Union match reports

Match report: D.C. United 2-2 Philadelphia Union

An unmarked Steve Birnbaum headed in at the back post in the 4th minute of second half stoppage time to give D.C. United a share of the points after Philadelphia Union looked to be on their way to their first road win since March.

Former United man Chris Pontius gave the Union a 2-1 lead with his 9th goal of the season in the 57th minute after Tranquillo Barnetta and Taylor Kemp traded first half goals for the teams. But with pressure building over the last minutes of the game, the Philadelphia defense couldn’t hold, and Birnbaum’s header salvaged a draw for the home side.

First half

Jim Curtin made two changes to the team that lost at home to Real Salt Lake last week. Barnetta returned to the starting lineup after serving his suspension for yellow card accumulation, and Fabian Herbers started for Roland Alberg at the top of the midfield. New acquisition Charlie Davies was named to the bench, but while Alejandro Bedoya was with the team after arriving from France, the paperwork needed for him to be eligible for selection had not yet been cleared.

D.C. took the lead in the 16th minute through Taylor Kemp when the left back picked off a poor pass from Ken Tribbett near midfield. The United defender steamed forward down the wing, past a poor challenge from Barnetta and then an even poorer one from Tribbett before firing low into the right corner from 8 yards out past Andre Blake.

United should have made it a two-goal lead in the 42nd minute. Patrick Mullins broke in behind the Union back line, latching onto a long ball from Nick DeLeon. Mullins’ struck a half volley that was high and wide of Blake’s goal from 18 yards out with little pressure from the Union defense.

The Union attack looked disjointed for much of the first half, but Barnetta was able to equalize with a clever free kick in the 45th minute. Fabinho ran over the ball before Barnetta curled a shot into the lower left corner of the United goal with United goalkeeper Bill Hamid cheating to the other side. Hamid will feel he could have done better, but Barnetta’s shot was well struck to tie the game at one.

Second half

C.J. Sapong had a great chance to give the Union the lead in the 51st minute. Herbers fed Barnetta down the Union left side, in behind the D.C. back line. Barnetta then slid a great ball into Sapong in the center of the box, and the ball appeared to hit Sapong’s standing leg as he tried to tap in from 6 yards, giving Hamid a chance to push the shot away.

Philadelphia would take the lead in the 57th minute through Pontius. Ilsinho won the ball from Luciano Acosta just outside the United box, and the Brazilian then slid a pass to Pontius on the right side behind the D.C. defense. The former D.C. man then steered a calm finish past Hamid with his first touch from 15 yards. The classy Pontius did not celebrate his goal.

Charlie Davies would make his Union debut in the 80th minute, replacing goalscorer Pontius. Davies played striker, moving Sapong out to the left side.

D.C. pressured late, searching for an equalizer. Lamar Neagle fired wide of Blake’s goal in the 83rd minute after Fabinho gave the ball away on the left. Blake was forced to make two fantastic saves on Kennedy Igboananike and then Neagle again in the 89th minute.

United finally found the tying goal in the 4th minute of stoppage time. Patrick Nyarko collected a ball that was only half cleared by Ilsinho 35 yards from the Philadelphia goal. The midfielder hit a well weighted cross into the Union box that Steve Birnbaum was first to, heading into the side netting past Blake from 4 yards on the left side.

Philadelphia is next in action when they travel to New England to face the Revolution next Saturday (7:30 pm, TCN, MLS Live, Direct Kick).

Philadelphia Union
Andre Blake, Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Ken Tribbett, Keegan Rosenberry, Brian Carroll (Warren Crevalle 45′), Tranquillo Barnetta, Fabian Herbers (Walter Restrepo 70′),  Ilsinho, Chris Pontius (Charlie Davies 80′), C.J. Sapong
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Ray Gaddis, Joshua Yaro, Roland Alberg

D.C. United
Bill Hamid, Sean Franklin, Steve Birnbaum, Bobby Boswell, Taylor Kemp, Rob Vincent, Lloyd Sam (Lamar Neagle 62′), Nick DeLeon (Julian Buescher 76′), Luciano Acosta, Patrick Nyarko, Patrick Mullins (Kennedy Igboananike 70′)
Unused subs: Travis Worra, Jalen Robinson, Kofi Opare, Alvaro Saborio

Scoring Summary
DC: Taylor Kemp — 16′
PHI: Tranquillo Barnetta — 45+1′
PHI: Chris Pontius (Ilsinho) — 57′
DC: Steve Birnbaum (Patrick Nyarko) –90+4′

Disciplinary Summary
PHI: Richie Marquez (unsporting behavior) — 5′
DC: Luciano Acosta (unsporting behavior) — 59′
PHI: Ken Tribbett (unsporting behavior) — 63′

Philadelphia Union D.C. United
 14 Shots 18
6 Shots on Target  8
 4 Shots off Target  5
 4 Blocked Shots  5
 5 Corner Kicks 6
 11 Crosses 24
 2 Offsides 3
 8 Fouls 14
 2 Yellow Cards  1
 0 Red Cards  0
 353 Total Passes  340
 66% Passing Accuracy 67%
 49.7% Possession  50.3%
 72 Duels Won 49
 60% Duels Won %  40%
 14 Tackles Won 10
 6 Saves  4
 19 Clearances 12


  1. el Pachyderm says:

    pissing away points….. not cool.
    Team misses too many opportunities that need to be gols, ahem CJ Sapong.
    Miss a sitter and 5 good things you’ve done are wiped away.
    Please x10^5 can we stop with Ken Tribett. Please. Please. Please. Guy is not good enough. Period. I’ll take Yaro’s mistakes…. EVERYTIME.
    Sounds to me per Edu interview he’s not playing ever again in his career….. Come on Mo. Let’s go.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      We just learned how important defensive pressure from our striker and our #10 are.
      Charlie Davies did little and Ilsinho by stoppage time was gassed. We paid a price for that.

      • Bingo! Tribbet too……….it’s almost like he’s good for a “f up” each match that costs a goal!

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      be fair with Mo, El P. Remember he played the open cup games hurt last season
      Medicos are probably not let him get games yet. They have been known to be conservative. 😉

      • What’s to be fair about? This injury is because he played too hard too soon while rehabbing the last one.

        Apparently he was still limping during the open practice a number of commenters here mentioned it. His contract looks albatross like at this point and come 12/31 it’s time to thank him for his “service” and move on.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Tribbett played fine. He was actually our best defender tonight.

      There were more than a few issues:

      1) Ilsinho just doesn’t defend. The first goal, Kemp had a runway to work with. Tribbett was on an island while Ilsinho and Rosenberry scrambled to recover. That break happened when Ilsinho didn’t show hard enough for a pass and Kemp jumped it.

      2) There was just no organization when we were trying to kill the match off. Players need to be smart on where they take chances with the ball. Restrepo played like his hair was on fire and that’s not a compliment. You’re a winger, you can’t lose the ball trying to cut inside at midfield. The sideline is your friend. Use it and try to keep possession. If it fails, it’s likely just throw in.

      3) OSC is right. Your defense starts with your forwards defending. Both Pontius and Sapong are very good at it and Davies hasn’t got in sync with his teammates on this.

      4) So many chances wasted. Aside from his assist to Pontius, Ilsinho seemed out of sync with his teammates all night.

      5) Barmetta was huge tonight. Just continued to burst into space with the ball. What a player.

      Brutal…just brutal to watch. We really should have gotten three points.

      • Zizou, I can agree that Tribbett throughout the course of a match has shown he can be good…..but he still has a few major cough ups, generally when he has the ball, that can lead to picking the ball out of the back of the net. At any respectable level, you can spend the rest of the match playing catch up……,from one screw up….it’s all it takes.

      • +1 on Tribbett. One (very key) bad missed tackle vs. DCU, but on the whole, he’s been a solid player. Much like Yaro, he makes the occasional key mistake. That’s what young players do. They’ll both get better.

      • Dan, this is really the only league on the planet where someone makes that statement. If this were the Prem…….they would be with the reserves or 23’s to “learn”.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Titus Bramble, Steve Taylor, Anton Ferdinand, Senderos, David Luiz, James Collins…that’s a lotta starts in the Prem for defenders who are known for making one big mistakes after playing great for most of the match.

        If I had time, I’m sure that I could find more examples like this.

      • Dude, did you just compare those guys to Tribbett and Yaro? ……..um, ok? Thanks bro, I’ll be laughing all day now!

      • Zizouisgod says:

        No, I didn’t compare Tribbett or Yaro to those players. They are clearly not to their level yet. I listed their names to show that your point about teams in the Prem putting a defender in the reserves after an occasional key mistake wasn’t entirely true.

        However, I’m glad that I gave you a laugh on a Monday. I hope that someone does the same for me. Have a good one.

      • Zizou, I always respect your opinion….just having a little banter with you bro! Relax. I don’t think those guys will ever be at that level, to be honest. Also, some of the dudes you mentioned were studs at other positions before they became CB’s. David Luiz was a beast of a CDM before he went to CB. I still think he would be better there!

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Ali – The feeling is mutual. It’s all in good fun.

      • You guys mean the same Tribbett that dribbled into traffic in the middle of the pitch against NYCFC with a look on his face like…..”wtf am I doing?”……..I’m just making sure we are talking about the same player……

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Think that you mean vs Red Bull.

        He did learn his lesson as RSL tried to bait him with the same type of trap and he didn’t fall for it.

      • I’m pretty sure that was NYCFC…..I could be wrong……but my memory has Yankee Stadium on that one…regardless, you know the exact play I’m talking about

      • Zizouisgod says:

        It may have happened vs. NYC as well. I missed the first half of that debacle and never went back to relive the misery of it.

      • Zizou, Lol…..what you are implying is I may have missed yet another screw up against NYRB! Now I need to go back and see the highlights of that one!

    • I’m just done with him and his ” I’m just waiting for my body to tell me I’m 100%”…Well is your body gonna speak this year mo.. Or will you just continue to collect new eye ware

    • Davies for Sapong would have been better for us. I get Curtin’s protection of Pontius, but he puts a ball on frame.


      Can’t wait to read another write up lauding the hold up play of CJ.

    • My sources, Vladimir and Estragon, have reported that Edu is expected not tonight, but surely tomorrow.

  2. Everything El P said was pretty much on my agenda to put down in the comments. I really don’t have much else to offer except I thought Ilsinho was ok tonight and his defensive work was nice to see. And Herbers at the #10 didn’t really work out.
    Getting late in the year… Giving 3 points away is flat out unacceptable. Frustrating game.

    • It’s funny, I wanted to see Herbers there…..and I would key in on him during the match…..particularly off the ball. Alberg actually plays the role a little better, IMHO. It seems Roland understands his relationship with CJ better than Herbers. Those two are suppose to play off each other……sometimes during the match Herbers just floats and gets lost.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Yeah agreed. Herbers wasn’t terrible… it’s just that role was not suited for him. I would have liked to see Alberg get 75 minutes there and then maybe have Herbers come in at the end. A little puzzling Alberg didn’t play given no Bedoya. I understand Alberg is a sub at heart, but he should have played at some point last night.

  3. What in holy hell was the team doing in the last 10 minutes of that match other than trying to give the win away? I was 100% certain they were going to give up a goal there. Just thoroughly piss poor. That was classic Union from last year.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Does not engender well with the sporting dir crowd I hope…. I hope the sporting director is roiling mad.

      • He should be. End of the game was a Three Stooges routine. Union might have had 0% possession in the final 10. Turnover after turnover after desperate clearance after desperate clearance. They played like there was 30 seconds left when DC had plenty of time to come back.

  4. Ahhh yes, there we go, back to normal

  5. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Thought we began to see a good game from Barnetta as time passed.
    I don’t know that Herbers knows how to defend in the #10 but at least he runs trying about the pitch.
    I thought we saw stretches of the good play we saw earlier in the season from Barnetta and Herbers at times in the second half. Herbers does combine well in the short passing game.

    • OSC, he does combine with people very well……..but his off the ball movement needs work……maybe that will come with more time in that spot, but there were times last night where CJ would check in….and he wasn’t there as support or to stretch the pitch…..twice I saw him drifting out right….and he almost realized it, checking his run but by that time….the sequence would be over. Even though with Alberg it seems you don’t know what your getting from match to match…he understands the role better. I, like you, wanted see what Herbers did there from a start…….I need more convincing.

  6. Andy Muenz says:

    Team needed to possess the ball in the last 10 minutes rather than continuously kick it away. What was really sad was that once they gave up the tying goal they showed they could possess it the rest of the way.

  7. Pragmatist says:

    Yaro, please.
    Restrepo never again. Please send him back to Bethlehem and try to sell or wait out the contract.
    We stole a point tonight. The only reason we pulled out a draw is because DC is horrible.
    I can’t wait for Bedoya. No pressure, but you are the Calvary. That team was rattled at the end of the game. There was no calming influence, and it is because of a lack of experience and intelligence as an outlet for our defense. No disrespect to Barnetta, but he doesn’t belong back there.
    This is a team that deserves a 4-6 seed in the playoffs, but is a year away from making real noise. We simply are missing pieces in very important positions.
    Finish strong. Make the playoffs. Win a game. Anything past that is gravy, because they aren’t good enough for more than that.

    • Totally agree

    • der Fussballzuschauer says:

      Was has du gesagt? Kein mehr von dem kolombianischen Fluegelspieler aus der zweiten Liga? Finde ich unterhaltsam. Aber BSFC braucht ihn nicht.

    • Remember Yaro has likely delayed shoulder surgery to finish out the season. Perhaps he is struggling with the issue and that is why we are seeing Tribbet preferred.
      All in all, both Yaro and Tribbet are decent players. Yaro definitely has the higher potential but both players are rookies and prone to an individual mistake or two during the course of 90mins. Funny thing to me is that I believe it was actually Marquez who had the poor clearance that lead to the cross coming in for the tying goal.

    • Hmmmm, No calming influence and lack of experience at the end of the game. Hmmm, I wonder where we could’ve gotten that for some of the players we replaced on the wing. Oh wait we just traded our most experienced end of game intelligent energizing and calming influence in Le Toux to Colorado. Is he the best end of game player, no surely not, but this game he could’ve helped close out for sure especially with Carroll injured.

  8. I’m starting to wonder out loud if Blake (possessing incredible reactions and unmatched athleticism) is sub-par in terms of back 4 communication. As a GK, positioning and having your D organized is as important, if not more important, than making the highlight reel save. Since Copa America, the defense has been completely disorganized, yet personnel has not really changed. Yeah, Nogs has left, but BC has been the 6 all year long…the 8 isn’t killing them at this point, defensively. Opposing staffs have picked up on some means of attack that results in numbers up situations. Those situations are not getting recognized quickly enough by the GK to communicate to the young CBs.
    This is understandable as we’re playing with 4 out of 5 players on the back-line with less than 1 year starting experience, and the 5th (Fabihno) is not exactly a strong defender. That said, might have to make a change here or, when Mo gets healthy, slot him next to Richie for the remainder of the season. Might not be a bad idea to get Ray involved at some point too.

    • Darth Harvey says:

      No to Ray…you were making salient points until you mentioned the glorified college player…we saw Ray get involved in Montreal…

      • Sorry man, I disagree. Ray is a consummate pro. The U’s defense is leaking everywhere. There’s clearly very little communication back there. You get Mo in the middle to help Keegan, Ray on the left to help Richie, BC at the 6 with Bedoya at the 8…now you have a cohesive mix of vets (Mo, BC, Ray, Bedoya) and youth (Blake, Keegan, Richie). That’s the combination you want.

      • Darth Harvey says:

        The defense never looked leakier than the last open cup game against NE and the pursuant beat down we received at the hands of Montreal…who was in those games? Ray…it’s nothing personal…you can be a consummate pro but just not a good player…Ray is probably a fantastic practice player on this team…maybe you mean Yaro? I dont think there is a defensive answer currently on this team, but if there is, its swapping Tribbett for Yaro..Your lineup is also a touch befuddling…Mo is coming back to play CB??? Fairly certain that won’t be the case…IF Mo plays at all this year(doubt meter 5000 is rising each day that he will) it will be to give BC his much deserved rest…Curtin seems positive that the defensive reinforcements are coming in the formal of trialists. I think they will actually come next year when ES has the entire off season to address the D, but the answer certainly is not Ray Gaddis…that’s Union 2014 thinking

      • Where did Mo play the majority of last year? Why would it be “befuddling” to see him play at CB? BC will be more than fine at the 6 if he’s bracketed front and back by Bedoya and Mo.
        Re: Gaddis…I’m not talking about for next year, I’m talking about now. Fabihno is a terrible LB. He makes nice runs and is dangerous on the wing. When he gets isolated defensively, it’s a trainwreck. When the rest of your defense is inexperienced and your GK is inexperienced, it’s more important to have outside backs who can contain and sag, not dive in and get beat.

      • Darth Harvey says:

        Mo isn’t coming back to play CB…he has said it…Curtin has said it… Mo playing CB is Union 2015 thinking…(at least you are getting closer to living in the present)…Ray is not the answer now, he wasn’t an answer before…he will never be an answer…just an alternative inferior solution…he can’t pass with his dominant right foot…putting him at LB only confines him more within his prison of self inferiority…Ray could serve as injury depth and practice squad on this team…and he should be happy to be that…Ray cannot mark, his off ball awareness is horrendous, he cannot pass, he can barely dribble, and his only redeeming skill (1v1) has looked pedestrian as of late…please we need to be more creative than Sakiweicz when trying to fix our defensive woes.

      • Ray is not a professional footballer……..you cannot receive a ball with your head down and be considered a baller! Everything dies when passed to Ray…….

      • Roger that says:

        When the other team has a very fast right winger Ray is a better choice than Fabs.
        Otherwise …

      • I hate putting a right peg at LB…….you close half the pitch off and take an extra second to bring the ball across you……it’s horrid!

    • They have noted that Ritchie is the voice of the defense and while it’s good to have that, the goalie needs to be the most vocal and at is something I agree I think Blake lacks. He’s just not demonstrative enough.

      • You can tell when watching that there’s very little understanding and confidence between the two CBs and Blake. That’s not a slap at Andre, it’s just a fact that all 3 are extremely green re: experience. Need to get Mo back there to solidify things.

    • Two months ago I was really excited about how well our young defense and was thinking that the U were set for at least 5 years and 3 of 4 positions, of 4 of 5 when you add Blake.
      But I agree with the comments above that there is no veteran calming influence out there. Central defenders seem to peak in their early 30s.
      Man City and Brazil demonstrated how much difference Kompany and Thiago Silva can make.
      Pique & Ramos do(did) with Barcelona.
      Terry continues to get starts at advanced age with Chelsea and Chiellini in his 30s at Juventus.
      I am starting to wonder if maybe our next deal should be for a veteran central defender to help lock down our D.

  9. Many mistakes in the XT period, but Restrepo’s turnover in the middle of nowhere in the DC end with about 1:30 remaining was absolutely inexusable.
    Do ANYTHING with that damned ball for 5-10 seconds and DC has to suck into their end busting their momentum.
    It felt inevitable to me when I saw that happen.

    • I yelled “take it to the corner” like 6 times. As a non-professional player, who am I to know what to do with the ball?
      He was but one of the many wrongs. Inexcusable for fresh legs, body, mind and a will to crack the first team, be that go-to guy. I haven’t questioned Curtin’s subs for awhile. Seeing Restrepo made me think I should.

      • Restrepo needs game reps at this level. He’s a good player, who has speed and good touch on the ball. Fluid too, doesn’t kill the game like Ilsihno does sometimes. Difference between Restrepo and Leo is that the game is too fast at this level for Leo, in my opinion. But Restrepo can ball. I mean, he gets subbed in at the 70th minute and is asked to kill off a game. Being that he’s been a D2 player for the last 5-6 years, he probably hasn’t been in that situation much before. Definitely a learning moment for him.

      • der Fussballzuschauer says:

        “D2” teams in the North American Soccer League don’t have matches that need to be killed off, too?

      • I meant coming on as a sub, whose primary job it was to kill off the game and keep possession. That hasn’t generally been his game in the past, as in the NASL, he’s generally been a starter and mostly an attacking winger.

      • der Fussballzuschauer says:

        I don’t disagree with the assessment of Restrepo’s game as an attacking winger one bit but my follow-up question must then become why does the trainer Curtin bring Restrepo on and not someone else more suited to deal with the situation at hand? … I’m fairly confident that the Philadelphia Union can’t do the ‘learning moment’ thing if they want to make the MLS playoffs this season.

      • The answer to why Curtin didn’t bring on someone more experienced in that position is cause they traded him to Colorado.

      • Ding, Ding.

      • der Fussballzuschauer says:

        Super. The follow up to the follow up question is why are there no players available on the bench to be sent into the match when it needs to be killed off? At some point, someone in the Philadelphia Union organization needs to accept full responsibility for results.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Yeah I must have yelled… WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT?!? DON’T DO THAT!?! At least 5-6 times in the last 10 minutes. Again with poor management in the last part of games… when will Curtin address this for real?

    • I’m pretty sure that for Restrepo as right midfielder, Birnbaum would have been his to mark as Birnbaum advanced into offensive 3rd of the field and eventually scored in 94th minute.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Yup and he threw his hands up in the air afterward like “who was supposed to mark that guy?”

      • It was a numbers game to me. I count 3 Union players and 4 DC players making runs toward goal so someone was going to be open.
        For me, Marquez had more time then he realized to clear the ball but fluffed it out where Nyarko could pick it up and send in a cross.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Perhaps. Like most goals conceded, it was a combination of mistakes by the defense, but it was unclear to me who Restrepo was either marking or attempting to mark during that sequence.

        Regardless, with a player like Birnbaum who is a beast in the air, you need to understand where he is whenever he’s in the box.

      • Rosenberry was caught marking two on the back post……I can’t understand how that happens…..

      • Your assuming Rosenberry was actually marking anyone. In my opinion there were 3 back post he didn’t communicate this and got caught out of position with no help.

      • Your part right…..he was scrambling behind both of them and was late. But like you said, he was zoning back there and had two guys to deal with……I said he was “caught” marking two….where is the support…..or like you said…the calming influence to notice the overload……with seconds left….don’t get it…

      • And, if your the flank back on the opposite side of the cross….yeah, the back post is your responsibility…….but how do you not respect that Bernbuam is hanging out back there…..that’s not just Rosenberry…..that’s on all of them

  10. Sapong is no longer effective up top. How bout putting him on the opposite side of Pontius, moving Ilsinho to the 10 and either Herbers or Davies up top? Thoughts?

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      I Disagree with the premise from which you begin. At least two penetrations parallel to the end line with pass backs seeking runners. Those can win games.
      His defensive effort remains essential. Charlie Davies is still recovering, and that’s a wonderful story. But energy level looked like he’s still recovering. Curtin needed to find out, the information cost us two points, along with some other causes thereof.

    • Thoughts…no. CJ is the starting striker. His defensive effort and ability to play with his back to goal is something that no one even comes close to on this team up top. Yes, he flubbed a sitter, but he’s clearly the best striker option on this team presently.

  11. I know Ilsinho is a skilled player but time after time trying to go 1 on 3 he has been a turnover machine.

  12. I don’t think putting Charlie Davies in and kicking CJ out wide, taking Pontius out……….was good move by JC. It may even cost two points. I’m ok with the tie……..but we gave them the points. Everything changed for worse with that sub. Pontius is good in the air………,,as is CJ…..I would think you need them both on the pitch in the final minutes as the ball keeps getting swung in the box. Putting Davies in when your trying to kill a match isn’t how you want to introduce a new forward. It’s not like CJ came off the pitch……you took off of a guy who can defend and is good in the air……for someone to just chase up top……who can’t defend like Pontius………head scratcher.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      A risk to find out what Davies can bring.
      Your points are well taken.
      We don’t know what those monitoring vests that they wear were saying, and keeping Pontius healthy has value.
      There may have been sentiment involved, getting CD onto the pitch at an old club.. It clearly meant something both to him and to the DC fans.

      • I hear you OSC, but they are in the results business. To me, if you up 3-0 like the last meeting…,put him on, no threat….you can be a little more emotional. Up 2-1 with ten left…..,.,results business……save the love for another day! Those vests are all about How efficient you are pumping blood while under physical stress……gives you a daily empirical map of your players heart functions……,even the colleges use them now a days……a lot of former players of mine send me training pics with those vests on….they love them! Makes me feel like I played back in the Stone Age!

      • It’s great, I had a conversation with a very high level coach last week, and he was going through all the things that the sports scientists do nowadays with the players. He and I both played back in the early-mid 90’s club, high school, college. He was like “Little different now, huh?” I said “Yeah, sports science back when we played was … don’t miss the bus.”

      • We did a BMI and body fat percentage every month……report to the field house and and get poked and prodded by trainers……that was mid 90’s…..that was tech advanced back then. Dude, some high schools even use them now! Now it’s EKG, VO2, lactic acid tests, stress tests…..crazy awesome

      • Ha, we had that too, and a weigh-in. Advanced science.

      • Ha, the dreaded way in……….Coaches and trainers with clipboards staring at you…..dudes looking around the room for the piss cup sweating bullets……Lol!

      • Well universities ,like the pros, ….are realizing they have to protect their investments……you are paying these guys $40-50k a year essentially. When we were playing…..$20-30k……it wasn’t as pressing to take care of us!

    • I was scratching my head at taking Herbers out. Unless he was totally gassed – which I didn’t see – it should have been Ilsihno who was totally gassed. If we are protecting a lead and you have skilled kid who has the legs to see out a match, why take him out? Move him over to another position maybe, but not take him out.

    • If you ask me Pontius was pulled because he started stretching his hamstrings and Curtin looked and said he is going to injury himself I’m taking him off the field.

  13. I feel as though this needs to be said: getting points on the road in MLS isn’t easy. This hurts more because of how we gave them up than anything else. If you would have told me before the match “no bedoya” I’d have taken a draw as a reasonable outcome. I’m much more concerned now with how we fit him than results, as long as we make the playoffs

  14. Time to put Curtin on notice:
    No playoffs, no job.

    • Bull. Shit.

      • PPG as Manager.
        John Hackworth – 1.42 (77 gms)
        Jim Curtin – 1.39 (71 gms)
        Yeah let’s keep repeating the same mistakes. That is Curtin’s forte!

      • Coach – Win%
        Curtin – 39%
        Hackworth – 34%
        Nowak – 28%

      • That’s great except the MLS table is determined by points . . . which is why they don’t use Win% or the alternate Losing % which looks like this
        Coach Losing%

        Curtin – 39%
        Hackworth – 26%

      • Right. My point is that if you were looking to imply that Hackworth was a better coach or even Nowak, the only coach to make the playoffs with the team, was a better coach then that is not really true.
        Three different coaches with the same level of success shows that the problem(s) have been at the organizational level, not at the coaching level. This is the first year there is a Sporting Director in place and there has been a ton of moving pieces in the front office and locker room, new facilities and new team (BSFC), really everything has changed. It could be argued that this is really the first time in the team’s history where the head coach is in a position to actually succeed.
        To pass judgement on Curtin as a coach right now is way to early.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        So you’re saying that Curtin has games at hand to make up the gap, then?

    • I bet Big Ern was livid last night…………JC is on a short leash with him, mark it!

      • der Fussballzuschauer says:

        And to think that on, June 15th, Philly Soccer Page wrote that “MLS Soccer.com included the Union in a list of teams that are candidates to win the first domestic treble of the modern era.” — No playoffs, no job sounds about right for an MLS franchise with any kind of real ambition.

      • I really hope not, that would be a huge mistake. They haven’t had their two of their best 5 players, 1 for the whole season (Edu) and 1 for the majority of the season (Nogs). Jim is playing with 4 out of 5 guys in the back with less than 2 years of pro experience (and none with more than 1 yr experience starting) and a 5th who couldn’t give a sh$t less about defense (I’d actually look to start Gaddis over Fabihno once Mo and Bedoya get set at the 4 and 8 respectively). The U is doing remarkably well, given the circumstances. And not for nothing, but who brought in Pontius and Barnetta? Wasn’t Earnie. I can pretty much guarantee you that Jim and Chris led the Superdraft too in mid-January (Earnie hadn’t even been here a month and had zero idea about US college players). Look, I think Earnie is doing a good job, but we’re also comparing him to the disaster of a Sporting Director that proceeded him. Takes time to build a city from a village.

      • I don’t think ES gives two shits about all that……..he’s from the Dutch school……results, results, results

      • It actually doesn’t take time. Portland won the Cup in four seasons.

        No, don’t trot out the very tired argument the Union started from scratch. They didn’t. They started from incompetent. There’s a difference.
        Two months ago this site raved about Curtin’s new found acumen. Nogs leaves and he hasn’t guessed right on an adjustment.

  15. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Tranqillo Barnetta not returning next season is an idea that makes me shudder.
    Hopefully a weeke of practice will integrate the new guys a little better and give the technical staff some better idea how to use them.
    No one, including me up to this point, has pointed out that BC’s brain, mouth, and example were all absent from the pitch in the last 10 minutes. I seriously doubt the absence was helpful.

    • I thought he looked good…particularly as the match wore on…he ran the midfield pretty well. DC beat the piss out him too….it was obvious what they were doing……particularly Acosta. I’m surprised he wasn’t shown yellow earlier…….

    • I hope that’s not the case, but I imagine that the alternate plan is to have Roland at the 10 and Bedoya at the 8.

    • Good point about Carroll. With a young backline having his veteran presence on the field to close out a game on the road could have helped.

  16. The coach of this team sucks. We want to play out of the back and Blake frequently just kicks it forward?!? That’s on the coach. Offensive subs Restrepo and Davies when you’re trying to kill off a game? That’s on the coach. Restrepo trying to do too much and losing the ball multiple times in stoppage time without anyone alerting him that he should be killing off the game. That’s on the coach. CJ getting double-teamed all game long but the Union unable to adjust tactics to take advantage? That’s on the coach. Inability to utilize anything but a 4-2-3-1 even when a second forward comes in and you move CJ Sapong to the wing?!?! That’s on the coach.

    • You couldn’t be more wrong about Blake’s distribution being on the coach. Has very little to do with Curtin. It has very much to do with a completely inexperienced GK and back line not being in this position very often at this level when they have a lead on the road, trying to kill off a game. Additionally, teams are high pressing the U constantly, so one of the most effective ways to beat a high pressing team is to distribute over multiple lines (attack and mid-field) in an attempt to catch the opposition in a counterattack or a man-up situation (3v2, 4v3). And not for nothing, but Blake’s distribution is not exactly world-class.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        You can pass your way out of a high press too.
        My point of contention with your point of contention is even on goal kicks the team is just hoofing the ball up the field which speaks against, my understanding, of how this team was going to play.
        It is a bit irritating.

      • So, who on that back line is going to pass their way out of a high press? Richie? Tribbett? Fabhi? Plus, with the inexperience ripe, you need to have players understand how to create angles and think 2-3 moves ahead. These guys are all 1st year starters at this level.

      • If your not thinking 2-3 steps ahead by their stage of the game……what the hell are they doing there? Any kid taught the right way learns that by 12-13! I’ll never forget the first time I heard that……

      • I’m not arguing with that piece of it. Look, I don’t think Fabihno or Tribbett are MLS starting defenders. I think Richie (at this stage of his career) is average at best. Keegan is a rookie. My point to the original poster and Pachy was “what do you want Jim to do about it”? I mean, he’s given what he’s given in terms of talent on the defensive line. Those are his best options at this point, which are well below average, cumulatively. It’s why I really think the only answer here to quell the storm is to have Mo back at CB when he returns.

      • Like a choreographer….you train the movements…repetition, repetition, repetition. So much that you don’t even think about it….you just move. Half of Peps training sessions are about movement and cycling in different parts of the pitch. Look at Columbus…..do you think they move like that on their own…..it’s all worked out on the training pitch……,it is most certainly on JC. I personally think JC hates playing that way. Before ES came in….we saw the true JC……scrappy defense, counter and win 1-0 matches. That’s what JC wants….it shows his limitations as a manager. I grew up with him and Albright…..I want them to succeed….but, I have to be honest with myself too!

      • So Curtin as coach doesn’t actually “coach”? They’ve hit their ceilings? Kinda think you need to go back and rethink your argument.

      • Lol…….

  17. Tribbett witha bad pass giveaway, and a failure to tackle above the box. Goal one surrendered. Restrepo fails to go to the corner with the ball, INTO OPEN SPACE. Kill the game. Giveaway again in the middle of the field. When that comes back upfield however, the entire left side of the back line was apparently already on the bus for home. A massive, team sized brain cramp in the last minute or two of the game, and goal two is surrendered. I am not sure if the problem is coaching, but the whole unit was refusing to think about how to batten down the hatches. Somebody earlier said that Tribbett is good for one mistake a game that leads to a goal, and I have noticed that as well. But everybody participated in the last series of efforts to give away two points. C’mon, guys. 90 minutes plus of thoughtful ball and you had this.

  18. Next game I hope Bedoya is the #8 and Barnetta is #10. Start Davies on the right(Ilsinho sub off bench) Pontius on left, Sapong up top. If Carroll is out and Edu isn’t ready then Creavalle in. Back line Rosenberry, Yaro, Marquez, Fabinho. As for yesterday’s game, Restrepo is selfish. All he needed to do was help kill the game. Instead he dribbled into dangerous areas and tried to beat DC defenders and turned the ball over 3 times. Tribett is trying to do too much. Marquez is too panicky and I guess we’re still waiting for Ilsinho to get match fit. He only had 1 play setting up Pontius the rest of the game he sucked. The Union had a strong start to the season. Now the other teams are playing the way they’re capable. Sapong needs to get control of his game. He is no world beater but he could at least try to get some athletic form in his game. The clumsy awkward Aristigueta routine with the constant falling down begging for calls is getting old. Even while getting double teamed he is capable of being a threat if he stays up. Of course it doesn’t help if Ilsinho is dogging it and Pontius isn’t getting the ball. Curtin’s bench management isn’t helping. Ilsinho was obviously gassed and slow. To me the better move would have been Ilsinho off Davies on. The Union road game is so so but, they got a point and didn’t lose. Then again it was DC. They’re in 5th place but they have time to practice with their strongest unit going into next week. Having Bedoya as the #8 will help Barnetta do what he does best. I’m hoping we’ll soon see Edu as the #6. Marquez needs to settle down. Yaro will hopefully get the start. Tribett isn’t terrible and should be fine once he stops trying to do too much, but Yaro needs to start. Teams are scouting and planing for the Union better so it’s up to Curtin to up his game plan. I’m not in panic mode. This is not the same Union team from years past and Earnie Stewart is not the one to be trifled with as players and coaches will fined out.

  19. Ok so full admission…I only read a few comments and just venting my frustrations…
    Barnetta needs to stop with the complaining. He’s usually not wrong when he does but he seems to overreact too much. With the “quality” of reffing in this league, he is just asking to be blacklisted.
    Ritchie needs to stay on his feet. He got that super early yellow and there was another in the second that didn’t get called but was close. I understand the use of the slide but he seems to push the limit and get in trouble. It didn’t obviously effect the game but he still had to play more tentatively for 85+ mins on a card.
    I do not know if it’s part of the game plan or what, but Ilsinho seems to always been very narrow on the field. I understand getting inside to Rosenberg can get around for the overlap but when he is needed as an outlet on the wing, he’s never there. He is more apt at being all the way across the field checking to Pontios than open on the touch line for a release pass to relieve pressure. I found it funny that the only time he was out there for an extended time was when he was playing the 10 toward then end and was clogging up room for restrepo.
    I believe this has been said above but let’s get Yaro on the field. He’s making way more than Tribbett and Tribbett has been showing worse and worse tendancies. Soft tackling on the first goal.
    I do not understand the restrepo for Herbers sub. Ilsinho (other than the assist to Pontious) was useless and fading while Herbers was finally settling in and making some good plays. Ilsinho struggles to defend and at the end was just running around and not doing anything. I think go like for like and just out restrepo on the wing for ilsihno
    Love seeing Davies on the field but I do not know the point. He did not provide anything and played no defense to help see out the game. It instead pushed a drained sapong out wide to run even more. So with Ilsinho not doing anything and Davies joining him, DC was able to easily lob balls in which ultimately led to the tying goal.
    Final note: how bad was that field?

    • They call RFK the parking lot….because that’s exactly what it feels like while your playing on it……..

    • A lot of people complaining about Davies and Ilsinho not pitching in defensively in the final 10 minutes, but I really don’t see how that’s the real problem. That seems to suggest that the right move in that period was to bunker down, which means you in dangerously and just asking to get scored on. I still can’t, a good 12 hours later, understand why the Union just began to play with what looked like 0 skill and completely terrified. All they needed to do was get control and possess the ball. Also, Ilsinho efforts. Tested that 2nd goal. He largely had a very good game. The whole team failed on this one. Mistakes compounded by mistakes.

      • Your defensive shape starts with the striker……….then there is smart possession….and stupid possession. Possessing and killing a match on the flanks=good. Trying to take people on, flat balls across the middle of the park=stupid possession……your just asking for it.

      • I am not saying we should have bunkered down but CJ does two very important things up top of especially while trying to see out a game…
        1) Provides an outlet and hold up play to let he defense push out.
        2) Puts pressure on th backs and makes them work it out of the back.

        Davies just jogged around and did not really do any of this and Ilsinho ran around some but with no purpose.

        Overall, you are correct. We just stopped making passes to each other. I also think this is partly due to Herbers being subbed. Consistent passing is no ilsihnos forte. He’s more apt to dribble and lose it.

      • CJ before he played for the Union was used exactly in that role…..to kill matches and keep the back four honest. He battles you for everything, can hold the ball up, and……because he has decent pace, the back four have to watch how high up the pitch they get……CB’s really don’t want to get into a foot race with the guy either…,

  20. OneManWolfpack says:

    I think we are coming down to the last bit of excuses for Curtin / this season – next week we will have Bedoya. I hope by the end of August we will have Edu (although this isn’t as important as Bedoya getting acclimated). My point is that we can no longer say – oh we need this, or wait until so and so is healthy…
    There are 4 games in August – 2 road / 2 home. If we don’t get a minimum of 8 points from these games, we are screwed. At that point… Curtin’s job has to be seriously evaluated.
    We are now 5th… with 31 points. A month (or so) ago we were 1st. And I don’t want to hear – oh we’ll be better next season… the moves are for next year. BS. Get it together.
    Last night wasn’t a total disgrace – a la Montreal a few weeks ago – but giving away points to a team who has scored the second fewest goals in MLS this season is completely unacceptable.

    • I don’t know, I think many on here (in typical Philadelphia style) are jumping the gun on Curtin. This team was pretty bottom of the barrel last year. Who exactly do they have in their back 5? Your rookie outside back (Keegan) is hands down the best player of that group. Tribbett, Richie, Fabi, BC? Honestly, that might be up there with the weakest talent in the league. Striker is OK, they haven’t had a #8 since June when Vincent left. No Edu. Somebody please explain to me what talent here is underperforming?

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I think the frustration… at least with me… is that we had a top 3 team less than a month ago and ONE guy leaves and we are garbage? I think we were playing well enough to compete and be top 3 and I think unfortunately, we won’t finish there. Did I think they would finish top 3 before the season started… HELL NO! But, as everyone as said and written about… the goal posts moved. Play like you were playing 2 months ago… which was better. Period. That is all we are asking for. It can’t all be just because Nogs left. With Bedoya coming in… let’s see if we get this back on track.

      • A few thoughts.
        1. Teams had the Copa break to analyze film and adjust to what the Union were doing. Couple that with Nogs leaving and having to move the 10 back to the 8, have a new 10 in the game who plays differently, etc.
        2. For me, I never expected them not to swoon at some point. Through the first 11 games, Blake had twice as many “key” saves (however that is categorized) than the next best GK in the league. That wasn’t going to last.
        3. I’m actually not an Ilsihno guy, and I think his increased involvement has really taken away from the offensive flow. I was disappointed in the LeToux trade, as I would have rather seen another player moved. With Bedoya coming in and Mo coming back at some point, there will be less touches on the ball for a player like Ilsihno…I think Sebastian’s overall game would have been more valuable down the stretch with a main spine of Mo, Bedoya, and Tranquillo.
        4. Youth and lack of talent on the back line was going to catch up with them at some point. Not sustainable over a 40 game season.
        Once Bedoya gets settled and (hopefully) Mo comes back, I fully expect the U to be on the upswing as September gets into full-swing. That’s when you want your team peaking anyway…not in July and August.

      • Maybe look at it differently- who does Curtin make better? Yeah, they were awful last year and he was the manager. New TD, new talent, team improves, league figures them out, coach does…well, what exactly? Maybe I jumped the gun in 2014 when I wanted him gone. Or 2015. But I’ve seen enough. This site still thinks Hack being let go was in error.

      • And in a perverse way…….Nowak. I still think Hack is better with the youth…..but great point.

  21. Gunners 3 Blue Moon falling 2………..welcome to the Prem, Pep!

  22. Didn’t watch game, but saw the line up and subs. think Curtain is part of the problem here. No Alberg and Herbers starts at #10? Should have been no CJ, Herbers at top and Albert in. Until Davies is ready to start

    Tribute is OK. I have always been higher on Anderson. Anderson with his experience and calm with the ball is much better choice next to a so-so defensive rookie.

    • Section 114(formerly) says:

      Go away Laz. No trolls wanted.

    • Atomic Spartan says:

      Anderson? Really?? I mean, Anderson???
      I’m all for freedom of expression, but why say anything at all if you did not watch the game? Better to be silent and thought the fool than to make senseless noise and prove it.

      • Sorry, did I offend some CJ lovers?
        Find a real striker to pull for.

      • Are u serious? I’ve watched this team all season. Not that hard to figure out who has talent and who doesn’t. Just because Blake was saving almost every game early on doesn’t mean your defense is good. Well, looks like the luck ended and now they have to improve the defense. Anderson is by no means a god send…he is slow, but a slightly better choice than Tribett IMO if that’s alright with you.
        – Oh yeah, that Tribett skill/speed really saved us on that goal he got burnt on, right.

      • der Fussballzuschauer says:

        Dude, there is a reason why Anderson’s third division Brazilian club found the 26-year-old expendable enough to lend to the Philadelphia Union for the entire season … Yes, that’s right, I just said third division … Do yourself a favor and watch the YouTube tapes of the Bethlehem Steel FC matches in which Anderson participated. Count the number of times your centerback of choice is made to look totally silly by USL strikers and bear in mind that the USL is third tier whereas Major League Soccer is first tier here in the United States. Then come back here and find a better way to prove you are actually high on Anderson as compared to not just plain high … Vielen Dank.

  23. Haven’t read the comments yet here. But saw the game and my thoughts were Rosenberry was awful and has been since the all-star game. Both goals came off his side players were wide open and he got torched all night. Kemp made him look terrible. Rosenberry still gets beat inside consistently and I am going to harp on this until he or the coaching staff learn that you can’t turn the player to the middle of the field 20 yards out from goal. Take the player to the endline. If he gets beat by a great cutback cross I can deal with that, but everytime it is to the inside. Creavalle did next to nothing in my opinion empty roster space at the end of the season need to improve this position. Edu is still a waste of a roster spot to me and should have been traded end of the season to open up a roster spot and money. End of this year I would empty that contract if I was Earnie. Ilsinho can’t go 90. This game didn’t need Davies to come in what it actually needed was someone like Le Toux with high energy presence and the ability to bust their ass for 10 minutes playing defense holding the ball up and killing the game. Restrepo should’ve had 2 or 3 at the end the game but apparently doesn’t know how to shoot the ball. This was easily dropped points and similar to how the team felt last year. I really hope Bedoya can change things around, but this is looking like a long downward slide to out of the playoffs if they don’t step it up.

    • I don’t get that with Rosenberry……..always channeling the opposition inside into more dangerous space……relying on the CDMs and CBs for help. Like you said, in the front third….fine. The last third, 20 in……that’s just shitty defending…….force them and keep them outside! Completely agree…….

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