Union / Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 3-3 Montreal Impact

After going up 3-0 inside the opening 39 minutes, Philadelphia Union allowed Montreal Impact to come all the back to tie 3-3 in front of 15,107 at a rainy Talen Energy Stadium Saturday afternoon. Roland Alberg scored twice and C.J. also tallied before Ignacio Piatti scored just before halftime and substitute Anthony Jackson-Hamel netted twice in the second half to earn the visitors a point.

Coach Jim Curtin made just one change to the team that lost last Saturday against New York City FC. Ray Gaddis made his first start of the season, replacing Keegan Rosenberry at right back. It was the first time Rosenberry was on the bench to begin a match since being drafted last season.

Philadelphia had a dream start with Roland Alberg scoring in just the 5th minute. C.J. Sapong was able to nick possession 30 yards from goal and held off a challenge from a Montreal defender, playing in Alberg at the top of the Impact box. The Dutchman stayed composed, cutting the ball away from a retreating Laurent Ciman and slotting past Evan Bush for his first goal of the season.

The Union would have a couple of half chances to double their lead in the 16th minute. Haris Medunjanin flung in a great ball from a set play on the right but neither Jack Elliott nor C.J. Sapong could turn in from close range.

Philadelphia scored a second in the 23rd minute through another terrific Medunjanin set piece delivery. The initial ball was cleared but the Union were able to recycle it out to Medunjanin, and he created the space and angle to cross from the corner of the box on the right side. Chris Pontius arrived at the far post to nod the ball back across goal and Sapong was on hand to head in from two yards out.

Roland Alberg tallied his second and gave the Union a 3-0 in the 39th minute. Jack Elliott was bundled over in the Montreal box after receiving a fine pass from Ilsinho in the box after staying up following a corner. Alberg stepped forward to take the PK and his attempt was read well by Evan Bush, but the power behind the shot saw it ricochet in off the Montreal goalkeeper’s hands and behind him into the net.

Montreal were granted a life line before the half ended through a terrific individual goal from Ignacio Piatti. The enigmatic midfielder spun past the challenge of Pontius, cut around Bedoya, and found space between four other Union defenders to slide a cool finish past Blake from 12 yards out. It was a terrific run from the Montreal man, but the Union defense was again found wanting.

The second half opened uneven for both sides. But Montreal was able to pull another goal back in the 69th minute. Substitute Anthony Jackson-Hamel latched onto a curling ball from Ambroise Oyongo and headed home past Blake to reduce the lead to just one.

Fafa Picault had a fantastic chance to make it 4-2 in the 81st minute. Sapong found the speedy winger behind the Montreal defense and he raced in one versus one against Bush, but the Impact goalkeeper was down early to slide and save his feet.

The Impact would complete their comeback when Jackson-Hamel would score his second of the match in the 87th minute. Matteo Mancosu’s curling effort was saved by Blake, diving to his right, but Jackson-Hamel was on hand to tap in the rebound from close range.

Philadelphia is next action when travel to Los Angeles to face the Galaxy next Saturday (10:30 p.m. EST).

Three Points

  • Once again, the Union’s high press was effective for 45 minutes but they struggled defensively once they couldn’t stay in fifth gear for extended periods of play. Both NYC and Montreal have brought additional players deep to break the press and found that drawing a Union winger to the ball opens up easy outlets to wide men near the midfield stripe.
  • Ambroise Oyongo was a key man in the second half for Montreal. As Pontius tired, Oyongo’s overlaps left Gaddis choosing between the ball and Nacho Piatti. Bad place to be. Fabian Herbers was brought in to help on Oyongo, but the Union never figured out how to counter Montreal’s overloads on that side once possession swung heavily toward the visitors.
  • CJ Sapong had another strong game up top, but he needs to do a better job picking when to trigger pressure. He goes all game and the guys behind him get stretched and tired.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake, Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Jack Elliott, Ray Gaddis, Haris Medunjanin, Ilsinho (Fafa Picault 66′), Alejandro Bedoya, Chris Pontius (Fabian Herbers 73′), Roland Alberg (Derrick Jones 86′), C.J. Sapong
Unused Subs: Jake McGuire, Oguchi Onyewu, Keegan Rosenberry, Jay Simpson

Montreal Impact

Evan Bush, Hassoun Camara (Kyle Fisher 90+2′), Chris Duvall, Ambroise Oyongo, Laurent Ciman, Hernan Bernardello (Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla 45′), Marco Donadel, Patrice Bernier, Dominic Oduro (Anthony Jackon-Hamel 61′), Ignacio Piatti, Matteo Mancosu
Unused subs:
 Calum Mallace, Adrian Arregui, Daniel Lovitz, Maxime Crepeau

Scoring summary

PHI: Roland Alberg— 5′ (Sapong)
PHI: C.J. Sapong — 23′ (Pontius, Medunjanin)
PHI: Roland Alberg — 39′ (PK)
MTL: Ignacio Piatti — 41′ (Marco Donadel)
MTL: Anthony Jackson-Hamel — 69′ (Oyongo)
MTL: Anthony Jackson-Hamel — 87′

Disciplinary summary

PHI: Ray Gaddis — 43′ (unsporting behavior)
PHI: Roland Alberg — 56′ (unsporting behavior)
MTL: Ignacio Piatti — 55′ (unsporting behavior)
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya — 71′ (unsporting behavior)

Philadelphia Union Montreal Impact
 12 Shots 11
 5 Shots on Target 6
 4 Shots off Target 3
 3 Blocked Shots 2
 7 Corner Kicks 2
 14 Crosses 23
 1 Offsides 0
 11 Fouls 13
 3 Yellow Cards 1
 0 Red Cards 0
 278 Total Passes 504
 74% Passing Accuracy 84%
 35.7% Possession 64.3%
 51 Duels Won 37
58% Duels Won % 42%
 13 Tackles Won 7
 3 Saves 2
 30 Clearances 19


  1. Sugarman Out

  2. Hot take!
    I don’t blame for this loss.
    He shook things up like people asked.
    Put the Union in the position to go up 3-0.
    I have no problem with his subs.
    The players just blew it.

    • That being said he probably has to go.
      just as a shakeup to the fans and the team.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      A vacuum of on field leadership and my finger is pointing DIRECTLY at the National Team player. A loss like this coupled with a year of substandard play culminates for me squarely on the shoulders of Alejandro Bedoya. Sorry. I don’t give a rip how good he did it did not play.
      Not today!
      Not today!
      Not on my watch.
      No way. Not today.
      Today is our day.
      This is on field leadership.

    • The defense really blew it. They need to learn how to step up on counter attacks and not leave so much space for teams to counter with. The union today just allowed Montreal to press even past the 18 at times.

    • Shook things up? It was the exact same formation / lineup the previous match. Bedoya is no good in the middle he needs to be swung out wide for pontius and Jones needs to play that cam spot. Onyewu or Yaro, when healthy need to fill the middle in replacement of Elliot. He’s too young and gets caught out of position and loses his marks often. Curtin needs to create a formation around the players he has not force the players he has into his formation.

      • Look the formation isn’t going to change.
        Full stop.
        That formation is an organizational priority Curtin, Stewart, Albrite, Sugarman and I suspect Richie Graham. For better or worse are committed to that formation in the long term and i suspect no change is coming
        Bedoya has been playing better at the 8 and wasn’t the main problem.
        Yaro is injured and Gooch is a sack of blood glass and dust held together by yellow and red cards.
        The Union are committed to its youth and development so your problems with Elliot are shit we are gonna have to live with until Yaro gets back.
        And once again the formation isn’t entirely Curtins decision.

  3. This team was founded by fans and at this rate will be folded by the fans. Something’s gotta give.

  4. That must have been one hulluva halftime demotivational speech.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Piatti turned it on after going down 0-3. Put the team on his back and manufactured a goal.
      Biello moved him into the central channel after halftime and forced Bedoya to concentrate on defending him. Reduced Bedoya’s offensive role.for the Union considerably.
      I felt the leeway given Laurent Ciman to commit violent hard fouls against Sapong was excessive. I make it four. The leniency was not consistent with how the rest of the game was called.

      • Your point about Ciman is well taken. As a former ref, as well as a coach and player, I watched the Ciman activity today in awe. How does he NOT get persistent infringement? How does he NOT get yellows for unsporting behavior on several of those “tackles”/assaults/beatdowns? I regularly watch Mark Geiger make the match about him, but today was unreal. The ref forgot his cards completely for the first half, except for that bogus Ray Gaddis card (after all that had happened already). Yet Ciman skates away. And, Fourth Official Geiger does and says nothing about the crime scene unfolding before him. I need to read up on what the fourth official can do during the match, especially when the A/Rs are apparently confusing the game with rugby, and the ref swallowed his whistle.

      • Not just Ciman but Donadel and Camara had at least 3 fouls each, many pretty bad too.
        That aside, the game was called pretty fair IMO. That was a clear penalty and there was not a whole lot else as far as other penalty claims, close offside calls or anything like that.

      • Bedoya is a horrible defender, hence, why european teams and the national team has placed him out wide. He is not comfortable in the middle he is no CAM and needs to be pushed out wide for pontius. Let Jones attempt to fill that CAM spot. There is no push forward with Bedoya in there. This team is also extremely lazy off the ball and when each player has possession at their feet, they literally have 1 option only and its the predictable one. Horrible.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        I thought he defended well today, especially in closing down Piatti. Remember, he’s paired in central midfielder with a guy who is very slow and not at all mobile so Bedoya has a ton of ground to cover. That’s why Jones was such a good partner for Medujanin as he eats up space.

      • Your “Biello moved him into the central channel after halftime…” comment highlights very good coaching. Which begs the following questions:

        What did we do to counter that move?
        When was the last time we saw an in-game or halftime adjustment that influenced the game positively for the U?

        And the ref…geeez. I kept asking myself what does Ciman need to do to get a card?

  5. Zizouisgod says:

    Really incredible to have such a poor run like this in MLS where parity is so widespread that even bad teams can get wins. The team can look good, but then something happens and everything falls apart.

    Honestly, they’re a bad team and I’m not sure what can be done to fix it that doesn’t require a major overhaul. It’s like a Sak roster. Not sure how Stewart can not fire Curtin after this, but perhaps he will continue to stick it out.

    The only thing that I see rejuvenating the fan base would be to either make a major signing or Sugarman selling the club. Don’t see either of these happening any time soon.

  6. el Pachyderm says:

    Ilsinho inverted.
    Gaddis in.
    As if the manager has been reading my every post.
    Earning your right to be taken seriously and moving along swimmingly then you take your foot off the accelaerator.
    How do you come out of a halftime leading 3-0 and not move forward with the DIRE intention to absolutely fucking bury the other team. You haven’t won in forever. What are you protecting. You needed to hang 5 on that damn bottom dwelling Canadian team today. MAKE A STATEMENT.
    Where are the leaders? How do you let that team score 3 goals…and take two points from you. Un-fucking-acceptable.
    Come on. It has to be better.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      It was 3-1 at half, but point taken.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Montreal’s tactical move at halftime forced the Union out of the press. Bedoya could not risk going upfield because Piatti was now in the central channel, not out on the flank, and Bedoya was the only central channel midfielder who could defend him.
      We are learning that Vincent Nogueira’s defense was effective, more so that some credit him with it being.

      • Good point, but Nogs wasn’t very good at defending. But he excelled at distributing and creating, yes the big M word, MOVEMENT. Again. This teams movement is non-existing and it’s one of the reasons this team is failing. Bedoya is a winger in reality. The only effective DMid we’ve had all year is Jones and in fact he’s produced more offensive movement then Bedoya and Medunjanin combined in my eyes.

      • Also Noguiera played the best possible through balls most of the time and was able to hold possession much better to let this lazy ass team push up field and support. Nogueira and Barnetta are worth more than Bedoya, any day. Union do not understand that.

  7. Zizouisgod says:

    Half as many passes as MTL…that’s terrible.

  8. How many times am I gonna watch the same game..after Montreal scored that 1st one the game was always going to be a draw or loss..after this, curtain has one more game to not win..a draw or loss has him fired next game

    • Oh come on. This wasn’t the same game at all. This was a wholly unique and terrible experience.

      • This team has given up leads for seemingly its entire existence, after that 1st mtl goal yea it was the same game that always happens, they give up the tieing or go ahead goal with less than 5 mins to play. Still a terrible experience though

      • el Pachyderm says:

        In every manner of way too from the beginning be it: inane, rude, simpleminded or inept.

  9. That was the first time we put 3 goals on the board in a game since July 9, and only the third time we’ve managed to do so in the last calendar year. Which is to say, as currently constructed, that was as good as this team gets offensively (even with Picault’s miss taken into consideration). And it still wasn’t enough to get a win. At home. Against the second worst team in the Eastern Conference.


    I’m rarely at a loss for words when it comes to this team or this game, but…. yeah. I don’t know anymore.

  10. Andy Muenz says:

    For years we’ve been upset that the Union haven’t been able to extend the lead beyond a single goal. Didn’t seem to help.
    That being said, one other change that wasn’t noted was that Pontius played the game on the right and Ilsinho was on the left. I think that worked out well.
    I would blame more of this on Curtin than past results, given that he could have easily made his subs earlier so there would be fresh legs while it was still 3-1. I’m specifically thinking Jones for Alberg should have been made about 20 minutes sooner.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Disagree, given that of the three only Bedoya could mark Piatti. He scores the winner if Medunjanin or D. Jones try to mark him.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Bedoya could still mark Piatti. Jones for Alberg, if done when there is still a 2 goal lead, is purely a defensive sub to add an extra defensive midfielder. It wasn’t like Alberg was doing much on either side of the ball by the time he left anyway.

      • Well then, it all went according to plan…

  11. Everyone say it with me: ” that was soooooooo Union!”

  12. Watching this team play makes me rephrase Mike Schmidt’s quote about the press a thousand years ago: In Philadelphia, you have the thrill of WATCHING THE UNION TAKE A THREE GOAL LEAD, and the agony of WATCHING THEM HAND IT RIGHT BACK. Even at the half, with a 3-1 lead, I was working through how the two goal cushion might not be enough. Credit for putting Fabinho and Ilsinho together, and it seemed like Pontius and Gaddis worked well, but I still cannot get past the doughnut hole in the middle of the field for much of the second half. (Seriously, Piatti beat six players on that goal march through the center of the field. Understanding that only Sapong can be wrestled to the ground and not have it called, couldn’t somebody have tackled Piatt?) Elliott was a revelation, and giving credit where credit is due, I thought that Ilsinho had his best game this year, and didn’t try to break more than three players down at a time. I guess that that is improvement. When Sapong wasn’t getting mauled out there, I thought that he had a good game, but the formation defeats him, especially since the opposing defenses can simply key on whacking, tripping, climbing over, hog-tying or otherwise preventing him from getting a clear chance at a run on goal. A couple of weeks ago, a point might have been an also-ran type of a prize, but this feels more like the boys snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

  13. Pragmatist says:

    It’s time.
    No, Jim wasn’t the one that choked that game away. And his subs were correct, and the timing was roughly accurate.
    But it is on the manager not to go into a defensive shell when they are more effective pushing the game. It’s on the manager to instill mental toughness. It is on the manager to mke sure they are 90:00 fit.
    It’s time for a change. I like Jim. I wish him the best. But I wish him the best in another role and/or in another organization.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Give Biello credit for forcing the defensive shell. We have only two players on the roster who have a prayer of marking him who play for us in the central channel, and one of them clearly is not healing normally from a broke lower leg suffered six months ago.
      The season is one fifth over, and the statement has been made authoritatively by someone who should know that no high-priced difference maker with be secured.
      They can play well for a half, but Biello showed everyone how to force them out of their preferred style.
      We might as well find out whether Jack Elliott can be an MLS #6 when Yaro is healed., and if he is looking up to it find out whether Trusty is ready once he’s back from Korea, if it looks like he’s ready.
      Final thought. I see a dichotomy in roster acquisitions between the young inexpensive ones most of which seen good choices, and the older ones who cost more. Time for options to be declined, speeches of thanks given, and gold watches distributed to the old.

      • Sorry, I’m not giving Biello credit for making the exact same adjustment that the last six opposing coaches did — “send your best guy down the middle”. Wouldn’t a better Union coach anticipate that adjustment by now?

      • +1 on Jack Elliot to the #6. I mentioned a few times last year about moving Yaro to the 6 due to his size and passing ability (i think he played there in college from time to time).
        I think if we are to “trust the process” those two (when healthy) + Rosenberry + Marquez + Trusty + Gaddis could make up a young and up and coming defensive unit.

  14. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Two poor teams played each other.
    One team has a very fine player, top quality. The other, not so much.
    The other is two, three or four years away from beginning to realize the fruits of its farm system.

  15. Curtin changed things up a bit but the back four need to be shaken up as well. The defense needs to learn how to step up when the opposing team reaches the 18. Idk how you can allow Piatti dribble into the 18 and allow him to create a lane to take a rip. It’s inexusable. The Defense gave too much space to Montreal to turn and create options on net. The defense has been horrible shutting teams down and allowing too much space to turn and go forward. Derrick Jones should be the DM the rest of the season period. Why he was taken out of the line up blows my mind , expect for the fact that they wanted to try Bedoya as the DM or number 6. Bedoya should be placed on the wing, he’s comfortable there and he’s played there on the national team and I believe in France as well.
    They really should try Ilson jr. As the # 10. He’s the closest thing to barnetta at this point. Out wide, Bedoya / Herbers/Picault. Alberg wasn’t bad at all, but died off in the second half( his PK was horrible). They need to learn to MOVE!!!!!!! They stand still and it kills this team. Unless this changes this team is doomed. I still call out for a coaching change bc Curtin still left out players that need to start and he has not fixed the defensive lapses this season.

  16. Oh and on a side note, Montreal sucks like we do. Imagine this team playing the best in the league……. I don’t want to imagine that or witness it

    • we saw it already when portland came to town. we looked good for the first bit of the game but folded and lost all confidence as soon as they scored. this team has become convinced that they cant win

      • True Kyle, the Union need to learn how to play more simple and allow the creativity to form gradually not force it. They need to play possession first.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Possession simply for the sake of possession, while argued by many, shows you know how and are able to possess the ball.
        From this place a team can begin to intentionally move the defense- finding the weak spots to exploit.
        This is the new way of the game.
        I agree 100%.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Agreed and if you can keep the ball, you can recover physically from the energy that it takes to play a pressing system. That’s where it seems to break down for the Union. They can’t physically press for the entire 90 and then the other team takes over the match.

        Curtis’s failing is playing a pressing system which his players aren’t suited for while Stewart failed to get his manager players who could actually play that style.

        Earlier bought the wrong ingredients, but Curtin is trying to make the meal that he wanted to anyway. Its madness.

  17. Andy Muenz says:

    Thursday marks 8 months since August 27.

  18. So… the Union players continue to have good first halves then blow it second half.
    Maybe the players need to go on very long runs on extremely hot and humid days with no water breaks to build up stamina?
    Oh wait, that didn’t work so well last time the Union did that.
    Hmmm…huge injection of caffeine at halftime?

    PS. I know vision/Philosophy/plan of El P’s involves patience but wow this is painful

    PSS. For all those who advocate selling the team, do you really think it would remain in Philly?

    • I want the team to get sold. I hate how the stadium is in Chester…
      Whose fucking brilliant idea was it to put the stadium in the middle of the hood for christ sake, no wonder the stadium can’t sell. I’m not going down there because of its location. I have to drive an hour along with 80% of the other fans…

      • Andy Muenz says:

        The stadium doesn’t sell because the team sucks. It’s not like the ’76ers sell out either. On the other hand, the experience is better for those of us who do go to games when racists who are afraid of “the hood” stay home.

      • I wasn’t being racist, but let’s face the truth. It is a very poor part of the city. We drove down once and we passed a horrific crime scene.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Is this really part of the story today?
        18.500 people go to that stadium game in game out… if when / they display worthiness. I used to watch adult piss in sink in the Vet is South Philly. What the hell is the difference. Lower my head and cower to the car after defeat.
        Rebuild. Reset. Whatever the hell is going on in Chester is driving rightly impatient people away. Stadium location is totally irrelevant.
        In America. Relegation is the ignomy of playing in front of nobody.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Actually, the stadium is somewhat isolated from the worst parts of Chester and now that the ramps to 95 are there you can pretty much get in and out without seeing other parts of the city. Both my wife and I work in Chester and drive through it 5 days a week. Rather than moving the Union out because Chester isn’t a great place, wouldn’t it be even better if they could find a way to help raise the standard of living there?
        That being said, it’s obviously not an ideal location for people who live north of Philly but there are plenty of people living in Delaware, Delaware County, and South Jersey who find it more convenient than the sports complex in South Philly.

      • The stadium is where it is because that was the deal to get the public money to have it built. If you wanted a stadium in the city, you would still be waiting for a private ownership group to come in and build it.

      • ThisisPhil says:

        Right. This current situation is because of poor black peoples.

        Red Bull’s are in Harrison NJ. FCNYC play on a baseball field. Toronoti plays in the arctic Orlando plays in the jungle. D.C. plays in RFK. Everyone has things to bitch about.

      • asshole.

      • Harry Kirshner says:

        Your name is “Christian” and you say “for christ sake” [sic] and refer to a community as “the hood”?

        You could compassionately take the train to Chester, Christian, and maybe stay a while and get to know some of the good people there.

        Yes, it was a bit exploitative for the Union to anchor themselves in Chester, but at least they’ve created a few jobs there. “Philly” wouldn’t have a team, otherwise.

        Just saying, Christian…

  19. this organization is too cheap to get a professional coach,

  20. Tad Hudkins says:

    I am about to sound like a broken record, but stop going to the games. It only encourages them. Get the fan boycott ready, and have only one or two voices speak for all of you, and say until Sugarman sells the team, we won’t come back. Make the players so embarrassed to play in an empty stadium or their home stadium filled with the opposition’s fans. It is amazing that Sugarman keeps getting rewarded for taking his operations mantra from “The Producers”

  21. that game made me feel both disappointed and hopeful. the disappointment is obvious. three goals at home should win you the game. the hope came from the fact that this team is capable of producing that first 40 minutes (and this wasn’t the first time they have been able to produce an excellent half). i am convinced that the recent terrible form is almost completely mental. if they can get it together to actually win a game or two i think they will start to start on an upward trajectory. it is just that they are right now scared and anxious so every whiff of a defeat gets into their heads and they drop points. i don’t think firing curtin will solve this problem

  22. Oyango and Piatti just dismantled the right side. It was amazing and disheartening at the same time.

    Watching Herbers and Fabinho among others, just give possession away…this team is so so bad. Encouragingly, Haris and Pontius seemed to have ok games.

    Ciman and Donadelo (sp?) were given free reign to assault people but the Union have nothing but panic at the back.

  23. Pragmatist says:

    A lot of “get rid of Sugarman” and “sell the team.” I get the anger, but please realize that there is a VERY long line of American cities who want an MLS franchise. This team could get sold and end up in St. Louis.
    I get the frustration, but be careful of what you ask for…
    That said, if Comcast, or Campbells, or some other local money generator wanted to take a majority share, that would be wonderful…

    • There is no way in hell the MLS would sell to anyone that would move this team.

    • Tad Hudkins says:

      Philadelphia is a top 5 media market. There is no way in hell MLS would want the team to move. Actually at this point, I would take the chance on a boycott. Remember going to a game now means confirming to Sugarman that team is being ran fine because people are still paying money to attend. I’ve dealt with people like him, and the only way to cure it is to give him what he has given to the fans.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        It took MLS almost 15 years before coming into Philly, I don’t see where there are assurances that they won’t leave, especially if people stop showing up at games.
        Now if people were to still go to the games but didn’t spend any money on concessions or at the Union store, that would be a different story.
        Next time you go to the game, take the money you would have spent on concessions and merchandise and buy additional 50/50 raffle tickets. Half of that money is going to a good cause (and the other half is going to a fan rather than the team) so it will be money better spent.

      • It won’t be St. Louis as their taxpayers (wisely) refused to pay for a stadium.

        But the fourth largest city in the US does not have a team. It does have an ambitious ownership, a built in fan base with its large Hispanic population, and a global soccer icon as a part owner (and in the near term, a player).

        If you look at the owner’s main business, the Union were the loss leader for the proposed development that was supposed to take place around TES. Now that it is apparent that will not occur, ownership is doing what all companies looking to be acquired do – minimize expenses while awaiting the windfall from the sale.

        ‘Moneyball’ is not a strategy to win, its the way to keep the club marginally in the black until all expansion fees have been received and the club is sold. You can flip a coin as to whether or not the club remains in Philly once that happens

    • I am on the boat that unless Comcast steps up, the idea of team staying in Philly is slim with a new owner taking over in next 6 months.
      In US, soccer is still nowhere near the other big 6 sports (NFL, NBA, College Football, College Basketball, MLB, NHL) in TV revenue or ticket sales.
      In Philly, let’s face it, we have all six of those sports available regularly. Other cities like St Louis or Sacramento, do not, and soccer has a better chance there than here.
      Empty seats don’t convince new ownership to stay.

      However, to give the owners their due, by building the academy and training site nearby the stadium, and adding a USL team it is an attempt to make team both more profitable and enhance value to prospective buyers that would keep team here in Philadelphia.
      So before you all bash the owners they are trying to make Union a Philly institution.

      My opinion I think current ownership and management can survive this year even with losing season but they should consider:
      1. Better marketing—show the pathway they are building by offering both a Steel game and an academy game at TES before a Union game–give the fans a two for one double-header deal. **
      2. Take one of the lots or buy adjacent property and lease it to WaWa, a casual dining restaurant, a bar and a TJ Maxx. Give people a reason to come to the stadium and stay around before and after.
      3. Get a NWSL team. Barring that, allow more women’s games, college or semi-pro–again make it a double-header.
      4. Union already does an excellent job with connecting with local youth soccer clubs but they could always do more–maybe host a playoff game, or offer more free “kids day” training–idea kids get on the field. Kids who play on the field become loyal fans even bearing with team through hard times.
      5. Personal annoyance–shirt sponsor–is it possible to use one of the more popular brand names under the BBU family–Entenmann’s or Stroehmann’s? Or even use BBU.

      Thanks for reading my rant.


      • el Pachyderm says:

        Portland Thorns I believe play before Timbers quite often- the 2 for 1 of which you write.

      • Thank you, El P.

      • I like your thinking but I can’t see anyone with business sense putting a bar or restaurant in that “complex”. If you were only open soccer games and other events you still have another 300 days to pay the rent. What would they do in the middle of winter? Forget about the prospect of putting a new bar/restaurant in a terrible crime ridden area. There are a lot of cops on game day, but I wouldn’t take my chances having a drink there on a Friday night after the season is over.

  24. Biello made the adjustment after Piatti showed the weakness in central defense on his first goal.
    What did Curtin do?
    Why not – as already said – sub out Alberg with Jones at 55 – 60? Roland was done.
    While he’s gotten a bit better at sub flexibility, Jimbo fails consistently at in game adjustments.
    If Big Ern likes his player motivational skills, give him help where he needs it.
    If Ciman is mugging freely, why isn’t Marquez?

  25. TIM JONES—
    I posed question to you after your excellent series of articles on the YSC(Union) Academy back in December and January–what happens if Union has a bad season (like now), revenues (ticket/concession/product sales) suffer–how secure is the budget for the Academy?
    Right now the Academy finances are dependent on the Union organization being successful and at same time future of Union teams is being latched on to hope that possibly 2-3 players each year become homegrown players for the first team and offer chance for future success.
    So if the current owner does grow disgusted and tired of ungrateful fans commenting on sites like PSP or worse SOB holding another mock funeral with his casket this time, says “screw it” and sells the team to say a private equity group or others focused on short-term returns, the academy becomes expendable, correct?
    Or are there built in safety net that guarantees their budget/staff/existence?
    Personally I see what the owners, Earnie and yes, Jim Curtin, are attempting to accomplish with the Academy and Steel—something that benefits the whole Philadelphia metropolitan soccer community. To me it would be a horrible shame to jettison that “process” for short-term results based on the first team.
    And, yes, I do think it is sad that Curtin was not appointed director of Academy or Steel instead of(or before) becoming MLS coach. But—we can’t turn back the clock.

    Thank you, Tim, for anything you can dig up on how Academy is protected from a fallout of revenue or sale of team.


    • el Pachyderm says:

      Quality comments…IMO there is no way Richie Graham and his cache of personality, finances and network lets this team walk. The Graham Partnership, whatever that means would step in.
      Union aren’t going anywhere. Question is are they going to be the Detroit Lions of MLS or not.

    • Sugarman sell the team. I don’t care who buys this shit franchise. The new owners cannot be worse (or cheaper).

  26. el Pachyderm says:

    Question to those in attendance. there was not 15,00+ today. can someone give a safe estimate of butts in seats so that way when I see the Tweet in due time: Empty Seats Galore I’ll know who to actually believe.

    • Maybe 11,000+\-

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I think 11,000 was generous. I saw a LOT of empty seats. I didn’t really check the sections on the sidelines opposite the benches (where I sit), but many of the regulars near me stayed home and about half the people in the first 2 rows of 127 were just filling in seats rather than having tickets there.

        If I had to take a guess, I would say 8-9,000.

    • 7-9 tops

      Felt like a USOC semi final

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Good point. When I went into the stadium I was talking to some of the 50/50 sellers and said that the parking lots felt as full as an early round USOC game.

  27. Philthy Dee says:

    This game was the result of the coach. I see two clear issues, which Curtain has not addressed.
    1 The defense is pathetic. They eliminate any shape the team has, which causes the midfield to become too stretched. Watch anytime the ball is lost, Marquez and Elliot run full steam to the 18. They lengthen the shape and allow for the opposition to run 20-30 yards unchallenged. Marquez and Elliot need direction and all I see Curtain doing is strolling the sideline with his hands in his pockets.
    2 This team does not know how to play like a team. All second half, they win the ball and counter break like they need to score. You have the lead! Push the ball to a corner and then recycle and push the other corner. Herbers kept getting the ball and pushing it to poor options, Sapong by himself at the 18. AHH so frustrating. The offense is like watching a chicken with its head cut off. run like crazy and hope our luck turns.
    PSP grow a back bone. Either give Jim a BJ in the press conference or stop talking about him. You said this is the most talent the union have ever had, and they are the worst team in the standings. Obviously the coach is not getting the pieces to work together.
    And while I’m ranting, PRO eat a dick! I couldn’t tell you what a foul or card-able offense is by this ref’s standard. The officiating is awful, inconsistent and reeks of the second class this league is.

    • Bayern Munich might say today’s officiating was on par with a Champions League game….
      just saying…


  28. I don’t think anyone on this team, players, manager, sporting director, realize people are paying money to watch this. It’s supposed to be professional soccer, right? It’s amazing. Less than two years after getting rid of Sak,, this team is right back to being just as bad — perhaps worse. A full circle of suck. Amazing. It’s as if they’re trying to be this bad. It’s tough to do so by accident.

  29. I just feel that too much “rot” has taken over for this club and the ownership group is biding their time to be bought out. I never liked the fact the stadium was built in Chester and not the Navy Yard because it showed that the owners wanted pennies on the dollar, and gave a glimpse into how they would go about constructing a team…..using pennies on the dollar mentality and hiding behind the fact they want to build and Academy. So the academy is here and “baring fruit” to an extent, there are better facilities for players so maybe Sugarman was building this all up to sell Big to someone who actually gives a shit and ownership can double or triple their investment. Long and short this squalid tripe being sent out to play week in and week out are miserable excuses for professionals and this coach is truly showing he doesn’t know his asshole from his ear hole. This team will finish dead last and with the new teams with lots of capital coming in the coming years, this team needs ownership willing to spend big when needed and instill proven coaches in order to actually compete. As of now, it’s looking pretty grim if changes are not implemented, and a marker laid down to show that the ownership actually gives a fuck. Wishful thinking that our illustrious ownership group actually gives a fuck

    • Not being privy to the discussions as to how team ended up in Chester over Philadelphia Naval Yard, I would think from a business POV, there were a few factors:
      1. Sure they got better deal on taxes and unions(er, no pun intended) outside of Philly.
      2. Intention as I recall was for owner’s business to develop a riverfront into mega strip mall/condos/offices in addition to the stadium. Obviously the recession set back some of those plans.
      3. Probably great price on the property and TBH it is near two of the main highways and the airport so not completely horrible location.

      FWIW, I agree the philly naval yard better location from fan POV, but ticket prices probably would have been much higher.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Especially when you read the si.com article about LAFC…which intends to institute the vision for where MLS is going to go in The Third Wave as Alvin Tofler quipped.

  30. I thought we agreed enough of the stadium is in Chester shit.
    It’s not changing get over it.

    • It might not be changing anytime soon (I agree with that), but it is a HUGE detriment to attendance and was a terrible long-term decision. That’s what people are still miffed about. I’m sorry, but I refuse to believe that the pitiful attendance (actual, not announced) over the last few years is 100% due to poor play. That’s naive. In other cities, you get a downtown with restaurant/bar access and public transportation. In Chester, you get to drive through an inherently dangerous area, park your car, eat a Wawa hoagie, and head over to Toyota Plaza for free ice cream samples. That’s alright for me. That’s OK for you. But it’s not OK for Chet Harrington III from Radnor and his family. The Union need Chet Harrington III to show up. He’d show up in cities where the matchday experience is more of a day’s event and less of a 4 to 5 hour chore. It’s not just the losing. If they built the stadium on the Conshohoccen (I know I butchered the spelling) waterfront, attendance would be better. That was in play initially, right? Chet ain’t coming to Chester.

      • It doesn’t matter, it isn’t changing. We can chalk up the location as a bad call, but it wasn’t.
        Remember, 2008 was a rough time. MLS was just starting to grow again after being on life support. If the state offers you a good deal on a fixer upper in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the 30s, you take it 9/10 times. You certainly don’t plow 3-4x equity into something that isn’t even a given to be sustainable, much less growing.
        It’s certainly a better decision than Chet’s parents naming him Chet.

      • You know what would help bring Chet to a game? A winning club.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Chet Harrington. Fabulous.
        Wonder if he drives a red Ferrari, has a dad who crossbows lobster on a spinning dart board, then Listens to them boil and has ever partied at The Dew Drop Inn.

      • Demi’s finest work

      • That’s pretty much how I envision Chet. I don’t know what the Dew Drop Inn is, but it sounds exclusive and/or trendy, so right up Chet’s alley. ScottyMac – fair point(s). I did read your article so I know where you’re coming from. Made financial sense at the time. I get it. Pete – yep, winning would certainly help get the crowds back, but only so much, in my opinion. A lot of that has to do with the lack of amenities in/around Chester. There haven’t been 18,500 people ACTUALLY at a match in a long time. I don’t count announced attendance because it’s complete shit. Maybe that’s the wrong way of looking at it because if the seats are sold then the Union still gets the ticket money, but they don’t get concessions, merchandise sales, etc. You, me, ScottyMac, OSC, etc…we’ll probably be there every other week. No problem. A non soccer family looking for something to do on a Saturday afternoon isn’t coming to Talen without anything else to do around the Park. They might have in a different location, regardless of wins and losses, or demoralizing draws like yesterday’s. That has to hurt the bottom line, right? What’s done is done, though.
        No new stadium magically appearing in the next few decades….agreed.

      • I know responding to my response is rather weak, but I forgot to write that actual butts in seats has been a problem since the beginning of 2012, way before it became apparent that the Union were going on a four-year-long plunge off The Cliff of Union Despair. It hasn’t necessarily correlated with winning/losing. OK, I got the whole attendance/location thing off my chest…..time for a bubble bath, a bowl of popcorn, and HBO’s The Leftovers. If you haven’t seen it, please catch up on it. Best show on TV.

  31. Matthew Conway says:

    It’s time for a change.

  32. I can’t believe I got sucked in. During that first half I started to believe. Then Montreal came back with 3 goals to tie. WSSM.
    I get Richie and Elliot haven’t played a lot together and communication issues are to be expected. I get it. But how does THIS coach justify being “defensively minded” and have a team that collapses with a lead, year after year? I don’t get it. Please explain it to me. An ex-center back whose defense SUCKS.
    For all the talk about how great their locker room is, this team is weak mentally. They turn-off, tune out, shut off, lose interest, don’t care, whatever you may call it, at the wrong times, Consistently. This is where the lack of leadership comes in. Where was the player last night, when Montreal scored their first, who said enough of this shit we are shutting this down now. I can tell you he wasn’t on the team, and it didn’t happen. Weak.
    There’s something rotten in Denmark. I have no idea if E.S. has given Curtin enough rope to hang himself with or if there actually is a plan holding up this house of cards. With all the talk of two players at each position, WHO were the two #10’s the Union thought they had? It worries me that someone in this organization doesn’t see the deficiencies that seem pretty obvious to the rest of us.
    Enough. WSSM. Eough of WSSM. E.S. needs to make this team better. How he does it, is up to him.

    • It’s been the most consistent aspect of Curtin’s tenure: soft ass defense. In other leagues, the worst teams get points by lining guys up across the box and refusing to submit to crosses and inside passes. Curtin always leaves the door open. I get wanting get to stay positive, but when you’re up 2 goals in the 50th minute and watching Alberg walk because he’s gassed, go defensive. I like Picault in to keep Montreal honest, but why Curtin can’t figure out how to park a bus when it’s called for is beyond me.

      • If I’m not mistaken, it is also the cheapest area on the roster since Curtin took over. Meaning that it is the area on the field that those making roster decisions have invested the least.
        Going off of last year’s salaries (this year’s has not be released yet) and figuring that some raises happened, and assuming Elliot is at the league minimum, the total salary of the starting backline of Gaddis-Elliot-Marquez-Fabinho is roughly $400k in base salary. For comparison, the Montreal backline of Duvall-Camara-Ciman-Oyongo is roughly $1mil in base salary.
        So, on the bright side Montreal paid more then twice as much to give up 3 goals then the Union did.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        A buddy of mine says this over and over and over and I’m finally beginning to think he’s right. When one of your starting CB earns < 64K something wicked this way comes.

      • This is truth. And to make matters worse, this club has had a plan B back line for what seems like three years straight. I can’t remember us not having an injured starting CB. It’s so bizarre. You’d think Curtin given his footballing experience would prioritize the CB position.

      • Absolutely, but Curtin has not had the final say in signings the last two offseasons now – almost never TBH. The strongest voice he likely had was in the 2015 offseason when Earnie was first coming in.
        They have tried, unsuccessfully, in the past two years to bring in “moneyball” types to address the position – Anderson (2016), Vitoria (2015) – which have both failed.
        The 2014 season is when Curtin took over as interim head coach. The most used starting backline in 2014 was Gaddis-Edu-White-Fabinho. It was also the year of the Wheeler experiment, Okugo played CB too, the fall of Berry from ROYT to Korean league, the last of Valdes in Philly, and Williams even played CB 7 times.

  33. ThisisPhil says:

    Tough result again. In any other credible league, this team would be a stronger second division club where ownership could be frugal, slowly build a war chest, make noise in the open cup and where young players could develop rather than be traumatized week in and week out and fans would actually feel like they are not wasting their time. But this league values protecting it’s owners more than the quality of play on the pitch. So, we’re stuck, and the Union become the club where young promising players go to burn out.

    What can fans do? Force Sugarman to watch the team alone.

  34. Montreal turned up a little heat and even with a 3 goal lead you can’t coach your way to a win? Incompetent, inept and feckless! This team is a house of cards. If this ownership wasn’t so cheap and stacked with mostly slow lower division talent and coaching we wouldn’t have such futility for 8 years! You need quality finishers and defenders who can elevate their game. 15,000 paid attendance however only 6-8 bothered to show up! The stadium was practically empty. It’s clear what people think of “Moneyball.” Sell the team to Comcast! Sell this team to a competent and financially competitive ownership who will give Philadelphia a team to be proud of! WE DESERVE BETTER!

  35. Two questions:
    Will we win a game this year? Easy to say yes but if so look at the schedule and try to find one. D.C. Away?
    Will we be the worst team in MLS history points wise?

    • Honestly, next week in LA looks winnable. Galaxy are in as a bad a funk as us right now.

      • Harry Kirshner says:

        LA got torched at home by SEA today, so we could indeed take 3 there and turn the season around.

        Keep the faith, people!

        gaddis gooch marquez pontius (yes)
        haris jones
        bedoya roland fafa

        time to turn pontius into a lb

        go for it, or it’s curtains for curtin…

  36. 700 chopper says:

    This team flat out blows. The stadium is in a shithole town. Curtin is a total joke of a manager. Our defense is atrocious and the lack of any real strikers or a midfield is baffling. The players are tuned out and apathetic to the max. We only scored 3 goals because Montreal blows too and then we give up 3 to a “non” Impact team WTF. I love the Union but man they make it tough to love them or actually care anymore because management doesn’t give two shits about us the fans!!!!!
    My rant is over and I don’t feel any better lol.

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