Union match reports

Match report: San Jose Earthquakes 2-2 Philadelphia Union

“An extremely difficult way to drop two points,” Jim Curtin stated bluntly after the match.

A penalty on Josh Yaro in the final moments of extra time granted Chris Wondolowski an opportunity to steal a point at home. The veteran goalscorer did what he does best to even the score at 2-2 in Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California.

Philadelphia Union had come from behind to take the lead through Jack Elliott’s first half goal and a second half blast from Roland Alberg. Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili opened the scoring for the Quakes by weaving through the Union defense in the third minute.

Vako’s second MLS goal came off a defensive breakdown at the top of the visitor’s box. Vako rolled off of Bedoya and, finding Alberg, Elliott, and Giliano Wijnaldum unwilling to step to him, strode into the box and lashed a finish into John McCarthy’s far corner.

Although it would be another 20 minutes before the hosts recorded a shot, the damage to a fragile Union seemed done. Philadelphia’s lone shot on frame prior to Elliott’s tying goal came from a long distance Alberg effort.

Rookie of the Year candidate Elliott evened the scoreline in the 35th minute off a madcap goalline scramble following a corner kick. The ball bounced off numerous bodies before popping out near the right post for the big defender to pummel into the top corner for his first MLS goal.

Alberg seemed to have earned the Union a rare road win in the 55th minute. When Chris Pontius’ long throw bingo’d around the box and rolled out to Alberg, there was no question the Dutchman would shoot, and he arrowed the go-ahead goal into the lower left corner of the San Jose net.

In extra time, however, the Union let it slip away. Former Philly man Shea Salinas slipped through defenders on the left and charged into the box. As he neared the endline, Yaro stretched out a leg and brought down the winger. Wondolowski coolly slotted home the penalty to even the score.


Philadelphia Union

John McCarthy, Giliano Wijnaldum (Rosenberry 74′), Josh Yaro, Jack Elliott, Ray Gaddis, Chris Pontius (Marcus Epps 88′), Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya, Roland Alberg (Najem 79′), Fafa Picault, C.J. Sapong
Unused Subs: Jake McGuire, Warren Creavalle, Jay Simpson, Oguchi Onyewu

San Jose Earthquakes

Andrew Tarbell, Florian Jungworth (Fatai Alashe 19′), Francois Affolter, Victor Bernardez, Kofi Sarkodie (Quincy Amarikwa 74′), Anibal Godoy, Darwin Ceren (Jahmir Hyka 61′), Shea Salinas, Tommy Thompson, Chris Wondolowski, Valeri Qazaishvili
Unused subs:
 David Bingham, Jackson Yueill, Danny Hoesen, Marco Urena

Scoring summary

SJ: Valeri Qazaishvili — 3′ (Thompson)
PHI: Jack Elliott — 35′
PHI: Roland Alberg – 55′
SJ: Chris Wondolowski — 90+5′ (PK)

Disciplinary summary

SJ: Florian Jungwirth  — 13′ (unsporting behavior)
SJ: Anibal Godoy — 34′ (unsporting behavior)
SJ: Tommy Thompson — 73′ (unsporting behavior)
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya — 74′ (unsporting behavior)
SJ: Chris Wondolowski — 83′ (dissent)
PHI: Raymon Gaddis — 90+1 (time wasting)

San Jose Earthquakes Philadelphia Union
 19 Shots 9
 6 Shots on Target 5
7 Shots off Target 3
6 Blocked Shots 1
9 Corner Kicks 5
23 Crosses 13
2 Offsides 1
14 Fouls 14
4 Yellow Cards 2
 0 Red Cards 0
409 Total Passes 327
81% Passing Accuracy 73%
56.1% Possession 43.9%
56 Duels Won 55
49.5% Duels Won % 50.5%
9 Tackles Won 14
3 Saves 4
11 Clearances 26


  1. The best moment of the match was at the end of the game when Haris freaked out and I can only imagine was saying some not so very nice things. Ah oh so union.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Yes, noticed that as well. He was beside himself as he walked off the pitch. Just ranting furiously to himself.

    • Haris realized he’s got another year with these clowns and we’re going nowhere fast. I hope Toronto plays a lot of their backups on Wednesday or else it could be an absolute thrashing even if Blake is back.

  2. You could feel it coming, even without Tommy Smyth’s warnings. So frustrating

  3. Philthy Dee says:

    Agreed! About time one of the veterans loose their shit. Maybe if guys were fighting for their spot there’d be a bit more spirit in them.
    Also, what was with the love fest after the game. You just gave away points in the last minute and then it becomes a best friends convention. Medunjanin was the only one upset. Is this the culture Curtain and Stewart are fostering? Philly Strong or Philly Pheeble? looks like the latter.

  4. Orange Slices says:

    Nothing tribal about MLS. A real circle jerk, Happy Trees experience.
    Good for Haris.

  5. That was good fan experience. I bet Curtin had participation trophies waiting for them in the locker room. And not to mention 10% off coupon for the next tattoo. Time to look for the “how to win the f……. game” officer.

  6. Andy Muenz says:

    We’ve been asking the team to play the young guys. Unfortunately that means we need to live with some poor decisions.
    What really annoys me is that when the Union are up by a goal late their opponents get a lot more play in the box than the Union do when they are down by a goal. That happens game after game.
    Even though he scored, I thought Alberg was pretty terrible. Time after time it looked like he was just standing around. He certainly had a good view as he was dribbled around without making any effort on the first San Jose goal.
    Tommy Smyth is getting more and more annoying telling us you have to watch out for Wondolowski late and then reminding us how right he was after the PK. What the Union need to do is not let guys dribble into the box unmolested rather than worry who might score if they commit a foul in the box.

    • Before Alberg leaves the Union can he teach everyone how to properly kick a soccer ball at the goal? Fafa has a highlight real of complete sky balls from close range this year and most other guys don’t even bother to attempt a shot.

      • John P. O'Donnell Jr says:

        This!!!! Fafa is somewhat fast and that’s it. He can’t pass, he can’t shoot and half the time when he beats his man, he loses the ball. I really like to see Epps on the right and Pontius on the left for the game in Toronto.

      • @ John- yes Fafa has probably flubbed 5-6 golden chances this year but he’s without question the most goal-dangerous winger on the team. Without looking up the numbers it wouldn’t surprise me if he has more shots, shots on goal, and goals than all the other wingers combined. He’s missed quite a few but is the only guy capable of getting into the positions to miss. Even if his defense isn’t great, he uses his speed to press for turnovers and always makes the effort to help his fullback. That said, I’d be fine starting Pontius-Epps but not because Picault isn’t any good but just to give him a rest. As I’d like to see Jones in for Bedoya or Medunjanin to give them a blow. Don’t know if @ Toronto is the time to do it but soon.

      • Though I think Union Jaq makes a point with Fafa being more dangerous in front of goal than the rest, I agree with you Jason and John P. I assume that’s why Fafa is in MLS and not still in Germany. If he really had the ability at constantly converting his chances, he wouldn’t be here.

  7. Out on the field is there any calming influence?
    Is there any player who can settle this team down and get them organized?
    We need us some MONDRAGON

    • Gonna have to be a player, because it ain’t going to be Curtin.

    • STOP Romanticizing and waxing poetically about the 2011 Union. That team was not much better than this current bunch. Mondragon was NOT the calming influence on that team either, it was Brian Carroll.
      That team was awful to watch btw…..Bunker, hoof and hope Letoux gets on the end of a long ball. The SAME things people moan and groan about today…..

      • Oh please. Mondragon might not have calmed them down but he would have had those kids organized. Instead we had 15 minutes of everyone running around like they were on fire

      • It’s almost like they are train to do it.

  8. How can a coach who played his entire career as a defender not have his team prepared to close a game out with a one goal lead? This continues to happen again & again & again… Will someone, anyone please explain to me how he could allow this to happen by not having his team prepared and PROFICIENT in closing a game successfully. Maybe since there is NEVER ,EVER’ consequences to a single player, let alone the coach?!?!? I stated last week, and I’m now CONVINCED, the coach with the support of the GM, post game in the closed door locker room, give out blankies, flavored pacifiers, and group hugs, all the while giving participation trophies to one and all, with the biggest kudo going to a very special defender who performed so special in the last 20 seconds of the game. All together now, Kumbaya my lord, kumbaya… hugs and kisses for all for a well participated effort. I am at the stage of questioning my sanity for why I continue to $upport this team as a season ticket owner?! As a founding member I can only state my renewal status is definitely on the fence, Hey front office do you hear me???? Obviously NOT!! I am COMPLETELY DISGUSTED WITH THE STATUS OF THIS SO CALLED PROFESSIONAL TEAM.

    • This is the downside of playing the kids. Almost all the subs were for our youth. If Gooch were out there maybe he would have settled things down in the back. These things are a byproduct of the youth movement.

  9. This was all on Yaro. There was absolute no reason for him to stick out his foot. All he had to do was to let Salinas get to the end line and stay between the ball and the goal.
    Getting fed up with those who criticize Arlberg. He was not to blame on the first goal (was Bodoya’s fault) and at least Arlberg scored (again).

    • Section 114 (former) says:

      Well, he did blow a golden chance for 3-1. But, yes, this was on Yaro, Curtin, and, of course, Sugarman.

    • So are you saying the Union shouldn’t play the younger players like Yaro? Or don’t you think they are going to make mistakes?
      I’ll also continue to disagree on the blame on the first goal. Bedoya should have attempted a tackle, but he was to the outside of goal. When Qazaishvili moved away from Bedoya he went right around Alberg who made no attempt to do anything. So I would put about 80% of the blame on him.

    • Desacrate through Reverance says:

      Really Guido? Yaro did swing and miss. 3 Union players were just watching him dribble thru them. I can see now why Rosenberry has been riding the pine. He looks terrible. SJ was abusing the right side after KR came in. All the blame should not be on Yaro.

    • Re: Alberg
      Unless you are his mother, you MUST have been watching a different game or don’t have a clue what you are talking about. It was like he personally invented the “ole” defense.
      His offense does not make up for abysmal lack of defensive play.
      This team will be better without him.

  10. This team has mastered the art of ripping the heart out of its fanbase.

  11. What do we have to do to make sure Elliot doesn’t suffer the Union Sophomore Slump next year?

    As frustrating as the loss was, if you ‘play the kids’, mistakes like Yaro made will happen. The interesting thing now will be to see if Yaro remains in the lineup, or is dropped to bench. Even if Gooch is healthy I think I’d favor seeing Yaro back in the XI on Wednesday. If they believe in him long term, his confidence is more important than two points in a lost season.

  12. Has anyone ever watched a game where the union has had a lead and you actually felt comfortable with it? it could have been 37 to 1 with a minute in stoppage time and I still wouldn’t have felt the lead was enough..its so amazing how this team, no matter the coach, no matter the GM, no matter the players always gives up leads late..at least we c ant knock them for consistency, I mean it’s really hard to give up points in the fashion and as often year after year as the union do, is there any doubt about how next season will end…also next season you can be sure beer and food prices will go up, another consistent theme with this organization year after year. Boy I’ll tell ya, what a fan experience, certainly tops in the city

    • Only 2 games come to mind. The 0-4 win at DC earlier this year and the 2-6 win in Toronto in 2011. Those leads I think were safe by stoppage time.

    • There was a point in time during Carlos Valdez’s first stint where the team was actually solid late game. Of course that didn’t last more than a season before it all fell apart.

  13. Mark Butters says:

    The Union are still playing?! The second the European leagues kicked off I had a reason to forget this season was still cluster-f#$*ing it’s way along. Based on this conversation, glad I forgot!
    WSSM vol. 6

  14. So if Stewart was brought in to change the “culture” or philosophy, or call it whatever, has he not failed so far? Is the culture of this team, Losing? How can’t it be? Eight years in and things still get repeated. Over and over as if one was stuck in purgatory. What has changed exactly? A Frenchman for a Bosnian? Late season road points needed to keep alive any chance at a post-season, squandered in the last minute on the road for the x amount of times. Why? A defensive coach that can’t coach defense. For all his on field glory, none of it has transferred to his players. Again, I have no faith that things will change. Be it the coach or the way the teams plays, or even the lineup too drastically. Followed finally by the ever dreaded substitutions, if they even all happen. No, I don’t believe things will change, unless the fans stop going. Unless they stop going to matches and town halls and team events, things won’t change. Ah to dream of a brighter day. Alas, back to purgatory for us fans.

  15. Please all, the season is over. Yes it’s frustrating but I’d rather Yaro (and all the young guys aw well) make that mistake and learn from it. All we can hope is the young players get educated from these blunders and improve.

    I’m not in love with Alberg as a person or player, but all he does is try to score on a team that is terrible at scoring. Some credit is in order and when he’s gone I doubt anyone will score any goals without serious reinforcements.

    If Fafa had a tenth of the scoring sense of Alberg we’d be in good shape.

    • I’ve come around to the fact that Albert should play. He can create a goal out of nothing, which helps when you have this offense. His layoff to Picault was beautiful, and I was screaming that Fafa didn’t put that on frame. And Alberg scoring goals increases his transfer value…
      I hate watching him for the other 88 minutes of jogging around though…

  16. At least we have that first round pick to look forward too. Oh wait…

  17. My family and I were at the game, having changed our vacation plans to attend the game. Point 1, losing (this felt like a loss) was not a love fest afterward. We waited in full Union gear cheering our boys as they came off the field and our young kids calling out their names. Honestly, they were all so angry they didn’t even acknowledge us. Point 2, we have great fans. We were a family of 5 going crazy at the two goals. The San Jose fans seemed apathetic at best. We love our Union because we love the game and we want to be there for the Boys in Blue. Point 3 follows on the previous. Kudos to the Sons of Ben. If the San Jose fans were apathetic, I’m not sure how to describe the mediocre “presence” of the San Jose Ultras. Final point, don’t think the players didn’t care. They are as passionate as the fans that support them. Josh Yaro came out of the dressing room after the match and came over to us (who were still there for our team) and was absolutely devastated. Jim Curtin came up as well and beamed when we said we would be back in Philadelphia for 3 points against Atlanta. I’ve only been a STH for 4 years, but this year feels better than ever. Hard to believe, but we will be there.

  18. My guess is, whatever you think of Roland, it’s similar to what you thought of Carlos Ruiz.
    IMHO, teams need goals. Roland provides. I hope he stays.

  19. Drew G. thnx for the breath of fresh air. I have been ‘pasting’ the team as of late and struggle to find their bright spots. I am like you & most all ‘Union Supporters’, extremely passionate about the sport and OUR CLUB… your blog sets my keel back even, UNION UNION UNION all 3 points in Atlanta, UNION UNION UNION !!!

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