Summer Friendly

Philadelphia Union 1-4 AFC Bournemouth

Photo: Daniel Studio

Newly promoted Premier League side AFC Bournemouth downed Philadelphia Union 4-1 in a friendly at PPL Park on Tuesday night. Joshua King and Callum Wilson scored inside the first 26 minutes before Richie Marquez pulled one back for the Union in the 35th minute.

Marc Pugh and Tokelo Kantie added second half tallies as Bournemouth ran out easy winners.

First Half

Being a meaningless friendly, Jim Curtin’s first half lineup was notable not for the regular starters who began the game but for the starting irregulars the Union head coach clearly wished to evaluate. Most obvious was Raymond Lee, who started at left back, and Ethan White partnering with Richie Marquez at center back. Additionally Maurice Edu, who will miss Saturday’s road game in Toronto due to yellow card accumulation, featured in the holding midfield position.

Bournemouth started brightly and dominated the early proceedings. Midfielder Matt Ritchie seemed to find time and space to shoot every time he got the ball, tallying an amazing 6 shots in the first half.

Bournemouth would open the scoring through King in the 20th minute. King did well to receive a pass from Adam Smith and put a brilliant first touch on the ball, floating past two Union defenders on the spin. John McCarthy came off his line to attempt to smother the ball, but King beat the young goalkeeper to the ball and did well to chip a shot into the far left corner of the goal.

Callum Wilson doubled the lead in the 26th minute. Smith and King did well to play a clever one-two on the outside right and Smith was able to slide a ball into Wilson 14 yards from goal. Wilson took one touch to settle and finished into the top left corner beyond McCarthy with a well struck shot.

Richie Marquez would grab the Union’s only goal in the 35th minute. Sheanon Williams delivered a lovely floated cross from the right side and Marquez was unmarked eight yards from the Bournemouth goal to easily head home. It was Marquez’ first goal in a Union shirt.

Second Half

Both teams made a number of changes in the second half. For the Union, Steven Vitoria returned to action, while Antoine Hoppenot and Jimmy McLaughlin both saw extended time in the final 45 minutes. Conor Casey was on the Union bench but did not feature in the match.

Bournemouth substitute Marc Pugh made it 3-1 in the 62nd minute when he received a pass from fellow substitute Tokelo Rantie inside the Union box, 15 yards from goal. Pugh pushed the ball onto his right foot and curled a neat finish into the far right corner beyond McCarthy.

Rantie would finish the scoring for the visitors in the 85th minute with a penalty kick after Pugh was fouled by Fred inside the Union box for a clear penalty. Rantie stepped up to take the kick, and despite McCarthy guessing correctly and getting a touch to the ball, scored into the left side of the Union net.

Three Points

Bright spots?

There weren’t many. Eric Ayuk put in a solid performance and looked up for the match. The pacy youngster had a few nice runs on the ball and did well to match the pace of the Bournemouth players.

Richie Marquez’ goal was nicely taken. The ball from Sheanon Williams was well placed and the big center back did what he was supposed to and headed it home.

Williams’ performance was solid throughout. In addition to the assist, the defender also made a spectacular goal line save after McCarthy was beaten.

Jim Curtin implied in his postgame press conference that he would go with the partnership of Ethan White and Richie Marquez against Toronto on Saturday, and the two played the opening 45 minutes together. To give the two time together, Maurice Edu was given a rare start in the central midfield.

With Bournemouth having so much of the ball in the opening half, it would be hard to rate Edu’s performance. While the English side certainly had success attacking Lee’s flank, there were plenty of balls also played through the central midfield with Edu having little impact to protect the back line. The Union captain did look one of the few Philadelphia players up for the physical battle that Bournemouth represented.

Stock falling

Raymond Lee, Antoine Hoppenot, and Jimmy McLaughlin all saw 45 minutes of action. None made an argument for additional playing time with the first team. Hoppenot was able to put together a few decent runs with the ball, showing off his trademark speed. But his runs failed to amount to anything.

Lee looked outmatched for most of the opening half. Bournemouth right back Adam Smith got forward with ease and many of the English side’s attacks came down Lee’s left side.

Steven Vitoria featured for the first time since April 25. The center back didn’t have the opportunity to make much of an impression, and the Bournemouth offense rounded him with ease. Vitoria also had what was probably the most embarrassing moment of the match when he rugby tackled a Bournemouth player in second half stoppage time.

Bournemouth look decent

Who can tell anything from one preseason game? But the newly promoted Premier League side pressed the Union high and drove the pace of the match for all 90 minutes with both their first and second teams. Bournemouth out-shot the Union 19-4 and could easily have scored more than the four goals they did tally. For a team so early in their preseason, they seemed well organized and did well to dominate the match.

Philadelphia Union
John McCarthy, Raymond Lee (Fabinho 61′), Ethan White (Ray Gaddis 61′), Richie Marquez (Steven Vitoria 45′), Sheanon Williams, Maurice Edu (Fred 45′), Chaco Maidana (Sebastien Le Toux 45′), Andrew Wenger (Jimmy McLaughlin 45′), Eric Ayuk, Zach Pfeffer, CJ Sapong (Antoine Hoppenot 45′)

AFC Bournemouth
First half: Artur Boruc, Adam Smith, Tommy Elphick, Sylvain Distin, Charlie Daniels, Junior Stanislas, Dan Gosling, Andrew Surman, Matt Ritchie, Joshua King (Harry Cornick 37′), Callum Wilson
Second half: Adam Federici, Simon Francis, Steve Cook, Baily Cargill, Tyrone Mings (Elliott Ward 73′), Christian Atsu, Shawn MacDonald, Eunan O’Kane, Marc Pugh, Yann Kermorgant, Tokelo Ranti

Stats (Union/Bournemouth)
Shots 4/19
Corners 4/6
Saves 0/6
Fouls 15/10
Offside 0/3


  1. Who cares.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    One telling point was the comment “Midfielder Matt Ritchie seemed to find time and space to shoot every time he got the ball, tallying an amazing 6 shots in the first half.” The Union on the other hand had several occasions where they got the ball to the top of the 18 and then had no idea what to do with it. Ideally the Union learned something from Bournemouth…have a plan as to what to do with the ball and shoot it when you can.

  3. Great One says:

    Shaenon needs to play, period.

  4. McCarthy has NO PLACE on an MLS roster!!! Forget the balls that scored, how many unpressured shanks do we have to see? And the ball he kicked straight into the Bournmouth player? INEXCUSABLE.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Unless Jamaica loses to Haiti Saturday, he is likely to be the ONLY keeper on the roster for Tuesday’s open cup game. Not sure whether they will have a backup in case he gets hurt.

  5. Bournemouth made the Union look small and slow, maybe they are.

    White gave a great demonstration of why he doesn’t play, he looked lost. If he is starting Saturday it could be a long night.

    Wenger and Pfeffer just dissappeared for long stretches.

    Ayuk was the only bright spot, but McCarthy played pretty well, given the constant barrage he was under. Will we ever see Blake?

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Blake was not the choice as substitute for Jamaica when the starter got hurt in the third game of group play..

    • McCarthy had 2 great saves in the first 15 minutes but should have stayed in his goal when Bournemouth scored the first goal. Then messed up on a kick when the ball bounced off the forward and almost ended up in his goal. Otherwise agree with your observations.

  6. I was there, it was also the first of these EPL friendlies I’ve been able to attend in my years of having season tix. Couple of observations:
    Raymond Lee is slow. I mean, really slow. I guess I’m used to seeing Gaddis or Fabi on the left side of the defense, but when my 47 year old self looks and says “I could run faster than that…” there is a problem.
    Hoppenot was doing his best impression of Jack Mac. Standing nearly off-sides and making a run up the middle. Only he has less skill than Mac, so they didn’t amount to anything. As a bonus, I think he is the only Union player to spend more time falling than Danny Cruz did.
    I was very impressed with Ayuk, his runs broke a few ankles, and he was able to do it while getting physically punished.
    We may be OK against Toronto with Richie/White at CB. If Carrol can shield them, and Nogs has another great game.
    Finally, we were all very amused at Vittoria’s yellow card. Considering the physicality of the game, and the blatant fouls that were let go with a talking to, it was a #slowclap from the fans to see the Ref actually didn’t leave the cards at home.
    I went into this game with the hope that some players I hadn’t seen would get some time, that no one would get hurt, and that we’d not loose by too much. I guess my expectations were met.

  7. Hopefully you can incorporate how to train and practice into the Union “coach.” Unfortunately you can’t teach skill.
    Other than that it shows being bottom line cheap won’t work moving forward. It does not help that the Union are weak even by MLS standards.

    Sell this team to a competent and financially competitive ownership!


  8. To me there is no point in playing these games if you are not going to field your best team. These are litmus test opportunities to measure and calculate IMO and opportunities for our best players to play against teams that are clearly superior and offer learning.

    • I dunno…..
      It is a good chance in mid-season to evaluate people on the fringes like White and Hoppenot without much risk.
      One of these teams deserved to be in the EPL, the other is the Union. It wasn’t a matter of whether they would get beat, but only a question of how badly.

    • pragmatist says:

      I would agree with you, if we were playing a top-tier team. Let’s see how they match up against Bayern, or Chelsea, or PSG. But when you’re playing a team expected to fight against relegation, in the middle of the week, while you’re in the middle of building momentum for the season, this is just a distraction for the starters.
      Curtin treated this like the scrimmage that it was. Our energies deserve to be reserved for the league matches, and Jim recognized that, as well.

      • Bournemouth has a chance against those teams. We do not. and from last night, we do not have a chance against Bournemouth either. Assuming we could win promotion to the premier league, which we could not actually do, we would have to be better than teams like Bournemouth to stay up. Even if we put our best side out, clearly we are not.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Hmm. On the other hand, when do you learn about both your team and your players? When you are on the field against a superior side that pressures you out of you comfort zone and exposes your weaknesses.
      We learned that Raymond Lee, the only Union player on the field in the first half who has not started a game this season, is not game ready, and is slow enough with the ball that he likely never will be. Should they need a roster spot, he is the waiver. That information has value.
      We learned that Eric Ayuk might be a better option at attacking center mid that Zachary Pfeffer because he can beat a defender one v one in the attacking third of the central channel when marked up. By no means is he ready to play there with the first team, yet. But, to me, he just enhanced his value to the team, expanded my vision of his potential.
      We learned that, flawed as he is, Ethan White is a better option to play center back than Steven Vitoria, which means that the better option against Toronto is Marquez and Williams at center back with Gaddis and Fabinho on the flanks and fervent prayer that there is no need for a substitute on the back line.
      Given the transfer window and edu’s suspension, we learned some things of use, and did so while – thank goodness – avoiding injury, restoring Ayuk to 90 minute match fitness, testing Marquez as the lead CB, getting Sapong a decent mid-week training workout, preserving Casey for games that matter next week, and resting Vincent Nogueira completely.
      We did not learn anything about Fernando Ariteguieta’s game fitness or status, which surprises me given things Curtin has said and Sapong’s unavailability for Pink Heifers a week from yesterday.
      And we learned as EPL fans that Bournemouth look to be in form for a good start to their league season.
      Very productive for Chris Albright. Productive for Jim Curtin. A minor but positive shot in the arm for Philly’s tourist industry. A useful midweek scrimmage that provided the business a small profit.

  9. Glad I gave my ticket to my daughter for this one. Seems like it was ugly.

    • It became decidedly less “friendly” as it went on.
      Lot of hard tackles that were not being called.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Very rare to see cards in a match whose most fundamental purpose is to provide training for players and evaluation opportunities for coaches.

        From my perspective, hire that ref and put him at the head of the PRO queue. He handled the pay-to-view midweek scrimmage exactly right, or as close to exactly as a referee can, given the truth of the SoB chant in the last USOC game’s truth.

      • I was surprised Vittoria got one, given what had been let slide before. Plays that actually risked injury, especially the body slams Ayuk endured.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Vittoria’s was SO blatant he had to give one. If he had grabbed him and then let him go it would have been OK but when he continued to hold the ref really had no choice.

  10. I love these friendlies and have seen all of them up to now. Love seeing the players who I know from TV, love seeing the movements and skills of the foreign teams (often much better than the Union’s) and love seeing what our the bench players can or can not do.

  11. John Ling says:

    The weather was beautiful last night. There’s a positive nobody has mentioned.
    Also, I don’t know why but yesterday was the absolute best mid-week traffic I’ve ever had. Despite leaving work later than I wanted and getting stuck on the turnpike a bit (because on the turnpike, raindrops = brake lights), we still made it in time for kickoff.
    An oddity from the 2nd half that I noticed: the Union played small. They had no chance at all of getting any balls out of the air on punts or goal kicks. Given the way he was getting beat up, I was actually hoping they’d take out Ayuk and put in Casey.

  12. I have enjoyed the friendlys over all. They are a great way to get a look at your fringe players. And evaluate their adility to help your club going forward. So we saw Lee,Vitoria and White look pretty bad. Ayuk is just oozing promise. Pheffer still growing into the physical play of the midfield. We also got to see Bournemouth AFC just manhandle the Union. It will be fun to follow them in the BPL this upcoming season. It was great to see Marquez score. He has been very good. And played well against Bournemouth.

  13. Shows how far behind MLS and the Union in particular are from other top tier leagues.

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