Union match reports

Match report: FC Dallas 2-0 Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union opened the 2016 MLS season Sunday with a 2-0 loss to FC Dallas in front of 14,428 at Toyota Park in Frisco, Texas.

Five new faces were in the first 11 for Jim Curtin. Ken Tribbett and Anderson were the preferred pairing in defense ahead of Richie Marquez, and Keegan Rosenberry started on the right. Fabinho was on the left behind Chris Pontius. Brian Carroll shielded the back four with Vincent Nogueira pulling the strings behind Ilsinho. C.J. Sapong started up top, with Leo Fernandes running the right channel.

Dallas started with a strong 4-2-3-1. Max Urruti started up top with Mauro Diaz behind him and Kelyn Acosta and new signing Carlos Gruezo sitting deeper.

First half

The home side kicked off and rarely gave the ball up the rest of the half, as they pummeled the Union defense down the flanks. In the 5th minute, Atiba Harris got to the end line and centered, but the ball deflected off Max Urruti’s arm before he fired home. Mark Geiger confusingly pointed to the center circle as if to signal a goal, but he eventually indicated he saw the handball.

Two minutes later, Fabian Castillo came up the other side and centered near post for Mauro Diaz to fire into Andre Blake’s hands.

Carroll and Nogueira could not get close to Mauro Diaz defensively, and with Carlos Gruezo closing down Ilsinho, the Union were constantly on the back foot.

In the 20th minute, Castillo renewed his intent by cutting inside and firing far post, but Blake flew over to tip it around the post.

Moments later, Castillo scored a goal that will not make the revamped Union defense proud. Fabinho lost the ball to Gruezo deep in the Dallas half. Acosta hit a long pass to Diaz, and Tribbett backed off, giving space while Castillo snuck behind the central defender unmarked. Diaz laid the ball into space and Castillo raced in alone on Blake. The keeper got big, but Castillo powered it low and into the back of the net.

In the 34th minute, Carroll picked up a cynical yellow card for wrestling Diaz to the ground after the playmaker juked him and broke up field.

Philly had a good chance in the 40th as the ball fell to Ilsinho on the edge of the box, but his left-footed shot spun wide of the near post.

The half ended with more Dallas pressure, and the teams went to the locker room wondering how the match was so close.

Second half

The Union came out trying to play directly into Sapong’s feet. Dallas changed little, playing through the wings and getting to the end line.

After Ilsinho was dispossessed in the middle, Castillo found space on the left to fire at Blake. The keeper flew to his left to make the save.

In the 49th minute, it’s Castillo again behind Rosenberry after Diaz has space to pick out a runner. The winger was offside or he was in on goal again.

Nine minutes later, Fernandes worked with Nogueira to get free at the top of the box. He was hauled down but Ilsinho plowed his shot over the bar.

Roland Alberg made his Union debut in the 60th minute, replacing Ilsinho in the attacking midfield role. He brought a toughness to the center that gave Philly more of the ball.

In the 68th, Fernandes was easily pushed off the ball near the half line. Castillo countered and put the ball into the middle, but Fabinho stepped in front of Barrios to clear.

Sebastien Le Toux made an appearance in the 72nd minute, replacing Chris Pontius.

In the 79th, Dallas doubled its lead. Diaz tried to play a first time ball behind Fabinho but the Brazilian cut it out. Unfortunately, the Union left back dallied on the ball, and Diaz retrieved it, centering for Urruti to tap home past a stranded Blake.

Rookie striker Fabian Herbers replaced Sapong in the 83rd minute. He fired wide of goal late in the match, but could do little else.

Alberg fired wide of goal in the 90th minute, but it was all speculative from Philly as Dallas closed out an easy win.

The Union next play Columbus on the road on Saturday, March 12 at 7:30 pm (Live Well Network).

Philadelphia Union
Andre Blake; Fabinho, Anderson, Ken Tribbett, Keegan Rosenberry; Vincent Nogueira, Brian Carroll ©; Chris Pontius (Sebastien Le Toux 72’), Ilsinho (Roland Alberg 60’), Leo Fernandes; C.J. Sapong (Fabian Herbers 83’).
Substitutes not used: John McCarthy, Warren Creavalle, Ray Gaddis and Richie Marquez.

FC Dallas
Jesse Gonzalez; Atiba Harris, Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Maynor Figueroa; Kellyn Acosta (Victor Ulloa 80’), Carlos Gruezo; Michael Barrios (Tesho Akindele 74’), Mauro Diaz, Fabian Castillo; Max Urruti (Mauro Rosales 86’).
Substitutes not used: Chris Seitz, Zach Loyd, Ryan Hollingshead, Juan Esteban Ortiz.

Scoring Summary
FCD – Fabian Castillo 22’ (Mauro Diaz)
FCD – Maximiliano Urruti 79’ (Mauro Diaz)

Disciplinary Summary
PHI – Brian Carroll 34’ (yellow)
FCD – Matt Hedges 71’ (yellow)

Philadelphia Union FC Dallas
12 Shots 18
2 Shots on Target 10
7 Shots off Target 5
3 Blocked Shots 3
4 Corner Kicks 8
20 Crosses 17
0 Offsides 3
10 Fouls 20
1 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
368 Total Passes 351
69% Passing Accuracy 68%
50.9% Possession 49.1%
47 Duels Won 52
47.5% Duels Won % 52.5%
11 Tackles Won 15
8 Saves 2
16 Clearances 22


  1. We fucking suck.
    Atleast Blake looks really good.
    Carrol needs to go. You simply can’t trot an old MLS1.0 man like him out there when you are trying to build from the back. I can take losing as our growing pains, I CANNOT FUCKING TAKING SEEING HIM PUNT BALLS UP THE FIELD ANYMORE.
    Rosenberry, while part of the problem defensively, did enough on offense to make me optimistic. He was making some nice diagonal passes and crosses that contributed to the offense. The stuff Gaddis never did.
    Everything else sucked.
    Fabino needs to fucking go too. How many fucking times is the other team going to pinpoint him as our weak link to constantly attack, before we move on?

    • Phillyboy says:

      Put the old worn-out horse of to pasture.
      Fabino was exposed all day and showed he is outclassed when there is a constant attack.

  2. Fabinho was really, really bad

    • Fabinho has to go! How many times did he get beaten today? How many times did he jog back after the player who just beat him? How many times did he fall to the ground and then watch as his player moved toward goal?
      Fabinho was really, really bad.

  3. Blake proved today that he has the ability to keep the Union in ANY game! Today’s loss results in Managerial decisions on and off the pitch. My initial hope/thought was that this game would be a defensive “slug fest.” I was figuring Jim Curtin would look to the philosophies of Tony Pulis or Sam Allardyce for this match, and have his players play a very defensive discipline and physical game. Clogging the midfield channels and making life really hard for Dallas. However, it was more of the same from the Union who look like chickens with their heads chopped off. No organization, no discipline, no shape, no professionalism on the pitch! What the hell does Jim Curtin do during practice? Yes Edu, and Barnetta are injured, so if that is why the Union had no “purposeful” possession game, then why didn’t Jim reinforce his players to play more disciplined defensively. Blake, Ilsinho, Pontius, and Herbers looked promising….especially Blake and Ilsinho, but I have absolutely NO CONFIDENCE that Jim Curtin knows how to plan, train, and get the most out of these players! Please if anyone can argue against anything I have said, I welcome it, because maybe I am being to hard or being too much of a pessimist and I need a shot of possitivity! Though based on today’s performance I see the Union coming away with 0 out of 18 possible points from the first 6 games, and Jim Curtin Union Career under the Guillotine. #StopTheHurting

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Ilsinho was terrible. Too slow with his play and not strong enough on the ball.

      Had low expectations going into this match as Dallas is miles ahead of the Union so the result didn’t bother me as much. The most positive thing that I can write is that it was road match with five new starters from last year (and missing two of our better ones) vs one of the best sides in MLS. Was always going to be an uphill battle.

      • I thought he was fairly strong on the ball. He seemed to absorb the contact but maintain possession.
        On the other hand, I agree 1000% with your statement about how slow he played. He lingered on the ball way to long instead of passing and moving.

    • old soccer coach says:

      Dear Conks, Adam S., and others who were unable to watch carefully during preseason.
      You are handicapped badly in understanding what the team is trying to do by missing the past several weeks of information.
      Conks, what you state you expected is the way Curtin has been forced to lay in the past. If he repeats that, he won’t make it to Easter.

      AliCat125, if you lump all the new offensive players onto the field together in some kind of improvisational scheme, you revert to a pattern that characterizes past Union failures, namely, make it up as you go along. Earnie Stewart has made it clear that he has changed that as an organizational principle.
      As a scholastic coach, one has to improvise the system to fit the talent available, as I would guess one does when coaching at the various club levels. Everybody here is familiar with it and to most it is second nature an unthinking in-game tactical reflex.
      Earnie Stewart comes from an environment in which there is enough soccer talent available to instead fit the players to the system, as do so many American college and professional coaches in so many other sports.
      Adam S., very nice to know exactly where all the rest of us who presume to disagree with you stand in the universe.

      • Wasn’t the whole benefit of bringing in Earnie that he could identify the talent to fit his system? Like, isn’t that the entire reason people were excited about him? He has a system and he’s good at identifying talent? Now it’s “there’s not enough talent and we need to improvise a system”? I’m legitimately confused what you’re trying to say here.

      • Alicat215 says:

        OSC, I understand that completely. Hence why I said it was an exercise for fun….guess you missed that part so you could expound further. Ernie does come from an environment where yes….it’s like conveyer belt of talent. A holding mid goes down, you bring another holding mid in. But guess what, we are nothing close to that kind of set up yet, even with the academy. So I guess it’s ok for Pep to play his guys in different positions then….and Van Gall…..and Klopp……….but hey what do they know? I see your still as condescending as ever……this will be fun!

      • Alicat215 says:

        Further…….1. Not all scholastic coaches do that, particularly if you recruit, which private schools do.
        2. I never said improvise a shape, most professionals can handle two or three different positions, why cant some of our better players. They are professionals….they can adapt and usually play a few places within the system. For example: how many places Sergi Roberto play for Barca? How many does Vidal, Kimmich, and Lahm play for Bayern? I’ll wait for your answer……….or am I talking over your head? I know if you answer this truthfully it won’t fit your narrative……so please, enlighten me.

      • OSC – Curtin has yet played “bunker ball” or even remotely “parked the bus.” He has talked lots about being more defensive and playing with more steal through the spine, but that that “real talk” has been just that…..talk. Also, the fans yes want wins and trophies, but to be honest they want to watch professional soccer, not what looks to be an unorganized pick up squad vs fucking Galaticos! For Christ sake, take your head out of the sand and tell me what you saw today was organized, that there was real tactics at play, that the manager actually put his team in a position to get a result? Brian Carroll is washed up, and if Ernie is trying to bring a “Dutch” 4-3-3 possession system in who is his “pivot” at 6? Apparently, it’s Edu (when healthy) yet when the fuck has Edu’s game throughout his career at 6 ever been about being a disciplined distributor……oh that’s right IT NEVER FUCKING HAS!!! He constantly surges forward which is what Nogs is supposed to do to link up with 10, 7, or 11. However, Edu blows forward fucking the shape, and everything goes pear shaped ( That’s a little Fortune Telling for when our Glorious DMF takes the pitch this season ). I do not expect to see the Union play like Bayern, Barcelona, etc. However I do expect to see professionals be able to actually play the sport. As boring as Manchester United have been this year, at least you can a team playing a style, you can see what they are trying or not accomplishing…….All we see from the Union is a bunch of paid “professionals” lost and constantly looking unprepared. I know Jim Curtin just received his US Soccer National A “Pro License” in the off season……..maybe he needs to be knocked down a peg and cut his teeth else where like college or in lower leagues in Germany or England. The truth hurts and to be honest Jim Curtin played when the MLS was a joke. The current state of the MLS and the talent is vastly superior. Our club, and these players need an experienced manager who can elevate them and inspire them……Jim is as inspiring as a dead moth. So if you think I am just being a “philly jerk-off” maybe look to what Leicester has achieved under Ranieri compared to Pearson, or what Bournemouth has done with practically no real money. I have faith in Ernie and instilling a Dutch style game for the Union…..I Have NO Faith in Jim Curtin. “Garbage In, Garbage Out.”

      • Mickey Goldmill says:

        Zidane just got his badges too… and look at Real… wait.. bad example.
        Oh by the way… excellent tirade. I live with little kids and am constantly monitoring the dreck that wants to spill from my mouth… I love coming here and seeing the invective.
        Curse away when you are pissed off… by all means.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Zidane was given an impossible job as this Real squad needs a refresh which is a typical when Perez has been in charge for several years. Same thing happened during his last tenure, team gets terribly out of balance as he signs players that make no sense.

        As for Curtin, I’m willing to withhold my judgement until we get further into the season. Too many new players with key injuries and a tough schedule at the beginning of this season makes it hard to just pull the plug early on him. Also, judging by Stewart’s track record, we’ll know soon enough when he thinks that Curtin isn’t the right guy for the job.

        Conks – Not trying to be a philly jerk off (which is fantastic BTW), but you can’t judge a MLS vs even a low budget EPL squad. It’s apples and oranges with wage budgets.

      • Zizou – I not trying to directly compare MLS to EPL because you are right that it is not Apples to Apples…I was more trying to emphasize that you can play “money ball” and get results as long as you have the right staff for the job. The Union have taken the necessary steps in fixing the front office, but for me the coaching staff need an entire overhaul as well. Do I think the team needed some “continuity” and stick with the path they chose? No, in this instance because of how many new players that were brought in, changing the Manager and the backroom staff would not have mattered. I think it would have shown the fans and the players that the Union mean business and they want to go on this new path. They should have hired an experienced/proven coach that could bring in his own staff, and then hit the ground with everything being new and exciting. Sunday’s match proved that Jim did not have his team prepared to do a job to get at least at point from that match. I do not care if your BEST XI were not out there, or there are Fresh Faces…..If that’s the case you play even more compact and conservative and you do not give Dallas an inch! As a fan I would be able to say; “Wow, the Union really had to dig in on the road against an explosive Dallas team, and really got them frustrated for how compact we played in the midfield. Jim looks like he learned something and really has organized his squad well for this type of opponent, compared to last year. Can’t wait to see how they come out with a fully healthy side.” Instead, I am saying; “Wow, Andre Blake can really keep us in games, too bad there was no real structure or system to help him out, and Jim Curtin/Union in 2016 look more like the 2014-15 Union with just new faces.” As fans and supporters we just want our club to resemble a professional side that belongs on a pitch. That we can see from the terraces or the couch that there is a real system being played when in possession and when not. To literally see transitions and a methodology. What I cannot and will not watch is a group of young men and veterans just swarming around the ball erratically, playing with zero confidence in their abilities, and really being setup to fail because what is being said (if anything) during training is not being translated on the pitch. Manchester United this year have been soooo aggravating because their system is not as aggressive in the final 3rd while the positive possession as been there. However, you can see a system/style being played and can argue for/against that……with the Union you cannot say that what you see is anything truly discernible of any “philosophy.” Maybe “OLD SOCCER COACH” I am being short-sighted as to what you are seeing through the ether, but to me, if it Walks like a Duck, Talks Like a Duck…. It’s a DUCK! If this team goes 0 from a possible 18 pts from the first 6 games….The entire coaching regime needs to go, simple as that.

        Much Love,

        Your Philly Jerk-Off

      • AMEN Conks Same old Shit different year,, time to get rid of the entire staff bunch of amateurs

  4. Lucky Striker says:

    S.O.S.-different year but hey: waste another pre-season experimenting rather than building……..

    Conks: You’re fine there-no worries.

  5. WSSM 2016

  6. I did not expect to win or even tie, but I was hoping we would not look as bad as we did.
    Fabinho must play better, Brian Carroll cannot start and Nogs needs to be better. Ilsinho, Pontius, Alberg looked promising, would like to seem them on together.
    Overall if you’re going to try and high-press, you HAVE to actually press and get back quickly. That wasn’t happening. When you’re playing against a team like Dallas, you have to move and give players outlets from their pressure. So often Ilsinho was getting closed down by 2-3 Dallas players (Which *hint* should open up other players) and there’s no one moving for an outlet pass or link up play. Pretty much everyone has to be better.

    • Good point about playing the high press.
      I get the U are trying to install a new system but playing a high backline when 3 of the 4 players were making their MLS debuts against a team with one of the fastest players in the league was always going to hurt.

  7. Stephen O'Malley says:


  8. I know #depth is a big thing for the Union but if you can’t get Alberg and Ilsinho out there at the same time what are you gonna do when Barnetta comes back?

  9. There is a great deal to digest after that game… but what is most telling to me is three things.
    1. Dallas is really good. Creative. Superior speed. Superior technically and tactically.
    2. Without Barnetta and Edu we can’t tell what we have — which leads to Brian Carroll being on field which is not a solution. He was left totally unmarked the whole game as a none threat and against a team like that every player has to be involved offensively… Noguiera in the regista with multiple players closing him down and Carroll to far upfield over and over left #5 with nothing.
    3. Could need that Sun Rocket after all. When a rookie OB making his first start makes the veteran midfielder converted OB look like the rookie… that is a bit troubling.
    All in all an expected result against a team we can consider one of maybe three model organizations. Congratulations to Dallas…kicked our ass.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Ha! Bring back the Sun Rocket!

    • I’ve gone back and forth on Carroll over the years. But it really is 10 v 9 on offense when he is on the field unfortunately. When Gaddis is out there it’s 10 v 8 so I was glad to see Rosenberry get the start and look like he at least belonged out there. Tough assignment for him game 1.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        The tough thing with Carroll in that role is that when you struggle to maintain possession, Nogs drops deeper which forces Carroll further up the pitch and puts him in attacking areas which is not his strong suit. Same thing used to happen with Lahoud a couple of years ago and the attack always would break down when he got the ball in advanced positions.

      • Mickey Goldmill says:

        Indeed. We weren’t going to win the possession battle today no matter who played but we could have won the counter attack battle with Tranquillo and Edu.
        It was obvious to me by the 60th minute the move was Alberg for Carroll because Noguiera kept getting sucked deep as you said… by then what’s the difference in losing 2-0 when a stronger midfield could have sprung Sapong. I do recognize Ilsinho may have been gassed which is another topic all together.

      • old soccer coach says:

        Respectfully, Mickey, I disagree. We have no one on our roster who could have started for Dallas today.

      • Alicat215 says:

        Agree with OSC, Nogs might fit in a rotation scheme…but other than him….we don’t have anyone else who could play for them.

      • Alicat215 says:

        Also, I tend to think Nogs kept dropping deeper because that’s where he usually like to play…he is the best pivot we have…he’s more comfortable dropping deep and swinging the point of attack. I think with Mo back…those two would form the double pivot in a 4-2-3-1. Wait a second….didn’t we have this same conversation last year?

      • Alicat215 says:

        I don’t understand how you give the job of screening the back four to just one player…..it’s suicide. I really don’t understand if your going to have only one screen your back four, let’s make it the oldest and slowest player we have……wtf is that! This is where Jim kills me….instead of just saying ok….we will plug in Carroll in until Mo comes back….think of a scheme or shape that you don’t need to rely on BC! That’s your job dude!

    • All game I was thinking…who is playing the #6?

    • sam philly says:

      Well Barnetta and Edu are not defense, so at the very least we know that the starting back four are presumably the best we have. That’s troubling considering we let in a (tied) league-worst week 1, 10 shots on goal.
      Our attack does show promise though. I think when Edu and Barnetta get in they’ll be a force to be reckoned with. Though if we’re sticking with the one striker system the mids need to do a better job of following through with their runs. There were too many times today when Sapong had to come back for the ball and when he turned, nobody filled the space he left behind at the top of the formation. That kind of tactical dysfunction is completely on Curtin. I think when you have Nogueira, Edu, Barnetta, Ilsinho, and Alberg all on the same starting midfield, there’ll be no excuse for him if the team doesn’t start scoring.

      • Not the best backline we have. Curtin said Marquez did not start because he had a slight knock. Also Gaddis is recovering from a slight injury as well.
        Both of those players are faster then their counterparts (Tribbet, Rosenberry) which may have helped against the speed Dallas has.

      • sam philly says:

        I didn’t know that they were injured. It wasn’t on any of the pregame reports or on the MLS match center page. I guess that makes sense though. I wouldn’t have picked Tribbet over Marquez. And at least in defending against Castillo Gaddis is a much better choice than Rosenberry (though I’m not sure about in the attack). Let’s hope then that our defense was so rotten was because they were missing from the starting lineup.

      • sam philly says:

        Oh I guess I didn’t hear about it because they aren’t injured now, but rather during the preseason, so Curtin didn’t feel they were ready. In any case, Marquez needs to be a huge improvement over Tribbet if our defense has any shot in hell of being just decent.

      • Agreed. Marquez, especially, is a difference maker in my mind because of his athleticism.

  10. Well, with a new team they weren’t likely to look good vs Dallas on the road in the first game- and they didn’t. I’m not going to get too down on them after one game, the year is about continual improvement.

    • Mickey Goldmill says:

      Yes. With so much turnover it was tough not having Edu and Barnetta. That needs to change ASAP.

      • Mickey Goldmill says:

        and why not warren crevalle today? Getting more annoyed as the minutes tick by.

      • old soccer coach says:

        Since I think I have heard that one of your avatars has some connections to the world of nursing, “stress reaction,” (which I think many of us have heard), and “osteoarthritis,” (which will be known only to those who read the “injury Report” article on the MLS website) are the relevant labels. Might take a while, wouldn’t you think?

      • Mickey Goldmill (nee Pachyderm) says:

        didn’t know he was injured. thanks.

    • Good point. Every team has this kind of game. I remember Portland losing THREE to zero against the Union on the road last year. I think Portland ended up surviving the ordeal. And that was against the second worst team, not against arguably the best.
      At least we didn’t lose a player from a groin tear (Castillo). My guess is that he won’t be doing any rowing motions for a while.

  11. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Dallas had the better pace and pressure all over the field in the first half. Those factors took the Union completely out of any control of the midfield, until later in the second half when Dallas was beginning to relax the pressure a little.
    Since Adam has given the game report, I wonder whether he will also draw the game analysis assignment. Our new adjustments to the formation are predicated on the midfield winning and holding possession. Dallas exposed the vulnerabilities those adjustment create if the possession battle is lost, namely on the flanks. NYRB did something of the same thing in the preseason, although nowhere as well as Did Dallas in the first half today.
    Both Fabinho and Rosenberry continued to carry out the roles assigned to them, namely push forward into the attack very aggressively. That they continued to do so is probably a good thing for the long term, even though Dallas may be the lineup best in the league as punishing loss of possession in those circumstances, because it forces the remains three backs to learn to read more rapidly and adjust better. Castillo had the ball with no one between him and the goal forty to forty five yards out several times. Our defenders have to learn how to suit that down. As said Allan Iverson, “Practice, practice, practice.”

  12. Hey el pachyderm, I’m back, as promised. What is there to say that I haven’t said already? I know Dallas is a far superior team, but you can still look good in a loss. We did not look good. We looked abysmal.
    The Union have all of the very predictable issues they were expected to have. Their backline is questionable and inexperienced. Their midfield is a mess of players who don’t fit together particularly well. They have two strikers who are being asked to do far more than they’re capable of.
    They’re exacerbating all of these issues by continuing to retain a coach who is simply incompetent. There is no defending that lineup today. There were at least four lineup choices that no remotely reasonable coach should have ever made (Pontius, Fernandes, Tribbett, and Rosenberry). If you can tell me what the tactics were supposed to be, I’ll be impressed. At times it appeared they tried to play a possession style, but nobody was where they were supposed to be and nobody in the back was capable of initiating. At times it appeared they tried to sit back and counter, but nobody streamed upfield. At times it appeared they tried to play hoofball, but they only had one target man. On defense, uh, I think their strategy was “let them run past us and let Blake handle it”, because that’s what I saw repeatedly by all four defenders.
    In sum, we remain horrifically under-talented and under-coached, with still absolutely no reason for optimism whatsoever. Earnie’s “brilliant” acquisitions who played today – Ilsinho (a 1 would be too high for what he provided), Alberg (non-existent), Herbers (clearly not ready for the big time), Fernandes (still not MLS starter quality), Pontius (looked slow and bad) (I count him as an Earnie guy even though I think he technically predated Earnie), Tribbett (just plain awful and clearly not MLS quality), Rosenberry (invisible on both offense and defense, and not in the good way on defense), Anderson (uh, I guess he was okay?)…I thought Earnie had an eye for talent, but I saw very little I could even project on out there.
    SOU. WSSM.

    • Mickey Goldmill says:

      Adam. You are back. I recognize your points and every point I’ve ever made about the new direction this team was going in had nothing to do with Brian Carroll starting.
      It’s one game sir…. we can’t tell a thing…. except to maybe fire up the rocket. I’m sure we will talk again.
      Notice me granting you points to good comments which is something you are yet to do to those of us among here who feel things are heading in a better direction… and me specifically… but hey…

    • Oops, just noticed I posted that as Adam instead of Adam S. As if anybody was confused as to who it was.

  13. The Oenophile says:

    All I can say is now I am REALLY glad that I did not renew my season tickets.

    • We are all glad you didn’t renew your season tickets, too. Don’t come back when they figure things out and this team is good. I agree that the team looked terrible and it seems like the same pile of crap as last year, just made up of different ingredients, but I am sick of the fair weather fans acting like they are heroes for giving up their tickets.

      • Refusing to pay for a shitty product != fair weather. My dad is a fair weather fan. He will literally only go if the weather is good. Nobody is obligated to go see a shitty team to be a real fan. That’s stupid.

      • old soccer coach says:

        Adam, you begin to remind me of Cato the Elder, a censor of the Roman Republic active between the 2nd and 3rd Punic Wars.

      • I absolutely adore some of the references that get made on this site…

      • The Oenophile says:

        I was a founding member and dedicated season ticket holder for the first six seasons … fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

      • The Oenophile says:

        And it’s not just the team’s performance — the whole experience of the expensive yet crappy parking lots, difficulties exiting those lots, the prices at the concessions (they keep going up), etc. Six years of rage and frustration interspersed with occasional bits of glory have taken their toll.

    • old soccer coach says:

      I would agree that today the wine was definitely more enjoyable than the soccer.

  14. Alicat215 says:

    First, let me say hello to everyone, I hope all of the frequent posters on here had nice, healthy, and prosperous offseason. It’s nice to step back and take a break once in awhile. Plus, I like all the changes made in the offseason and it looks like we are trying to climb out of the gutter……all good things. Having said this, the preseason was still concerning and our first match kind of validated that. Carrol got housed today…..step late to everything, too slow with the ball as a pivot……it was infuriating. Our back four looked completely outgunned today…..our two CB’s don’t have the pace to play that high of line….you need at least one of them to have recovery pace in case they get in behind……hence the first goal…..oh yeah, and one of many Fabs turn overs too! I hate to grill on Tribbet, but he can’t play the ball out of the back….turn over city. The first goal literally looked like a U-10 goal. Having said all this, it was the first match against one of the better sides in the league….as stated above…they were technically, tactically, and athletically superior to the Union. The interesting thing to me is when Barnetta comes back……how do we incorporate him, Nogs, Isinho, and Alberg……..all at once. They are good players that should all be on the pitch……and when I say good….I’m being relative. And Edu too……..4-6-0? Barca style circa 2011-2012? Just brainstorming here for fun………cheers everyone! Leo is not physically ready for this league, he may never be. Rosenberry looked decent.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Welcome back, Alicat. Good observations.

    • Mickey Goldmill (nee Pachyderm) says:

      I dropped a couple Marco Polos for you the last few months… took a break..probably wise and well disciplined… I however am a junky and likely could have used the space.
      I agree with much of what you write above… have missed your analysis… Carroll was one of the primary concerns as was Tribbett who dind’t play terribly but when Anderson is a bit slow of foot all the while clean positionaly and technically… it is hard to have 2 slower CB… and Tribett is slow.
      Tribbett may have been a revelation to JC but wasn’t Marquez a revelation to JC last season? Man to be relegated (there’s that word again) to the bench….hmm. Maybe he is a slow starter…IDK but I’d take his experience with Anderson then having ONLY Fabinho on a back line with MLS playing experience which isn’t saying much.
      I like Marquez’s recovery speed with Anderson’s positional and tactical soundness.. Starting Tribett and Carroll today was a mistake. Period.

      • Mickey Goldmill (nee Pachyderm) says:

        Marquez was injured…so that let’s the manager off the hook for that one I guess.

      • Alicat215 says:

        El Pach, what’s up buddy! Hope all is well! New handle I see? It’s funny, I stayed locked in to the sport we love…….I just wanted to give the comments section a break….and really didn’t have the time anyway! Plus like I said, I was cautiously optimistic about the changes afoot…..let it play out before I added my two cents. Tribbetts a tough one because he’s from my tribe! But he looked out of place today….don’t like saying it, but I call it as it is…..you know this. Saw him play a few matches at Drexel over the years and he always seemed to be your stereotypical D1, middle of pitch, ball winner type….nothing flashy, kind of rugged, but a guy like that can thrive in college…..even D1. MLS is not college ball as our BSFC thrashed Cuse today to underline the point.

  15. Anyone know where I can get a WSSM t-shirt?

  16. Knee over the ball says:

    Dallas was the better team. They were running at us all day. Our midfield was forced into too many touches and was physically pushed off the ball. In the second half Sapong who worked hard looked too winded to be able to maintain possession of long balls that we kept playing over top to break pressure. Now how does Curtain and the team respond? I thought Rosenberry showed enough to stick with him. Blake while making some postioning errors showed his elite talent. Leo didn’t show me enough. Fabinho and Carroll as others have mentioned didn’t have a good day and need to be better.

  17. Andy Muenz says:

    Pitiful performance. Easily could have been 5-0 if Dallas could shoot straight. The back line looked really slow and needs to find a way to stop faster opposition. The offense for the Union generated no real dangerous chance. Not the remotest sign of a counterattack. I still haven’t figured out why they pull all 11 back on a defensive corner kick, they really need an outlet to play the ball to a force the opponents to get back quickly.
    It probably wouldn’t have made a difference but it was a mockery that Geiger allowed a Dallas player to continue with blood all over his face. The Union never get away with that type of thing.
    Highlight of the day was watching Bethlehem beat Syracuse 5-0.

  18. usually at a DP position it crowds out expenditure on a backup – and one expects the DP to be ready and healthy after a full offseason. BC is clearly not a long term asnwer and only played because Edu was not ready for the season opener. Not sure how he spent the offseason, but getting in shape for the opener was obviously not one of the things he did. Maybe his feelings are hurt from some of the comments (mine for sure) saying he wasn’t worth the price. Unhealthy and playing zero minutes he certainly isn’t.
    Dallas is very good and cohesive so this was a likely result. Curtin needs to figure out what was supposed to happen (from his POV/plan), what happened (the game tape) and what needs to happen. I do not have high hopes for his ability to figure this out and expect change over the summer.
    I expect a lot of rotation with players who are earning it getting repeat looks. I think Rosenberry needs to keep getting a look as we need wingbacks who can play in the attack. I think the other young guys need to as well.

    • It sounds like he got hurt by being over aggressive in preparing for the season. Stress fractures are from over use not under use. He was part of the group that was playing 4 v 4 in California in the off season.

  19. All day I thought “Please don’t start Brian Carroll, I don’t care if they lose, just get a fresh face in there to get the experience”. Then I saw the lineup. Then I watched Fabinho take himself to new lows. Then I watched Nogueira drop further back. This was all in the first 5 minutes. I feel like we’re back right where we left off. At this point in the season I’m not even angry. It was doomed from the start. WSSM 2016! I’m in it for the long haul!!!!!! This is the best sports blog in the world and your all my heroes!

  20. Haha..comedy….was there a controlled break from this team even once today?..was there a passing sequence more then 3 passes long?..maybe, but not one i can remember…it’s like they never played an organized game before..I know they’re all new players , and 1st game but They are supposed to be professionals, and I just saw nothing close to organization…man Jim has an awful lot of work to do just to convince me he knows what he’s doing

  21. It is only one game, but man that team looked slow; always a step behind, especially Tribbett. I hate to suggest this, but maybe Edu will have to play centerback. At least he has speed.

    And, contrary to what Curtin said preseason about not getting another fair-play award, the players did not look any nastier.

  22. Curtin is in over his head. He sounds more and more like JK which is not good. There is no system to fall back on, no pattern of play. Just look at it without the passion of being a fan. The team was NOT prepared. The play was off the cuff, the coaching jargon was all theoretical. The poor guys on the field are improvising, winging it. This first game shouts that the coach must go. he is a goner by June. This team is good enough to be a .50% team. As a guide to you all, look at how Bournmouth plays with no budget and a 15,000 seat stadium. Look at their preparation, How they play, how their on field support system works regarding possesion. Study it ,Damn it. Learn something . It can be done in Philly but not with this guy.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      You do know that the players on Dallas also get paid to play football/soccer and they’re really good, right?

      I don’t really understand the Bournemouth analogy. Even though it seems like they are similar to the Union size wise, they really aren’t. The TV revenue that an EPL club pulls in is massive and allows you to pay better wages on average than any MLS club.

      • Nonsense. It has nothing to do with revenue. Bournmouth has the lowest revenue and has been hit with the most devastating injuries relative to their payroll of any team. You. like too many fans, , dont get it at all. Just watch what they do on the field , how they areb structured. I can help you understand whats going on if it is difficult for you. Dont watch the ball during the game. Watch what the defensive shape is. Watch where the attackers run or dont run. Dont watch the game like a fan. Dont look at the ball all the time . You too can learn.

      • Mickey Goldmill (nee Pachyderm) says:

        You could tred more carefully… this place is not Philly.com

      • Zizouisgod says:

        If you don’t understand the concept of how much a salary budget and revenue stream of a club affects the quality of players that a club can sign, you definitely aren’t connecting the dots.

  23. man, it’s pretty weird reading this comment thread. all everyone was saying during the offseason was that this season was going to be lost on rebuilding and how that was ok because they thought this team seemed to have a plan and they fully did not expect the union to be successful this season. everyone expected them to lose this game and most people seemed prescient enough to literally call it as 2-0 dallas. i really didn’t expect people to go so negative so quickly and break out the wssm one game into the season.

    • Losing is not a big deal. Its how you lose thats a big deal. The concept of a season being lost because of rebuilding is bogus bullshit. No season is ever lost. The teams in this league are so generally mediocre that going from poor to mediocre is a fairly easy step.Are these teams mediocre? Just see how well they do against the Mexican league, which is just a mediocre league.Therefore for the Union to step up from last year is actually not a big step if it is prepared to play the way it should play

      • PhillyHotspur says:

        Agreed w/ Dr.K. How on earth can anyone argue its a “rebuilding year” so lets accept defeat ? Especially for a club that A) gets tremendous support from the fanbase B) has been so poor from its inception w/ one playoff appearance and zero playoff wins.
        That isn’t fair to the fan/base on any level.

      • No one is accepting anything. But the opening game of the season, away, against a presumed Cup contender, with half a roster of new players, missing two key players…
        Wait until 5-7 games in and see if the play has improved before breaking out the “WSSM” talk. Hell, 3 of the 4 starters in defense were making their MLS debut. This is the first data point. No trend can be determined until there is more information.

  24. I really think that part of the problem is people watch the ball when they watch soccer. To really see whats going on, dont watch the ball. Watch what everyone is doing off the ball.

    • Mickey Goldmill (nee Pachyderm) says:

      I admit to watching the ball. I also admit to not watching the ball. there is an ebb and flow particularly in TV viewing.
      Couldn’t have seen the Neymar flick three weeks ago if I was watching how Busquets was supporting the build up. So be realistic please…
      I can be aggressive with my POV as many well know- and expect to be called out if and when I am condescending and your comments are a bit condescending.

    • Alicat215 says:

      That’s footy 101 dude……….hence the term: “don’t get caught ball watching”.

    • Look out kids, Dr. K is mad as hell and he needs to take it out on someone!


      P.S. – Wow, this game was bad. I knew they had a long way to go, but I was sort of hoping it wasn’t that far off.

    • Mickey Goldmill (nee Pachyderm) says:

      I refer you to, The one thing a legit coach must have before anything else.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      I watch off the ball, shape and line of back four, coordination of team’s movement, etc. Thats the beauty of this game in how you view it and observe/process what is going on.

      Great quote from Malaga’s manager Javi Garcia about this very topic from a few weeks back:

      “I’ve taught myself to see games and see things that are useful to me,” he says. “I see the back four, which way they move, where they try to get superiority, where the plays build from, I’m constantly looking at that. Everyone sees football their way and they’re all valid. My kids look at the colours of the boots; my wife looks at their haircuts. I notice other things …”

      • Alicat215 says:

        That’s why the Captain Morgan Deck ( I don’t know what it’s called now)…….was one of he best places to watch the match…..from a tactical perspective. You were way up over the pitch and to watch the ebb and flow……the symphony if you will

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Agreed. That was a big consideration for me when I picked my seats. I need to sit high enough so I can properly observe a team’s shape and player movement.

        A friend sits in Row 3 at midfield and he raves about it, but for me, those seats are awful (it’s not basketball).

      • Alicat215 says:

        Zizou…it seems you and I like looking at the same things in a match……let me ask you…..have you ever watched two European clubs play from a vantage point like that? 30 yards of space between 20 players and that 30 yards moves with the ebb and flow of the match……….I have never….let me repeat NEVER, have seen that at a Union match…….field is always way too stretched…….no real shape…..it’s crazy. The sad thing is, talent has nothing to do with shape……..that’s coaching!

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Very true, I just tried to think of examples to refute that, but couldn’t come up with any. If you struggle to keep possession, you’re always going to shy away from being in tight spaces which will always disconnect the backline, midfield and forwards. We have also had a tendency to have a lot of direct attacking players (LeToux, Cruz, Casey, Wenger, etc.) so historically, we would end up with four attacking players right along the other team’s backline looking for a ball over the top.

        Plus, playing a high line with no ball pressure or vice versa forces the whole thing to collapse which happens a lot with us. I do think that when Marquez (and potentially Edu) are fit, we’ll see one of them play centerback as they both have the required recovery speed that both Anderson and Tribbett both lack.

        When you watch a match in person, you can just see so much more than on TV because you can see the whole pitch at the same time. It makes it much harder for me to judge TV matches because I wonder what I could be missing.

      • Alicat215 says:

        The only refute to that would be the last 10 minutes of a match when both clubs are wooped! That part of the match can be the basketball equivalent to “run and gun” footy!

  25. So , yes it’s the first game of the season so we’ll have to see how things develop or do not develop. However , what I see not changing from last year is the movement on and off the ball aspect and good old Brian Carrol. He looked the same as he always looked before. Slow, lofting 50/50 balls, frail defending and Always getting beat. He should not be on this squad. He should have been let go last season and for this season. What kills me is that this staff portrays him to be a defensive midfielder when he sucks at defending. He’s not fit anymore to play in the MLS. Ilsinho was trying to be way to cute on the ball. I thought he would have done better but he got schooled. Fabinho thought he was 18 again and was doing too much when in possession with the ball. He also got beat badly on the defensive end. I’m also questioning the substitution line up. We still do not have depth and I think we might want to consider trying a 4-4-2. Having one forward might not workout, Sapong and Herbers don’t look like they are lone strikers. They both will need support.

  26. Mickey Goldmill says:

    Yes…or said in a less lovely way… put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    • I am sad . To read about 4-4-2 or 2-4-4 ( which is and interesting concept in its own right) means you are all stuck in that old box. Let me clue you in. IT aint the formation and will never be. To get to be mediocre (which the Union aspires to be) is not difficult in this league. Money has little to do with it. Look at NYCFC. lots of money and they play like crap. They can be beaten. Juventus could never be as good as they are right now if Pirlo was playing for them but thats another story. The blind will not see. Garcia sounds a little like JK to me. Soccer is not a mystical game. Sorry about that. Messi is not coming to play in Phila. get use to it.

      • This is still the best blog site. NYCFC is awful, non-existant. Phila. deserves much better.

      • Mickey Goldmill says:

        Man you are full of yourself tonight…
        I’m not pleased with the display in this first game… but a huge portion of the roster was turned over, this was the first meaningful game with your DP missing- who had the entire off season to recover from a rather minor surgery and your mid season-last season splash signing is with a Chase Utley knee and missing, your starting CB in Marquez is missing, your back up HDM Crevalle is missing… and all you have done is be rather belligerent and above us all…
        reminds me how I used to feel and act about ten minutes after my first line in my roaring 20’s… Master of All I Surveyed… arrogant and egotistical… but it was all an illusion…
        I have one word for you tonight… how about a little…

      • Alicat215 says:

        That’s funny stuff right there……….

      • Zizouisgod says:

        It’s easy to view the world through those black and white lenses, but trust me, there’s a lot more gray out there than you think there is.

  27. I’m still going to the home opener with the kids, even if they haven’t quite figured out who they are yet on the field.

  28. Lets blame the game on Sak its all his fault, the coaching had nothing to do with it

    • LOL, not going to lie, I’ll definitely miss my favorite whipping boy while they try to turn this group into a professional squad. Hard to get nearly as mad at Earnie (for now)!

  29. FC Mohawk had better players at every position except goalkeeper. Still, I didn’t expect Philadelphia to look THAT bad. The way the home team was pressing, even with the lead, made me think they were using the match more like a preseason tune-up rather than the league fixture it was.

  30. Let’s be honest….no one expected a win this weekend. We were playing the defending Western Division Champions (goal difference away from supporter’s shield), away, and Dallas is stingy at best when they play at home. To think we were going to go in and steal points is borderline delusional.
    That being said…
    They looked bad. Worse, they looked unprepared.
    Too many unforced errors from players who just don’t make them (i.e. the bad passes from Noguiera). Too many players getting caught out of position. Too much reliance on players like Brian Carroll, who while he has an incredible knack for disrupting plays, is just a liability with the ball at his feet.
    I’m in this for the long haul, but please….let’s see some improvement next week.

  31. Late to the game here but what the heck did people expect the game was going to go like. Of course the backline was going to look bad. Of course we were not going to control the midfield missing 2 of our starters. Of course Dallas is better than us. That game went as expected. The fact that they attempted to press up with their outside backs and pressed much better as a team at times was all I needed to see. If you didn’t expect a decent amount of negative balls with Carroll out there I don’t know what to tell you. At least they attempted to play the style they want to play. It’s all about growth this year. Lets see how they look after a few weeks. The lineup was exactly what it should have been when you account for the injuries.

    • DomesticCat610 says:

      They didn’t even press correctly…..they looked more like chickens with their heads cut off. They looked too slow to actually press properly all over the pitch. I don’t know what you were watching honestly. Style? What Style? I saw the Union try to possess, but couldn’t, tried to hoof it up the pitch route 1 style……but couldn’t……if that’s the style your looking for…..we are screwed!

      • Compared to last year is what I’m talking about. Maybe I just had lower expectations going into this game than everyone. We were the 3rd worst team in the league last year playing probably the best team. Why did people think it was going to be anything other than bad. And yes, they pressed better AT TIMES and ATTEMPTED to do things different than last year. Missing Barnetta and Edu is huge to how they want to play. They are the key engines of the team.

      • DomesticCat610 says:

        If you want to see what proper pressing looks like…….watch the BVB/Bayern match from the weekend….then……gulp, watch the Union again. I watched Temple play Penn State earlier this year and Temple pressed better than the Union did yesterday……..coaching, coaching, coaching. Just like you A., I don’t have big expectations either….just a step in the right direction. I didn’t see any of that yesterday

      • Well why are you comparing us to BVB/Bayern. We are a terrible team with a lot of change playing on the road against the best team in the league without a lot of change. I saw glimpses of ideas, that is all. I’m giving them about 4 games to show improvement and about 7-10 to show an actual style, until then I’m trying to stay positive.
        I will also say I think coaching in the professional level does not have as much as an effect as we like to pretend.

      • Really,than why are guys like Pep, Klopp, Wenger, Turchi, and Simeone so highly coveted. These guys are the Phil Jackson’s of footy that can get multimillionaire athletes to buy into their system……it matters more than you think. And I would never compare the Union to those clubs. You brought up pressing, so I gave you an example of what proper pressing looks like…….went over your head I guess

  32. Dr. K., thank you. Now I understand what to do. I won’t comment then until next week.
    Stupid ball.

  33. So its been said before I am sure, but I’ll say it again. Its one game and not one many expected to win. However, somethings I noted while watching the game. The OB were isolated as I mentioned before the game that they would be. Fabinho was hoping for to many calls and played an awful game. As I said and will continue to say we still need a LB. Rosenberry should not have started he got torn up and Castillo made him look silly turning him inside and out, how you give Castillo the middle of the pitch is beyond me if you can’t do anything at least push him to the line and make him go around you on the outside. Anderson tries to jump passes to much, would be fine if you have cover or the line steps with you, but no one was on the same page. I am fine with playing Tribett and Anderson as a pair, but then you need to alter the outside backs and tactis. There was to much space between the front line and backline (what else it new here). The midfield was non existent because for some reason our wingers, OB, and Striker feel they don’t need to move once a midfielder has the ball. I mean come on how many games am I going to watch Nogs dribble around asking for people to move until he gets man handled off the ball by 3 guys between this year and last (I think I’ve counted beyond 20). Ilsinho just not impressed looks slow and like he doesn’t play defense, Maidana 2.0 without the talent of bringing assists. Alberg needs to be on the field plain and simple, brought energy was willing to shoot (I think he had the only 2 shots on frame for the whole game) and did not look for calls after he didn’t get the first one. Leo where were you as I heard great preseason, but in the game I don’t think I saw him do anything (honestly other than the lineup I wasn’t entirely sure he played). If you ask me assuming Barnetta and Edu are still out my lineup next week looks like this:
    LB Anderson, LCB Marquez, Tribbet RCB, Gaddis RB
    CDM Nogs, CDM Creavalle (I guess)
    RM Le toux CAM Alberg LM Pontius
    ST Sapong

    Bench Jones, Rosenberry, Herbers, Ayuk, Ilsinho, Restrepo, Carroll

  34. Everybody breathe deeply. While we all watched that game, I took in the other 9. And quite frankly, the east stinks. I was impressed by a single other team in our conference. Chicago and NYCFC can’t defend, Columbus looked old, Toronto was a whole bunch of Giovinco and pray, Dead Bull lost to that mess, the revs allowed both Wenger and Maidana to score goals (equaling both their totals from last year) and DC forgot you have to play 2 halves. Only Montreal put in a good performance for the full 90 minutes. I’ll reserve judgement on Orlando since they were without a bunch of players and they did somehow steal that ludicrous game.
    In a week’s time that could all change, sure. Maybe I’m reading too much into 1 game for each of those teams (I doubt Columbus and dead bull remain poor), and maybe, just maybe, so are we when it comes to the Union.
    We played a very good FCD team that has speed for days. Speed eviscerates young defenses that haven’t played much together before. It happened. And for those lambasting Fabinho, he spent 90 minutes chasing down those wingers from behind because we couldn’t organize a press. And he was catching them. I’m mad at him too, but don’t look at him as the sole problem. We lost a game. It’s happened a lot in the last 5 years. Learn what we can from it and move on.

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