Daily news roundups

What a day: Recaps and reaction from Union’s big home opening win, more news

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

What a day.

Questions in the lead-up to the Union’s home opener on Sunday had as much to do with whether the weather would cooperate as much as if the team would be able to build on the road win Columbus.

As things turned out, it was yes to both.

Instead of a quagmire fueled by rain and snow, it was a pitch in fine condition. Those of us making the trek from Lot A to the stadium happily did so without muddy, wet feet.

And once we got in the stadium, we saw a Union team that looked confident and willing to, you know, try things.

By the 36th minute, the Union were up 2-0 thanks to a CJ Sapong brace, and the Revolution was down to 10 men after Je-Vaughn Watson’s red card.

Sure, the Union squandered two penalty kick goals, with Ilsinho’s attempt being saved just before the half, and Sebastien Le Toux’s failed attempt in the 80th minute the first PK he’s ever missed for the Union. He made up for it with a stoppage time goal to complete the 3-0 win, with everyone agreeing the scoreline could have been much higher even without the missed penalties.

What a day.

And here’s the thing, the message after the game from head coach Jim Curtin and the players alike was we are not satisfied, we are a better team, and we can do better still.

It’s a message that is not only welcome, it is believable.

Three games in, and the Union are 2-1-0 and tied for first place in the Eastern Conference. Yes, it is early days and there is a lot of soccer left to be played over a long season.

For now, Union fans can be forgiven for feeling that the team’s fortunes are finally on the up.

It’s a grand feeling, isn’t it, and one all of us — fans, players, coaches, front office people — deserve.

Long may it last.

All that said, can we now get back to the fans being the ones who sing the National Anthem?

Recaps and reports at PSP (recap, postgame video and transcript), Philadelphia Union, Philly.com (recap, report), Delco Times (recap, commentary), CSN Philly (recap, notes), Philly VoiceNJ.com, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game (recap, analysis), Vavel, MLSsoccer.com (recap, Union, New England, analysis), New England Revolution, Boston Globe, GoLocalWorcesterNew England Soccer Today, New England Soccer NewsThe Bent Musket, ESPN (recap, report), Prost Amerika (Union, New England), SBI (recap, report), Fox SoccerPro Soccer Talk, Goal.comSoccer Chronicle, The Canadian Press, and the AP. Photo galleries at USA Today, NJ.com,

New England Soccer Today notes Bobby Shuttleworth is only the fourth player in league history to make two PK saves in one game.

With the start of the Union’s seventh home season, the Delco Times looks at the team’s impact on Chester.

Section 215 has thoughts on the season so far as well as has five must-see Union games for 2016. Warning: The last one is a slideshow.

Indomitable City Soccer has a Q&A with former Union man Amobi Okugo.

Remember James McFadden? He broke his ankle training with Motherwell.

Bethlehem Steel

Bethlehem Steel completed preseason play on Sunday with a 3-0 win over Georgetown. Amoy Brown opened the scoring, with additional goals from Ryan Richter and Derrick Jones.

Here’s the lineup that started the game: Samir Badr; Taylor Washington, Joshua Yaro, Mickey Daly, Ryan Richter; Walter Restrepo, James Chambers, Bolu Akinyode, Derrick Jones, Eric Ayuk; Amoy Brown.

Recaps at Philadelphia Union (includes video links) and Brotherly Game.

On Saturday, Bethlehem lost 2-1 to Penn State after conceding an 85th minute winner.

The team’s first game is this Friday, March 25, on the road against FC Montreal at 7 pm. I believe the game will be streamed on FC Montreal’s YouTube channel.

Philadelphia Union Academy

In the opening of Generation adidas Cup Premier Division Group C play on Friday, the Union Academy drew 0-0 after 70 minutes of regulation time with Colorado. The team then lost 3-4 on penalty kicks. On Sunday, the team lost 1-0 to Pumas UNAM.

Union Academy defender Rayshaun McGann has been called into the US U-17 squad that will participate in the 44th International Montaigu Tournament in France. The team faces Brazil on March 22, England on March 24, Russia on March 26, and a to be determined opponent on March 28.

Local

Harrisburg City Islanders fell 2-0 on the road to NYRB II on Friday in preseason play. More at New York Red Bulls, Once a Metro, and Big Apple Soccer. Harrisburg’s preseason match against preseason match against LIU Brooklyn, scheduled for Sunday, was cancelled due to the weather.

Defender Shane Johnson is back with Harrisburg for a third season.

Harrisburg defender Dante Leverock has been called up by Bermuda for a match against Cuba for the 2016 Caribbean Cup Qualifying Tournament.

MLS

In the Eastern Conference, first place Montreal (6 points, 2-1-0) lost 2-0 on the road to Dallas, with Didier Drogba coming on for the Impact as a sub for the final 20 minutes. Second place Philadelphia (6 points, 2-1-0) defeated eighth place New England (2 points, 0-1-2), 3-0. Third place Orlando (5 points, 1-0-2) defeated fifth place NYCFC (4 points, 1-1-1) 1-0 on the road. Fourth place Toronto (4 points, 1-1-1) lost 1-0 on the road to Kansas City. Sixth place NYRB (3 points, 1-2-0) came from behind to defeat Houston 4-3 at home. Seventh place Chicago (2 points, 0-1-2) drew 0-0 at home with last place Columbus (1 point, 0-2-1). Ninth place DC (2 points, 0-1-2) came from behind to draw 1-1 with Colorado.

In the Western Conference, first place Kansas City (9 points, 3-0-0) defeated Toronto, 1-0. Second place LAG defeated (6 points, 2-1-0) third place San Jose (6 points, 2-1-0), 3-1. Fourth place Dallas (6 points, 2-1-0) defeated Montreal, 2-0. Fifth place Salt Lake (5 points, 1-0-2) drew 2-2 with seventh place Portland (4 points, 1-1-1), giving up a two-goal lead. Sixth place Houston (4 points, 1-1-1) lost on the road to NYRB, 4-3. Former Union man Andrew Wenger went the full 90, Sheanon Williams was on the bench, and Cristian Maidana was out injured. Eighth place Colorado (4 points, 1-1-1) drew 1-1 on the road with DC, with former Union man Zac MacMath going the full 90 in goal. Ninth place Vancouver (3 points, 1-2-0) defeated last place Seattle (0 points, 0-3-0), 2-1 on the road thanks to a controversial penalty call. This is the first time Seattle has started the season with three losses since joining MLS.

It’s official: Colorado has signed Tim Howard as a designated player. Howard will be added to the Rapids roster after the end of the Premier League season with the opening of the summer transfer window on July 4.

Former Union man Zac MacMath isn’t happy about the Howard move: “The first thought is disappointment. because obviously that means that they aren’t seeing me as the goalkeeper in the foreseeable future. To work with a guy like Tim Howard would be a privilege, someone that I can learn from and get the chance to work with each day. But at the end of the day for me it’s about playing and getting better each game and that obviously won’t happen if Tim Howard is here.” You will recall that, when he was with the Union, MacMath trained with Howard in the offseason.

New England has signed Lee Nguyen to a new contract.

Got a problem with artificial turf in MLS? Don Garber says get over it.

US

Jurgen Klinsmann has named his 26-player roster for the World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala away on March 25 (10 pm: beIN Sport, NBC Universo) and in Columbus on March 29 (7 pm, ESPN2,UniMas, UDN).

At the US Soccer website, a Q&A with Klinsmann. More on the roster at US Soccer, SI, Soccer America, ASN, and ESPN.

US U-23 MNT head coach Andi Herzog has named his 22-player roster for the Olympic qualification playoff against Colombia. The team is on the road for the first game on Friday, March 25 (5 pm, FS1) with the return leg in Frisco on March 29 (9:30 pm, ESPN2) following the senior squad’s World Cup qualifier against Guatemala.

Downingtown’s Zack Steffen was called up for the squad but has had to withdraw due to injury. Replacing him is Sounders goalkeeper Tyler Miller, an alum of Ocean City Nor’easters.

At the US Soccer website, a Q&A with Herzog. More on the roster at US Soccer, Soccer America, and ESPN.

Elsewhere

Kickoff times for the 2018 World Cup in Russia have been announced. It’s not as bad as you might think.

Reuters reports, “FIFA president Gianni Infantino said a wind of change was blowing through soccer’s scandal-plagued world governing body after announcing a sponsorship deal with China’s Wanda Group on Friday.” The report continues, “Wanda Group, China’s largest commercial property company, last year bought a 20 percent stake in Spanish club Atletico Madrid and Blatter’s nephew Philippe Blatter is chief executive of its subsidiary Wanda Sports Holding…A source close to the deal said the sponsorship amount by Wanda will be ‘hundreds of millions of dollars.'” So, Blatter’s nephew is involved in the new deal. Wind of change, indeed.

Reuters reports, “Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man, said FIFA’s corruption scandal was an opportunity for big Chinese companies to further the country’s lofty footballing ambitions by undertaking sponsorship deals with the global governing body.” The AP reports, “Chinese conglomerate Wanda says becoming a top-tier FIFA sponsor leaves it ‘better placed’ to help decide where future editions of the World Cup will be staged.”

Also from Reuters: “France has staged a mock chemical weapons attack on a soccer ‘fan zone’ as it prepares for the Euro 2016 soccer championships in June, less than a year after Islamist militants killed 130 people in attacks in and around the French capital.”

This: “Organisers of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup are considering a proposal to house football fans in Bedouin-style desert camps amid growing concerns about a potential shortage of accommodation during the tournament.”

From the AP: “Morocco’s official news agency says violent clashes among Raja Casablanca fans in the western city of Casablanca have left two people dead and 49 injured.”

Also from the AP: “Turkish authorities called off the Galatasaray-Fenerbahçe derby in Istanbul about two hours before kickoff on Sunday, citing an unspecified threat, and said the match would be played at a later date.”

77 Comments

  1. el Pachyderm says:

    Amobi takes the high road. Classy.
    .
    I won’t though. You were railroaded. A Shit sandwich from the beginning with mustard at the end. Sorry sir.

  2. At the end of last season I thought we would be 0-3 by now based on the teams we were scheduled to play. Quite unbelievable that we are now 2-1 and playing like we could get into the play-offs.

    • pragmatist says:

      Slow your roll, sir. Enjoy the good times, but we’re not gonna use the “P” word for a few months.
      .
      Slow and steady. Live in the moment.

      • I’ll slow my roll as soon as I’m done picking out the outfit I’m going to wear at the parade.

  3. That was the most fun I had at a game in a while.

  4. Does anyone know the reason Letoux took the penalty other than selfishness? Amazing game and day all around, just wondering what the deal is there.

    • He usually takes them (and he had never missed one for the U in 13 tries, until yesterday)

      • pragmatist says:

        Yeah, I thinking that was something that had been decided upon in practices and meetings, due to his success.
        .
        That rule may be revisited now.
        I know, quick hook, huh? That’s what happens when you have about 6 quality choices on the field at one time.

      • I get that, and in general past years it made sense. But in context of yesterday’s game it made no sense. CJ earned the penalty and was sitting on a brace and Seba had just entered. It just seemed like he sprinted as fast as he could to grab it before anyone else, not that it was planned IMO.

  5. Cliff of Fire Despair says:

    Hi all from the windy city. It’s getting pretty crowded here with more people joining every day. After all our team has 2 points after 3 games and we have to play the mighty Philadelphia Union next. Philly, we hear your cliff used to be crowded but is now selling space for rent. Any suggestions as to how we can work on our population problem?

    • pragmatist says:

      After reading a few opposition comments, you might want to make room for some compatriots from Boston. They are mighty unhappy with Mr. Kraft up there.

    • Cliff of Union Despair says:

      We will always be here, but we are exploring a diversification in our offerings. Our franchise partners in Chicago are flourishing, and we hear that Miami is really nice at this time of year (although that might be premature)

      Test Marketing survey: Which of our resorts would you most likely become a resident at? Based on your response, it will help us best decide where to devote the mounds of allocation money that Sakiewicz left behind. (We finally figured out the combination on the Scrooge McDuckian-sized vault he had of it.)
      A) Precipice of Union Hope
      B) Peak of Union Joy
      C) Horizon of Union Potential
      D) Plains of Union Cautious Optimisim

    • Awesome. To both of the above. God I love this blog.

    • Lucky Striker says:

      I hear that cliff is 6 years long. Plenty of room to Accamodate ya……….

    • To the Cliff on Fire, you may want to Shipp some of the population up north. It may get a bit Harry. But I’m sure it will have some Impact on the population problem.

    • Plane of Alternate Union Reality

      Plateau of Indeterminate Union Success

      Vector into the Unknown Union

  6. pragmatist says:

    So many points…I’ll try to limit myself.
    .
    1) Our wings seem to have built wonderful chemistry in short time. Fabinho (welcome back 2015 version) and Pontius have connected since preseason, and now it looks like Rosenberry and Ilsinho have a similar connection on the right. This opens up so many possibilities all over the field when you have that type of connection on the wings. Fantastic from both pairs yesterday.
    .
    2) I love that we have BSFC. Seeing names like Washington, Yaro, Ayuk, Richter, and Jones getting consistent, productive minutes is nothing but a huge positive for the entire organization, and the players themselves.
    .
    3) On the flip side of #2, I feel badly for Amobi. It feels as though he was part of the collateral damage of the Sak Era. I’m not claiming he was on a path to start for Barca any time soon, but he’s too good to be out of work. He was watching the game yesterday, based on his Twitter activity. You have to think he occasionally laments the way things went down here…as he’s poking needles into his Sak Voodoo doll…

    • I appreciate your 3rd comment… the argument can be made that I think too highly of him which is fine…but the guy was a damn good holding midfielder on a team of dreck… he’s a destroyer and a good one.

    • It would be great to have Amobi back right about now. Unfortunately, however, Amobi is one of the few players whose problem probably isn’t with Sackewicz — it’s with Curtin. I can’t imagine Curtin will want him back, nor that he would want to work with Curtin.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      He has priced himself out of the marketplace.
      .
      How many people on this site would be screaming about a high 200,000s of dollars for a bench player? See: Vitoria, Aristeguieta, the fellow with the Latin name under Nowak who was well paid for two years who never played a minute on the first team, etc.
      .
      If he gets rid of the MLS contract, NASL or USL teams would pick him up in a minute as the calm experienced veteran presence, etc., etc.,

    • pragmatist says:

      Just to be clear…I am not advocating to bring back an overpriced midfielder. I’m simply pointing out that his career has taken a turn he could not have predicted 3 years ago when he was being mentioned as a possible USMNT player.
      .
      I’m a fan, but I’m also a realist. The price tag is too high for this team.
      .
      I’d like to see him move overseas somewhere. Maybe a 1st or 2nd division English club. Somewhere to get a change of scenery and start over again. He’s still young enough.

  7. Good win, but not a great game. Yes there were points here and there where the Union looked good. And hey always got to like a win especially if you get 2 goals from the striker, but how do you miss 2 penalties. On top of that what is everyone saying about Curtin doing a good job the guy is lost. Crevalle and Carroll should have come out at around 70 minutes as both were gassed. Yes, I get it you don’t want to risk injuries. But you subbed in Leo for Ilsinho, Leo has been most unimpressive, today he had an okay day, but did not put in the defensive work that was needed at the time. Le Toux sub was fine but could’ve came at the 60 min mark as I thought Alberg might break a play as they were getting some space on counters. And Herbers sub was to late. For me the subs should have been Le Toux at 60 min for Alberg, 65 min Nogs for Crevalle, 75 minute Herbers for Ilsinho drop Pontius to middle and CJ to the wing. Curtin is still to slow to adjust to the game and if his previous tactics don’t work there is no in game adjustment. All subs came after NE subs and all were expected and scripted if you ask me.

    • I completely agree, especially with whom and when JC started to make substitutions. I still believe JC is out of his depth, and drinking too much of his own Kool-Ade when wins happen. I do like some of the chemistry that is budding on this team, but what happens when Barnetta and Nogs are Healthy? A win is a win, but there are still a lot of questions, and still a lot of football to play. Let us enjoy the win, but not lose focus of what we are actually observing on the pitch, especially the decisions coming from the technical area.

      • I don’t get your comment about J.C. drinking too much of his own Kool-Aid. Did you watch the post game press conference? If you didn’t, then you should. One of the first things he talked about was that he, and the team weren’t exactly happy with their performance. I don’t know where you get that idea from. Jim has never come across like that to me.

    • Hmm… I actually was okay with the subs and the choices…though one can certainly argue maybe they were a bit late.
      .
      I am the first to give the manager a hard time but in light of the injuries to key players I think he has the proper players playing, in the proper positions and is forcing the game. I think we all know he is young and green… and needs to have a strong showing.
      .
      I think he is actually displaying some chops the first couple of weeks. I think he should be credited for Creavalle and Carroll on the field together and making it work. I think one can absolutely nit pick… and find areas for improvement… I think missing two penalty kicks did not matter at all in the end when keeping a clean sheet.
      .
      I think you are being a bit rough around the edges… particularly when talking to me who is all about the aesthetic of the game. I think the team is finding a rhythm that bodes well for enjoyable football. I think when players get healthy is is up to the manager to make the right calls for who plays and when.
      .
      I think this season could EASILY have gotten off to a same Old Union season and clearly the manager is having NONE of that. Jim Curtin and Earnie Stewart have set a new tone and expectation… and winning two of three and being unsatisfied and keeping a clean sheet yesterday displays that so far.
      .
      A bit more credit is due after three games and a happier countenance if you ask me.

      • But el P can you really agree that the aesthetic of the Unions game is good. I mean yes its better than years past, but it is no where near any of the top or mid tier teams in this league. Yes there are starts of things. But I don’t get what people see in the games of positive light. Is it the turnovers in the middle of the field? The poor defending by the outside backs? The poor positional awareness? The over pursuit of opposing players opening up gaps? Ok maybe I am being harsh, but I would say in this game I saw 20-30 minutes of decent soccer from the Union side and some grit, luck, and poor play by NE to help the Union with this win.

      • That’s 20-30 more minutes of decent soccer than we saw for most games last year. That’s why we’re positive.

      • I can certainly agree that the aesthetic is improving yes. I can also agree that the technical proficiency of the players is improved.
        .
        100%. I think you are being overly harsh today… I shudder to think what some peoples’ comments would be if we were sitting on 1 point and it looked like last season and the season before and the season before that. I am an idealist. An artist… this is closer…that’s all.
        .
        I think the positional awareness has been a bit better than you argue… particularly as it relates to a rookie RB who clearly has an emerging skill set and offers a lot of quality and also clearly has a lot to learn about how to use his intellect and athleticism to neutralize the opposition… this is a good problem to have IMO.
        .
        I see the team building play through the channels and it is appeasing… when compared to the utter dreck of the recent and more distant past of six years of complete and total shit soccer.
        .
        Have you not read my work from previous seasons?
        .
        I am an absolute bastard.

      • 2 games of good teams playing bad against the Union can be chalked up to good luck, but if it continues for another couple games it becomes a trend and is no longer luck but rather something the Union are doing to make those teams look bad.
        .
        The whole issue I have with your argument is expectations. I did not expect them to come out and look great from the start. They have turned over 2/3 f the roster and it will take time for them to get used to each other and the league. The key for me is that they look better than last year and have looked better every game so far. It’s nowhere near the end product, but we are getting results early which is a welcome sight.

      • I am weary of so much optimism as I have seen it all come crumbling down in the past. I can agree getting points in 2 of these 3 games was not what I expected. But I haven’t seen them turn the corner that everyone else thinks they have yet. I want a solid 90+ minutes of soccer that I can sit there and say now that was a performance and that is how the game should be played in this league. And not just from a few players on the pitch or a coach or two I want to say it about the whole team altogether. That with a few positive results as we have been will get me on the side of optimism. Until then I wait to see what comes of this team after the break. Improvement yes, but not there yet on the playoff hopes or the contender hopes. I still say at this point that the Union finish 7 or 8 in the East, now I want to be wrong and maybe 10-15 games into the season they prove me wrong, but haven’t seen it yet.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Turning the corner sir- havent turned anything.
        .
        Turning.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        I am going to assume you have watched a commuter train somewhere among the stations of the railroad commuter net that pulls away from its fully stopped position. Focus on the acceleration.
        .
        Now draw an analogy to a soccer team beginning a season. I am also going to assume that you read, or at least scan, all the articles on PSP, since I am familiar with your name.
        .
        Everyone’s season is still at the stage when the acceleration is itself accelerating. And this season the Union Have been using two-a-days. We are ahead of the other teams right now.
        .
        The analogy supports your argument in that other teams will catch up if our acceleration slows.
        .
        But because so much of the team is new to us, we have no way to judge the lower and upper limits of the team’s potential, unlike in the past when we new its upper limits all too well.
        .
        Unlike a commuter train ride into Center City, the Union will reach top speed and maintain rather than accelerate continuously as the MLS season compares better to a transcontinental journey.
        .
        We’ll see. The seeing will be fun as the sights will be new and unfamiliar.

      • pragmatist says:

        CLM, SEA, VAN, and DC have combined to earn 6 points. Total.
        .
        It’s early. Only SKC has put together a quality string for 3 games. We have fought for 6 tough points.
        .
        No corner has been turned. We have not mastered “The Beautiful Game.” What have we done? Earned 6/9 possible points with a short-handed roster.
        .
        No one is claiming anything other than a feeling that this team might have a bigger set of cojones that teams past. That, and they are better at almost every position on the field than in years past.
        .
        Most of us expected to miss the playoffs this year. It still wouldn’t shock us if we did. But we want progress, and so far we are seeing that.

      • Fair enough. I will agree that I am still waiting a few more games to see how the team shapes up. They definitely need to keep improving.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        “Ok maybe I am being harsh”

        DING, DING, DING.

        Look at the whole doughnut and not just the hole in the doughnut.

    • I haven’t seen a problem with JC moves this season so far, and certainly not with that game. I think LeToux at the 60 minute mark is the prefect time to turn the screws a bit harder with his fresh legs. He was inches from finishing an open cross and I’ll forgive him THE ONLY MISS HE’S EVER MADE in a Union uniform. (Give me a large personal break “to go” please…)
      .
      Ilsinho stretched a bit farther yesterday, good.
      .
      Hebers getting some field time and was in the mix yesterday during what little time he had, trying to pour in one more before the whistle. I like it.

    • I do not think you are giving Curtin enough credit. He has a ragtag lineup, missing our 3 top field players, featuring 2 rookies in the backline, and integrating several players new to MLS, playing excellent team defense. New England is a strong squad, and they played with real guts and energy while a man down, and the Union didn’t flinch, nor did they need Andre “The Human Highlight Reel” Blake to bail them out. I wish they were more organized in the offensive third, but promising partnerships are growing, and the team is clearly moving in the right direction.

    • I am far from sold on having Jim Curtin as the head coach of the Union, but I think you’re being too harsh in criticizing his substitution choices yesterday.
      .
      Nogueira was the only defensive mid on the bench, and he’s coming off an injury, so I don’t see the problem with leaving Crevalle and Carroll on the field. I didn’t notice them being terribly tired.
      .
      As for Fernandes, I think “okay day” is a bit of an understatement, don’t you? The guy had a nice assist and two near-miss goals off headers in about 20 minutes of action. That’s being very productive on the offensive end, and his defense was better than you described.
      .
      Would it have been nice to get Herbers a few more minutes? Maybe, but that would be nit-picking, especially given Sapong’s performance yesterday. It’s not like the team was hurt by waiting to sub him out.
      .
      Bottom line: the Union won a game that most people expected them to lose, and did so handily. Hard to complain about the coach after a match like that.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        To me, MSG, you missed the most interesting coaching adjustment of the match, is a squad previously described as committed to a high defensive line and high midfield pressure, they instead set their defensive positioning to offset Ilsinho’s at best average ability to cover ground. He is extremely quick in a confined space, but a sprinter he is not.
        .
        Someone, either Ilsinho himself from experience playing in the outside right channel, or the technical staff, had him set up defensively 12 – 15 yards in front of the backlist, conceding the space in front in order to defend in depth in the belt before the restraining line. He would sally forward when he saw need or opportunity, but 12-15 in front of Rosenberry was the reset position.
        .
        In my book that was a good adjustment, and Curtin either made it or approved it and incorporated it into the game plan.

      • Interesting points, OSC, but I’m not sure why you mentioned me in your post. Perhaps you intended to respond to Dr. Union. Like you – and unlike the good doctor – I had no complaints about Jim Curtin’s coaching decisions yesterday.

      • No I don’t think Leo having an okay day is understatement. From what he did with Cosmos and what I hear about him in training and preseason I want more from him. His skill at best right now to me is fringe player on this team when you bring back Nogs and Barnetta I don’t seem him even in the 18. Leo didn’t track back his defense was to play offense if it wasn’t for Sapong busting it to cover for him and Pontius doing the same the Union would’ve been in trouble.
        .
        Yes Crevalle and Carroll were tired both could not keep up with Nguyen towards the end the of game and he was the danger at that time.
        .
        My argument on Herbers having more time had nothing to do with taking out Sapong as I said you slide him to the wing and take out Ilsinho at that moment. It was more for keeping energy up the field.

  8. National Anthem? Actually, that young lady (from Chester, nice touch) was EXCELLENT.
    She should sing it every damned time.
    She should be our version of Lauren Hart/Kate Smith.

    • Agreed.
      .
      ..hard to have a boisterous national anthem sung when at kick off there were maybe 10,00 people in the stadium… No?

      • Cliff of Fire Despair says:

        Tough call. She also sang the National Anthem at the River Cup the last couple of years and I think she is very good. On the other hand, it felt weird trying to figure out whether we should be singing along like we always have. I’m slightly in favor of letting the fans sing it because it is about the only time that my wife lets me sing in public :-). And does she know the words and tune to Oh Canada?

      • I only know some of the words to O Canada but it’s a nice tune so I wish I knew more of them. Does it feel weird singing the anthem to a country not your own? I mean, I’m not really going to stand on guard for thee…

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I’ve watched enough hockey games that it doesn’t feel weird at all.
        .
        Oh Canada, our home and native land.
        True patriot love in all they sons command.
        With glowing hearts we see thee rise
        The true north strong and free.
        From far and wide, Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
        God keep our land glorious and free
        Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
        Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
        .
        (OK, I’ll admit I had to check Wikipedia because I had “my” in the first line instead of “our” and I missed “From far and wide”, but not bad to be able to get that much on my own while listening to The Other One -> Wharf Rat while writing them down…)

    • Agreed. And I’m sure the people below me in Section 125 are glad to have me not sing, too.

    • She had a fantastic voice, but her pace is too slow. If she picks it up, she can keep singing the Anthem. If she’s going to continue to make a dirge out of the song, I’d rather let the fans sing.

      • Fun Fact: our nat’l anthem is written in waltz time, although we don’t think of it as a waltz

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      My crazy imagination merged the two, having someone lead both the young lady and the River End, attempting to coordinate the paving of the two.
      .
      It may have been a special occasion one time thing.
      .
      I would lament the loss of the stadium singing it as a usual custom, it is the first message to both teams what the stadim’s mood an energy level will be like. Hark back to both Open Cup finals.

    • Atomic Spartan says:

      Definitely a fine voice and a beautiful rendition.
      .
      But…
      .
      As a traditionalist and a defender of how the National Anthem should be sung, it should be noted that the roots of singing the anthem at sporting events was meant to instill a sense of national community. Originally treated as a news-spreading tavern song, it has lately been treated as a personal showcase, and that IMHO is just not true to the anthem’s roots.
      .
      Most of the Union’s tradition has not been memorable, except in the negative. This is one positive tradition that should remain.
      .
      Let her sing God Bless America at halftime and I’ll applaud.
      .
      If you’re shy about the quality of your voice, remember, it’s the one the Creator gave you… maybe she just has a sense of humor.

  9. The one alarming thing I saw during the course of the first 30-40 minutes of the game was the lack of a holding midfielder showing to the center backs and fullbacks to provide an outlet once the first pass was made. Too often a pass from tribett to rosenberry needed to be recycled back to tribett due to neither creavalle nor carroll showing to the ball.
    Looking forward to seeing nogs get back in the mix as I would assume he will get back to doing very nogs like things and my issue from the match will be moot.

    PS please never ever take rosenberry out from this point forward. This kid is everything that you want out of a modern fullback with the caveat that as long as his defending improves the way I think it will.

    • pragmatist says:

      Agreed on the midfielder observation. WC and BC are doing a fine job as stand-ins. But either Warren needs to learn to check back more often (BC is too old to learn new tricks), or we need Nogs out there to play that role. There needs to be a cleaner outlet from the back, aside from forcing it to the wings every time.

    • Agreed though Carroll did begin assuming the role… many times I saw him settle in deep or between the CB and build play laterally.
      .
      Spot on about KR.
      .

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Yes, Carroll was a little further upfield in the first 15-20 min, but then started dropping back between Tribbett and Marquez to provide that outlet. The average player positions on Who Scored show that very clearly.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Not in the first 10-15 minutes, which was very worrying as the middle was wide, wide Champs d’Elysee-to-the -Wehrmacht-in-1940 open. Then BC began to remember.

    • I’ll take this a half-step further. It looked to me as though NE wanted the Union to play through Tribbett. Quite often, once Blake had the ball the NE forward or a midfielder would shift to take away a clean passing lane to Marquez, leading Blake to roll the ball out to Tribbett on the right. They then pressed that side of the field, and took away Tribbett’s lane across the field to Marquez. Ken’s only options were back to Blake, up to Rosenberry who was getting crowded for space, or chucking it up field.
      .
      Once Carroll started dropping deep, that gave Tribbett the outlet he needed to bust the pressure.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Agreed, that seemed to be NE’s plan and Tribbett ended up with 54 passes (most on the Union) with an 80% completion rate.

  10. Andy Muenz says:

    April will be a true test as to how far the team has come. We expected literally nothing from March. Now in April there are 4 games against teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year (Chicago, Orlando, NYCFC, and San Jose) plus one against 0-3 Seattle. 3 of those are at home. In the past, the Union would usually come away with about 5 or 6 points in a stretch like this. If they’ve really turned the corner, they can capitalize and get 10-12 points (or 13 or 15) in April.

  11. Strange looking at the standings and seeing us with a positive goal differential (not to mention how strange it is to be up near the top. I pulled up the standings and reflexively looked down at 9th place for us before realizing “That’s right, we’re tied for first!”) I don’t know what the high water mark for goal differential is for this club but I’d dare say they could already be approaching it. Maybe I’ll look that up later.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      It’s got to be at least +2 since I’m pretty sure they won the first two games in 2011.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I just checked and in 2011 the peaked at +8 after their 3-0 July 17 win in Foxborough. New England went down a man while it was 2-0 (sound familiar?), that time it was Feilhaber. It was the game that Valdez and Sheannon each got their first Union goal.
        .
        I didn’t check any other season but I’d be surprised if they had been +8 any other year.
        .
        Gives them something to shoot for.

      • I just checked too- I had them at +9 after the October 8th game in 2011. So either +8 or 9, quite a bit higher than now after all. Incidentally, I did check the other years and it was kind of ugly. Never were positive in any week 2010 or 2015. One positive week in 2012. 2013 and 2014 they did better than I thought with multiple positive weeks in both years, think they topped out at +4 in those 2 years.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I think you’re right, Mike. I just checked and they ended the season at +8. Since the last game was a 1-0 loss, they must have been +9 before that. In my defense, midway through the season they switched from showing it as Win/Loss/Draw and then the score to just the score, home team first.

  12. Nice to be talking about a team with 6 points and 2 wins on March 21. Last year the Union reached 6 points on April 16 and didn’t get their second win until May 17.

  13. Terrible for MacMath that only hours after the announcement of Howard going to the Rapids, he makes a mess of a cross and costs the team 2 points.

    • Yeah we touched on this on another thread… I didn’t realize it was only hours later…I was watching the game when he missplayed the cross…guy just has no luck…or no confidence, maybe both. I have a soft spot for keepers. My son was one for most of his youth playing days. BTW, He was rockin his Mondragon Jersey on Sunday!

  14. Outside of our (suddenly growing) little community, the overwhelming vibe I got going into the year was that we’d be battling for 9th or 10th with chicago. Inside it, we were cautiously saying 6th or 7th. (I dare not invoke the p word yet). I’m happy to say that through 3 games, we’re on track. Those other so called “experts” overlooked our new Earnie experience and kept making goalkeeper jokes.
    .
    Please keep making them. Every little piece is fuel for the “nobody believes in us” fire that seems to be driving this team. And I for one love to see just how wrong these MLS “analysts” can be. Especially when Adam here does their job far better than they ever will. But since it isn’t click bait..
    .
    I digress. Go union! Go PSP! I’ve sold my time share on the cliff to some poor new England fan who misses Jermaine Jones.

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