Daily news roundups

“Heart of a lion”: Recaps and reaction to Union’s heroic USOC win, USA faces Jamaica tonight, more news

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Eventually playing 80 minutes down a man after Conor Casey was red carded in the 40th minute, Philadelphia Union scored a shorthanded goal to take the lead before conceding a stoppage time equalizer and then went on to prevail over New York Red Bulls on penalty kicks in what was an instant US Open Cup classic.

Jim Curtin said after the game, “I would say, first and foremost, it’s the Union’s biggest win in their history. I thought the fan support was incredible. I thought that our players showed a ton of heart – the heart of a lion. I couldn’t be more proud. They represented the badge very well. They represented our fans, our city, and they left everything on the field.”

All of these things were true in what was another absolutely heroic US Open Cup win for the Union. And Union fans — whether you were able to make the trip up to Red Bull Arena, were watching the live stream on YouTube, following the game on social media, or have only been able to read the recaps — you should be proud, too.

There have been so many disappointments in this 2015 season, some of the team’s own making, some by things outside of their control like questionable officiating, injuries, or just plain old bad luck. But there have been times when the team’s potential have shown through all of those challenges, and Tuesday’s win was not only one of those times, it was one for the ages.

The Union scored 16 minutes after going down a man in a wonderful exchange that began with Vincent Nogueira and ended with Eric Ayuk slotting home. And they held on through unrelenting pressure from New York, nearly grabbing a second goal moments after Fernando Aristegueita was subbed in in the 60th minute. They then held on through four minutes of a perplexingly awarded five minutes of stoppage time before NYRB scored the equalizer.

Asked after the game what he thought at that moment, John McCarthy said,”I just thought, ‘that kind of sucked.’ There was 30 seconds left in the game.”

McCarthy, who already made several clutch saves, went on to make more throughout the scoreless 30 minutes of extra time, aided by vital interventions from across the Union defense, to send the game to penalty kicks.

While Bradley Wright-Phillips missed with NYRB’s first PK attempt, Sheanon Williams, Nogueira, and Maurice Edu each made theirs. McCarthy then came up huge much like he did in the Open Cup game against Rochester Rhinos, first saving Lloyd Sam’s attempt and then stopping the ball from trickling across the line.

“It was close,” McCarthy said. “I heard the fans yelling and screaming. I saved it, and I turned around, I saw it going in the net and I just tried to smack it out.”

Fred had a chance to win the game, but his rather tame effort was saved. Which left Aristeguieta, playing his first minutes for the Union in six weeks. Aristeguieta said, “I went to the coach and said that I want to shoot the fifth [shot]. Usually I try to take the first one to get out of it, but this time I went and told him that I wanted the fifth one to kill it.”

Kill it, he did. And way up high in the corner of RBA, hundreds and hundreds of Union fans went nuts with relief and joy. And, yes, pride. (My hands were still shaking after getting on the bus for the ride home.)

On August 11 at 7:30 pm, the Union will host the winner of tonight’s quarterfinal match between Chicago Fire and Orlando City (8:30 pm, YouTube. Previews of tonight’s match at US Soccer and Orlando Sentinel). In Tuesday’s other quarterfinal match, Kansas City defeated Houston 3-1 and will now host Real Salt Lake in the semifinals on August 12 at 8:30 pm ET.

So, anyway, how did NYRB react after the loss?

Dax McCarty said, “We were clearly the better team, but the better team isn’t advancing. You’ve got to win the game. Credit to Philly. They held their nerve a little better than we did, and their goalkeeper came up big a couple times. This is soccer. It’s a cruel sport sometimes, and it’s certainly cruel right now.”

NYRB’s Mike Grella said, “I thought once we got the goal, we’d definitely get a second in extra time, or we’d run over them…Even when we did get the chances, we hit the post, or the keeper was making a fabulous save. It was a tough one. It just wasn’t our day.”

Luis Robles said, “Even at the PKs, I envisioned us being the team on top and celebrating with our fans. For it not to work out is a punch to the gut.’”

Bradley Wright-Phillips, who missed his penalty shootout attempt, said, “What frustrates me about that penalty is that I was very confident and tried to be brave after missing two in one game, and I just wasn’t rewarded for it, and my team’s out of the Open Cup now…It should’ve never got to the penalty spot, [but] it did. They were obviously mentally stronger than us. Or luck was on their side.”

NYRB head coach Jesse Marsch was still talking about the scheduling kerfuffle: “We tried every which way with Philly to re-schedule this, but they showed no flexibility whatsoever. We gave them probably five, six, seven options and they didn’t want to work with us. You feel like after all of that, and then for them to get the result, it makes it that much more painful. Obviously it’s not ideal but Philly didn’t want to work with us.” He added some begrudging respect: Philly has our number right now, so good for them. But the good news is we play them again August 1 so we won’t let that derail us. We’ll be ready to recharge our batteries and go again.”

Recaps and reports at PSP (recap, postgame video), Philadelphia Union, US Soccer, TheCup.usPhiladelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Delco Times (recap, report), CSN Philly, Cinnaminson Patch,  MLSsoccer.com (recap, Union report, NYRB report), Philly Soccer NewsBrotherly Game, Philly Sports NetworkSons of Penn, New York Red Bulls, New York Post, New York Daily News, NJ.com (recap, report), NorthJersey.com, Big Apple Soccer (recap, report, report), Empire of Soccer, Once a Metro, ESPN, SBIGoal.com, ProSoccerTalk, Vavel,  USA Today has a photo gallery.

At Soccer America, the Union drop one spot to No. 13: The Union fall three spots to No. 19 in MLSsoccer.com’s power rankings: “Over the next month they’ll play six games against conference foes. We’ll know by mid-August if this team is going to scrap its way into playoff contention.” Yep.

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald reports Peter Nowak, with his case against MLS now dismissed from federal court — as was his case against MLS Players Union — now intends to file his wrongful termination lawsuit in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas in Delaware County. It appears an arbitrator ruled in favor of the Philadelphia Union in April, a decision Nowak’s lawyers will appeal.


South Jersey Local News reports on Carli Lloyd’s recent homecoming. It sounds like it was a wonderful day.


ESPN reports Chicago Fire, who have a discovery claim and so have first dibs, have increased their offer to sign Didier Drogba. Jose Mourinho says Drogba would be “the perfect choice” for a MLS club.


The US faces Jamaica tonight at 6 pm in the semifinals of the Gold Cup (Fox Sports 1, UniMás, Univision, Univision Deportes, Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer 2Go, Univision Deportes En Vivo). A win to go along with Tuesday’s Union victory in the US Open Cup would be quite nice, thank you. I would like to actually, you know, want to use the tickets I bought for Sunday’s final.

Previews at US Soccer, MLSsoccer.com (preview, tactical preview), Fox Soccer, SI (preview, report), CBS Sports,  Washington Post, Jamaica Gleaner, The GuardianGoal.com, ProSoccerTalkStars and Stripes FC, and the AP.

Tonight’s game is a sellout — and the first time the USMNT has played in Atlanta since 1977 — and some 68,000 fans are expected to be in attendance. ASN has a look back at 11 previous US semifinals at the Gold Cup.

Vice Sports and SI report DeAndre Yedlin’s youth club, Crossfire Premier, has been given permission to bring their complaint aimed at securing solidarity payments before the federation’s Dispute Resolution Chamber, “an independent arbitration tribunal set up by FIFA to settle private legal disputes.” This could be huge.

US Soccer has confirmed the USWNT will play Australia in Detroit (Sept. 17) and Birmingham, Alabama (Sept. 20) as part of the Women’s World Cup victory Tour.


World Soccer Talk wonders if Jeffrey Webb and Aaron Davidson will offer incriminating evidence against US Soccer president Sunil Gulati and federation CEO Dan Flynn in an effort to secure plea deals with US prosecutors in the FIFA corruption case.

From Reuters: “South Korean tycoon Chung Mong-joon, one of the most influential figures in Asian soccer, said on Tuesday that leaving Sepp Blatter at the helm of FIFA until a new president is elected shows those in power at the scandal-hit governing body ‘have yet to come to their senses.'”

The AP reports, “A friendly between Brazil and Argentina planned in the United States in September has been canceled as part of the fallout from the investigation into alleged corruption involving FIFA.”

The BBC reports on the trafficking of youth players from Africa to Asia. A must read.


  1. When I first heard Curtin call this win the biggest in Union history I was like c’mahn man I know you are pumped but lets get real. Then I started to think if there were any wins of an equal or greater level. And after some thought I found my self in a brief spell of melancholy and ill humor.

  2. Conor Casey sucks.

  3. Hey Jesse….. This is a bokken and this is a tissue. One to kill the bull with the other for your tears.

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    Best $10 I ever spent!

  5. If the best thing DeAndre Yedlin is ever known or remembered for is coming up with the club that finally landmarks and wins the necessity for clubs being properly compensated by ‘building’ professional level players, then I am all for DeAndre Yedlin.
    Go get em Crossfire Premiere. Yours is a good fight. A worthy fight. An absolute necessity of a fight for the properly vectored growth of the game in this country. Others have tried and grown weak and weary… Stay true to your argument…. The more attention this gets the better.
    I am unsure who the real devil is….MLS or US Soccer or the spawn of them both… but it leaves one feeling dirty and is a subject worth digging in to.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      The spawn of MLS and the USSF is one scary thing to picture. I don’t want to live in a world where that child grows up.

  6. Hate to say it but Casey looked toast, definitely a valuable guy to have, but not for more then 15-20 mins at the end of a game. Le Toux was (has been) very bad. Give the kids a shot.
    All that being said, what a win! Keep it going boys.
    Also, will any of you guys be at the press conference? Can someone please please ask about Shaenon and what the deal is? I don’t want to hear the “we don’t see practice” line. We see the games and He’s been in top form while Ray is having a tough spell.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Le Toux looked pretty good on the give and go with Noguera to set up the goal.

      • That pass was quality absolutely, the rest of his minutes… Not so much

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Perfect through ball to put Nogueira alone onto the keeper. And Eric the Truck making the run that others hesitate to make.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Reference Gaddis starting over Williams: I think Curtin anticipated Wright Phillips out on that flank and wanted Gaddis as that match up. Having Williams as a flank midfield sub has worked out well twice, enough so that it might be an interesting option to explore further.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Actually, both of the last two open cup games they’ve ended bringing in the third outside back as a midfielder and it’s worked out well.

      • Great One says:

        I agree that it’s a good idea to have all three on the field at once. I guess I just see Fabinho as more of an midfielder than Shaenon. Also Ray would be good cover defensively behind Fabinho.

      • My guess is that Williams came in as a winger to keep Fabi in the back line. Williams had fresher legs to run back and help on D, and they weren’t really pushing for a second goal. Pure defensive move.

  7. What do you guys think of Barnetta? MLS just posted on their site that he’s linked with the Union. I think the only way it’s practical though is if we get Wenger’s $280,000 per year off the books. He’s already way overpaid as a “starter,” and that’s entirely too much money to be shelling out on a depth LW

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Re: Wenger’s total compensation package. We discuss his total compensation package, which is about $100 K higher than his salary, an unusually high discrepancy compared to other Union salaries in the past, handicapped by the dense fog of Major League Soccer’s Stalin-like obsession with secrecy. I think we know from the details revealed when he was traded for McInerney that this season is the last one of his current contract. He was the first pick of the draft. He might have been a Generation Adidas player. If he was, how do GA contracts affect total compensation aside from putting something aside for future educational costs. Did he finish his degree at Duke? If not he’s got Duke tuition in it somehow. Did he negotiate that there be monies provided for advanced degrees after soccer? He was in a position to ask for something like that.
      While I am as frustrated with this season’s lack of success as everyone else, I am not yet ready to give up completely. My own theory is that he is not mentally suited to be a creator, that his mind is that of an analyzer and a reactor, a defender, in other words.
      They will have to do a new contract with him after this season, and it would not surprise me to see him positioned so he has to take a pay cut.

  8. The BBC article about trafficking youth players from West Africa sounds a little like Erik Ayuk’s path prior to joining the Union. PSP had an article on Ayuk’s backstory a few weeks ago, but it didn’t mention any of the conditions described in the BBC article. Ayuk is from Cameroon, which isn’t one of the countries mentioned in the BBC article. Either way, I have even more respect for Ayuk after reading this. I suppose it’s the dark side of the compensation issue that Yedlin’s old club is fighting over with US Soccer and MLS – youth clubs trying to stockpile talent in the hope of cashing in if any ever get bought by bigger clubs down the road.

  9. Ok what am I missing? I like Jesse Marsch, but for him to go back on the “Union wouldn’t work with us” stance seems silly to me. The Red Bulls were the ones who scheduled the Chelsea game the following day!!!!! I understand the Union played hardball, but to me, rightfully so. When or where were these 5,6,7 options? I only saw the 15th and the Union probably lobbied to host, because they rightfully scheduled their friendly the week before the US Open Cup dates. The only other dates are 28/29 and 3/4 (which are probably the other options). Either way, it would have been back-to-back games against the Red Bulls (8/1). Not something the Union would consider fair considering how important each would be in a short span. And yes I know it would be the same for Red Bulls, but the Union are the ones trying to climb the standings. Anyways, kudos to the Union for sticking to their guns and getting the win!

    • He’s an Ass. As beloved by his own fans as he is the oppositions (sarcasm font not available)

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Only way Union should have been flexible when RBNY deliberately with profit aforethought scheduled a conflict with the USOC dates after those dates had been published was if RBNY offerred to split that profit 50-50. Mrsch didn’t make that decision, probably. But his organization disrespected the cup, and his team paid the price for it. But his bosses like the money. Welcome to capitalism, Jesse, me boy!

    • Marsch definitely came off like a total tool. What’s his problem? He started a very good IX, and had a one-man advantage for 80 minutes. His team got beat. Suck it up.
      Was it Marsch who was crying about the Union parking the bus earlier this season? Or was that Kreis?
      When NY team’s lose, it’s never their fault.

  10. Was the scuffle behind the goal during PKs with a Union supporter? Just curious if anyone knows.
    So Fire have “discovery” rights on Drogba. Any guesses who’s on The Union list? I’m guessing Bob Rigby and David Seaman . . .

  11. Andy Muenz says:

    Informal poll: If you attended yesterday’s game, would you still have gone if it was at 7 (i.e. you wouldn’t get home until midnight)? If you didn’t attend, would you have been more likely to have attended if it was at 7? Depending on the results, maybe we should send a thank you note to the RB management for their scheduling.
    My wife and I probably would not have bothered to go if it was a night game due to the lateness of when we would have gotten home.

    • John Ling says:

      I likely would’ve attended a later game. There was no logistical way for me to get the day off yesterday to be able to get up there in time for a 4pm kickoff; I very likely could’ve arranged to leave early and get there on time.

    • As a Union exile in NYC, I would have absolutely gone if it was at 7pm. The PATH is only a 10 minute subway ride from my office, I just couldn’t leave work in the middle of the damn day to get there by 4.

  12. Andy Muenz says:

    Just realized, the Union have back to back games coming up next month. We just don’t know if it is against Orlando (8/8 and 8/11) or Chicago (8/11 and 8/16).

  13. I’m interested to see how Andre Blake is going to fit back into the team. Does he take Sylvestre’s starting spot now that he’s finally healthy? Is Sylvester’s loan good for the full year? Does Blake start the Open Cup semi instead? We had a similar situation last year when Mbohli came in and the debate was did McMath earn the right to finish the Open Cup run, same with McCarthy this year. For the record I liked Curtin sticking with McMath last year, and don’t know how you can drop McCarthy this year. That means we’d carry 3 GKs all year though (4 if we can’t unload Mbohli- I must have missed that chapter in the Moneyball book).

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