Union match reports

Match report: NYCFC 1-1 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Earl Gardner

On a cool night in the Bronx, the Philadelphia Union earned a draw in their Yankee Stadium debut, finishing level with NYCFC at 1-1.

After a bland first half, NYCFC scored first off a strong strike by Mehdi Ballouchy. But, as the game wound down, a great combination between Maurice Edu and C.J. Sapong saw Sapong fire home his first goal for the Union and earn the team a valuable road point.

“We’re slowly but surely finding our motto, we’re finding our swagger, and we’re just going to keep building on that,” Sapong stated.

First Half

The Union made just one change from a lineup which defeated NYCFC  just five days earlier. Fernando Aristeguieta returned from injury and moved up top, partnering with Sebastien Le Toux in a two striker set which sent Zach Pfeffer to the bench.

The Union started brightly, with a marauding run by Aristeguieta in the 2nd minute leading to a pair of chances from Andrew Wenger and Le Toux. Neither shot, though, had the sort of power or pace necessary to trouble Josh Saunders.

Both teams spent the early minutes adjusting to the cramped dimensions of the Yankee Stadium field, with the bulk of the action in the Union’s defensive half. The Union had the better of the chances. In the 13th minute, Vincent Nogueira made a driving run towards the box, then tapped it into Aristeguieta’s path. The Venezuelan hit a rifled shot from 20 yards out which just soared over the bar.

It was nearly a disaster for the Union in the 23rd minute when Khiry Shelton was sprung down the right wing. Inexplicably, John McCarthy came out to challenge, but Williams was in the box to control the dangerous counter. Tempers began to flare. Nogueira had already been dubiously booked for diving before David Villa and Eric Ayuk got into a battle at the endline. The home crowd thought a penalty had been awarded, but the ref ruled it good defending by the youngster and assigned Ned Grabavoy a yellow.

The strangely shaped head of Adam Nemec nearly gave NYC the lead in the 27th minute, but his header off a corner went just wide. Not two minutes later, Mehdi Ballouchy was sent in on McCarthy off a lovely touch by Villa, but the MLS veteran blasted his chip well over the goal.

The reeling Union settled down over the next ten minutes. Javier Calle earned a deserved yellow card for a bad foul on Ayuk in the 32nd minute.

Once again, Shelton caused major problems for McCarthy in the 38th minute, when he got past the keeper’s challenge at the top of the box. Shelton’s attempt to cross took too long to arrive, however, and the Union man was able to scramble back and deflect the cross away.

McCarthy’s zealousness off his line caused some consternation in the first half. “Well, you know I would tell [McCarthy] to his face — you could definitely tell it was his second start,” Sapong said with a smile after the game. “But it’s a beautiful thing to see a guy learning on the fly, and it’s good that our teammates are staying behind him and keeping him in the game. At the end of the day, he’s doing well in my book, and I think he’ll only get better.”

Second half

Jason Kreis made two changes at the start of the second half. David Villa, a persistent danger in the first half, made way for Kwadwo Poku due to an injury. Kwame Watson-Siriboe replaced Jason Hernandez in the back.

NYCFC got the first chance of the half when Adam Nemec turned good hold-up play into a shot at goal in the 47th minute. McCarthy was there to smother the ball.

New York continued to build pressure in the final third, forcing intervention after intervention from the Union defense. Poku, in particular, began to cause serious problems with his strength. McCarthy was called upon to perform a huge reflex save against Grabavoy in the 52nd minute.

Eventually the Union would pay, and it would be Mehdi Ballouchy who’d cash the check. In the 57th minute, Ballouchy received a pass from Shelton at the corner of the box, took a killer first touch to get around a helpless Ray Gaddis, and fired a curling strike into the far corner.

Jim Curtin made a pair of changes immediately following the goal, with C.J. Sapong and Cristian Maidana replacing Aristeguieta and Ayuk. Not one minute later, Poku took the ball into the box and stung a shot off McCarthy’s palms. Almost no time passed before Vincent Nogueira suffered a foot injury which would take him off the pitch. Zach Pfeffer entered as Philadelphia’s final substitution.

The match entered a dull period, as Philadelphia adapted to their substitutions and New York contentedly killed time.

In the 74th minute, the Union were nearly pulled level. A Watson-Siriboe foul led to a free kick from the halfway line by Maidana, which fell to Pfeffer in the box. His stung shot looked destined for the corner, but Saunders got his hands to it and made the save. At the other end, Khiry Shelton nearly put the match out of reach, but his shot from the corner of the box went just wide of the post.

Jeb Brovsky entered for Calle in the 78th minute. Two minutes later, the Union had a golden chance to level the match, as Le Toux hit a shot just wide of the post and Wenger was just six inches slow with his trailing run.

As frustration mounted for the Union, it would be the substitute C.J. Sapong who brought the match level in the 87th minute. A looped ball in from Maidana was touched down in the box by Maurice Edu, and the ball bounced down to an unmarked Sapong making a great run into the box. He made no mistake, blasting a ferocious valley past the helpless Saunders. It was his first goal in a Union kit, and it was enough to earn the Union a massive road point.

“I give the kid a lot of credit. He had his face literally smashed in in week 1,” Curtin noted after the game. “For him to stick with it, stay in shape as well as he did during his down time, and score a big goal for us tonight — he gets rewarded for all his hard work.”

“I tried to focus extra today on going with the play,” Sapong said after the game. “It fell for me, and I just put it in the net.”

NYCFC threatened in stoppage time, but the Union threw everything they had into defense, keeping out a dangerous final chance on a howitzer from Ballouchy on a diving save by McCarthy. The final whistle blew to groans around Yankee Stadium, the home side dropping two points in frustrating fashion.

The home-and-home with NYC ends with the Union taking four points out of a possible six.

“They’re a good team that needed points on their home field tonight — for us to get that one is huge,” said Curtin. “To know that you can go on the road and get a result is great for everyone’s confidence.”

The Union will be back in action on Sunday, when they host the New England Revolution at home (5 p.m., ESPN2).

Philadelphia Union
John McCarthy, Ray Gaddis, Maurice Edu, Steven Vitoria, Sheanon Williams, Michael Lahoud, Vincent Nogueira (Zach Pfeffer, 63), Andrew Wenger, Eric Ayuk (Cristian Maidana, 58), Sebastien Le Toux, Fernando Aristeguieta (CJ Sapong, 58)

New York City FC
Josh Saunders, Javier Calle (Jeb Brovsky, 78), Chris Wingert, Jason Hernandez (Kwadwo Poku, 45), Josh Williams, Mehdi Ballouchy, Andrew Jacobson, Ned Grabavoy, Khiry Shelton, Adam Nemec, David Villa (Kwame Watson-Siriboe, 45)

Scoring Summary
NYC: Mehdi Ballouchy (Khiry Shelton) — 57
PHI: CJ Sapong (Maurice Edu, Cristian Maidana) — 87

Disciplinary Summary
PHI: Vincent Nogueira (Dive) — 22
NYC: Ned Grabavoy (Dissent) — 25
NYC: Javier Calle (Persisten Infringement) — 32
PHI: Sheanon Williams (Foul) — 41
NYC: Mehdi Ballouchy (Excessive Celebration) — 58
PHI: CJ Sapong (Foul) — 67
NYC: Kwame Watson-Siriboe (Foul) — 73
NYC: Andrew Jacobson (Foul) — 87

Philadelphia Union New York City FC
12 Attempts on Goal 17
7 Shots on Target 5
4 Shots off Target 7
1 Blocked Shots 5
 4 Corner Kicks 8
 10 Crosses  24
 2 Offsides 3
 13 Fouls 14
3 Yellow Cards 5
0 Red Cards  0
 349 Total Passes 483
 68% Passing Accuracy 76%
 41.3% Possession  58.7%
 46 Duels Won 58
 44.2% Duels Won %  55.8%
11 Tackles Won  22
4 Saves 6
25 Clearances 46


  1. Wenger and Le Toux fucking suck.

    Time to try out Jimmy.

    • Atomic Spartan says:

      Wenger might be dangerous if he could cut right at the end of one of his Cruzean runs. Unfortunately not so dangerous.

      • Wenger might be dangerous if he stuck to US – USSR Hockey at Jilly’s Arcade down the shore.
        That is the limit of his danger at the moment. He is a detriment to this team. Beginning to think last season was the anomaly.

      • The Black Hand says:

        He was wretched.

      • pragmatist says:

        Was Wenger out there? I didn’t notice. At all. Ever.

        No, wait…that’s right….he’s the one that almost handed NYCFC a goal inform inside our 6.

        Not good, Andy…not good.

      • The Black Hand says:

        He was the guy, that was nowhere near the right place…at the right time. So disappointed with Wenger’s play. I had been pulling for him to shake this funk…ain’t happening

      • Gruntled Fan says:

        Exactly what I was thinking towards the end of the first half, is Wenger playing tonight cause I haven’t seem him touch the ball, not even a couple head ball flicks that he managed last game on long clearances.
        Time to try something else out there, it can’t be any worse than what’s he’s doing (or not doing).

      • The Zoolander Union: A place for people who don’t soccer good.

      • The Black Hand says:


  2. Nova 66-64 says:

    The passing by the Union was poor but a good result

    • Atomic Spartan says:

      You expected better? They held an MLS match in a baseball stadium and a MISL game broke out. All that was missing were the rink boards.

  3. the first several games of the season must have set a low bar for me because i legitimately feel happy just watching this team play while feeling like they can win the game they are playing in

  4. Atomic Spartan says:

    Sapong opens his account, McCarthy proves his worth, Curtin is forced to make the right moves at the right time and the Boys in Blue play well enough as the House Ruth Did Not Build cramps everyone’s style. There is hope.

    • for the second match in row…….Curtin made the right subs…at the right time. I’ll give you that……..

  5. Lazlo Hollyfeld says:

    thought Edu was very good

    • That game was Vito , Mo and the 9 Stooges. Without those two the score would have been 5-0

      • Vincent had an unusual amount of turnovers tonight, course, when nobody moves for you or is running away from you, or is ALWAYS one or One.5 seconds behind in their thinking and with their back to you, it is easy to understand why #5 wasn’t his best. Again multiple times saw him with his hands up in WTF is that mode.

      • two man midfield as opposed to three….not in his comfort zone. I noticed last night, in the tight space, he’s the only guy we have that can wheel and deal…and get himself out of trouble. We don’t have another guy….maybe besides Ayuk and Pfeffer….that can do that.

      • Agreed, the creative responsibilities were once again laid on him when everybody knows he’s uncomfortable with that. Even more obvious in a smaller field.

      • Yeah…..he did give the patented arms up wtf? last night a few times……..too funny.

    • Regarding Edu being very good, does that include the part when he tried to dribble the ball out of the back in 93rd minute, giving up his position, then turning the ball over then hoping beyond hope his 21 year old goalkeeper would make a spectacular save to bail him out? .
      I thought Edu was one of the best players on a team of bad players- which then isn’t saying much. I do give him my regard for playing on a bad leg.

  6. Well, you can aded FOOSBALL to the list of things this team doesn’t do well. All that without Diskerud and Villa.
    Having Le Toux and Wenger on the field at same time was redundant and dumb and a misstep by JC. Keeping Casey on the bench was dumb and a misstep by JC.
    Will somebody please sit Andrew Wenger -give him a few weeks off then urge him to quit the game.
    I could go on and on and on and on. That was utterly painful to watch.
    I loved, “Playing in one of the most famous stadiums in the world” – JP Dellacamara. I about shit myself.

    • Not trying to start an argument and I’m certainly no fan of NY anything, but are the NY Yankees not one of the most storied franchises? Yankees baseball caps are everywhere around the world. The stadium may not be a decade old, but the lore is what I believe JP was referencing. I’m sure there were internationals on the pitch that felt it, c’mon.

      • Fair point Truth. I acquiesce.

      • That is NOT the cathedral. It is an abomination and a terrible field to play soccer on.

      • I don’t think you feel it like you did in the old Yankee Stadium. I grew up a Yankee fan in a family of New Yorkers, and I made sure to catch a game with my brother in the weeks before they closed the old stadium. The new one is a corporate box of money. It’s not the same, and it doesn’t feel the same, unfortunately.
        Also, it’s garbage for soccer. That field is so small it even changes the way you watch the game.

    • Playing at Yankee stadium is a joke. That isn’t a field it’s a hockey rink. I think Villa came off because he was disgusted at having to play there.
      Wenger and LeToux both no-shows again. So when do we get rid of M’bohli so we can use his money for new wingers..

    • re: “Playing in one of the most famous stadiums in the world”. The NYCFC announcer did JP one better. “This is what these players have been dreaming about all their lives. Playing in Yankee Stadium.”

      • yea I thought it was a bit over the top by JP- but hey they were looking for something positive to say about the experience I guess. Turns out NY was even a bit more stupendous in the adulation of a soccer match on a baseball field – which is only slightly more absurd than a soccer match on a football field.

  7. Is there a way to keep teams from playing hack-a-shaq with Nando? Because he’s getting pushed and shoved and karate kicked and arm barred with barely a whistle. They had a player act like Ayuk was Jon Runyan when they made contact and flung himself down, Pfeffer is getting blown up, yet we lose a contested ball and it’s a yellow.

    Please explain.

    • The Chopper says:

      Explanation simple, deep pocketed new team playing in Yankee Staium needs points. This is MLS after all.

    • I like Jacobson, but at the end of the game I was hoping one of our guys would have pulled a Scott Stevens and given him a full body check on a dead run. He should have been carded way earlier than he was

      • I was looking for a Stooge Poke myself.

      • I was not happy with his play.

        Anyone notice that Brovsky was left off the starting lineup. Clearly an Ayuk move.

        Speaking of Ayuk, who else loved his chucking David Little House on the Prairie to the ground in the first half…cleanly.

  8. Here’s the problem. First off, half the teams touch on the ball is fucking horrid. It blows my mind that these players still at the “professional” level cant collect the ball to their feet. I coukd do ten times better. The other variable that pisses me off bc it’s killing this team to have any productivity is this so called “counter attacking” style. I never understood when Curtin and others have said the union are a counter attacking team…..yea so is every other team in the MLS and In every other league !! No team can do well just playing this counter attacking style which I never understood. You have to be a possession team and a countering team. No wonder the union looked tired at the end of the game and in every game bc they just counter and counter and counter playing no real possession game and having patience. The difference was NY had plenty of players that had great touch and they played possession style and waited for opportunities to develope for creativity in the final third, which they had trouble accomplishing due to the unions defense. If the union doesn’t embrace playing possession then they will lose a lot of games this season. We got lucky tonight with once again a lucky ball that drops I front of the goal. I think we need a new coach and FO that will take some time to see how the game should really be played.

    • Atomic Spartan says:

      Please try out for the team and do ten times better.

      • I think he was exaggerating to make a salient point. Hyperbole.

      • Atomic Spartan says:

        Expect better.

      • I’m sorry you were saying?

      • well Joel, I’m not exaggerating when comes to having better touch then a lot of the players. I also wouldn’t be trying to send balls over the opponents defense on every play. I would rather play feet and be patient and move into space to receive a pass. Again , if this team does not embrace the idea of possession then it will be another really long and frustrating season.

      • this team can be rightfully criticized in a lot of ways but it always makes a person look dumb when they claim they are better than the players on the field. if this is true then you can try out and get hired to play but i expect it is not true

      • Ohhhh, but you don’t know for certain, do you?

        I, for one, always believe everything any random person (or bot) says on the internet. It gets me places in life.

      • Jeff, in that case, I’m a Nigerian prince and I could use your help transferring some cash to the US…

      • The Black Hand says:

        Hey…I’m a Nigerian Prince, too. I work at McDowell’s in NYC. We should link up!!

      • Small world. I’m in Queens. I’m a roadie for Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate. “Dat boy can sing.”

      • The Black Hand says:

        Well played!!!
        “Let your soul glow and let it shine…Soul Glo”

      • How many NIgerian princes are there? I’m already working with 4!

      • The Black Hand says:

        Our numbers cannot be quantified.
        It would be like trying to count each drop of “Purple Rain”.

      • Please people do not confuse Nigeria with the beloved Kingdom of Zamounda. Nigeria still has an elected parliament…..
        Zamounda is a monarchy ruled by Eddie Murphy and Arsinio Hall. I feel bad for Zamounda….they always miss the ANC by the skin of their teeth…..

      • The Black Hand says:

        We just overtook the Kingdom of Zamounda…our forces are unstoppable!!!

      • this is great.

      • Yep, these are our readers.
        Sexual Chocolate everyone! Sexual chocolate.

      • Kyle, I never said Better than a lot of these players in every aspect of the game. What I said was better in light of having better touch on the ball and even decision making for that matter. Certain players on the team are 100 times better than me obviously, others I could probably compete with. Please read my comments carefully.

      • ….monsters

      • The Black Hand says:

        We overtake with Kindness

      • this thread of wonder has gone off track… happily.

      • We overtake with food as well. “They got the Golden Arches. Mine is the Golden Arcs,”. “Now see, they got the Big Mac. I got the Big Mick.” McDowell’s is clearly superior.

      • The Black Hand says:

        “Our buns have no seeds.”

      • Yes Nigeria! Yes! F@&k You too!!!!

      • Atomic Spartan says:

        That said, if tying is the best we can do, it is past time to FREE THIS FRANCHISE

    • You know a lot.

  9. I’m pretty sure that Kwadwo Poku must be Yakubu Aiyegbeni’s love child.

  10. pragmatist says:

    First…it’s difficult to judge some performances after playing in that shoebox. We are a poor team on the ball and with our first touch. That gets exaggerated when you play on the kiddie field. I was looking for the pop-up nets when they started.
    There was a lot of heart at the end of the game, but we need to get the underperforming guys out of the starting lineup. I love Wenger and Seba, but they are offering much less than Ayuk, Pfeffer, and Sapong right now. Not to mention Chaco, when he’s healthy.
    The team is trending in a good direction, but we need to continue to weed out the guys that aren’t performing.

  11. old soccer coach says:

    Jason Kreis made a classic vintage MLS move to turn the game in his favor. He put a bull strong big moose into central midfield to physically overpower our slight small quick defensive midfielders. It worked.

    Credit our subs for turning the game back around.
    Kreis also made sure Ayuk didn’t hurt them this time.
    The opta chalkboard data says Wenger was involved defensively in the center of the midfield, which is to his credit.
    McGlaughlin, Catic, Marquez, and Hoppenot were all healthy and did not travel. Lee is listed with a left quad strain. Some of them are headed for Harrisburg Saturday night. Be interesting to see which ones.

  12. The Black Hand says:

    Are we going with the 110% possession scale, in order to boost our moral?

    • The Black Hand says:

      Wow. I thought, for sure, that the 10% was going to come off of our stat. We had to be ball for 41% of the match?

  13. I get nauseated when I see these rec-league fields. Who cares if it was Yankee stadium. Go find a real pitch for crying out loud. However…so what does Curtin do? He goes 4-wide in the midfield with 20 less yards to work with. Doink! But when the only tactical strategy you know is to go wide and cross…. OK. Done with that.

    shitty passing

    shitty first touches

    shitty timing

    good thing NY sucked, too

    the end…

    Anyone else watch US/Mexico? That was fun!

    • JT…..I was thinking the same thing. Why play in a 4-4-2 with how small the pitch is? Tactically stupid. But as we can see, Jim is only comfortable in the 4-4-2. I firmly believe he doesn’t have the soccer brain for the 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. A person who really knows their shit says…….hey, small pitch….3-4-3…..or 4-3-3….spread this postage stamp out as much as possible. Wenger and Ayuk……I want your heels on the touch line the entire match…..nope, we get none of it.

      • that field screams for a 3-4-3. Little surprised NYCFC even goes with 4 in the back.

      • That field screamed for the oft-overlooked 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.

      • That’s what I was thinking last night. At home they really only need 3 CBs

      • I can go with that now that the back line is starting to gel better. 3-4-3 works for me if it’s a diamond 4, or a 3-1-3-3, or a 3-2-3-2 even. It depends on who’s where. Either way, playing on a “bowling alley” needs something different.

        who would be your 3-D’s?

      • The Black Hand says:


      • Edu-Vitoria-Gaddis? Then Williams moves up to mid?

      • The Black Hand says:

        I’m not sure Vitoria has the mobility, to pivot that three.

      • Williams to a reserve just for this line-up……when you go back to a four back….Sheanon comes back on. Vitoria, Edu, Gaddis. I though Vitoria had his best match of the season last night….and the size of the pitch was a reason he looked good….didn’t have to be as mobile.

      • Actually, switch Sheanon and Ray……….tiny pitch like that the big throw turns more dangerous than corners……and more often…..anything 10 yards on the other side of midfield……the throw is coming in the box…….

      • JT, problem with a diamond mid here is that you have no overlapping backs……your midfield or wings have to provide width….or this formation could get real narrow if not played right.

  14. The Black Hand says:

    Half Full: We stole 4 points, so far, this week.
    Half Empty: We STILL suck so much

  15. OneManWolfpack says:

    We weren’t at our best. Yeah, that’s a nice way to put it right?! Painful, but shit… how many of those games do we lose?! We earned a point. Am I happy? Not really, but I’ll sure as hell take 4 points this week so far.
    That field is a joke. And to think it’s going to be years before they have a stadium, if ever. Embarrassing. Hey Don, top 10 league by 2020?! Not when teams play on that pile of crap.
    McCarthy was good. A little over anxious at times and as Pappas was saying, the communication needs to be better, but he made some saves – especially at the end. Well done.
    So if I had 3 wishes, I truly think one of them would be for the Union to learn how to possess the ball. World peace?! No thank you… for my team to learn how to possess the freakin ball? SIGN ME UP!! Maybe There is a sensor that sends an electric shock to their foot when they hold it more than 0.2 seconds or something… I don’t know… Oooh, I got it, I’m gonna kick it… Bam!! Yeah!! 🙁

    • Wolfpack….”world peace”….loved it!
      so here’s the question of the day…what comes first?…will we shut down ISIS or will Curtin/FO figure out what to do with their talent? Good luck with that one!
      I believe the talent is there, but the bosses don’t know how to set up training plans to better develop it, or how to game-plan to utilize it.
      Honestly, if you really look at what we have, and imagine what a Peter Vermese (or someone like that) could do with it…

      • I’m not sure the talent is there JT. Maybe 3 or 4 players- but that’s it and it depends solely on what your metrics for talent are.

      • I know, Joel, it’s tough. I find it hard to believe that this group is as bad as they look most nights. I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt while waiting for better leadership. That’s really about it. Last weekend was a ray of hope for the first 90 (there’s that word again…hope) so I might just choose to stick with it for now. Just sayin’…

  16. It’s times like this I wish PSP had a ‘hide comments’ option. I rather enjoyed the game (as well as the recap article above), and was happy about the point, until I got on here and read the comments.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      To be clear (and I’m sure you’re not just talking to me – if at all – cszack4), personally, I enjoy every game. I do. I try to avoid being overly critical in all situations, especially in a comeback, late, earned draw, on the road. However, last night they did not look good. They couldn’t possess at all, and couldn’t string together more than 2 passes. McCarthy did what M’Bolhi did not, and that was make saves. Credit to him. Kid is solid. I’m psyched for Sunday. We have a chance to turn this season around with a great 2 weeks here. So far 2 games – 4 points. 2 more (NE & Columbus) – I’d like 4 more.

      • You did NOT enjoy the chicago game. Nobody did.

        I enjoyed the first 90 minutes of the SKC match.

        I did enjoy last night. Sloppy play, but let’s be real. That field is a joke and a distraction.

      • Wasn’t just talking to you, of course. It’s just that first wave of commenters after the recap goes up, when everyone is worked up and overreacting. Which is what I did in my original comment (having caught the game on MLS Live 5 hours later — I’m in England). Once people settle down, the comments become brilliant again — witness the whole Scarlet Begonias thread below.

    • cszack4 – Do you expect Scarlet Begonias here? That is 88.5.
      The positive from yesterday’s game is one point- if you see more, than good deal for you. I saw a team completely outclassed by another team without its 2 best players- field or no field.

      • She wore Scarlet Begonias……tucked into her curls…….I could tell right away she was not like other girls! Miss you Jerry…….

      • The Black Hand says:

        XPN is All-Dead today.

      • I remember the exact cobblestone I was standing on in West Chester when I heard the news he died.

      • I was fishing off Boothbay, Maine……a kid ran up to me and noticed I had a “Cats under the Stars” hat on….said “hey, sucks about Jerry”……pretty crappy rest of the day ( week) after that…..

      • The Black Hand says:

        I cried like a baby

      • yeah……I was twisted that day too….

      • SOME day…maybe…I HOPE….we’ll be watching this team and singing “sugar magnolias, blossoms blooming!”
        We can still hope through all the pain. It’s what unifies us. Our love of the game and our desire for our home boys.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I’m tempted to run with this theme all day. As far as the Cliff goes; I feel like ‘I’m gonna sit right here, until I die’…

      • ‘what a loooooong strange trip its been.’
        I’m in to my 5th hour.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I wish this club was a headlight…on a Northbound train!!

      • Gonna flood you big river……..

      • Big Boss Man when Sak comes out to his box to watch the match!

    • than have a thicker skin….or stop reading the comment section.

  17. Andy Muenz says:

    Did the Union build one practice field or 11? Last night’s game looked like everyone had been practicing on their own field rather than all together.
    Good thing the U didn’t have more corner kicks. They seem to continually turn into fast break opportunities for the other team.
    Lucky to get a point out against an expansion team whose two best players were out for the second half.
    I also didn’t agree with JP Dellacamera’s comments that the Union needed to protect the point once they tied the game. Given the point scoring system it is ALWAYS better to keep pressing for the win and risk a loss unless you’re a man down. Risking one point to potentially gain two is a no brainer.

    • +1 on the latter point. I don’t know why coaches play for draws in the sport. The math pretty clearly says that you’ll earn more points by playing for the win the large majority of the time. Maybe make an exception if your team is particularly exhausted, battered, etc. Plus, there’s been an exceptionally large number of draws in the league this year, and that makes wins even more valuable.

    • I don’t agree. At least not when playing an Eastern Conference opponent. It’s not just 1 point for the Union when they tie the game, it’s also yanking 2 points from that other team who is also battling for one of those playoff slots the Union covet. Goal aside, the way they were playing wasn’t inspiring confidence that they could get another. I agree with JPD, accepting the point and denying 2 points to NYCFC would the right approach in my opinion.
      My point is that it’s a point that can be argued. Definitely not a “no-brainer”.

      • Pick up the book “Scorecasting” by Tobias Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim. They devote an entire chapter to it. Statistically, Andy is correct. Going for the win instead of settling for the tie is just about always the superior decision. That does mean there will be games you lose the point – where you’re tied and give up the late goal to lose. And human nature is to remember only those bad moments – confirmation bias. But there’s a lot of good math and evidence in the book that shows if a team can suck up those losses, going for the win is better over time.
        It’s a good book. I recommend it.

    • Respectfully disagree Andy, I’ll play for draws away all day long. You can still steal matches playing for nils away…….the mindset is not conceding goals. Look at Arsenal’s Invincibles team………….undefeated season……..plenty of draws in there…….they wouldn’t go down in history with your mindset. Jose is ok with draws…………..I’ll go with him on this one.

  18. WestmontUnion says:

    A few observations. We played ok on a truly terrible pitch. It was like watching a match being played Penn Park playing 8 on 8. The pitch is too small, and the surface is terrible. The ball didn’t roll well and that slowed the game down considerably. This is an MLS (grow a pair and demand a bigger pitch, better pitch) problem, not a Union problem.

    That said, with a game on Sunday against a good team with JJ back in it’s line up, putting out the squad he did I hope to the soccer gods that the players taken off early because they were ‘injured’ was to preserve their energy for Sunday! With a full strength squad, I’d like to see this line up. 4-1-3-1-1

    McCarthy (practice your kicking son!)

    Williams (playing well surprisingly)
    Edu (best game of the season for him. Welcome to CB for the rest of your career)

    Lahoud (at low lying CMid. Continues to play well, but plays a lot better when Nog, Maidana are in as he can pass them in the mid. Wenger gives him no options).

    Ayuk (wide attacking position)
    Nog (Roaming CM)
    Pfeffer (wide CM, providing passing options along the left side of the pitch. His hustle will be bonus on D, which Wenger refuses to play)

    Maidana (high pressing CAM. Moonlights as a low lying Striker, depending on our possession % and their CB positioning)

    Nando (striker)

    To me, you have to bench Wenger. You also have to bench LeToux, though if Curtin plays him instead of Pfeffer I wouldn’t be too disappointed. Main point of the line up is that Pfeffer, Maidana, Nog, Lahoud, Ayuk all need to be on the pitch. So does CJ in my opinion. Playing LeToux and Wenger because they’re ‘meant’ to be starters, shouldn’t remain in Curtin’s gameplan if he wants to evolve, “learn on the job” and be here past June! Come on the U

    • Agree with you completely. My first reaction when I saw the field was, “Hey, why are they playing on an 8v8 field tonight? Is this a scrimmage?”
      Secondly, how much better is this team when Maidana on the field? He has to stay healthy and stay on the field. As soon as he came into the game last night the team started playing better. He again had his hand in a Union goal when he served the ball to Edu who headed it to CJ. It’s hard to think of any goal this year that Maidana has not assisted. This team is dramatically better with Maidana on the field. Maidana – STAY HEALTHY!

      • My initial thought of the field was, “this is what it would be like if The Yankees played all their home games at Williamsport.”

      • I was looking for two kids on the sidelines turning the handles moving the players.

  19. I would rather not assess the overall performance on that “pitch” because frankly, few MLSers lack the quality to play small. But on an individual level I thought Le Toux looked beat and put in a pretty awful shift (Ayuk sends Le Toux down the line and…Le Toux can’t keep it in bounds). Wenger was invisible again but again we see his capabilities (calling for a ball down the line and shoving through/around two guys to get there isn’t easy). Wenger is probably the most infuriating player Curtin is starting right now. Final thought is wow, Nando is getting absolutely mugged out there. Our ginger conquistador can’t catch a break, it’s maddening. His self control isn’t something to be overlooked.
    Happy for 4 points, not confident in roundin’ out the week with 7. New England will punish the Union’s lack of creativity. I want to see Chaco start and either Seba or Wengy ride the pine.

  20. Pok-who? Damn. Not the last we’ll be seeing of him I suspect

  21. Point taken on a late goal. That’s two games in a row where we won the final 15 minutes. Considering they did that after the SKC debacle, that says even more about the players belief in each other and how big a cancer Rais was to the whole situation.

    I know players have preferred positions but Edu should not have started anywhere this season but at CB. It took four games, it should have only taken preseason, Ethan White is not a starter in this league for a “playoff bound” team. Especially when pairing him with a brand new partner in Vitoria, who Curtin could not have had any real feel for. Edu at CB. Done.

    Wenger should take one of his possessed, robotic looking walks right to the bench. He needs to relax, he’s forgotten it’s a game to be loved and enjoyed – not a job about stats and preseason predictions about his potential.

    Curtin hasn’t given me any signs of not trying to find the best 11. He’s been limited by injury and red cards. I’m gonna hold off on making judgments on his selections until more players come back fully ready to play. Thankfully the injury bug hit us early and provided Ayuk his opportunity.

    Speaking of Ayuk, it seems the current shut him down approach is to physically assault him the entire time he is on the pitch. He seems to be taking it just fine, but the refs need to give him a bit more protection, before one of those hits knocks him out of a game.

    Better possession, that would be a dream. I’ll take the results any way we can get them right now after they way the first five games went.

    MLS should not allow another season to be played on that size pitch. On a blustery day, goalies could be sending balls into the box … and that’s just not acceptable at the professional level.

    • Agreed, Clearly NY’s plan from the get go was to netralize the U’s most threatening players (Ayuk and Nando) with just sheer violence, just borderline trying to get them injured in some plays. Credit to both of them that they kept their composure out there. Unfortunately I think their plan worked to a certain extent as both were not themselves offensively for the most part.

      • Villa went down a peg in my book when he grabbed Ayuk’s hair like a B#$ch! Its almost like Jose running over in the Classico a few years back to poke Villanueva in the eye…….can’t get over acts of cowardice like that. Sheanon coming over in his face made me feel a little better……should have smacked him

      • pesky gnat.

  22. Footy should never be played in that stadium……that was a fucking ridiculous! Its not even footy anymore when you play on something that small. The kicker of it is…….its looks like they could give it more width on the one side…….at least 5-10 more yards……why don’t they? It seems it would help them too! Thats not footy up there in Yankee Stadium…..its some kind of novelty to make money. Rant done, NOGS…..that goal was on you dude….got caught out of shape….and then over committed! Gaddis left his jock in the 18 too…….his feet got screwed into the ground. We actually should have lost this match if NYC puts away its chances……

    • The match changed when NYC put Poku on…….dude ran the middle of the pitch….we had no answer to him in there……

    • UnitedPenn13 says:

      At one point during the match I said to my wife “Its like McCarthy and Saunders are playing ping-pong” except a ping-pong table is bigger. Only a New York team would be permitted to enter the league playing in that kind of venue. Damn Don Garber double standard. Maybe Beckham can convince Garber to let his team play in the Miami Marlins stadium.

  23. The best thing of last night is that we did not give up a goal in the last 15 minutes and tied the match late.
    Based on the size of the pitch and the opposition nothing much can be deducted. Will be very interesting to see what the Union can do on Sunday. Unless major changes are made (such as sitting Wenger) I predict a loss.
    Was tired of always trying to find away matches on the internet and finally pulled the trigger on DirecTV’s MLS package for $69. Was happy with the high resolution and it was interesting to hear the NYC commentators (who I know from BEIN Sport) and to see their postgame interviews.

  24. rough performance but spirit and backbone starting to evolve. agree its just an expansion side the last two games but every non-expansion team really should be doing this to them, so 4 out of 6 with two comebacks is generally positive (especially after what came before it) – see the forest.

  25. i understand a lot of the negative comments. check my twitter, they’re there for me, too. however, to take 4 of 6 from an overhyped conference opponent, on what has to be in the conversation for “worst field in league history,” with what seems like half of the roster limited by injuries is a signficant achievement for this team at this stage. points dropped can never be gotten back (COL, RSL, KC), but the same can be said for points stolen. last night’s game was points stolen, and that’s worth a lot in a tight playoff race.

    NE will be an entirely different test, of course, as will CLB the following week. as the U get healthy, though, and as they begin to settle into their roles (Edu and Vitoria, Ayuk and Nando), they’ll progress.

    • for the zoomed in view you are correct sir, for the google earth view, not so much.
      It is a bit of a blind-spot of mine that I tend to view the club from a satellite…
      …that said I would much prefer discussing how the club affects the play of other clubs and the high standard they represent— but that is seldom seldom the case. We are an easy mark.

  26. I’ve been saying this since the beginning of the season why can’t they bench Wenger. He has the most blown chances I’ve seen by a soccer player in 7 games in probably over a decade. Wenger just take one touch to the right and rip a shot you are open for the shot ever single time (cause everyone knows you don’t cut inside). He either cuts left or tries to spin around and lay the ball off to no one. How did he use to be a striker? No goal scoring instinct. I said this last week and I’ll say it again, put Pfeffer on the left. In such a small stadium the option of Pfeffer would have done much more for the Union’s possession and ball play in tight spaces. It would also give Nogs someone to pass too. All game Wenger is invisible. I mean come on has anyone even heard the name of one opposing right back we played against. Nope. However, on the other side we constantly hear about teams needing to adjust for Ayuk. Its about time someone new comes in on the left. And I’m talking now not in 5 weeks as it costs us more points like they did with M’bohli.

  27. LeToux and Wenger need to sit and evaluate who they actually are. My starting XI this Sunday


    • The Black Hand says:

      I know that your positioning got a skewed, when you hit submit…but I say we run with it. The right-heavy 3-1-2-2-1-1…let’s give it a shot!!

      • The Black Hand says:

        I saw that one on my phone, it had the line-up heavily loaded on the right…now that I see it on my computer screen…my comment makes no sense…ah, this is awkward…

      • Sapong should never play on the wing.

      • I say u go:
        _______Nogs __Lahoud________

        Giving Maidana the freedom to roam. First people off the bench should be Pfeffer or Le Toux depending on situation.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Maidana on the wing is worse, in my opinion. Poor Ray!!!

  28. ->McCarthy was again shacky as expected for a rookie, especially coming out for no apparent reason a couple of times, but responded well in the last save to keep the point. Still think this should be Blake’s position to lose though.
    ->Horrible refereeing. Typical Baldomero Toledo’s inconsistencies. Some of our players were getting mauled out there with no whistle. 7 yellow cards does not do justice to the violent game displayed.
    ->Edu strong on defence, but poor transition out of defensive third.
    ->Not the strongest performance by Gaddis, Shelton owned him all game long.
    ->Can’t understand the 4-4-2 lineup to start this match. Two strikers, but no creative play maker to get them in good positions with both Maidana and Pfeffer on the bench. I’d venture to guess JC just wanted them to run around and defend, concede possession and protect a tie for the first half, to perhaps switch to more attack later on.
    ->Nogueira again with more creative responsibilities than he’s comfortable with, especially in a smaller pitch. That I think caused a lot of turnovers from him.
    ->Wenger again invisible.
    ->LeToux poor again. He was better in the previous match.
    ->Nando had a couple of good looks, but was targetted with very physical play all game long.
    ->Ayuk. Again good defensively, but was also targetted for continuous fouls by Calle and couldn’t contribute much in offense.
    ->Liked Sapong’s athleticism and his ability to outjump his defender on the goal. Good finish from a difficult high ball bounce, that could have easily been sent over the bar as it was ascending.
    ->Credit to Maidana to be able to put that long ball over the jumping defender and in the back of Edu’s head for the lucky bounce that Sapong buried.

    • he did that a lot 5 years ago too………he is the type of keeper you tell your players to take a glance up and see if the chips on………he has a habit of coming off his line……and going down early……..beat him a few times where my guys did this. That part of his game hasn’t evolved. Great kid, good keeper……but,of course….he still has some weaknesses to address.

  29. Am I the only one who almost had a heart attack at several points in last night’s game when McCarthy went on walkabout? While dulled by the memory of that last save, the memory of him being splayed out on the ground outside the 18, while the ball is crossed in front of an empty goal is still pretty strong. The fact it happened more than once…unacceptable.
    I also seem to remember Edu “speaking” to him about it. Or I hope that’s what he was saying. Saying loudly.
    McCarthy is good, but raw, and has done admirably given how he became the starter. He should not displace Blake, though.

    • if you saw him play in club, high school, and college…..it wouldn’t surprise you at all. He always liked coming off his line and actually likes being a sweeper/keeper. These guys will make him pay if he keeps that up………

      • If he’s gonna come out like that which seems obvious at this point. He has got to make the play or get something on the ball/player to disrupt the flow. I’d rather he come out then be scared to, but this is the same type of thing in reverse that people said about MacMath. They said MacMath was to scared to come out now we have the opposite. Neither work well unless you are smart about the situation and positioning which most rookies don’t have. Beats M’bohli any day though. Union still would have been better off leaving MacMath as the starter from day one cause now its back to square one with another rookie and it will be the same when Blake starts. Goalkeeper should be one of your more stable positions.

  30. Fact: When Maidana plays, good things happen for the U. Whatever it takes to get and keep him healthy must be done.

  31. OneManWolfpack says:

    The Flyers fired Berube today for the exact reason the Union will be mediocre to good at best: they don’t have the right leader.
    For me the Union’s talent is good enough to be competitive and with the right manager and maybe the right addition or two, they could make a real run. The East is terrible.
    If the Flyers hire the right guy they will be good. Same thing for the Union. I’m not crushing Curtain, I’m just saying he’s not good enough yet.
    But we all know Sug and Sak will do nothing of the sort. FREE THIS FRANCHISE

    • The Black Hand says:

      We have so many holes…

    • we have NO depth…………..we are wooden building that is held together by termites holding hands………..no manager changes that.

    • Blame it on The Chief. Boy if ever there was a tired story line with this club it is blaming middle management over and over.
      I think the Flyers are over leveraged in a couple spots and it is killing them along with suspect drafting.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        This isn’t a Flyers blog so I’ll keep it brief: they haven’t drafted great, but the last 2-3 drafts have been substantially better.
        My point, which I’ll admit wasn’t made that well, is that Union can compete, and should be better on a consistent basis. This is where a better manager, who can train, deploy the proper lineups, and make better substitutions can lift a team like the Union (similar to the Flyers), and make them better. We aren’t garbage, we aren’t #1… but we should be better. If the Flyers hire the right guy (NOT A FORMER FLYERS PLEASE), they will be better from the get go. Same thing for the Union. Again, not crushing Curtain, but not the guy we should have learning on the job.

  32. The Black Hand says:

    When somethings wrong…wrong with the U…it hurts me too.
    Pigpen was no joke!!!

    • every guy who played keys in that band was sick in their own right……..but yeah, no one like pigpen……..Brent a close second……IMHO.

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