Union / Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 3-0 New England Revolution

Click here for highlights of the game.

CJ Sapong netted a brace and could have had two more as Philadelphia Union romped to a 3-0 win over 10-man New England Revolution in their 2016 home opener at Talen Energy Stadium.

The home side were up two goals when Je-Vaughn Watson was issued a red card for a studs-up tackle as the first half wound down. Moments later, Ilsinho was fouled in the box, and Bobby Shuttleworth saved the first of two penalties he would keep out on the day.

Despite coming up empty from the spot, Philadelphia Union put in what may be their best ninety minutes under Jim Curtin.

There was only one change made to the lineup that defeated Columbus Crew a week ago. Roland Alberg replaced Leo Fernandes and slotted into the attacking midfield role, pushing Ilsinho to the right wing. Both Alberg and Ilsinho proved important pieces in a high pressure defense that seemed to stun New England into lethargy from the opening whistle.

First half

New England came out with Teal Bunbury up top and Kelyn Rowe on the right flank. Diego Fagundez was nominally on the left, but he tucked inside so Chris Tierney could take space and pull Keegan Rosenberry out wide. Ilsinho was tasked with tracking Tierney up the flank, and he did so with aplomb.

Philly kept a tight defensive shape early, and Bunbury struggled to open the game up vertically. The Union’s pressure directly led to the first goal when Richie Marquez held a clearance in and Fabinho charged up the left with the ball in the 18th minute.

The fullback found room to send in a cross from the left touch line. New England couldn’t sort themselves out defensively and the ball found Sapong eight yards from goal. The striker did very well to settle the cross and fire a shot toward the near post of Bobby Shuttleworth’s goal. A deflection off Jose Goncalves left Shuttleworth stranded as the ball nestled into the lower corner behind him.

Andre Blake was called upon in the 23rd minute as New England created their first chance of the match. Lee Nguyen worked a shooting opportunity from just outside the Union box that Blake did well to parry away.

Philadelphia doubled their lead in the 33rd minute. Warren Creavalle’s hesitation move created space near the end line and crossed for Sapong, who made no mistake finishing from seven yards. The shot appeared to deflect off of Goncalves once again.

New England was reduced to 10 men in the 36th minute when Watson received his straight red card for a tackle on Roland Alberg. The tackle was high, two-footed, and late, and the defender could have no complaints after his dismissal.

Philadelphia had a fantastic chance to take a 3-0 lead into halftime when Ilsinho drew a penalty kick in the 44th minute. The midfielder was fouled moving away from the Revolution goal on the edge of the box. He dusted himself off and took the kick himself but put it far too close to Shuttleworth, who did well to get down to his right and push it away.

Second half

The Union were again on the front foot to start the second half. An excellent counterattack in the 52nd minute started when Sapong picked off a pass near midfield and drove at the Revolution back line. He picked out Ilsinho on the right side, who crossed to the far post for Chris Pontius. The winger looked like he could have shot first time but tried to settle and his shot was eventually denied by Shuttleworth.

Pontius had another great chance in the 64th minute. It was Sapong as the setup man this time, chipping a beautiful pass into the winger’s path at the top of the New England box. Pontius settled well with his chest, but could only scuff his shot just to the left of Shuttleworth’s goal with Andrew Farrell closing in.

Sebastien Le Toux (58th minute) and Leo Fernandes (77th minute) would enter for the Union as they looked to close out the home opener. Fernandes came close to scoring from his first touch as he was unmarked on a corner but saw his header saved off the line.

C.J. Sapong drew the Union’s second penalty kick of the game when he was fouled by Goncalves in the 79th minute. Le Toux, who had never missed a penalty kick with the Union, stepped up to take the kick. His shot was poor though, and Shuttleworth saved with his feet as the Frenchman tried to go straight down the middle of the goal.

The Union would finally get their third goal in stoppage time. Leo Fernandes found plenty of time to cross from the end line on the left side and picked out Le Toux, who tapped into the empty net from three yards.

Fabian Herbers nearly added a fourth when he came on in the 90th minute and forced a fine save from Shuttleworth.

Philadelphia’s next match is April 2 in Chicago against Veljko Paunovic’s rebuilding Fire. The next match at Velociraptor Talen Energy Stadium is Friday, April 8 against Orlando City SC.

Philadelphia Union
Andre Blake, Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Ken Tribbett, Warren Creavalle, Brian Carroll, Ilsinho (Leo Fernandes 77′), Roland Alberg (Sebastien Le Toux 57′), Chris Pontius, C.J. Sapong (Fabian Herbers 90′)
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Ray Gaddis, Anderson Conceicao, Vincent Nogueira

New England Revolution
Bobby Shuttleworth, Chris Tierney, Andrew Farrell, Jose Goncalves, Je-Vaughn Watson (red card; 36′), Gershon Koffie, Kelyn Rowe, Scott Caldwell (Zachary Herivaux 87′), Diego Fagundez (Juan Agudelo 63′), Lee Nguyen, Teal Bunbury (Femi Hollinger-Janzen 75′)
Unused Subs: Darrius Barnes, Brad Knighton, London Woodberry, Steve Neumann,

Scoring Summary
PHI: C.J. Sapong – 18′ (Fabinho)
PHI: C.J. Sapong – 33′ (Warren Creavalle)
PHI: Sebastien Le Toux – 90+3′ (Leo Fernandes, Chris Pontius)

Disciplinary Summary
PHI: Fabinho (foul) – 30′
NE: Je-Vaughn Watson (red: serious foul) – 36′
NE: Chris Tierney (foul) – 57′
NE: Diego Fagundez (foul) – 58′

Philadelphia Union New England
11 Shots 6
4 Shots on Target 2
4 Shots off Target 4
3 Blocked Shots 0
 10 Corner Kicks 8
 23 Crosses  22
 5 Offsides 0
 11 Fouls 11
1 Yellow Cards 2
0 Red Cards  0
 423 Total Passes 408
 72% Passing Accuracy 74%
 50.9% Possession  49.1%
 48 Duels Won 50
 49% Duels Won % 51%
10 Tackles Won  14
2 Saves 3
13 Clearances 35


  1. Rosenberry is amazing. On track to be the best rb in mls eventually.

    • Fat Uncle Phil from Urkel says:

      He’s had a great season so far, but I’d tap the brakes on that one a tad with the “best ever” talk. His defending would have to improve SEVERAL levels before that type of talk can start.

      That said, he does look to develop into a great player. Find a good young left back and they’re set for a decade.

    • Rosenberry impressed me offensively today. Great to see. Only problem is he was not tested defensively, which is a question mark for me at the moment. Hope he can be a great back for us.

    • Moves to space very well, offensively. Keegan will be a good player for years to come.

    • Amazing no decent on the offensive side of the ball for MLS sure. But the kid gets burned defensively time and time again. I saw 2 times he got beat to the inside again and twice he got caught way up field luckily Tribbet was able to cover up his mess.

      • Fat Uncle Phil from Urkel says:

        He made some errors that Blake covered up in the Columbus game, too. He gets juked off the ball by quick twitch moves very easily.

        I’d like to see Gaddis come into the game for Keegan when the Union have the lead after the 75th minute. If Ray has a future with this team, defensive closer is it.

      • Agreed I mean as it is I have Rosenberry being beat by quick twitch moves to the inside 11 times in the first 3 games. I want to like him and see him grow, but his defense needs work.

      • DomesticCat610 says:

        FUPfU, respectively…..the coach isn’t going to mess with his back four unless someone is hurt or maybe sitting on a yellow and looks like he’s walking a fine line for his second…….you don’t screw with your back four once they get rolling. You’ll see Gaddis in early Open Cup matches and friendlies……Rosenberry will need a break and you’ll probably see some squad rotation there.

    • Absolutely agree. I was at the game and watched him play with authority and skill the entire game. Very Impressed with him!

  2. pragmatist says:

    No one in the team is happy with a 3-0 win over a quality squad. Best sign of this team’s potential so far.
    And they are right. This game never felt comfortable. It feels like they are still learning to play with each other. If that’s true, these guys have a ton of potential.

    • Never felt comfortable because of their history. It didn’t really feel UNcomfortable to me, though, either. Yes, they could have tacked on a few more, and and New England pressed a lot, but very few of their chances were actually good ones.
      I saw that as the Union playing smart defense. They forced the Revs into making poor passes in the final third. I think it’s safe to say that they made the Revs look like the Union of years past.
      I hope that continues.

      • pragmatist says:

        Yes, it was 90% due to past experiences. We have Sports PTSD with this team.
        I hope I have to learn how to live with a new paradigm.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Agreed, Union of past years would have let Revs back into the match by sitting too deep and trying to bunker in. The Union sat deep after both 1st half goals, but when they had a chance to break or play some possession, they took advantage of it.

        AZJeff is right, it was a conflicting feeling to have when they were at 2-0 with a man up. I was anxious given our history lately with this team, but NE wasn’t getting great chances so they were managing the match well.

        Those two feelings cancelled each other out and I just felt frozen.

  3. david alick shanks says:


  4. Well that was just awesome. Could’ve scored 6. And the weather held out. All in all a great day. One of the most impressive games by the Union I’ve seen in a long time. Nothing bad to say.

  5. Getting better with each week, so far. Moving Ilsinho to the right was a good move. He and Rosenberry have a lot of chemistry so far.

    Pontius has been absolutely huge.

    Great game by Creavalle, despite a few poor passes.

    TBH, the only one of the star midfielders I’m excited to see return is Nogs.

    Marquez and Tribbett look pretty solid together, and can only get better.

    Curtin has made all the right adjustments so far. That’s a first for Union coaches.

    Yes, it’s only 3 games in, but I’m getting excited.

  6. That was fun!

  7. pragmatist says:

    Things to point out:
    1- the other team hit the post and the ball stayed out
    2- we were awarded not one, but TWO soft penalties
    3- we didn’t play worse after going up a man
    4- we feel like we left 4 goals out there as a team, but still won easily
    I have NO idea who this team is.
    The Ghost of Sak may have been exorsized.

    • hit the post twice on the same shot and the ball crossed all the way back to Blake who just missed the ball hitting the first post.

    • I have to say that I did see a drop in intensity after the red card and it looked for a long while as if New England weren’t playing a man down; in fact they looked better than the union for a big portion of the second half.

      • Oh, good. It wasn’t just me who thought this. I’m reading Mike’s recap and the comments here wondering if I was watching the same game. It sure felt to me as though NE carried possession a lot more. *shrug*

      • For a majority of that second half, you guys are right….they sat back and absorbed pressure. I thought they should have got the third one before you start doing that…….

  8. Lucky Striker says:

    Like to see them handle being up a man better, but other than that and poor spot kicks little to complain about.

    • Maybe, but how many times in recent years have they been up a man and it looked like they had no idea what they were doing, and no advantage whatsoever? I only felt uncomfortable a couple times defensively and they got a 3rd so I thought they handled it way better in relation to previous Union teams. Improvement!

      • My thoughts exactly. That WAS better. Not just up a man, but up a goal as well. Historically, the failed at both. Twice in a row they held the lead. Twice in a row, they advanced the lead.

    • Agreed, they didn’t concede a goal, which I think is handling it better than in the past. But in this “New Union” I think they should do better and kill the game way earlier with a man up.

  9. Who would’ve guessed that a very prominent factor in the Union’s impressive 2-for-3 first month of the season would be… Warren Creavalle?!?!?
    I don’t know what to be more impressed with. There has been some really good team defense for two straight matches now, from Sapong to the wingers to the CDMs to the back line. Gotta give Curtin credit for that. There are guys who can finish now, and guys who can set them up. I don’t know how the heck Ken Tribbett emerged, and he had a couple of shaky moments, but overall he has been quite good, and Marquez, of course, had been even better. And we’re doing all this with ostensibly our 3 best field players injured. Plus there is probably money for a striker in the summer transfer window.
    The Union are in first place. It’s like all the bad juju of the Sackiewicz era was exorcised, and we are collecting good fortune like raindrops in a storm.

    • pragmatist says:

      It starts with Blake-Marquez-Tribbett-Creavalle. With those four solidifying the defensive center, everyone else is free to play to their strengths.
      Love how they are playing. And I love how young they are. This is a foundation.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      There may be money for a striker, but I seriously doubt that there is any salary cap space, and I further doubt that there is much targeted allocation money left after signing Barnetta as a non-DP, Alberg as a non-DP, Anderson as a non-DP, and Ilsinho as a non-DP.
      Money without salary cap space does no good, none.

      • pragmatist says:

        If I understand the rules correctly (and I’m not sure Stephen Hawking can understand them), a DP doesn’t count at all towards the salary cap. That’s the point of the rule.
        If you have $10M to spend, knock yourself out.
        We don’t have $10M, but based on offseason comments, there could be $1-2M.

      • I believe a DP does count against the cap. So you can pay a player $10M but only $450,000ish of it counts against the cap.

      • And on further examination, it appears that a DP signed mid season only counts half the maximum against the cap. So there’s that.

      • pragmatist says:

        Thanks for the clarification.
        That said, given the tenuous status of MLS rules and their application, I’m guessing we could find $225K if we wanted to bring in a big name, like Johannsson or Rubin (not advocating for either, they are just two of the most commonly mentioned).

      • In my opinion there is no way to know what salary cap space is available, if any- just like MLS wants it. We have no idea what anyone is being paid, or how much GAM a normal team gets, how much TAM the U have used or if any trades made were a net positive or negative to that allocation money total. The only thing we know is Stewart said he wanted to reserve money to jump on any transfers that might surprisingly present themselves. We know that we have 2 open roster spots. We know we have 3 GA players that don’t count against the cap at all. And we probably know that at least 2 players in Missimo and Washington make the league min of 60k. So unless Stewart blew the salary cap budget on the 21 other players- against what he said he would do- then there is room for additions.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Mikex, you are correct until roughly the middle of May when the Players association publishes the first of its usual two surveys of the players on their compensation. After that there is enough raw data to have a fairly well informed guess at it.

      • Right, that’s the first inkling we will get, but even that doesn’t account for allocation money. I just can’t believe Stewart maxed the sal cap on 23 players. I think he left room to maneuver. That’s why Jay brought him in.

  10. Great game Union thank you! Taking Amtrak back to NYC. Please hold off weather!

  11. Has to be Crevalle in with Nogs when he’s back right?

    • I’d like to see that, too.

      • Yes. Is it safe to say we’ve moved beyond Edu? As good as he’s been for the union when healthy, it’s actually a good feeling not to need him so desperately – whether on the back line or d mid

      • Fat Uncle Phil from Urkel says:

        Ship Edu…add to that summer transfer warchest…buy Aron Johannsson.

        I can dream…

      • Everyone breathe. Creavalle played really well today, but he is not in the same galaxy as Mo Edu. Edu at the 6, Nogs at the 8, Barnetta at the 10, Alberg, Pontius, Ilsihno rotating at the 7-11, Sapong at the 9 w/ Fabian as his backup. Don’t move anyone…let this team gel and become very good together.

      • I meant him over Carroll, not Edu

      • With him being out 3-4 months, we very well may have. I like Mo a lot, but don’t like him at d-mid (at least from what I’ve observed). But you’re right, having the depth to survive a long term injury to such an expensive player is a really new and great experience.

    • No question about that. Loved creavalle’s energy today. Still think they have a ways to go in terms of finishing, and not sure they used the man advantage to the fullest. Possession stat should get a little lopsided in games like that but it’s surprisingly level.
      Still, shouldn’t be complaining. Great win. Glad I moved my flight up so I could watch.

  12. Sapong, Tribbet, Rosenberry, Marquez, Pontius. Yes.

  13. MUCH, much better game from Fabinho. Made a huge difference to see that side of the field locked down tight.
    Just kept marveling at how different it was to see the calmness on the ball and the number of options and opportunities around the goal. Flooding forward at the dying minutes instead of parking the bus? Fun to see the killer instinct instead of “bunker and hope”.
    Think about it, 3-0 and they blew TWO penalties.
    My expectations are still low and hopeful, I’m still happy just to see them compete and show an increase in quality. However, I’ve gotta say they looked really solid today. Really solid. That’s as good as I’ve seen ANY team play in that stadium in three years.
    Way to go fellas and congratulations! Well deserved.

    • I was also nervous they were going to spend the last 45 minutes trying to nurse the lead. Was glad to be wrong. They tried to keep attacking, and the last 10-15 minutes as NE got looser they really pushed for another. Great to see.

    • While I agree they didn’t “bunker and hope” as usual… they should have possessed much better being a man up. And could have finished better. Still, these are luxuries to complain about after a comprehensive 3-0 win.

    • Really liked the way the right flank worked in terms of possession on offense. KR and Ilsinho complement each other well and can associate with Alberg to create some dangerous plays.

    • The last game I watched and felt that good about was against Portland last year. Maidana had 3 assists, vinny with 2 goals that day. More importantly, they looked good doing it for once. Rare back in those days. Hopefully not anymore.

  14. Can’t believe the Revs announcers had the nerve to complain about Ilsinho doing some flopping (though he did a couple times) when they have Nguyen (who I like but is a flopper-extrodinaire). They even said Nguyen is not known for flopping, which gave me a laugh. There was no contact when Nguyen went down on the free kick that hit both posts so I took that as cosmic justice that it didn’t go in. I will say if Ilsinho plays this much all year, he’s going to get red carded at some point- he gets sloppy and nasty on defense from time to time.

  15. Fantastic win. Team is young and exciting. Wonder how long we will have Blake for – he seems destined for a top 5 European league

  16. Well a win is always fun! But the U looked really good. Lots of calm on the ball from the whole team! Blake got roughed up and it didn’t seem to bother him! High press with team defense! Some bad pks..some sleet,rain,and snow! Good subs…my stayed cold too! Great jod men! Oh Zack Mac in goal for Colorado! May the boy find something good? One can hope!

  17. I thought Alberg added a lot being in the middle ahead of BC and Creaville. Willingness to hold the ball and try things (even though they didn’t always come off or he didn’t get foul calls) was impressive. Links well with Ilsinho and Pontius – one who played well but didn’t seem to anticipate the moves early was CJ. Creaville very active and held the ball pretty well but is not a passer from that spot. BC played typical game and did well in containing Nguyen. Very impressed with Rosenberry’s confidence on the ball and desire to create. Huge, gigantic leap from Ray’s attacking play (and I do love Ray, just realistic). For some reason Fabinho was stretching way up the field in the 1st half – which is why he got a yellow when he was too advanced. Fun to watch and way different from prior years. Very positive play.

  18. Old Soccer Coach says:

    A very nice day, aside from the weather being appropriate for the first day of spring in Winnipeg, Canada or St. Petersburg, Russia.
    The Steel looked sharp against Georgetown, beating the collegians 3-0, as well they should. I have ten of the eleven starters; the striker remains unidentified. Badr in goal; Richter (C), Yaro, Daly, and Washington right to left across the back; Akinyode and Chambers at DCMs; Restrepo at the left flank, Ayuk at the right flank, Jones at attacking center mid; the striker is unknown – the guessing on the sideline was either Burke or “Mohammed” (Diallo?), I heard nothing from the run of play to indicate anything. The striker was subbed off for a Caucasian whom I assumed might be Luchini. The other sub was named “Abdul”, judging from game conversation.
    The game plan by the Union was very interesting. Ilsinho on the field offensively was quite impressive; flicks, touches, all his technique maintained a flow of possession. Defensively he is slow to cover ground, but very quick in confined spaces, so, in his defensive channel he set up deeply, twelve to fifteen yards in front of Rosenberry, essentially conceding the middle third in that outside channel. New England did not discover how to use the concession to its advantage well during the game. Tierney attacked that space vigorously in the second half, but the man disadvantage tended to negate the difficulty. Other teams, however, will see the tape and have time to experiment with adjustments, and will likely be at even strength.

  19. That was a good game. A win is a win, but there are definitely some areas that need improvement.
    -Must be more clinical in front of goal. We are creating chances, they need to be buried. Penalties especially
    -Tribbet was starting out of the back…a lot. He needs to be better with his passing. He put Rosenberry in bad spots or punted deep too often.
    -Possession needs to be better. At home, a man up…we should absolutely win the possession battle.
    There were a lot of positives though. Win is obviously #1.
    -Rosenberry is getting better each week and you can see him grow into games. Good to see.
    -Shutout, really the defense did quite well. NE had possesion but did little with it.
    -Ilsinho is proving his worth just for winning fouls.
    -JC has been making good subs.
    -Herbers looked good in his limited play, would like to see him get minutes. Loved watching his off the ball movement.
    -Creavalle was a boss in midfield again. His passing can be questionable at times, but in two games, I’ve been impressed.
    -Blake’s a beast
    -Fabinho lost possesion…committed the foul to stop attack, seems like he learned from the Dallas game.
    -Sapong was rewarded for his hard work finally.

  20. Andy Muenz says:

    Always good to see the people we sit near after a long offseason. Even better to celebrate with a win. We were hoping for a point or two from the first three games and did a bit better. Now lets hope they can continue strong after the break. 4 of the next 5 are against teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year so this is a chance to prove they are for real.

  21. el Pachyderm says:

    I don’t remember seeing a player with the acceleration of warren creavalle. His ability to close space is amazing and at times so fast he over pursues. Anyway does anybody find it as interesting as me that with Noguiera dropping deep Carroll got pushed upfield in game one which caused significant problems in the build up ~~ but without Noguiera, it is Carroll dropping deep and creavalle pushed higher upfield which has proven to improve the possession. Carroll was tidy today and I feel it is important to be honest in my assessment as I’ve been so outspoken about him playing significant minutes.
    I have to give the manager credit as I imagine it has been him keeping Carroll in the deep holding role which strangely has been productive. Carroll as a mid term solution at HDM I expected to be a liability but the C & C Music Factory double pivot has been enlightening and ultimately well played.
    Congratulations to this team. Waiting for that 3rd gol was painful and caused the game to be a bit more tense than necessary but I was never really concerned because yielding to NE and changing the final 20 minutes simply did not seem to be one of the choices. I admit to being really proud of this team tonight.
    I’d like to see more possession at home but even those numbers are moving in the right direction and the % is moving closer to our favor. There are still areas for improvement no doubt but this is clearly not the same old Union.

    • An unexpected flashback with the C & C Music Factory reference.
      Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure the female voice sampling in “Gonna Make You Sweat” is singing “doop”!

  22. That was probably the most complete game I’ve seen the Union play. Wonderful. Rosenberry was great in possession ( not that I thought it was in doubt). He was pretty solid in defense too. Glad I was wrong in wanting Ray to start. Great to get that first home win. Let the first stone of the fortress be laid.

  23. Better players.
    Better football.
    Philadelphia Union.

  24. When I can complain we left 4 goals on the pitch in a 3-0 win, it’s a good day.
    Keep the wins coming.

  25. I’m worried about the team when our “best players” comeback. Wondering if the chemistry will be messed up.

    • Philosophy will trump (pun intended) chemistry. It is becoming more and more obvious how this team is going to play and the higher quality players will provided higher quality play.
      I really like the idea of Edu dropping in between the CB and being a destroyer and cycling possession and starting the attack… if every other player is playing to a role… then he will also.
      Edu. Nogueira. Barnetta. Ilsinho. Pontius. In a clearly defined philosophy of play is daunting for any team to contend with.
      It cannot be understated how important those two goals were for CJ Sapong… gets the high striker feeling good about himself… all his hard work resulting in tangible goal results… keeps him moving positively. Herbers off the bench provides an entirely different look at the position. Leo off the bench. Alberg spot starts or off the bench. Ray Gaddis as a quality quality bench solution for either side. Anderson, I guess relegated to the bench but a solid solid solution if/when the time arises. Speaking of center backs…Tribett was pretty tidy as well today… good and quick on the ball and attacked space at the right time… a growing understanding with him and Marquez even for a team 1 man down.
      …. kudos to the damn Sporting Director.. with his little answers about how they are going to find a Philly way to play and and and people think that is all Philly Tough and blue collar and hard working…. bullshit. This has his fingerprints all over it and this city OUR city has sophistication and intellect and history and art too….and and and— I like it.
      I sued to write how tiring it was berating this team week after week and I gotta say… it feels really good to laud our beloved Union.
      “NO more the turning the way.”

      • well said. kudos to our sporting director and kudos to our manager as well. i’m getting the distinct feeling that he gets it and is really and truly playing his role and doing his job

  26. Jim Presti says:

    What team is this?

  27. The attacking combination of Pontius and C.J. is so much fun to watch, unfortunately pontius had a few bad touches today but we’ve seen what he can do and I’m not too worried about his finishing capabilities.

    Having andre blake in goal is an amazing feeling. i find myself not being nearly as tense in high pressure situations because i know that the diving Jamaican is there.

    Rosenberry looks great. and i hope he will continue to squash the vincent vs rosenberry draft debate.

    I also thought all three subs made and impact, showing depth that I don’t think we’ve ever had before. plus Edu, Barnetta and Nogueira all as additional players returning, i don’t see an excuse as to why we can’t make the playoffs as well as win the Open Cup. But it is still too early to tell.

    If Herbers can get significant minutes i think there is a lot of promise there as well.

  28. They won! But how do you miss two penalties?! The stadium was half empty as well. It was cold but it was also the season home opener. Something management should worry about.

    Overall, I frankly think its too early to celebrate.

    • Aesthetic + Winning + Warmer Weather = No worries

    • Villanova cast a shadow?
      either way… I watched my first NCAA tournament game today and all I can say is, “what happened?” … some bastardized version of erection medicine has our society become.
      NCAA basketball games are 40 minutes and the game took nearly 2 1/2 hours. At one point there was 12! minutes of commercials.
      As with everything else…it is only about revenue…23:30 at the time of this writing and the St. Joe’s game I passed on the way to BeIn just started the 2nd half… talk about wringing every second out of the first four days of the tournament.
      a joking foke….
      the power of accurate observation and the watering hole at Cynicism Corner again.

      • I’ve long felt the real reason soccer hasn’t taken off in the US is because networks aren’t interested in a sport they can’t stuff with adverts. That’s why the NFL is king. If TV execs drew up a sport in a boardroom, it would be American football.

      • Agree totally. In my opinion, you are a straight up L-E-M-M-I-N-G if you believe pointy-ball and ANY basketball game are entertaining to watch on TV. It’s actually even worse IN the arenas, where the fans just sit a twiddle their thumbs during the breaks.
        Don’t get me wrong, I very much like American football and basketball, but I haven’t watched either of them in years because it is simply an unwatchable waste of my time. I catch the condensed highlight that night or the next day and I don’t feel like I missed a thing.
        At least baseball has the breaks built into the game. Inning switches, pitching changes, etc
        Soccer is a big BIG money sport overseas and it hasn’t required dozens of commercial breaks to get there. (But the rumblings are there my friends, anytime you hear the phrase “replay”, be afraid. Be very, VERY afraid.)

  29. I think there is a lot of upside potential with this team. This will be a, dare I say, pretty team to watch when Barnetta and Nogs get on the field as well. I still think we need to upgrade the left back and striker positions. If we do, I think we are talking championship caliber team.

    I was shouting at JC with disappointment when he didn’t give CJ the PK opportunity he created.

    Overall I was happy with the game. Thought the team played down a notch after going a man up. Too many missed scoring opportunities. Pontius let me down as a finisher today. Still think he is the real deal though.

    • hell of thing to talk about upgrading at striker after the game sapong had- two goals and drew a penalty. when he wasn’t scoring goals he was playing like kyle beckerman in his ability to clog up their passing and beating the hell out of them. if i were to look at the game in retrospect i couldn’t imagine wanting someone else out there in his position

      • He does a lot of the dirty work as many mention, but he is not a pure finisher. I’m happy he scored, but both goals were flubbed into the net. Not good shots at goal. I think he would be a good back up to a better finisher if we want to go deep in the playoffs.

        It’s the opposite of the 2 goals Pontius scored last week. Even though both goals were assisted by the opposing team, Pontius was class with his finishing(Too bad he didn’t repeat today).

      • are you really giving CJ Sapong a hard time tonight about the manner in which he used his weaker foot to score the 2 gols that buried the other team… I’m a tough SOB – – but this is first rate.

      • Kudos to CJ for the goals. IMO though, both goals are easily saved if not for deflections off the defense. I just don’t believe he has what it takes to make us a true contender for a title.

        I believe ES sees this too and will do to the striker position what he did to the midfield, improve the quality.

    • I don’t think it was JC’s decision on the 2nd pk kick. As soon as the ref pointed to the spot Seba ran straight for the ball grabbed it and took it to the spot. Thought it was kinda selfish on his part imo.

      • Clearly it was selfish as the natural consequence to him taking the ball from the guy sitting on a brace… (after just working to receive the call- when you were just subbed into the game after being a spectator)… is that he missed the first PK in his career with the team. This is called synchronicity from where I sit.
        My hopes are it came with an apology… unless there is a mandate from the manager that Le Toux is to take the spot kicks- at which point he should have pulled a Messi and Suarez.

      • Seba was 13 for 13 on PK’s before that miss. So why wouldn’t he be the designated taker? I grant you time, place, score (as Coatesy likes to say), should have allowed for C.J. to take it. But I can’t really argue with Seba either.

      • Agreed. It’s also possible C.J. is one of those players who isn’t comfortable at the spot. Hindsight makes it easy to question whether or not C.J. should’ve had one of the kicks. (If anything, I’d argue he should’ve been given the first, not the second. Le Toux, as you said, was perfect from the spot up until that kick so having him take it puts the game away.)

      • I’m not saying he shouldn’t be the designated taker when he’s on the pitch, just would of liked to see a conversation about who’s taking it is all I’m saying.

      • Looked to me like CJ wasn’t happy Le Toux took the ball.

  30. I have to admit, with the beauty of the last two weeks,
    the concept of team chemistry suffering when the starters return
    concerns me, but I believe that even if it happens,it will be a temporary lapse until new chemistry evolves to a higher level.

    • In past years, it would be on my mind, too. But given the quality of the players who are on the cusp of returning (Barnetta and Nogs), I’m not concerned at all.

  31. Blake is Boss, but the Nguyen double post shot was Awesome! Unlucky for him but lucky for us. He was the only Rev player that brought his A game. They really missed not having their star striker Davies today. Game was clearly over after the red card and up 2-0. I will give NE credit though, they did not give up.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Did you watch them go at us for the first twenty or so minutes of the second half? They played very well being a man down, until hey wore down.

      • The 1st thing I thought after going a man up was game over, we win 4-0. I think we are in agreement though that NE played well after going a man down and took it to us in the 2nd half.

  32. What a complete turnaround this team has done, yes the change of players is obvious, but the results of ES in one offseason/start of a season is unbelievable. It already is quite evident the effects he is having on all from the coach down thru the entire organization. I was genuinely giddy watching the team possess the ball the way they did today. The level of play has elevated so quickly it is impressive. Well done today, well done!!! UNION – UNION – UNION – UNION !!!

    • Sir… nothing has changed..what has the Sporting Director and Mr. Sugarman actually done.… what are these new players… what exactly is this new philosophy… I don’t see it… I need wins to show me this is going in the right direction….Wins… Incontrovertible proof that this is turning… not that it has turned mind you but turning in the right direction… Wait wait wait… is that two wins in the first three games from two of the top teams in the East last season? Well yes… yes it is….You know what question burns for me this evening….

      Where’s Adam S and Jerome.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Now, el P, magnanimous and generous in victory, please. We all care, we all celebrate when the U pull one off, what ever our differences about the details.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        After going round and round and round for four months I think it is fair. after the first poor showing they were around… strangely quiet the last two weeks.
        … not gloating at all – this is about reasoned argument… This team needs to and can play better. It is by no means a finished piece~ it is certainly certainly better though.

      • Wondering the same, Adam S was quick to come back after the Dallas match and say I told you so. I thought it was quite childish. He’ll probably return on the next loss.

      • Humility is in short supply in this day and age. Admitting one’s shortcomings is a bitter pill for some to swallow.

      • *clap* *clap* *clap*

      • the old cat catches a young mouse once in a while the season is young.

      • That’s more like it.

  33. The Chopper says:

    Who is this team and what have they done with the Union? 🙂

  34. I thought Fagundez could’ve received a straight red on his tackle of Ilsinho. Ilsinho seems to like a good flop, but we could hear him scream immediately upon contact on that one. Diego is lucky, methinks.

    • I thought it was a harsh challenge also. But I do give credit to the new Ref. I thought he called the game honestly, which for MLS is incredibly rare. He didn’t get caught up in the emotions of the players. Called two actual penalties, amazing in and of itself. If only MLS had more like this ref.

      • I agree. I thought overall the ref was solid. I think the previous red influenced that particular call – and I’m OK with that, I think.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        My instinct as well, the second red has to be beyond blatant, because down two men is beyond extremely difficult.
        Thorough coaches will have the first team practice playing a man down, if they have a veteran defense and a competent bench.
        I have never heard of anyone practicing two men down

      • pragmatist says:

        NE has a claim on the two PK’s. They were both the type of fouls that are 50/50 calls. but credit to the ref…he was consistent.
        He kept control of a match that was getting chippy at times and stopped it from turning into something much worse. He did a very good job, I thought.
        (I’m sure the NE fans think differently.)

      • The first one maybe they have an argument about, the second one was a clear penalty (especially on replay). The defender basically did the same thing Fabinho did on his yellow and no one complained about that.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Hmm. I thought the first one was clearer, because of the wipe out blow from behind by the second man in.

      • last i checked getting a piggyback ride through the box on the striker was a pretty clear penalty

  35. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Probably worth noting that Nogueira was dressed and among the eighteen. Barnetta was not.
    Worth noting that McCarthy was the second goalkeeper again.

    • It was mentioned though that Barnetta was training during the week and looking good. They only held him out of the 18 because with next week off they figure he can be at 100% by the next game (this having depth thing is nice).

    • I did not notice that McCarthy was in the 18 instead of Jones. Very interesting, though I don’t want to make too much of it considering it was the home opener.

      • pragmatist says:

        Jones has been nursing an injury. It will be something more to note when we come back from the break. JC and ES were just trying to manage the injuries for all the guys until this mini-break.

      • Thank you. I missed the injury on Jones.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        My key to ID-ing McCarthy was head gear plus face during warm ups when he was over by the bench telling a young fan he couldn’t give him an autograph, judging from his body language and the location at the egress point between sections 106 and 107

    • There is apparently some sort of “blind spot” for McCarthy in this organization. Of nearly ALL the personnel decisions this organzation has made in the last several months, how in the heck the most panicked and bumbling goal keeper I’ve ever seen on a professional field survived the purge is beyond me.
      McCarthy has no business in the 18 of an MLS team. Period. Not even as the third option.
      I haven’t seen any news of a Jones injury, he was a t at the meet and greet. What gives?

  36. Holy Cannoli Batman! We are in 1st place! Albeit tied

  37. Oh, also credit where it’s due. I thought both Fabinho and Carroll had good games.

    • As one of the biggest Curtin supporters on this page I was pissed when I saw Carroll in the starting lineup. Then the team went and played with him dropping as a 3rd CB on the attack and I quickly changed my tune. That is a perfect role for Edu to play as it is a hybrid between #6/CB. My only concern now is that Creavalle did his job staying in front and I hope Nogs does the same as he often times drifts back really far to get the ball and we can’t play that way anymore. But this is a new Union. Credit to ES for bringing in the players and the style. Credit to Curtin to coaching it up. Credit to the players for doing their roles.
      Lets see how they look in a few weeks.

      • agreed…wrote the same thing up thread. The balance will be interesting… I like Edu as the deeper player and Noguiera more as outlet which still gives him the chance to play deep balls, wide balls, angled flat balls and through and over the top balls all the while building play…
        Watching Carroll forced up field as Noguiera searched for the game really really deep against Dallas does not bode well for this team I think…wether Edu or Carroll is holding.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Vaguely, as it is memory and it was six weeks ago or more, when Nogueira and Alberg were on together at one point in the preseason, I thought he was dropping less deeply.

      • I think you may end up seeing the opposite though, for the points you all just mentioned above. Nogs loves to drop deep, Mo still likes to drift into the attack….Nogs becoming that third CB seems more logical….you’re playing into both’s game more, IMHO.

      • Good point. There is the possibility that the pairing Nogs-Crevalle may not be as effective as Carrol-Crevalle on both sides of the ball, especially on defense.
        And there’s also the fact that last year, when both Nogs and Edu played together things didn’t work well either.
        We’ll see how things evolve if and when both Nogs adn Edu make it back to being starters.

  38. In a nutshell, first time I look forward to this week’s Power Rankings for more than comic relief. What do the “experts” see in this team?
    A double post miss and man advantage for an hour? Still enjoying good fortune.
    A long wait for 4/2. Full strength. Totally a trap game. Big test for Curtin.

    • Seriously? The Union also missed 2 pks but that’s not brought up. They were also missing 3 starters? Was the game perfect? No. But how can anyone be complaining at this point. 2/3 of the team is new an they are already starting to come together. This is only the base, not the summit.

      • Did he saw..still enjoying good fortune? For us to still be enjoying good fortune one would have to make a compelling argument this team has ever had good fortune…
        “If it wasn’t for bad luck….”

      • As viciously the soccer gods have assaulted the U over the last few years, I can only say, “IT’S ABOUT FRICKIN’ TIME THEY DECIDED TO SMILE DOWN UPON US”… Beautifully placed set piece off one post to the other post into the arms of our laid out, helpless keeper… PRICELESS!!! *UNION-UNION-UNION-UNION-UNION-UNION!!!!!!!!

      • Keep calm and Be Happy. Who’s complaining? Born under a bad sign, but growin up! Getting long overdue breaks two matches straight. How do the U fare with a target on their back? Can’t wait to light the Fire.

  39. I have to say the comments section is less harsh after a win. Not less intelligent,or less insightful. Thanks for seeing things I miss. Did anyone hear an attendance total? I must have missed it with the earmuffs on.

    • According to the recap on the MLS website it was 17,027.

      • did not feel like that. Think only circa 13 to 14,000 were in the house

      • You didn’t miss it, Montag. It wasn’t announced in-stadium.
        It likely was 13-14,000 in attendance. They (and other teams in other sports) announce the paid attendance – the number of tickets sold. No shows are included in the count.

      • Paid was 17K+, actual butts in seats was more than likely around 10K base on what I remember of US Open games. Any estimate above 12K is seriously generous.

  40. Mr. Hopeful says:

    Was there a Leicester storyline born in Chester yesterday?

    • I’m upbeat and positive…. but I have to stick to my principals..
      No. absolutely– this is NOT a Leicester City storyline.

    • I agree with EP here whole heartedly. This is a team in turnaround, and it’s going to turn a couple more times before the season is over. I’ve still got ’em at 45 points.
      Never say never, but realities are, they have some growing pains to work through. More injuries are sure to come. There will be tragicomic moments.
      And the CUD will be hard pressed to handle the rush of wailing and gnashing whiplashers being off the charts ridiculous in their critque because this team, that hardly a preseason fan would say could earn 45 points or more, isn’t going to win the conference and compete for the Cup.

      • I appreciate sir… but in truth Dave….my comment has nothing to do with the worst to first analogy Mr. Hopeful is making…
        The union weren’t relegated last season as they deserved to be on merit or promoted this season as Leicester City was. What LCFC is doing is implausible, it is beyond an outlier and WAY more impressive than a hypothetical worst to first turn round in September for any MLS team or the Union specifically.
        To even mention a Leicester City in the same breath as an MLS club is an unfortunate misunderstanding of the two leagues… and what is truly happening. This is what We accept this because this is the model we were given but they are not at all alike.
        With all due respect… many fail to realize this and many more care not to accept it.

      • Got it. Understood.
        Now I agree with me. 😉

  41. Dropping Carroll and splitting the CB’s……flank backs pushing up field? 10+ touches in possession leading up to the first goal, yes they got picked but pressed as team and Marquez jumps a pass keeping them shifting…all good things. I almost fell out of my chair! Rosenberry gives the Union abilities that Ray, I’m sorry……never did. Craevelle played well as the other CDM. Carroll being the CB in certain situations is like playing Russian roulette with a pacey striker…..but I’m cautiously optimistic in the last two matches, I’m sure it will be two steps forward, and one step back……but there are flashes of things we haven’t seen here in awhile. Oh, yeah….can someone take a freakin PK? Better iron that one out before it costs you points! I guess I had to bitch about something……

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