Union match reports

Match Report: Philadelphia Union 3-0 Portland Timbers

Andrew Wenger scored his first goal of the season and Vincent Nogueira netted a brilliant brace, with Cristian Maidana assisting each goal. to lead Philadelphia Union to a 3-0 victory over Portland Timbers at PPL Park.

Wenger scored a powerful left footed drive from 25 yards to open the scoring in the 69th minute. Nogueira doubled the Union’s lead just two minutes later with a great finish of his own. A beautiful passage of play between himself and Chaco Maidana ended with the Frenchman smashing home from six yards.

Jim Curtin called the match the Union’s “most comprehensive win of the season” in his postgame press conference.

First Half

Jim Curtin made two changes to the side that drew with Montreal a fortnight ago. Sebastien Le Toux was healthy enough to return to the starting lineup, replacing the suspended Eric Ayuk. Andrew Wenger also returned to the starting lineup, with Zach Pfeffer moving to the bench.

The Union got their first chance straight from the first half kickoff. CJ Sapong flicked on Maidana’s long pass and Wenger had his shot saved by Portland goalkeeper Andrew Weber at the near post.

Philadelphia had another good chance in the fifth minute. Maidana cut the ball back across the box but Brian Carroll couldn’t turn on the cross as he crashed the back post.

Le Toux would be next up in the 10th minute as Philadelphia continued to press forward. Maidana fired a clever pass for CJ Sapong into the Portland area and the striker laid the ball off for the onrushing Le Toux. But the Frenchman’s hard shot from the right went just wide of the far post.

Le Toux had another great chance to open the scoring three minutes later in the 13th minute. He took a pass from 25 yards out and drove to the top of the box, firing a hard shot with his left foot. The shot beat Weber, but hit the crossbar square and came out.

Sapong created a good chance for himself in the 19th minute. The forward flicked a long Richie Marquez clearance to himself after beating Nat Borchers to the ball. Sapong broke toward the Portland goal but had his shot from eight yards partially blocked over the goal for a Union corner.

Portland would get their best chance of the first half in the 36th minute when Maurice Edu was yellow carded for a sliding challenge on Diego Valeri 25 yards out (meaning the Union captain will miss next week’s match through yellow card accumulation). Valeri took the ensuing free kick and curled it around the wall, but Brian Sylvestre was there to push the ball off the crossbar and out for a corner kick.

Philadelphia would get one more chance just before the half. A good build up saw a cross from Le Toux only half cleared. Vincent Nogueira had his shot blocked from the top of the box and the ball fell to Sapong 10 yards from goal. The striker beat Weber with his shot but hit the crossbar.

Second Half

After an uneven start to the second half, Philadelphia broke the game open with two goals in two minutes.

Wenger scored his first goal in nine months with a beauty of a finish from 25 yards out. The winger picked the ball from a pass down the right touchline from Maidana midway inside Portland’s half and drove toward goal. Le Toux made himself available on the outside, but Wenger took the shot on himself at the top of the box and buried a fierce left footed drive into the far corner of the Portland goal.

The Union doubled their lead two minutes late through Vincent Nogueira. The Frenchman started the move himself by breaking up play in the Union half and pushing the counter with an outlet to Maidana on the right side. Maidana played a one-two with Le Toux before advancing through the Portland box toward the endline. He then slid a perfect pass to the onrushing Nogueira, who smashed his shot high into the near post past Weber.

Zach Pfeffer replaced Wenger in the 77th minute as the long-snake-bitten winger left the field to a standing ovation.

But Philadelphia was not yet done scoring, as Vincent Nogueira bagged his second tally of the match in the 82nd minute when a brilliant display of passing between the Frenchman and Maidana saw the two trade passes on the top of the box before Nogueira broke onto Maidana’s lofted ball behind the Portland defense. Nogueira continued his run patiently waiting as the ball bounced twice before striking a beautiful finish in off the far post past the onrushing Weber.

Sheanon Williams and Fred were introduced late as the Union saw out the victory for a much needed three points.

Philadelphia is back in action on Tuesday with a friendly against newly promoted Premier League side AFC Bournemouth, who took in tonight’s match from the the owner’s suite. The team returns to league play when they travel to Toronto next Saturday (4 pm: CSN, MLS Live).

Philadelphia Union
Brian Sylvestre, Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Maurice Edu, Ray Gaddis, Brian Carroll, Vincent Nogueira, Cristian Maidana (Fred 89′), Andrew Wenger (Zac Pfeffer 78′), Sebastien Le Toux (Sheanon Williams 85′), CJ Sapong
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Ethan White, Conor Casey, Antoine Hoppenot

Portland Timbers
Andrew Weber, Taylor Peay, Nat Borchers, Liam Ridgewell, Jeanderson, Will Johnson, Jack Jewsbury (Michael Nanchoff 83′), Diego Valeri, Rodney Wallace (Dairon Asprilla 74′), Gaston Fernandez, Fanedo Adi
Unused Subs: Jake Gleeson, Nick Besler, Andy Thoma, George Fochive, Michael Nanchoff

Scoring Summary
PHI: Andrew Wenger (Chaco Maidana) — 69
PHI: Vincent Nogueira (Chaco Maidana) — 71
PHI: Vincent Nogueira (Chaco Maidana) — 82

Disciplinary Summary
PHI: Maurice Edu (foul) — 35
PHI: Sebastien Le Toux (high kick) — 65
PHI: Diego Valeri (foul) — 86

Philadelphia Union Portland Timbers
17 Shots 4
7 Shots on Target 1
6 Shots off Target 1
4 Blocked Shots 2
 8 Corner Kicks 6
 14 Crosses  12
 2 Offsides 0
 8 Fouls 3
2 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards  0
 414 Total Passes 442
 78.7% Passing Accuracy 78.3%
 48.3% Possession  51.7%
 36 Duels Won 36
 50% Duels Won %  50%
7 Tackles Won  13
4 Saves 4
9 Clearances 17


  1. philly loves a winner says:

    The mock celebration the Sons of Ben did after each goal was brilliant. Job well done.

  2. That was fun.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    Great game for the Union despite having to play 11 on 12 the entire game. Several ridiculous non calls, especially the non call when Fabhino was fouled just before LeToux got the card (would have been 2 minutes for interference in the NHL) and no call when Chaco was kicked in the face early on.

  4. Way to go Union! Sylvestre has sealed his spot on this team. With MacMath as backup they can deal Blake and Mbohli for some depth at defense.
    Guys, 2nd place is only 4 points ahead. I realize not everyone at 20 games but still, with 14 games to go, playoffs should be a reality for this team. They are far better than current record indicates, and if you look at last dozen games, they are on the rise!

    • +1 like this thought a lot.

    • Dr. Union says:

      This team is far worse and is not a playoff team sorry man but you haven’t been watching all season. Also not likely that MacMath will want to come back to this team I wouldn’t if I were him especially after the way this team treated him.

      • I’m a cynic by nature but think the reality leans to the middle. Not a terrible team. Not a really good team. Fair. And I repeat…. that is the goal of the organization- at the moment at least.

      • I think this team is below Fair. However even if Fair is what this organization seems to gear towards it is not acceptable in my opinion to be fair after 6 seasons. The team should be at least trending towards good to competitors if not more than that.

      • I have no rebuttal….as I wholeheartedly agree… I do feel that with a generally healthy squad… the last 10 games are closer to the reality than the first 10 or so. We certainly share a similar POV regarding Edu and my dearly departed.
        Some amongst here think Okugo isn’t good as evidenced by not starting in Orlando (thereby good riddance) and I argue Orlando’s defense is generally sound and they need more offensive spark from the holding midfield cause they struggle to generate chances to score. But I digress….
        …..We are a have not and I’ve made that point strongly all along too.

  5. By the way, Maidana–hats off! That is way to celebrate your wedding–congrats!

  6. So has the U beaten every team in MLS now (minus Orlando, of course)? I’m a little unsure about Dallas. Guess we’ll have to work on wins vs everyone at their place too, now. Anyway- great win boys!

    • Kevin K had this pre match, so h/t:

      Union have never beaten Dallas, RSL, & Orlando.

      Tonight was first time beating Portland.

      And it was good. Nogs’ second goal, so simple but so pretty from the best two players on the roster. Ahh.

      • How about the win against Dallas in last year’s Open Cup? I realize that went to PKs, but it’s a win. Perhaps the record keeping is for league play…

      • Matches that go to PK’s are considered draws.

      • Graciás. RSL surprises me as I thought last year when Wenger scored his first Philly goal was a W. Although I do sort of remember us complaining about some bad defensive coverages in that game now that I think about it. This year definitely should have been a win vs them, if it wasn’t for that terrible ref.

  7. Question–was Wenger’s goal considered all his? Replay it appears defender tried to head it away and instead deflected it past keeper. Not taking anything away from Wenger’s great play…just curious how they credit that.
    Also, TV commentator gave assist on that play to Maidana but official (?) stats above only credit him for assist on last two.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      No way man… don’t steal LITERALLY his only positive contribution this seaaon…

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Please, soccer is a two-way game, some aging strikers to the contrary, and he has been contributing that way much of the season. Watching the shot as he took it, it seemed to curl smoothly into the far upper ninety, so I would say it was his. He had taken several touches himself, before the strike, so no assist seems correct.

      • John Ling says:

        Indeed. Even without scoring the goal, I thought Wenger had his best game of the season. He was active defensively, coming way back – including one time I can recall in the first half he was effectively playing FB because Fabinho got caught up field. I also thought his off the ball movement was a lot that better this game.

      • UnionGoal says:

        Thank you, OSC. Wasn’t trying to steal anything from Wenger…he definitely did a great job on the play. Was curious when it was credited an assist since the commentator said it postgame Maidana had 3 guess since he passed to Wenger before his run.
        And If you say no defender touched it then I believe you…replay angle was very difficult to tell.

      • Looked like it could have been a deflection off the defender but he deserves credit for the goal none the less.

  8. Hats off boys. Best game of the season… despite a few glimpses of lunacy (Thought we were in for a long one when Mo got called offsides at the damn endline, and Fabi almost bicycle kicked a man’s face) that was a solid team effort. Good to see some confidence in the attack and maybe more importantly, it looked like they were having fun.

    Also, thank you Wenger. Please continue.

  9. Definitive. Only Joy. Well Done.
    Congrats to Andrew for a lovely goal… Must feel quite good. Seems the whole crowd applauded with relief for his benefit. Chaco Maidana what else is there to say…that game goes by one name and one name only….CHACO. He was boss.
    Man it feels good to be resounding in victory.

  10. I fear this may be the match that tells MLS they cannot come to PPL/Talen Energy/Insert Name Here Park and play their reserves and hope to earn a result.

    Glad for Wenger to finally get a goal. Well taken, now hopefully karma balances for him and he gets a few.

    I have no words for Chaco and Nogs on the last goal. The two best players on the roster, but the play is so simple. Give…. and go. More please.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      You did notice that fairly quickly thereafter Jewsbury, playing one of the two DCMs, was subbed off. Jewsbury was in for Diego Charra (sp?) who normally starts as a DCM.

      • Yes, I did. Don’t ruin it for me. I gave credit as Jewsbury is an MLS vet, not like the rookie LB who got toasted on the second goal.

        Whoever was there, it was still a nice combo, and good finish from Nogs.

    • Chaco and Nogs are very good players, they really are, and both played very well last night. But Maurice Edu is clearly the best player on this team.

      • Darth Harvey says:

        False… Ummmm -1…Edu plays CB really really well for a CDM… Best player that has the best soccer brain on the field goes to Chaco, Nogs or Okugo… Shit I keep forgetting we got rid of that last one who is better, cheaper, and has a higher upside than Edu for nothing.

      • Dr. Union says:

        Agreed no one and I mean no one should say Edu is the best player on this team. I’m pretty sure he isn’t even the best CB on this team.

      • I feel like the truth is somewhere inbetween. Depending on the day, I’d take either Nogueira as our best/most important players. Edu is still an excellent player – I honestly don’t understand all the negativity towards him this season (presumably because of his salary?). I also really like Okugo, but there’s no way he’s better than Edu right now. The upside thing is debatable too. Time will tell…

      • Joe Schmo says:

        Agreed. Edu might be overpaid in general, but I think he is a great CB and I’d like him to stay there.

  11. The fireworks after the match paled in comparison to the ones displayed by the U during the match. Well done indeed. My feet hardly touched the ground on the way to Lot A. Anybody know what happened to the free haircut promotion? With 3 goals scored I was all set to text for it but they never announced it.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      My wife spoke to our local Great Clips several weeks ago and found they weren’t doing it anymore since it was costing them too much money. We would have had haircuts after Columbus too.

      • GTFO! Were they betting against us?! Did the Taco Bell satellite crash have better odds than the U scoring goals?

  12. Can someone please explain Wenger’s goal celebration to me?

    • Eating up his critics bro, nom nom nom.

      • His celebration was simple and terrific and (almost) worth the wait….that is the finishing he showed he is capable of and it is the finishing we have come to expect. No more no less. It is professional sports and this is game 20 or so after all.
        Here’s to a boost in scoring production that vaults them up the table. If Andrew and Le Toux can combine for 10 goals over remainder of season we may stand a chance of relevance.

    • I see it a lot in football games the last few years. Guys do it after they make a big play, “I gotta eat”, or something.

      • didn’t he have a nickname, “the bear?” i thought it was a “feed the bear” celebration.

  13. What a great match. Congrats to Wenger. I’m glad to see him finally score. And Kudos to the rest of the team. It’s amazing how well the Union can play when at full or close to full, strength. They were even able to overcome the MLS refereeing. Truly amazing. Seeing Caleb Porters “Sour Puss” face….Priceless.

  14. The Little Fish says:

    Is it me or does every team bring up all their reserves agaisnt us? It is becoming less than a coincidence.

    • Warning–putting on tinfoil hat—to take your comment to the conspiracy level, what you are implying is that the SOB protest on live tv led MLS to tell opposing teams to play their reserves against the Union so as to relieve pressure on the ownership group of the Union.
      You may be on to something–come to think of it, no post recently from LCBline to fire Sak/Sugarman and sell to an ownership group, so the conspiracy is working.
      Or maybe Union players are much better than early season and certain bandwagon fans allow. The Union are clearly not the Phillies and they are only 4 points from 2nd place in a system that allows everyone but the Phillies to make the playoffs. Another playoff miss would be a shocker especially with the talent this team has.
      BTW, sometimes it takes a Sylvestre to turn talented teams in positive direction. Even though they may not be the best on the field, they bring confidence and motivation to the team that provides the impetus to advance. (Pence is credited to doing that for SF Giants even though his numbers are average for MLB).

      • The Little Fish says:

        I don’t think its a conspiracy. We get no respect from our opponents at all. I’ll take the 3 points but I feel like other teams don’t (yet) take us seriously. Every team leaves half its starters at home when they come here and it’s always someone’s pro debut. I hope this changes soon. I think I’m starting to get a complex!

      • First, I think there’s too much at stake particularly in the west, for any gift giving or game throwing. So I don’t see how the conspiracy theory is plausible (and I don’t fault you at all for thinking it out loud).
        Second, this team spent its first 10 games forced to cover for key players out of the starting XI due to injury, bogus red cards DUIs and Mbholi. I’m cool with the team collecting rewards and cashing in against reduced teams now, which is exactly what it should do.
        Finally, I think what I’m most looking forward to out of the U is a return shot at the open cup trophy. So close last year… This squad is maybe coming together at the right time.

    • The Chopper says:

      MLS is a long grueling season. Throw in the open cup and you have a lot of games and a lot of travel. The northwest teams log a lot of air miles flying commercial and sitting in coach.

      Coaches have to manage the roster and if you look at the table and see some of the club’s earlier performances, it would seems that the Union would be the club where you think you might get a result resting some players.

      The Union have picked up their level of play over the last 6 weeks, so perhaps some managers will re-think the strategy.

  15. I can’t help but imagine Weber, with all his gum chomping, not talking to his defenders in a 40’s/50’s Hollywood actor voice.

    “Come on Doll-face, daddy’s home, the party’s over, now cover your man.”

  16. 700 Chopper says:

    Great game Great match.

  17. Great match, maybe fireworks night after every win?!?! Also lets keep wearing white at home! Happy family today!!!!!!

  18. Glad for the win. And glad Wenger scored he cut inside and shot it the same move that has been open for the last 19 games, but he AT LEAST FINALLY MADE THE MOVE and scored. Now as far as all the people being like we are making the playoffs you need to slow it down. First off this team blows it generally with a downslide at the end of the season most years. Second, there is still time for the FO to screw things up by bringing in yet another terrible signing. Yeah I know the East is terrible and 60% of the teams in the league make the playoffs, but this team is not one of the top 60% of teams in the league (go ahead disagree with me, but I’ve seen ever game all season and their just not above that line based on their play). I will reserve judgement until they actually mathematically clinch that playoff spot and its not a wildcard spot (then and only then will I say they proved me and many others wrong). Because just squeaking into these playoffs is no big deal. Being sixth tells us what we already know this team is not good enough to compete with top teams and the FO is terrible. Still glad they won. Chaco had a great game along with Nogs they are always fun to watch, but more players like them are needed for this team to excel.

  19. James Lockerbie says:

    Great game! awesome movement of the ball keep it up and we might have something here?

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