominidation that is MLS officiating.

    They certainly should have four. They will be looking for these points come September. I know you can’t blame it on the refs, but to have such critical calls missed in the first two matches isn’t just bad luck, it is the gross incompetence of MLS officials. While the league and level of play has improved dramatically in 20 years, the quality of officials have not. You can’t be Major League with high school officiating.

  18. The Black Hand says:

    We beat them…somehow. Ref saved them. This Season has been…

  19. Let''s He Honest says:

    The Union did enough to lose that game and got lucky not to. I fault them, not the ref for this result.
    – Defense was horrible. RSL did what they wanted on set pieces and Gaddis was owned all night long and was a turnover machine the entire game. Williams didn’t do much better.
    – On a “normal” game, the Union doesn’t see goals 1 and 3 they were just dumb luck.
    – Goal 2 was well worked, but again a bit of luck on the foul throw-in not called and the defender serving the ball to Nando.
    – LeToux was just horrible.
    – Wenger was invisible. I hope it was just a fluke game for him.
    – Worrisome to see this kind of display for a team that preaches to be built on defense first.

  20. Is it just me or is everyone else worried sick every time Ethan White touched the ball? He always looks unsure and either makes a careless back pass that lacks pace or just boots it to get out of trouble. I think he makes the rest of the backline look worse for sure.

    • Gruntled Fan says:

      Yes, couldn’t agree more, looks like he’s the kid in school hiding in the back of class hoping the teacher doesn’t call on him. When he gets the ball he seems to get nervous on where to go with it or what to do.

  21. The Black Hand says:

    Seba, Wenger, Nogs, Edu, Sheanon, Ray and White all got paid for nothing, last night. Worthless showing from all of them. They owe Nando and RSL a steak dinner. Terrible!!!

    • Agree on most of those players having a poor night, especially Wenger & LeToux. The back line was awful.

      I disagree on Nogueira, I thought he had a fairly good night, sitting deep and attempting to start the attack. As has been noted above, its not his fault that after Maidana, the next person the ball is played to – Wenger, LeToux, etc, is not capable of maintaining possession.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I thought that Noguiera was invisible, too often. He did show moments…but a player of his ability should be controlling the match. Much of his troubles could be the result of Edu’s frequent stretches of lackadaisical play. (I really can’t tell you how disappointed I have been with our new skipper.) He has been quite slow in transition and, too often, clogs the space that Noguiera needs to create. Our quality will hinge on their cohesion…and right now there is zero. C’mon Jimbo…MANAGE!!!!!

      • With Edu running into the same areas on the defensive side and LeToux’s ramblings into his area on the offensive side, Nogs must feel like it’s tough to get some space to do his thing.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Edu is giving him the double-whammy, by smothering Noguiera on both sides. Edu likes to be ‘The Man’, Noguiera is ‘The Man’. Too often, Edu SLOWLY carries the ball up the pitch (forcing Nogs to drop back in support), only to dispossess himself with a terrible pass. What Edu should do is; play the #6…get possession from the back line and then quickly find the french playmaker and give him the ball. Until Edu checks his ego at the gate, we will struggle. As Noguiera and Edu go…so goes our middle. Curtin needs to manage this dilemma…yesterday.
        My doubts, in Curtin’s ability, are growing weekly. He looked to be making all the right moves, when he first took over. Now he is looking like another ‘dinosaur’ that needs to be put down.

  22. I think I’ve about had enough of LeToux on the set piece kicks. He MUST be something real special in practice each week, because I can’t see how his performances in the last 40 games or so justify his being in the first 5-6 guys you would choose for that job.

    SEBA! The kick HAS to get above elbow height!!!

  23. I’m a little late to the party, but here we go! I thought they came out in the proper shape in the 4-2-3-1, with the right people, at the right places. They played a good match and should have got the three points. The refs are laughable in this league……….it is something they may need to address sooner rather than later. I’m normally tough on them, but I thought they got screwed on Saturday night. I even like how they pressed the hell out of RSL…….I was waiting for this type of play from them. Having said that, my only criticism would be from our flank backs. They got caught up the pitch a lot, and had to foul a lot to recover. If you keep giving teams restarts to put in your box…..one is eventually going to find the back of the net. The CB’s need to shift to cover the flank backs if they get caught, which will happen during a match. I even saw Mo telling White that he needed to shift over on one occasion. Should have had three, but coming out of there with one is not a bad thing……most come out of RioT with goose eggs…..

    • The Black Hand says:

      They did absorb early RSL pressure (and conceded a goal). Then they rallied and put Real on their heels…only to abandon that, as the match wore on. Tough to gauge either club on that comical display of…I don’t even know what.

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