Union / Union match reports

Match report: New England Revolution 1-1 Philadelphia Union

Jim Curtin’s makeshift lineup rode a fine strike from Fernando Aristeguieta and a sensational performance from Andre Blake to a road point against New England Revolution Saturday night.

Aristeguieta canceled out Lee Nguyen’s first half penalty with a right footed laser in the 65th minute and Blake preserved the tie with a series of stunning saves as the Union’s second team went toe to toe with the best New England had to offer.

Philadelphia’s lineup showed that Jim Curtin’s mind is clearly on Wednesday’s US Open Cup final. Andre Blake started in net behind Andrew Wenger at right back, Steven Vitoria and Ethan White in the middle, and Fabinho on the left. Warren Creavalle and Brian Carroll sat in front of the defense with Eric Ayuk and Zach Pfeffer wide. Cristian Maidana supported Aristeguieta.

New England came out in force, with Jermaine Jones and Scott Caldwell supporting Nguyen, Diego Fagundez, and Kelyn Rowe. Charlie Divies Davies started up top.

First half

The Revolution were on the front foot from the outset. Scott Caldwell put a shot over the bar soon after the match began and Lee Nguyen had two half chances in the box before ten minutes had passed.

The first of 14 New England corner kicks came in the 12th minute, but Rowe’s shot from distance was blocked.

The Union tried to respond through Pfeffer and Ayuk, but both players remained isolated as Maidana was listless and Creavalle was positionally at sea.

In the 27th minute, Chris Tierney curled in a dangerous shot from the edge of the box and Andre Blake made the first of what would be many impressive saves, diving high to push the ball away from goal.

In the 35th minute, Fabinho took out Nguyen’s legs inside the box. The Revs playmaker smoothly finished the resulting penalty low to the left of a diving Blake.

The half wound down with the Revs playing more through Tierney, who fired crosses into the box with eery precision. Blake twice came out and collided with New England players as the Revs got closer to doubling the lead.

Second half

The two regular starters who began the match exited at halftime. Michael Lahoud replaced Fabinho, mercifully pushing Creavalle out of midfield and into the back line. Maidana made way for Sebastien Le Toux, which allowed Zach Pfeffer to slide into the middle.

The second half began in a similar manner to the first. Lee Nguyen flitted around the Union box, having a shot blocked from the right and then missing the frame from twenty yards out.

The Union were sitting incredibly deep and inviting pressure up the left through Tierney’s crossing and Fagundez’s penetrating runs. Jay Heaps sought to introduce more bodies in the buildup by adding Juan Agudelo in place of Charlie Davies. Agudelo dropped deeper and helped the Revs move Philly’s central defenders around.

In the 65th minute, Fernando Aristeguieta finally matched effort with skill as he speared a low shot inside Bobby Shuttlesworth’s near post. Creavalle brought the ball up the left wing and laid it into the box for the Venezuelan striker. A poor first touch ended up granting Aristeguieta space in front of Jose Goncalves, and the second touch was a beauty.

Nine minutes later, the Andre Blake show began. It started with a bang, as Blake rose high to nudge Jermaine Jones’ long shot over the bar.

A minute later, Tierney was again (again!) granted time to shoot off a short corner. Blake once again pushed the ball away from goal.

In the 77th minute, Blake pulled off a glorious double save when he blocked another shot from Jones then touched Kelyn Rowe’s follow up around the post a moment later.

Vincent Nogueira entered for Pfeffer and immediately played Wenger up the left as the Union transitioned off a Revs corner. Wenger sent Le Toux in alone, but a tame shot at Shuttlesworth was all the Frenchman could produce.

In the 80th minute, Blake made what will certainly be the league’s save of the week. First, Tierney was allowed to put another ball in and Agudelo slammed the crossbar with his header. The ball came out to Rowe on the right, and his cross was powered at goal by Agudelo’s flying volley from six yards out. Somehow, some way, Blake turned the shot out of play.

Three minutes later Le Toux hit the ball over the goal, and four minutes after that Blake was again called on as he stopped a Fagundez chance.

Blake finished with 10 saves, a new club record.

The Union will be happy to gather both a road point and confidence heading into Wednesday’s showdown with Sporting Kansas City at PPL Park.

Philadelphia Union
Andre Blake, Andrew Wenger, Steven Vitoria, Ethan White, Fabinho (Michael Lahoud ’46), Brian Carroll, Warren Creavalle, Cristian Maidana (Sebastien Le Toux 46′), Eric Ayuk, Zach Pfeffer (Vincent Nogueira 78′), Fernando Aristeguieta
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Ray Gaddis, Richie Marquez, Conor Casey

New England Revolution
Bobby Shuttleworth, Jeremy Hall, Andrew Farrell, Jose Goncalves, Chris Tierney, Scott Caldwell, Jermaine Jones, Kelyn Rowe (Teal Bunbury, 82′),,Lee Nguyen, Diego Fagundez, Charlie Davies (Juan Agudelo, 55′)
Unused Subs: Brad Knighton, Kevin Alston, London Woodberry, Andy Dorman, Steve Neumann

Scoring Summary
NE: Lee Nguyen — 36′
PHI: Fernando Aristeguieta (Creavalle) — 65′

Disciplinary Summary

Philadelphia Union New England Revolution
5 Shots 20
2 Shots on Target 11
2 Shots off Target 4
1 Blocked Shots 5
 0 Corner Kicks 14
9 Crosses 26
0 Offsides 1
9 Fouls 15
0 Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards  0
295 Total Passes 535
 68% Passing Accuracy 79%
35.3% Possession  64.7%
 54 Duels Won 43
 55.7% Duels Won % 44.3%
16 Tackles Won  12
10 Saves 1
28 Clearances 15


  1. Blake was outstanding. Made the proper reads in the box too re: coming off his line vs. staying put. Very well played.
    Nando’s finish was great, but his first touch is well below average. Needs some major work on that. Wenger played a nice game too.
    All about the USOC Final on Wednesday night. Let’s get a trophy boys!!

  2. If Blake doesn’t start on Wednesday it will be a crime

    • Atomic Spartan says:


    • So, I think it’s not as clear cut as many are making it out to be. Clearly, Blake has the advantage re: recent form. He was brilliant tonight. On the other hand, McCarthy is the GK that got the U to this point in USOC competition. He single-handedly won the Rochester and RBNY games. Because of that, there is rightfully a legitimate discussion as to who starts on Wednesday.
      Honestly, it’s a tough call. If I had a gun to my head right now, I’d go with Blake. But that said, I would understand if and why Jim goes with McCarthy. But for me, it would be Blake.

      • Your points are valid. If Curtin goes with McCarthey… no matter the outcome I wouldn’t second guess him.
        Now if he sticks Maurice Edu in the midfiled again…..Free reign… rat tails to his ass with a wet beach towel.
        The starting goalkeeper for the Philadelphia Union is obvious… but if McCarthey gets the run out in net for the Open Cup he has certianly earned that right.

      • I do not envy Jim’s position here. If either guy screws up, he’s gonna get burned at the stake. It can go either way. Tough call.

      • It is a tough call. But if you make it a simple question – which goal keeper gives me the best chance to win? – I think the answer is not so tough: Blake.

      • But…it’s not so simple. Blake excelled tonight in a meaningless game w/ mostly reserves. Much different psychological component in a win-or-go-home situation, especially in the championship round.

      • Exactly, in a match the manager telegraphed that it doesn’t matter, it mattered to Blake. This isn’t a decision. McCarthy’s distribution is awful. Blake is better all around. This isn’t hockey playoff goalie hot hand stuff.

      • Got nothing to do with “hot hand” hockey goalie playoff stuff. Playing a meaningless game on the schedule vs a championship game for the US Open Cup are two very, very different propositions. McCarthy has proven to be incredibly resilient in these situations and has singlehandedly carried the U through two of these games. Blake has never played an Open Cup game. Again, I would start Blake with a gun to my head, but I will not find any fault with Curtin if he decides to go with McCarthy.

    • Blake it absolutely the choice. He knows what needs to be done in goal and he does it. He is a major league goalie and looks like it on the field.

      McCarthy is a nice kid I’m sure, but he does NOT belong in goal for an MLS team good OR bad, period. He got the first two Cup starts because there NO other viable options. His instincts and decision making are poor, his distribution is worse. He has been very, VERY lucky to this point and for that, I am grateful.

      We have a much better option now in Blake. Next season Sylvestre can back him up when he’s on international duty and McCarthy can play elsewhere (maybe up in LV).

      • Look, I’m no McCarthy fan (his distribution has been woeful at times, and his footwork / decisionmaking quality have been very inconsistent)…but give credit where credit is due. Those games against RBNY and Rochester weren’t luck. He flat out balled in those games. Not saying he should start on Wednesday, but you can’t take those two games away from him. He was exceptional in both.

  3. goddamn i want to see blake play every game for this team

  4. When i first saw the line up my first thought Jesus Blake starting for the JV squad he is getting Macmath’d (Shut up Macmath’d is a word now.) And I am absolutely certain he won’t be here next year. After his amazing performance I am still just as certain.
    New England playing on a Football field is a disgrace and now that the Revs are halfway decent it is even more of a disgrace.

    • Couldn’t agree more about MLS teams playing on NFL fields. MLS wants to be taken seriously yet they keep trotting teams out on american football fields.
      A sham. A shame.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Building a stadium is fairly complex process requiring a wide range of skills, see David Beckham, see Minnesota. Stories I’ve read about the building of the one in Foxboro suggest that The greater Boston area is not the easiest real estate environment in which to try to do that.

      • That is true, but they have been in existence long enough for one of the wealthiest owners in any American League. They could have something in place, they just don’t care enough.

      • Los Soccer Coach says:

        Why should he? The tax write off he gets from the Revs net loss offsets some of his profit from the Pats and allows him to keep more of “his cheatin’ profit” to paraphrase Tammy Wynette.

      • its Kraft’s team playing in Kraft’s stadium.

  5. James Lockerbie says:

    After tonight Blake starts period. If not Curtin is putting his and McCarthy’s Philly Careers on the line.

  6. I’d rather watch the mistakes Andre Blake is bound to make as a young keeper…in order to see the astounding saves he makes appear routine. Come on…. Is there even a question about who should be the starting keeper on this team?
    I knew this last seaason.
    You knew this last season.
    We all seemed to know this last season.
    It’s not like Andre Blake will be the reason a mid level team isn’t on the ascendency quicker. Figure it out. John McCarthy is the USL Keeper. Andre Blake is the MLS keeper.

  7. When the Union totally outplayed Chicago and had to settle for a single point because of Sean Johnson’s unbelievable performance, I thought, “What I wouldn’t give to have a keeper who could, every so often, deliver us a match like that.” It seems that we have one. I cannot see any reason not to make this guy our starting keeper for next week, and next season.

  8. Has anybody seen my vowel?

  9. J in Section 125 says:

    Sure looks like the future in goal is bright right now. Blake was amazing tonight

    • One issue with Blake is that he has had repeated major injury problems since being drafted by the U. While durability does not speak to a GK’s technical ability, it is a major factor in a team’s GK strategy going forward.

  10. While the draw was good for this lineup, it was also pretty much the final nail in the coffin for the playoffs. They need to win out, have Montreal lose all their games AND have Orlando lose or tie against NYCFC AND have NYCFC do no better than tie their two games besides the one against Orlando.

  11. Old Soccer Coach says:

    As is everyone of us, I am glorying in what Adam Cann has christened the Andre Blake Show. But be real. He is not the Union’s permanent keeper, he will be playing in Europe if he keeps playing like that and the non-shot stopping aspects of his game catch up to his shot stopping. His contribution to the Union’s future may very well be a significant cash windfall, as was the Costa Rican center back for the Columbus Crew.

    • Correct. What many don’t understand about goalkeeping is that shot-stopping is about 4th on the importance list. Positioning (angle play & depth), communication, psychology are more important within the goalkeeping spectrum…if you do those 3 things well as a GK, you prevent a majority of offensive opportunities ever turning into shot-stopping situations. Distribution is the other key component that’s generally overlooked, although the U ‘s GKs have brought that aspect to the forefront this year because their distribution has been collectively well-below average (with McCarthy being the most obvious trangressor).

    • Los Soccer Coach says:

      He might like to be President, but there is no doubt that he is constitutionally ineligible. Maypen, Jamaica has never been under United States territorial jurisdiction (thank you, those founding fathers who distrusted Andrew Hamilton, allegedly).

  12. Any injuries last night? Everyone make it home safe??

    • Section 114 (former) says:

      Only to Jim Curtin’s easy excuse for the loss after he starts The Headgear. Heck, to the extent this is about GA 2016, the Cup doesn’t count. It’s Blake or a new coach, win or lose.

  13. Great to get a draw on the road! Blake was amazing in goal. So my Union lets kick ass and win this cup doop doop doop!!!!!!!

  14. OneManWolfpack says:

    Wow. For once we were the team with the keeper stealing points. How many times has it been the other way around. Blake is your starter. He has to be. He was outstanding.

  15. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Andre Blake deserves every minute of discussion he has been given. I would myself quibble that shot stopping ranks only fourth as a keeper skill, as without adequacy in it all the rest of it is rendered irrelevant, but there no debate that it is only a part of the skill set of a world class keeper.
    What surprises me in the conversation above is – if memory serves – only one mention of the big surprise of the night, Wenger as a right back. Blake was no particular surprise. In that particular game Wenger was more complete as a right back than Ray Gaddis will ever be because he gave up very little to nothing to the trio of Fagundez, Bunbury and Rowe, and his distribution offensively was light years ahead of Ray. The defensive scheme being played did not allow much opportunity to judge when to overlap forward, so Ray is better at that aspect, but there were passes completed, let alone attempted, that were beyond Gaddis’s confidence, indeed perhaps conception.
    I’m not saying change the lineup; I am saying keep Wenger, as there was enough positive in the experiment to allow it to continue. If I remember from two years ago when he arrived here, this year may be the last of his contract(?). Even if not, at his salary level, to keep or not to keep, that is the question.

    • I’ve just been patiently waiting. To my eyes and posting history this was the story last night. Took quite longer for someone to highlight than expected. Way to go OSC.
      It is likely Andrew could bring a clinical dynamism to the back line the Union have yet to experience. There have been those among us clamoring for this very move — even when he was having a fine season last year.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        He’ll have to learn the instinct when to get forward into the attack, and he’ll have to prove it against the best wide channel attackers, e.g., Espindola of DC, Maneh of Vancouver, SWP Yof NYRB, not just the good ones as last night. That said, he’s promising.

    • He’s absolutely worth another season. He’s clearly got ability, and if we ever figure out where to best utilize it, we may have something. And there’s nothing wrong with having a player on the roster who could do a reasonably professional job playing in a wide variety of positions (forward, outside midfield, FB).

    • I would disagree with you. Shot-stopping is not as important as (1) a GK’s communication with his defense / midfield, (2) angle-play and depth in his positioning, and (3) confidence / psychology (this one you might be able to quibble with and say that they’re equally important…although confidence is a huge thing at the highest level of play in any sport). Setting #3 aside, a GK can be a very good shot stopper, have a strong power dive, a great set of hands, etc … but if his communication skills are not up to snuff and his angle / depth play (positioning) is incorrect, he’s going to get torched every single time, irrespective of his shot-stopping ability. On the flip side, a GK can be an adequate shot-stopper, but if his communication and angle / depth skills are first-class, he either has stopped a majority of the opportunities for the opposition before they ever turn into shots or he places himself in a much more advantageous position to make a save before the shot is ever taken.

  16. A few points from what I saw. Yes Blake was great tonight. He has great reactions and makes most of the reactionary saves we all wish our keepers would. However its one game lets chill out everyone, we’ve seen this show before. The backline was an utter mess as far as positioning goes. This leads me to believe from a leader perspective in the back Blake is not there yet. Should he play in the OC game? Does he give us the better chance to win? Maybe, I think it all depends on your backline and who is most comfortable leading that backline and has the strongest communication. Sporting KC had a horrid time versus Seattle yet they had most of their starters on the bench and yet Dwyer was still tearing apart Seattle and that is where we need to be strong in the middle of the back. As far as Wenger as a fullback still don’t see it. Had an OK game with decent distribution, but nothing to write home about. To me openings that occurred for the RB to push up occurred because of Ayuk movement and ability to go at defenders one of his best skills I think IMO. At Wenger $200,000 gauranteed salary he is not worth it. If he can get his salary cut to $90,000 and learn to play left back then I think we got something. Gaddis is still clearly the stronger defensive RB even if he hasn’t been as good as he was in the past. However, the game lead me to believe that with some further development by the right people (still not sure this team has those people) there are some possibilities of having some versatility and a GK. Blake is not strong enough or developed enough to go to Europe currently so don’t see that happening unless he wants to play for lower tier leagues.

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