Union match reports

Match report: Columbus Crew 4-1 Philadelphia Union

Columbus Crew mauled Philadelphia Union 4-1 Saturday night, outplaying the visitors in all facets of the match.

Ethan Finlay recorded two goals and an assist, while Union left back Fabinho was partially culpable on three of the Crew’s four goals.

Columbus controlled most of the game behind a balanced possession attack that consistently kept the Union on their heels.

After the match Jim Curtin said, “I actually thought the first 15 minutes, our guys came out and played very well. From that point on, we got embarrassed for the rest of the first half.

“I learned a lot about a lot of players tonight, the guys that stuck with it and pushed and the guys who bailed out. You want to be able to look yourself in the mirror after a game and say that you gave everything. That’s what we talked about before the game, and I think we got a lot of answers. Especially in the second half, the guys that stuck with it.”

First half

The Union opened with three personnel changes to the lineup that lost 2-1 to New England last Sunday. Fabinho, Brian Carroll, and Andrew Wenger returned to the starting lineup, with Sheanon Williams dropped to the bench and Ray Gaddis moving to right back. Zach Pfeffer was away with the U-20 national team, while Vincent Nogueira and Fernando Aristeguieta were unavailable through injury.

The first chance of the match fell to the visitors as Cristian Maidana found space 30 yards out and sent a low shot straight at Steve Clark. It was a rare test of the Columbus goalie.

Wenger then found himself in space as he took off and played Maidana wide. The attacking midfielder’s cross found Brian Carroll at the top of the box, but his volley spun well wide.

John McCarthy’s first two tests came next. The young goalie held onto a Federico Higuain corner then safely collected a Tony Tchani cross. McCarthy stepped up again after Fabinho slipped on a clearance and let Federico Higuain drive in a low cross.

The Crew finally struck in the 21st minute. After a spell of Union possession, Fabinho’s poor back pass forced McCarthy into an awkward clearance. Tony Tchani won the loose ball and sent it wide to Ethan Finlay, who lofted a cross to Kei Kamara at the top of the box. The Crew’s leading scorer chested down and struck a vicious half-volley through McCarthy’s legs.

The Union goal was tested again moments later. A poor back pass from Wenger ended up on the feet of Higuain. The Argentinian playmaker released Kamara wide right, with the striker’s near post blast saved at full stretch by McCarthy.

The floodgates truly opened in the 32nd minute. Left back Waylon Francis found space on the left and sent a cross over Steven Vitoria to Ethan Finlay, who beat Fabinho at the far post. Finlay’s first time shot was sent low and hard beyond McCarthy’s reach.

McCarthy’s day went from bad to worse in the 44th minute. After beating Maurice Edu on the dribble, Justin Meram sent a shot straight at the Union keeper, who fumbled it into his own net.

Second half

The Union opened the second half with Eric Ayuk coming on for Andrew Wenger and Sebastien Le Toux switching to the left.

Moments after the half started, Michael Lahoud found himself in the book for a hard tackle on Waylon Francis.

Ayuk made an early impact, combining well with Maidana to send in a couple of early crosses that only served to highlight a dearth of runners in the box.

Jim Curtin used his final two substitutions in the 60th minute, sending on Conor Casey and Ethan White for Brian Carroll and the ineffective Le Toux.

Finally, another chance fell to the Union. Maidana’s corner found Raymon Gaddis at the far post. The defender headed back across to Michael Lahoud, who lashed his shot wide.

The Union finally struck in the 64th minute. Edu took a quick free kick to Fabinho, who pushed the ball forward to C.J. Sapong on the left flank. Sapong beat his man and sent a lofted cross into the box that was met with authority by a leaping Eric Ayuk. It was an impressive athletic feat by the 5-7 Ayuk to ascend over Waylon Francis, and the winger celebrated pulling his team within two by executing several celebratory back flips.

Columbus quickly smothered any hope for a comeback nine minutes later. Kamara sent a brilliant ball past Vitoria and Fabinho to Ethan Finlay, who sent his shot inside McCarthy’s far post.

With victory secured, Kamara made way for Aaron Schoenfeld in the 77th minute.

The Union had the last few chances of the match, the closest coming from Ayuk and Maidana. The Argentine’s ball found the youngster wide, but Ayuk was caught in two minds and played a half-shot straight to Steve Clark’s feet.

The Union will look to bounce back on May 2nd at PPL Park against a star-studded yet struggling Toronto FC.

“We’ll probably have some changes to our 11 for the next game, that’s for sure,” Curtin said. “Any time you give up four goals, there are some issues… in the whole group. So we’ll look at it from the forwards all the way back to the goalkeeper, and we’ll evaluate everything in between and put the best group on the field to get a result against Toronto.”

Philadelphia Union
John McCarthy, Fabinho, Steven Vitoria, Maurice Edu, Raymon Gaddis, Michael Lahoud, Brian Carroll (Ethan White 60′), Cristian Maidana, Andrew Wenger (Eric Ayuk 46′), Sebastien Le Toux (Conor Casey 60′), CJ Sapong
Unused Subs: Andre Blake, Richie Marquez, Sheanon Williams, Fred

Columbus Crew
Steve Clark, Waylon Francis, Emanuel Pogatetz, Michael Parkhurst, Hernan Grana, Tony Chani, Mohammed Saeid, Federico Higuain, Jurtin Merman, Ethan Finlay, Kei Kamara (Aaron Schoenfeld 77′)
Unused Subs: Matt Lampson, Hector Jimenez, K. Steindorsson, K. George, C. Klute, Tyson Wahl

Scoring Summary
CLB: Kei Kamara (Ethan Finlay) — 21
CLB: Ethan Finlay (Waylon Francis) — 32
CLB: Justin Meram  — 44
PHI: Eric Ayuk (CJ Sapong) — 64
CLB: Ethan Finlay (Kei Kamara)  — 73

Disciplinary Summary
PHI: Maurice Edu (hand) — 24
PHI: Michael Lahoud (professional foul) — 46

Philadelphia Union Columbus Crew
8 Shots 10
2 Shots on Target 4
4 Shots off Target 2
2 Blocked Shots 4
 4 Corner Kicks 6
 30 Crosses  28
 1 Offsides 3
 6 Fouls 8
2 Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards  0
 341 Total Passes 561
 77% Passing Accuracy 88%
 38.5% Possession  61.5%
 38 Duels Won 39
 49.35% Duels Won %  50.65%
18 Tackles Won  14
0 Saves 1
17 Clearances 20


  1. this is my favorite sports team but also i hate them so much. i’m not asking for much as a fan of this team. obviously i would really like it if they were a powerhouse and a contender for the championship every season. the only thing i really actually want is for them to be competitive and that is not a lot to ask. this league is designed to allow teams to be competitive if they are minimally competent yet somehow we can’t manage it. its really terrible

  2. el pachyderm says:

    This team has no identity – nothing to stand behind and believe – they are random and without organization- they are a preschooler practicing calculus with crayons- they have become for me the hunched over walk of the defeated – the Eeyore of lost causes- palms out – forlorn picking of the ball from the net, the less than meaningful little guy always getting shit on. They play the game with an insouciance I cannot relate to- a casual indifference to those things that make you different, special or able to stand apart. They have to salsa, no rhythm, no ginga, no chagrin, no heat, no hatred of losing.
    This team loses week in week out – season in season out from self inflicted wounds and the wounds of greater minds – the wounds of more fit organizational structures with proper vision and philosophy and plan. There is no sense these wounds will heal, approximate to themselves, cauterize the hemorrhaging – with hopes of returning from this state of dis-ease. These wounds are terminal. This team is a state of dis-ease and my spirit is bereft.
    This is unacceptable. This is ALL wrong. Please make it stop.

    • If Beckham ever gets the Miami stadium situation sorted out it will.

      • el pachyderm says:

        sadly and this is an indictment on the Union – if a Mayflower truck showed up tomorrow predawn firmament…… I’d be okay with it.
        This is no exaggeration.
        I would be okay with this team and this leaderhisp and this front office packing up and slipping out in the dark leaving us with nothing. I am not grateful to you for what you have given us.

      • Robert Irsay isn’t driving into Lot A.

    • Hey Pach… very poetic. It sums up so much, and yet leaves so much to be desired.
      I write sometimes, and read often. Everyone on this site is passionate, and for the most part, soccer-savvy. I bleed with you all! I ooze sometimes dread (last night I was actually afraid to turn on the game), sometimes defeat, often disdain, and for the most part sodden by virtue of the constant let-downs.
      The U are a completely rudder-less ship. Adrift with no direction, and, with present leadership, no ability to find direction. This team has no momentum while the rest of the league continues to move forward.
      Bye, guys. I can’t read or write anymore. I am completely devoid of passion for this team, to the point where I can’t even complain about poor play. It just doesn’t mean anything anymore.

  3. I was watching the game at Chickie’s and Pete’s on the boulevard. They were showing the Union, the Phillies and The Replacements. Only one was worth watching.

  4. James Lockerbie says:

    How does it go again? W.S.S.M

  5. Curtin sent out just about the most defensive lineup possible, and this was the result. This. I get the injuries and all, but if you had parked the bus and lost 1-0 or 2-0, fine. This was a training exercise for Columbus.

    Remember, Fabinho was protected over Ribeiro, and was a coach’s decision over Williams tonight. Self-inflicted wounds hurt the most.

    Text I received from a friend this evening – “Union are now the team you load up your fantasy lineup with their opponents every week”

    We have become Chivas USA. And as G*d is my witness, I think its intentional.

    • It just may be. Sak/Sug saw the nice payout Vergara(sp?) got and figured that’s great way to cash out and not have to risk any more $. The other MLS owners, or franchise-operators whatever Garber called them, have to be furious with these clowns. They bring absolutely nothing to MLS. Nothing. They are just hanging on as cheaply as possible enjoying the rise of US soccer and the associated rise in franchise values.

      Edit: 5 months later, how’s that sporting director search going Sak?

    • Curtain looked like Kyle Kendrick on the bench after he just got lit up………deer in headlights!

      • UnitedPenn13 says:

        I was saying to my wife that every shot of Columbus coach, Gregg Berhalter and most other MLS coaches for that matter show them up, walking around, talking/yelling to their teams on the field but every shot of Curtain show him sitting on the bench looking like “I have no idea what to do”. Very sad. WSSM.

      • I know….at least stand up…and fake it…. It looked pathetic!

  6. kensington blue beller says:

    Its only a game, it’s only a game,it’s only a game.

    • el pachyderm says:

      I tried this too KBB to ease the tension- thought I could convince myself that, “it is only a game.”
      It isn’t only a game though- you know that and I know that. It is a way of life. It is a way of making sense of the world. It is wall ball under halogen lights in the dead of winter with your five year old. It is State Cups. It is Maradonna’s Hand of God. It is Beckenbauer, Platini, Redondo, Messi, Mesut, Shem Messing. It is the Copa America in Chile. It is Pele. Zizou. The Women’s World Cup in Canada. It is 24/7 footy on TV. It is the Champion’s League sirens singing. It is part of who you are. It is part of ‘us’. It is not an investment to make money. It is not a whim. It is not a hobby. It is a way of life. And it is a travesty.

    • If it was, we would all be gone by now. As much as we all b*tch & moan here every week — WE WANT THIS TEAM TO BE GOOD.

      I want to see 100 comments after a match on particular plays, a sub decision, hell, anything except the complete sh*t show this club has become. And I know I’m close to the final stage of grief – acceptance. At which point I’ll probably stop ranting here and find much more productive things to do with my time.

  7. So many people told me not to waste my money on season tics this season. I feel like a total idiot. This team and organization is total shit. They’ve pissed me off many times in their 5 + seasons but I’m truly just disgusted because, like Kyle above, all I want is for them to compete. I just want to believe they have a chance before the kickoff. Sadly and frustratingly, I don’t feel that hope and it didn’t have to be this way.

    • +1 This will be my last year with season tickets. They will have to improve enormously for me to consider them again.

  8. Brian Carroll, attacking midfielder. Enough said.


  9. Sak and Sug are just underpants gnomes…with less imagination. Phase 1: Start an MLS Franchise. Phase 2: ??? Phase 3: Profit!
    Unfortunately for us, the avid fans, MLS is the one business on planet earth where achieving Phase 3 is possible without ever knowing Phase 2.

    • Oh Futbol Gods, we beseech thee! On behalf of a devout, fervent, loving fan base, we ask that you intervene in our affairs, tiny as they may be. We ask that Ownership be struck dumb with an offer of great magnitude. One such, that once upon seeing such a kind and generous offer, the Sugarman, won’t be able to see anything but good sense and feel obligated to give this fan base what it deserves. A deeper pocketed owner who will hire a good F.O.
      In this our Spring of discontent, we look to YOU, Futbol Gods, for your hands of benevolence to grab hold of this troublesome franchise and make our future bright. We only ask, for the good of the community, and the children. Of course the children.

  10. el pachyderm says:

    At least my dearly departed is on TV tommorrow- espn 7pm. Orlando FC.

    • You mean Fox Sports 1, 7 Pm.

    • I honestly think Columbus may play the most attractive footy I’ve ever seen out of an MLS side………..I’m not kidding when I say that. I had a smile on my face watching them last night……..as we were getting “ole” ‘ed at the end of the match!

      • pragmatist says:

        CLB is a very underrated team, but only because of their market. If that exact same team was in NY or LA, they’d be the most popular team in the league.
        Gorgeous soccer and great players, and a great “team.”

  11. Old Soccer Coach says:

    You can do nothing about injuries; Curtin’s a teacher and he rightly did not deny Pfeffer a development opportunity. Carroll-Lahoud behind Maidana was easily predicted when Nogueira’s ankle went.
    The only sensible explanation for the coach’s decision to start Fabinho that I can of which I can think is disciplining Williams for mistakes in the NE game. Fabinho was beaten for pace as though he were a drum in the band playing ruffles and flourishes for the President, any President.
    Sapong and Ayuk should start at the flank midfield spots. McCarthy’s limitations have been demonstrated clearly; time for Blake.

    The purpose of the rest of the season is player evaluation and players accumulating experience.
    It seems a blessing that I fell asleep for the first thirty five minutes of the game.

    • el pachyderm says:

      “…ruffles and flourishes for the President, any President.”

    • McMohansky says:

      I agree about Sapong and Ayuk. Those two as wide forwards playing off Aristiguieta would force any opponent to keep numbers back and maybe give our midfield a chance.

      Speaking of which, wow what a stinker by Lahoud and Maidana. This game was always going to be tough but they couldn’t pass the ball.

      • What the hell was with Ayuk celebrating when your 3-0 down? WTF was that?

      • Methinks he shall receive a stern reprimand for that stunt. I can’t believe not one Union player smacked him upside the head immediately following the last flip. Impressive? Yes. Stupid? Absolutely. Time and place, Mr. Ayuk.

      • I agree Ayuk’s celebration was ill-timed, but at least he showed some passion, which is more than you can say for 80% of the squad last night.

      • Granted it was foolish but he’s 18 and scored his first MLS goal. I think he can be forgiven this one.

      • First career goal. It can be understood. Plus it is hard to get mad at the only real bright spot on the team right now.

    • The whole back line gets beat with pace, all of them !!! Get rid of all of them.

    • Well said, OSC. I don’t really understand the Fabinho for Williams swap. While it’s true that Williams made some mistakes at the end of the NE game, so did the whole back line including Gaddis. I would have thought that Curtin would have remembered the torching that Fabinho’s side took in that three goal barrage that effectively ended our playoff hopes last year.

      If we’re seeing some young guys get time from this point forward, I can at least rationalize the benefit of this lost season, but I sense that won’t be the case. So we’ll continue to see the same old, same old…

      Season being effectively over before May 1 is a tough pill to swallow at this point. The Crew are very good, but they’re not even the best team in the East right now (RB, DC and NE are probably better). That’s how far away we are from even modest success.

      • Not one of our back 4 had an answer for Kamara last night………….year in….year out….no matter who for……..he gives us fits. Something you would have thought they’d pay attention to…….

      • True, I thought the last Union player that defended him well was Garfan. With Williams, at least you know that he’s going to get physical with him. Gaddis and Fabinho can’t do that when Kamara drifts out to the wing.

  12. I spent 3 seasons believing tweaks was all we needed to be competitive. I’ve already moved beyond being emotionally invested in this team. As Joe C put it, there is nothing worth watching.

    If you were to bring a USL or women’s team to Philly — things I hope happen regardless of this team’s rotten future — I would be able to enjoy this sport happily with friends and family.

  13. Fabinho for Williams is hopefully just a little squad rotation, though that would have been better utilized last week. Williams would’ve given us a little fight/bite in last night’s match at least. I’m very curious to see curtin’s assessment of who continued to compete and who did not. Blake needs to start. So does Ayuk. I’m doing my best to avoid going to the cliff of union despair. But packing my bags for the move, just in case.

  14. I turned on the LPGA after the first goal. At least I got to see a few ladies who knew what they were doing

  15. 700 Chopper says:

    What sucks more the Union a Dyson vacuum or a Black Hole? My vote goes to the Union hahaha

    • Well the Dyson cleans up dirt…and the Black hole is invisible to the naked eye….and the Onion are an eye sore…yup Union win this one. I mean lose….what am I saying.

  16. The Little Fish says:

    We can’t pass. We just can’t pass. It’s so painful to watch every team play keep-away against us. We run, and chase, and chase and run until we finally get the ball. But then we use the possession to either catch our breath or immediately give it back. Rinse and repeat.
    I totally dig the idea of Ayuk and Sapong on the wings with Nando up front. Let’s do that please.
    Fabinho really looked bad out there. Not at all sharp. Slipping, miss playing balls, losing track of his marks, etc. That “coach’s decision” totally blew up in Jim Curtain’s face. totally.

    • An if the decision was motivated as a reprimand for Williams performance, there is really no incentive there to improve. The team went from bad to worse….

  17. What an awful display. Honestly, was there any one of us NOT expecting something like this when they saw the lineup? Curtin continually gives a bad message and makes poor decisions. Not all of it is his fault, but he’s not helping for sure.
    Number 1: I love him, but Le Toux needs to sit for a while. I can remember one game where he really positively effected the team in any meaningful way. Last night he was slow, indifferent and pouty. Have you ever seen him give up on a ball like he did up the left wing? He came off in a pouty rage, ironic since there was no fire in his game. Get him and Wenger out. $500,000 of wasted cap.
    Let Ayuk, Sapong, Blake, Pfeffer and Marquez play, every game. There’s no reason not to at this point. Edu makes the back line better, no doubt about it, but I’ve seen enough of Lahoud. His game doesn’t help us right now. Move Edu up and let Marquez play.
    The bad thing is that we will be too far gone by the time the mid season window comes that all of us won’t even be yelling for reinforcements, it will be more about getting rid of the dead cap space.

    • I would love to see Jimmy get some stinking time on the field. We are not any type of contender. Give the kid some time over LeTux or Wenger.

    • Le Toux isn’t a true winger. His only position is center forward. Edu should absolutely not play in the midfield. We need him in the back. He can’t hold the ball in the mid and has not been distributing well in the midfield.

    • I have to completely agree with #1 – Le Toux is not helping this team at all. I couldn’t believe how disinterested he looked playing this weekend. It’s so disappointing because of how much of the club’s short history revolves around his high points. But he looks frustrated, so does the rest of the team. There’s no guidance.

      This teams needs quality coaching SUPPORT staff (probably new head coach too), new GM, new owner, sell M’Bholi, true LB, higher quality DM, and the willingness to let Jimmy McLaughlin and Richie Marquez to play.

      These players must be as pissed (if not more) than all of us, but there’s just so many clear problems (and probably many more underlying problems).

  18. McCarthy has no business starting in MLS. Nothing against him. But he’s a third string goalie. Columbus would have scored, at best, two of those goals against Blake.

    That’s not making excuses for the rest of the team. It was a train wreck.

    • Goal number one…………yeah, Fabs plays a horrible ball back….but any top flight keeper hoofs that ball well into the opposition’s half…he again, couldn’t get it past midfield….right to opposition….we know the rest. The third goal…..routine save a keeper has to make….especially at that angle. Two were definitely on him………

  19. Already late to the party. I will take this angle after everything stated. It was kind of a joy watching Columbus last night. Number 8 CDM dropping in between the CBs spreading them out, pushing the flank backs way up the pitch…..modern tactics, players comfortable and confident on the ball, constant orchestrated movement, attacking and attractive football. Now here is the kicker to me………they are a similar club financially….what’s the difference? I think a famous commenter on here constantly preaches three words………vision, philosophy, plan……well, there you go……served up nice and hot from the city of Columbus!

    • Yup. You don’t need a ton of money or a big market. You need a smart organization. If Columbus can do it, anyone can.

    • WestmontUnion says:

      Dead on Alicat. Columbus is a great club to benchmark our club against. They’ve brought in new mgmt, rebranded and re-engaged with their fanbase. They’ve added talent and stuck with a coach who has a vision and has them playing cohesive and attractive soccer. Where’s our vision, philosophy, plan? More importantly where’s our new owners!

  20. Sell this franchise to a competent and financially competitive owner!

  21. The Little Fish says:

    Rene? What have you to say? Where are you today? Oh Rene. Please come out to play. We need your wits today. For this to you we pay. Oh dear sweet Rene please TELL US HOW I pray. We need your help today…!!!

  22. The Black Hand says:

    I’m going to give this club the effort that they gi…

  23. Last night was a landmark: the first time in my 5+ years as a die-hard Union fan that I actually shut the game off in the middle. I’ve always stuck around to see if they could pull one back, to see how the players play for the rest of the match, or just because they’re my team and I need to be watching. But last night, after the halftime whistle, my boys and I shut the TV off. They played computer games and did homework while I got back to the book I’ve been reading. And I could forget.

    It’s looking likely that this season will be a personal landmark too: the first one in which my boys and I forgo buying tickets to even a single match. We attended 5-6 matches a year from 2010-2014. Always so much fun. Such a great spirit in the crowd. Beautiful view of the bridge. Great beer on tap. Such nice time with my sons. But this year… well, if we want to see piles of shit, we can get a zoo membership.

  24. Here’s what needs to happen. Obv. #1 Sak and Curtin and the rest of the staff including the training staff need to be fired and replaced and # 2, we need to clear house meaning getting rid of most of these players and keeping only some like Ayuk,sapong, Nogs, Lahoud, Edu, only the players who truly contribute without a doubt. The rest of the team should be let go. On that note, can someone truly tell me wtf Mulensteen is doing here ? Does he want to be here ? Can we make him our CEO?

  25. Philadelphia Collins says:

    This game is a true showcase of how outmatched the Union are in this league. They don’t have an up-to-par 18, let alone starting 11. The little bit of money they have, they’ve invested poorly.
    The Crew, IMO , are about our equal in terms of amount of resources and payroll. Tonight shows how far off the union are. There is no creativity on the flanks (le Toux & wenger are hopeless), the midfield gets continually over-run (starting Lahoud & Carroll, what did Curtin expect??) and our outside backs are that of USL quality. S Williams has only regressed the past two years and Gaddis has been average at best this year. I’m 23, left-footed and only a year removed from playing quality football. I think I’m going to try out to play left fullback for the Union if they consider Fabinho game day quality.
    It’s increasingly frustrating to watch them trot out a below average side that offers little to get excited about. It seems the union have a habit of taking one step forward and three steps back..

  26. Any body want to see if Ed Snider wants to buy the club?

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Anyone else would do. Sug and Sak OUT!

    • I’m not sure Ed Snider would help, frankly. I think Ed is a very large reason the Flyers haven’t won a Cup since the mid-70s, and certainly has a big hand in how they’ve been as a team in the cap-era.
      Now, convince Jeff Lorie to buy them? I’m in.

  27. OneManWolfpack says:

    Boy am I glad I watched this game hammered. I have nothing else to say that hasn’t already been said above. It’s one thing to lose… it’s another to be embarrassed.

  28. It was reasonable to think going in to the season that LeToux and Wenger would provide much more than they have so far and that Nogueira and Maidana would come together in the center of the park. We all know M’bolhi has great ability. I was hoping he’d show it this year after having had the chance to get settled. Edu freed from center back duties and able to firm up the MF seemed like the missing link. Maybe enough for us not to miss Okugo too much. Aristeguieta has a lot of positive qualities (except pace it seems) and looks like he will put away chances. Sapong and Pfeiffer? Why not? Worth a few goals and fingers crossed that Zach will continue to grow and turn into a strong contributor. He’s in a great place ot be mentored by Nogueira. Casey to come in and crack heads for 30 mins as needed is a luxury. Williams and Gaddis have done well for us the last few years. Center backs were the big question mark coming into the season but I was willing to believe White was better than we saw last year and Vittoria would be a game changer.

    Two years ago I thought Williams was destined for the USMNT and so far this year he hasn’t even looked interested (as well as unfit). Check out his “miced up” segment for an example of the mindset a professional athlete should not have before a game. Gaddis’ challenge is always going to be size but when he takes off down the line he can be forgiven for weighing a buck thirty. Vittoria and White? Worst case scenario so far.

    Now, we’ve got two goalkeepers who aren’t ready (the glimpses we got of Blake last season showed shaky decision making). Which is unbelievable considering what our gk depth chart looked like in August last season. Both LeToux and Wenger have not shown close to their best yet. Maidana and Nogueira are taking turns on the DL. Aristeguieta has actually shown pretty well when he gets service but he’s also hurt. Mo looks like he’s desperate for someone to play with.

    Having said all of this I still would like to make a case for optimism.

    Wenger, LeToux and Williams get their heads out of their backsides, start to play to potential and become leaders on this team. Maidana, Noguiera and Aristeguieta get a healthy stretch together. Sapong and Pfeiffer contribute. Vittoria adjusts to MLS and starts to perform consistently. Mo does his thing with some help around him.

    Ok, I don’t have solution for the GK position or White besides new signings but I honestly think this team has potential to win plenty of games.

    Sak? Seems like a narcissist who is always right in his mind and would be awfully tough for a manager to work with. But I always remember his ‘the union can’t fire me, I AM THE UNION’ statement. He ain’t going anywhere so we need to live wit him. Curtin? I have no idea how effective he is in the locker room but he hasn’t made a ton of tactical mistakes, I like him in his press conferences and he’s a tough, lunch pail Philadelphia guy. Give him a chance.

    This is way too long, sorry but these are frustrating times.

    ps – bring Cruz home and release Fabinho today

    • Sorry don’t see the optimism, this team is a mess. As opposed to getting better like you propose and saying this is the worst case scenario now. We we’re all saying that vs KC and now they just got even worse. It’s sad, things are falling apart with this team as we speak and those in charge in the FO did it to themselves. But hope is gone. You can release/ bring in whoever you want right now it won’t help this team cause there is no culture and no organization.

  29. I like your optimism Kacey , a couple things just to rant about. Wenger , le toux and williams are lost causes, they need to be released in my eyes. williams will and should never get a chance to play for the national team bc he isn’t at that quality at all and never has been. He would get torn to pieces. 2nd, I don’t want a tough philly guy I want a coach that can implement the European style of how the game is really played. Curtin isn’t even tough on his players. When has he got out of his seat and really show some dictating and anger ? He hasn’t. I don’t think he has a clue how to discipline this team. Idc if hes from the moon! As long as a coach can change the style this team is playing bc it’s killing us rn. Of course everyone hates Fabinho and yes I get it but he’s a player who shines when his teammates around him MOVE on and of the ball, which doesn’t happen that often. In my opinion he’s done more going forward then Gaddis and Williams combined this year. The one play he had to push the ball back to McCarthy bc there were no options going forward. I wouldn’t say he was the worst player on the field.

    • Agree re cutting Le Toux and Williams. Would add Fabinho. Nice skills but think that Sak could outrun him at this point. Crime that we protected him over Ribero.
      Love Te Toux’s effort, but all he ever was was a chase and run ball over the top forward. He does not have the touch for midfield. He is useless to us.
      Wenger doesn’t have the touch for midfield either. He cant play up top and he cant play midfield. Think we should start him at left back like he played in college and move Ray over to the right. If he works there we can set and forget our back 4 with Mo helping hold down the middle. If he doesn’t, cut him too.
      Think Lahould still needs to be in there holding because even though Nogs likes dropping deep, he is not a defending midfielder.
      Gaddis, Mo, Vittoria, Wenger
      Lahoud, Nogs
      Ayuk, Maidana, Sapong/pfeffer

  30. As much as I want Curtin to succeed I can’t argue with you too much. I would be hard pressed to explain what the Union’s style of play is this year. I still hold out hope for Wenger and LeToux but am with you and ready to give up on Williams. I see Fabinho as a not very competent defender who lacks pace.

    • Yea I have to agree with you on Fab. As well. You’re right about him. If he gets scratched from the team, it won’t keep me up at night. Their style is just counter attack and hope for the best. There’s no creativity or patience

  31. If they are healthy, this should be the lineup against TO. If they play well, they could get a 2-0 2-1 result. But I’m willing to say that anything other than this lineup playing at it’s absolute best simply represents level of talent and form that just cannot compete at the MLS level I’m basing this on what we’ve seen this season. That’s no one’s fault other than management.

    FWIW, this starting 11 represents (in my mind) about 8 players the Union could build around for the future. Vitoria and Gaddis can go (just not quality enough) and Edu,too (too much money for what he contributes). Everyone else n the bench and not dressing that can be sold for whatever they can get should go.

    Build for next year. This season is over.


    Subs: White Fabhino Lahoud Carroll LeToux Casey McCarthy

    • I’d keep Edu but I strongly agree he is getting way over paid and should re evaluate his contract

    • Nogs to shield a leaky back four alone……………..Just off injury………your just asking for it……..IMHO

    • You really want to play a 4-1-3-2 with this group? They’ll get run out of the building. Needs to be a 4-2-3-1 with your outside midfielders as attack minded guys. 100% healthy, here’s the team I would run out. GK-Blake, RB-Williams, CB-Vitoria, CB-Edu, LB-Gaddis, DMF-Nogs, DMF-Pfeffer, RM-Sapong, CM-Chaco, LM-Ayuk, F-Nando. Lahoud, LeToux, Casey, and White are your primary subs. If Chaco can’t go 90, move Pfeffer up and drop in Lahoud. If someone gets hurt at CB, Ethan can come in. If Sapong or Ayuk are gassed, enter LeToux (who is fine in a 20 minute stint, but is not a starter anymore). If Nando is gassed or ineffective, Casey. And if one of the wing defenders get hurt, slide Ethan in the middle and move Mo outside (and cut Fabihno immediately). It’s actually not a bad team. They just have to get some consistency and right the ship. And Jim can’t pack it in up 1 goal with over 30 minutes left. The NE game was ridiculous, and the pre-determining that Chaco and CJ were going to play 60 minutes only is bush-league. You see how it’s going, and you adjust your plan on the fly. That’s why he’s the Head Coach…pre-determined minutes is bullshit.

      • +1………the whole thing

      • It’s funny……..I was thinking the same thing after my initial post. I’ll forgo a ball winner to see how Pfeffer and Nogs pair up in the double CDMs with Chaco in the level above……….see how a technical midfield works……..anything is worth a shot. Keep Pfeffer away from the flanks……..leave that to Ayuk and CJ……keep them high and wide……and just tell them to attack

      • Phil in Wilmington says:

        Point taken, VDS. At this point they could play an 11-0-0-0… I’m just not interested in seeing anyone else signed by the union getting playing time other than the 11 I’m “starting”, and I’m past thinking they are going to be competitive at all this year.

      • el pachyderm says:

        I actually have no problem with the coach bunkering with 30 minutes left, what I do however expect is the team to actually then preserve the point or points. The failure is in the failure to do so: over and over again.

      • the good bunker clubs can do it for 60, 70…..dependent upon when they scored. I’ve watched HS teams in the PIAA tournament get their goal in the first 20 and close shop and absorb for the rest of the match…..its not hard to do. For some reason, we have a tough time doing it. Shit, Chelsea did it for 90 against my Gunners yesterday. They came into the match looking for 0-0, and they got it. My point is, its all in the training…….what the hell do they do at practice?

      • yeah dude, I don’t know of many clubs….on the freaking planet…….that can play with one CDM….unless its Yaya…….or your whole mindset is that we are going to set up shop in your half the whole match….like Bayern and Barca!

  32. Okay, one more time, with feeling now…
    …..”there’ll be no more ahhhhhh – – can you show me where it hurts…”

  33. this team sucks, Columbus plays soccer Union plays kick and run, time to get rid of everybody and start over. get a good foreign coach from a country that plays possession soccer. Germany, Holland, Spain, Argentina, Portugal, even some small Eastern European country

    • The origin of the coach is not the issue. There are plenty of current American coaches who believe in the build it from the back and possession philosophy. The one thing that’s a little disconcerting about Jim is that he is of the “win at any cost, even if it’s ugly” mentality. That stuff works in high school, club, college, and even worked in the formative years of MLS. But it doesn’t work anymore in MLS because the league has too much talent and too much good coaching. Quite frankly, it doesn’t work in major college soccer anymore either. And even back in the day, it only got you so far.

      If you really want to drill down, the Curtin / Albright mentality really spawns from the Northeast Philadelphia soccer community…specifically from the clubs and the high schools up there. It’s the same brand of soccer that Judge, North Catholic, Ryan, Dougherty, and McDevitt used to play. Although Albright went to Penn Charter, they played the same way back in the day because all of their good soccer players (few and far between) were Northeast Philly kids, like Albright. Curtin, same thing at McDevitt. Same thing at all the local colleges back in the ’90s. Don’t get me wrong, there were many, many very talented kids on those teams. But a premium was never placed on possession, attack-oriented soccer. It was always defense first, intimidation, and counter-attacking.

      The Union has the talent. Sure, they’re a little thin in some areas (outside defender), but a battery of Edu, Nogs, Pfeffer, Chaco, and Nando is easily good enough to compete, win, and be a bottom-tier playoff team. It’s the mentality and the philosophy that are killing them and will continue to kill them.

      • Careful to paint with a broad brush, VDS. I grew up playing in that time at a pretty reputable high school and club, and at a local D1 college. Did that mindset exist, sure. Was it prevalent across the board, absolutely not. I was a suburban kid but some of my club and HS team mates were northeast kids. We played nice ball and tried to keep it on the deck………..was there a time for pragmatism, sure. Penn Charter when Albright was there…was pretty stacked dude. They had quite a few D1, pro, and MNt ballers on that side…….do you remember Bobby Convey? From the EPL? Yeah, he was on that team. So two national team players on the same team…..is not “few and far between”, as you stated. I’m not an alumni of there, just clearing the record. Ryan for most of the 80’s and early 90’s was one of the top 5 high school teams in the country, plenty of YNT players……..then LaSalle knocked them off their perch. LS played tiki-taka….it was their MO…and everyone knew it. North Catholic has always had a proud tradition of producing fine footballers……and they could play some pretty good ball. McDevitt was only good for two of the four years Curtin was there, they were and are normally the doormat of the PCL. As far as college goes, you must be talking about St. Joes. They played that way, I know Drexel and Penn didn’t. Your post seems to come off like you have an axe to grind with NE Philly. Ask yourself, Albright played at UVA, LA Galaxy, and was a capped MNT player…..do you really think he has this mindset after what he has been exposed to over his career? …….If you think he does, thats just out of touch and naive.

      • I played in that same high school league in the ’90s as Penn Charter. You’re right re: mid-late ’80s and Penn Charter with Bobby and Albright. I stand corrected. In the ’90s is more where I was going with this because it’s my era. No axe to grind whatsoever w/ the Northeast, I’ve played with some tremendously talented players from up there and most of them are great guys. But, the coaching philosophy is more what I’m speaking to, not the talent. St. Joe’s, Nova, Temple…they all played that way in the ’90s in college ball (I played in one of those conferences, but not for a local school). Whenever those schools would go up against the better teams in the conferences (Big East back then…St. John’s, Gtown), the strategy would be to batten down the hatches. And honestly, it really shouldn’t have been that way. But when you play that way too often, it becomes your default style and leads to a lack of possession and creativity. Maybe I’m trying to connect the dots too much (and if so, my apologies), but I see the same type of thing with the present-day Union. A battery of Edu, Nogs, Pfeffer, Chaco, and Nando should be able to keep possession and play creatively; instead, they’ve been pigeon-holed by the men in charge as a “counter-attacking team.” I just don’t agree with that stance, especially given the skillsets on this squad.

      • I also remember playing teams like UConn, St. Johns, Gtown etc……..and your right usually against a top 20 opponent, the mindset was……don’t concede. I vividly remember looking at each other in the locker room and class room tactics sessions like: “why do we have to do this? lets go right at them!” But, its left there and you execute what the coach asks. I hear ya completely. Dude, most top colleges still play that way to an extent….look at what UVA did to UCLA in the final. It was obvious UCLA were the better, technical team………UVA did what they had to do………pragmatism has its place in footy.

      • Yep, agreed. Theoretically, every team except the best in the world has to play conservatively at times, no doubt about it. I just think that conservative approach is the default mindset with the U right now, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Case in point, the NYCFC game last week at Yankee stadium. No Mix, and we just beat them in Philadelphia 5 days prior. Yet, we packed it in (which we also did for much of the home game too). Why? Because they have David Villa? Who cares…that’s an expansion team. Go at them and get 3 points!! Same w/ NE last weekend at home. You’re up 1-0…go get a 2nd and a 3rd goal, stop trying to win 1-0 against a team that can string together 25 or 30 passes in a row if you let them. At Seattle or at LA or at NE? I’m on board with playing conservatively and using the counterattack. But when it’s the default strategy, it erodes confidence, promotes indecisiveness (see Columbus game) and breeds losing.

      • we probably played against each other back in the day……in HS or college! Your right……Nova, Temple, and St. Joes did all play that way. The mid 90’s belonged to LaSalle in the PCL and CHA in the Inter Ac. Both were stacked squads….lot of talent out of those two. Charter came on in the late 90’s….so did North Catholic again.

      • Yeah, we probably played against each other. We almost got CHA and LaSalle my senior year in HS, were beating both in 2nd half away and ended up losing both. CHA had 6 D1 players on that team if I recall correctly, and I want to say that 2, maybe 3 ended up at Penn. One of the really good LaSalle players on that team is a great friend of mine. Was in my wedding. Still reminds me to this day that we lost to them 2-1 and that all Inter-Ac teams should wear skirts instead of shorts. 20-25 years later. Philly provincial sh*t never dies, it is truly unbelievable.

      • I think your right about the mindset of certain area coaches, particularly in the 90’s. Soccer wasn’t a priority at those schools…..how can a school go 2-16 for multiple years and no one gets fired? It seems they all have at least a different mindset now and take it a little more seriously!

      • not many of the local schools even recruit locally anymore……I know mine doesn’t……most are from abroad! Lasalle and SJU are the only two who still regularly get local talent………Drexel, Penn, Nova, and Temple rarely look local anymore………..

      • The college game is going the way of the dinosaurs. All of the top players are in the Academy programs now and will bypass college going forward in the next 10-15 years. There will still be college soccer obviously, but it will be more akin to college baseball and college hockey. Whereas 20 years ago, we played one game against UVA in Charlottesville where they had Reyna, Wood, Damien Silvera, and Arena was the coach. We’ll never see that again at the college level, at least I don’t think so.

      • Your right sadly, high school already has……and yup…..college is slowly doing the same. And yes! Gotta love that provincial s&@t! Too funny

  34. Curtin will be on the chopping block in 4 weeks. Blake should start over McCarthy. Agree with other commentors that Sapong and Ayuk should start as well.

    I stopped going to games back when Freddy Adu was still on the team as I saw the decline back then and decided I was no longer going to invest in this organization until they became a good team.

    Still waiting. I don’t think I’ll be back at PPL park anytime soon.

  35. It’s sad. I hate to give up hope so early in a season, but it’s all gone. Pretty much everything done with this organization was wrong and the problems are so obvious I don’t understand why it is difficult to fix. It’s just sad. I was so excited to have a soccer team in Philly followed them and all the players from the start didn’t start posting till a month or two ago, but always read all the posts. I can’t do it anymore there is just no hope and nothing worth talking about with this team anymore. Last 2 years had a chance to buy season tickets, but there isn’t enough heart on this team to make it worth while. I go to less games every year it feels like, cause what is the point. We all know the outcome. It’s just sad. Things needed to fix this team. 1) Someone who has money and cares about soccer to run the FO 2) A coach that knows what soccer is and how to motivate players 3) Players who have heart, know that you pass and move, and want to compete at a high level and will do anything they can to accomplish that. Again it’s sad.

  36. wtf Mulensteen is doing here? (As Union5 said)
    It’d be nice to have a coach in the room with EPL experience making the calls.
    Or was that just a publicity stunt to get us to re-doop?

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