Union City Blue

A Philadelphia Union Blog

Rock Bottom

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The Philadelphia Union fell 1-0 to lowly, winless Toronto FC. Even salvaging a tie in this game would have been an embarrassment.

The Union’s inability to score continues, with no end in sight. The offensive statistics make for pretty grim reading. The Union are at the bottom of the table in shots and shots on goal.  Second from the bottom in offsides. Fourth from the bottom in corner kicks – not that they can score from a corner kick anyhow. The offsides and corner kick stats indicate that the they are not creating any offensive pressure. Not only do the Union not take enough shots, they either can’t or won’t get forward to be able to get shots.

The Goalkeeper blog posted a very detailed piece on the Union’s 2012 salaries. Given the current state of affairs, fans should be taking a hard look at these numbers. Although  I wouldn’t argue professional soccer players are overpaid, salaries do have to be examined in terms of value for dollar as they relate to MLS’s low salary cap and overall team revenue.

The Union ranks number eight in overall team payroll. Once you get past New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto at the top of this list, there is a little over a million dollars difference between number 4 and number 19. The Union are not under-spending on salary but have not been getting good value for their dollar. Particularly when you consider Sporting KC sit at number 17 in total salary but third in the Eastern Conference standings. Could the Union put up another half a million in salary and would it make a difference? It would probably have to go to a designated player to get it to work under the salary cap.

Two areas of concern jump out at me when looking at specific salary figures. Firstly, the Union is spending a lot of money on offensive players who aren’t producing, particularly Freddy Adu, Danny Mwanga, Jack McInerney, Lionard Pajoy and Gabriel Gomez. Adu was the only Union player to get a salary cut going into this season, but he’s still the 17th highest paid player in the league and overpaid. Secondly, the money spent on some the Latin American additions (Pajoy, Gomez, Lopez) in the offseason hasn’t paid off. It’s questionable if the Union needed to off load Sebastien LeToux and Danny Califf when you look at the money they are spending on these guys. They are a bigger salary cap hit, take up international roster spots, and the money saved may have also made up for most of the allocation money received.

The Union also claims that they are concentrating on the development of younger players and building a team for the future. I just don’t see this group of younger players getting much better. I am not hopeful that the Unions’s 2010 first round draft picks are going to have a big impact in MLS. At the end of this season, it will have been three years and you have to question if this is going to happen. Most MLS fans know that if younger players actually have potential, they aren’t in MLS and that by age 20-23 many players are already playing at the highest level.

The Union is now facing a “must win” game against the Rochester Rhinos. Now would be a good time for them to win their first U.S. Open Cup game. Maybe the Union haven’t hit rock bottom, but losing to the Rhinos surely would be it.

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See You in March – Philadelphia Union Reveals Schedule for 2012

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The Philadelphia Union has released its schedule for 2012. A downloadable file containing the entire schedule can be found here. With the addition of the Montreal Impact to the Eastern Conference this year, MLS has moved to a conference based schedule. Each team will play 34 games, but instead of the balance schedule we enjoyed last year, we will be seeing the following:

Due to the higher number of clubs in the Eastern Conference, each club will play a total of 25 conference matches. Each club will play seven of their conference opponents three times each (21 total games) and the remaining two conference opponents twice each (4 games). East teams will then play the nine West teams once each. Those nine games will be split either five at home and four away or vice versa. The locations will be reversed in 2013.

Western Conference clubs will play each other three times, totaling 24 matches. They will play four conference opponents twice at home and once away, and play the other four conference opponents twice away and once at home. The location arrangement will be reversed in 2013. West clubs will complete their schedule by playing each of the 10 Eastern Conference clubs once. Five of matches will be at home and five will be on the road. Again, the arrangement will be reversed in 2013.

The Philadelphia Union is also scheduled for pre-season activity including training in Orlando, Florida from February 15-19 and a February 18 match against the Orlando City Lions.

The Union will play the Colorado Rapids, Vancouver Whitecaps, San Jose Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake at home in 2012. The Los Angeles Galaxy and other West teams will be faced on the road only. The Union will see East rivals New York Red Bulls and DC United three times – twice at home and once on the road. The Sons of Ben will have twice the fun this year tormenting Pink Cow and Eagles supporters.

The schedule also thankfully keeps weeknight home games to a minimum. We will be at PPL on the following nights: Friday, August 24 versus Real Salt Lake (this barely counts as a weeknight), Wednesday, August 29 versus Columbus Crew, and Thursday, September 20 versus DC. The Union will contend with the Texas heat and humidity with away games at FC Dallas on May, 19 and Houston Dynamo on Jun 30 and October 20. Extreme heat hopefully will only be a factor at the June 30 game.

The Union faces a challenging start to the season with an opener in Portland versus the Timbers on Monday, March 12. The team will have its home opener Sunday, March 18 versus the Colorado Rapids. They follow-up with an away game at the Chicago Fire on March 24 and a home game with the Vancouver Whitecaps on March 31. The Union also have a difficult run into the playoffs in October with late season matchups against the New England Revolution (home), Sporting Kansas City (away) and New York (home). The game against the Pink Cows on Saturday, October 27, will be the last of the regular season.

Although I would prefer a balanced schedule, the conference based schedule is inevitable if MLS has designs on expanding past twenty teams. A balance schedule is difficult to maintain with a large number of teams, and therefore, games. A conference based schedule also helps control travel costs and player fatigue and helps foster regional rivalries. Although no twentieth team has yet been announced, the league was again talking about a second team in New York (because one team isn’t bad enough) around the time of MLS Cup. MLS Cup in 2012 will be hosted by the finalist with the most points during the regular season. This should be a big improvement over the neutral site concept the league has been using. At least the Cup final will be hosted in a city where the fans have a vested interest in the outcome. Changes are also in store for the playoff format, but that will be the subject of another post.

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Now This Game Was a Real “Puta”

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On Saturday night the Union suffered its second disturbing result in a row with a 1-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps at Empire Field. This loss follows on the heels of a disappointing 1-1 tie at home to Real Salt Lake.

I have to say my reaction when I saw the lineup graphic on Saturday night was “Oh – My – God.”  The lineup consisted of the usual back four, with a midfield of Brian Carroll, Kyle Nakazawa, and Stefani Miglioranzi in back of Veljko Paunvic and Justin Mapp with Sebastien LeToux upfront – basically a 4-3-2-1. Unfortunately, my initial bad gut reaction turned out to be justified.  It was a very poor performance overall. The Union had little luck moving the ball around or controlling the pace on the artificial surface at Empire Field. As noted by the television commentary crew, Miglioranzi and Nakazawa seemed to be running into each other in midfield. Who could have possibly seen that coming? Paunovic did nothing to impress in his debut for the Union.  The team eventually moved to the diamond formation with which they have had some success this season in the second half, but with little effect this time. Yes, the officiating was poor, but in MLS that goes without saying.

Although an away game, this result against the struggling Whitecaps has to be viewed with some concern. It is the second game in a row in which the Union have been challenged to produce results on offense. Against Real Salt Lake the previous weekend, the Union failed to capitalize on multiple scoring chances to secure a win. Although they got the better of the run of play against one of the league’s best teams, the lack of finishing resulted in an extremely frustrating tie. If the Union want to secure the top place in the Eastern Conference, they can not continue to leave points on the table in this manner. It would be a crime if the team ended up losing a place in the standings due to goal difference.

The way out of this offensive morass is far from clear. I am doubtful that Carlos Ruiz or Paunovic is the answer. There are already rumors circulating about Ruiz’s departure (again) from MLS.  LeToux continues to struggle, and Danny Mwanga and Jack McInerney continue to play like youngsters with more potential than results. The answer may lie in midfield, with the acquisition of a solid playmaking , attacking midfielder to guide the offense. Roger Torres, despite flashes of promise, may not be robust or strong enough to fulfill this role in MLS.

I’ll finish with a few random observations. I attended the Philadelphia Independence’s 6-0 blowout of magicJack on Saturday evening, so I watched a recorded Union game. magicJack appear to be a team in disarray in every possible way. You have to feel for the players, as I suspect most of the problems ultimately originate with the owner. It must be very demoralizing for the players to have to play in such conditions.

I haven’t written much lately, and I have come to the conclusion that it may be easier for me to find things to write about the Union when things are going wrong, rather than when they are going right. It’s hard to get worked up about something when things seem to be okay. I guess pundits may be like lawyers in that they thrive on the misery of others.

Fabian Espindola provided some unintentional comic relief at the Real Salt Lake game. I understand he gave the River End the finger at half time.  Toward the end of the game, the Colombians behind me were going at him with a full bore verbal assault in Spanish. I didn’t get all of it, but “puta” figured very prominently.  Espindola turned around and smirked at them. He is surely in the running with Kyle Beckerman for MLS’s Worst Groomed. As pointed by of my other seat neighbor, not even female soccer players wear their hair down.

The Union continue to throw Major Molly’s Army in fans’ faces.  Just when I thought I might be able to ignore this issue and it would die out quietly, it’s back. The woman who sits next to me, who is a social studies teacher, had a field day with the factual inaccuracies in the first paragraph of the Molly story in the program for the Salt Lake game. The Union can claim they aren’t cheerleaders all they want. They are still a thinly veiled excuse to parade around young, attractive women to no legitimate purpose. There is nothing about their stated job duties that require the services of an all female squad.

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Goalapalooza

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Since our last scheduled programming, the Philadelphia Union have managed to score more than one goal in a game and to do so in two consecutive games. The Union defeated the Chicago Fire on May 21 at PPL Park by a score of 2-1. Michael Farfan scored his first professional goal, and Carlos Ruiz supplied the game winner – a spectacular, long shot off a bouncing ball that just tucked in under the crossbar. The left-footed shot easily won AT&T Goal of the Week for week 10. The game also featured an impressive defensive play by Sheannon Williams to block a shot on the goal line. His effort was nominated for Save of the Week. My friend who attended the game with me now thinks she is the Union’s good luck charm, as they win whenever she attends a game and snapped a winless streak with this game.

This win was followed up by an entertaining 6-2 blowout against Toronto FC at BMO Field on Memorial Day Weekend. Danny Mwanga and Justin Mapp both scored two goals a piece, Gabriel Farfan emulated his twin Michael and got his first professional goal, as did Kyle Nakazawa. Maicon Santos scored two for Toronto. Both Toronto goals were precipitated by bad giveaways, and I question whether Santos was onside on his first goal. It was impossible to tell from the television angles. I’m assuming he was since MLS officials never get anything wrong, do they? Too bad this game wasn’t played at PPL Park, the number of smoke bombs alone would have been insane.

What to make of all of this? The Toronto game shows that the Union can score without Ruiz, who is off on Gold Cup duty for Guatemala. The team got much needed offensive input from Mwanga and Mapp. I don’t think the Union are doing anything different in terms of formation; the diamond formation in midfield has been used before. It’s tempting to regard the previous low scoring games as just one of those things that happen in the course of a season. The Union are a good team and the scoring was going to come eventually. To be honest, the Fire and Toronto were also less difficult opposition than that which the Union had recently faced.

There were a large number of empty seats at BMO Field, many of which were probably paid for. It is unfortunate if Toronto’s previously stellar fan support is beginning to whither, perhaps justifiably in response to a team management that has raised ticket prices while putting an inferior product on the field. It was interesting to hear J.P. Dellacamera acknowledge that there was a boycott of the MLS Cup final by disgruntled Toronto season ticket holders. I believe that the team and the league had previously tried to deny that this had happened. The 6-2 result was met with a loud chorus of boos from the fans who remained in the stadium for the end of the game. Many fans fled the scene early despite the fact the club was showing the Champions’ League final after the game. Toronto management seemed to be making an effort his season by hiring Jurgen Klinsmann as a consultant and Aron Winter as coach with an eye toward playing a Dutch style of football. It just doesn’t seem to be coming together. Toronto fans have a right to voice their displeasure with team management and take appropriate action, but I would draw the line at actions that hurt MLS as a whole. You can see my prior comments on this here. Toronto fans may, in fact, be getting what they deserve.

The Philadelphia Union keeps rolling along this season. They have made great progress since their inaugural year. They continue to hold down first place in the Eastern Conference over the New York Red Bulls, with a two point lead and a game in hand. It’s hard to find things to write about when team is doing well, but I’m not complaining.

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The Hardest Thing in Soccer

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Clichés are grating enough, but even more so when your team is embodying one. It is often said that the hardest thing in soccer is to score a goal. Philadelphia Union fans got another painful reminder of that in Saturday night’s game against F.C. Dallas. On top of the ongoing offensive struggles, the Union conceded two goals for the first time this year. The final score was 2-0.

The Union’s initial efforts looked promising. The team lined up in an offensive minded formation utilizing Roger Torres at attacking midfielder, Brian Carroll as defensive midfielder, Justin Mapp and Amobi Okugo as outside midfielders, and Sebstien LeToux and Danny Mwanga as forwards. I had high hopes that this formation might actually produce some results on offense. I have been curious to see what Torres could produce if he started. I also tend to prefer LeToux as a forward. Although the team seemed to have the better of the run of play, it was all for naught in terms of goal scoring.

The Union fell behind 2-0 in the first half on goals by Brek Shea and Fabian Castillo. The Shea goal seemed to be the result of a loss of formation, with a large number of Union players chasing the ball on the same side of the field, leaving a lone defender to cover Shea. Lack of defensive pressure on Jackson Goncalvez resulted in a well placed cross to Castillo for the second goal. In response, the Union made offensive minded substitutions in the beginning of the second half, bringing in Jack McInerney and Carlos Ruiz for Carroll and Mapp. Although offensive substitutions are a no-brainer for a team 2-0 down, I am at least impressed that the Union always tries to go for the win, no matter the circumstances. The game also featured a gutsy performance by Faryd Mondragon in goal, who was playing with a groin injury.

I don’t have any brilliant solutions for the team’s offensive struggles. It may simply be a matter of taking time for chemistry to develop. The problems can’t all be put at the feet of Ruiz, as the younger forwards have not exactly lit up the score boards this season. I wouldn’t mind more experimenting like we saw with the starting eleven in this game. I do know this just can’t go on if the Union hope to make the playoffs this season.

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A Midweek Septa Saga

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My fellow bloggers over at http://unholyunion.wordpress.com recently posted some interesting information about a closed Septa train station at Lamokin, about a fifteen minute walk from PPL Park.

It found it interesting in that it was posted on the same day that I had my own first experience, albeit indirectly, with public transportation to PPL Park. The friend who was attending the Philadelphia Union’s game against the Los Angeles Galaxy with me had to meet me at PPL Park.  She took Septa from 30th Street Station to the Chester Transportation Center (CTC) and a shuttle to PPL Park. Overall, she was very happy with the train service and the fact that shuttles were lined up at the CTC waiting for passengers.  She beat me to PPL Park by ten minutes despite the fact that I left around the same time by car from Haverford Township.

I can certainly understand frustration with Septa and yesterday’s experiences were a mixed bag. I now take the Paoli-Thorndale line to work after years of driving. Yesterday I was reminded of why I used to drive. On the one day that I absolutely had to remain on schedule, there was a significant service interruption on the train line in the morning caused by a power problem. I eventually gave up and drove to work as I could not afford to wait any longer. I went from being twenty minutes early to being twenty minutes late for work, and I incurred a grand total of $31.00 in transportation cost to get to work, not counting gas. You got to love Septa.

Reopening the Lamokin Station, if it is within walking distance of PPL Park, could have the potential benefits of allowing the Union to save money by suspending shuttle service, increasing use of public transportation and providing fans with more transportation options. If this is an issue of concern to you, you can contact Septa with your comments at http://www.septa.org/cs/comment/index.html or on Twitter @Septa.

As for the game, the Union managed to salvage a 1-1 tie on a Danny Mwanga goal.  PPL Park had a record crowd despite the absence of a healthy David Beckham. Although a lot of the media attention focused on the absence of Beckham, it was actually a good performance by the Union against a team that is likely to be one of their tougher opponents. The defense remained solid, and the team put forth a good effort to push forward for a win in the closing minutes. A number of other events have also occurred since my last post.  The Union lost an away game to the Portland Timbers by the score of 1-0, and I continued in my failure to find a place other than my own living room to watch away games. The Philadelphia Independence won their home opener against the Boston Breakers by a score of 2-0. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this game due to illness. The MLS players union also released the salary data for its members.

Although soccer is not as popular as other sports in the U.S., it is clear there is plenty of  media coverage of the Union. The events described in the previous paragraph have been discussed extensively elsewhere. I often don’t feel as if I have any thing original to add to the conversation in terms of context or commentary.  Last season, and until recently, I have posted something about every Union game.  After a good deal of reflection and an acknowledgment there is little reader interest in this blog, I have decided to limit my posting to times when I feel I really have something to add to a topic or it particularly interests me.  I’d like to thank my readers for their support and hope to have a chance to interact with you in the future.

 

 

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When 1-0 Is a Zero Sum Game

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The Philadelphia Union lost 1-0 to the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night. I actually watched this game several times, and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about. Of course, I am not happy that the Union lost. The soccer and the officiating were both dreadful, yet I was not thrown into the state of panic and outrage that is the reaction of some fans.

The Union is certainly showing signs of a lack of offensive cohesion and creativity in the early stages of the new season, as well as a lack of urgency going forward. So far the offensive woes have offset a more stable and effective defense. When the Union did have possession Saturday night, they indulged in a flurry of side to side or back passes. This action was then punctuated by either the Galaxy poking the ball away or the Union sending a dump and run ball up the field. The team did put together a better second half; however, there was a distinct lack of offensive pressure by a team that was playing up a man beginning in the 53rd minute.

The lone goal of the game was scored on a header by Leonardo, who was on the receiving end of a David Beckham free kick. There was another Union break down on defending a set piece, as someone obviously lost the marking of Leonardo. Former Galaxative Stefani Miglioranzi really seems that he does not like going back to the Home Depot Center. Although most of the Union players did not have particularly good games, I am reluctant to call them out for what the English usually call “lack of endeavour.” Any number of factors could contribute to what appears to be an uninspired performance on television. This could simply be one of the inevitable low points that occur in a season.

Keon Daniel made his first appearance for the Union in midfield and did not make much of an impact on the game. The substitution Roger Torres for Kyle Nakazawa did. In other lowlights, Jack McInerney was ejected in the 95th minute attempting to bitch slap Chad Barrett. This is also known as “violent conduct.” He will be suspended for one game.

The positives that I take from this game are that it was a better result than last season’s 3-1 loss at the Home Depot Center. At least the Union managed to hang on till stoppage time before receiving a red card this time around. If asked ahead of time, I think many fans would have admitted that a 1-0 away loss to the Supporters’ Shield holders would not be that bad a result. I certainly still think there is enough improvement in the Union side that there could be a very different result against the Galaxy at PPL Park in May.

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One on the Road

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The Union played its first game of the season against the Houston Dynamo at Robertson Stadium. The result was much happier than last season’s opener in Seattle. A goal by Danny Califf in 5th minute was enough to produce a 1-0 win for the Union. Sheanon Williams made an awesome throw in from the right side to Sebastien LeToux, who made a nice touch to control the ball. LeToux’s shot hit the cross bar. Califf then knocked in the loose ball. I bet many people didn’t have money on Califf for the first goal of the season, and Williams has to be the Rory Delap of MLS.

A goal by Califf, an away win, a clean sheet – I think I’ll take it. The Union now has its second road win at Houston, and Houston is an Eastern Conference rival this season. Fans waited patiently for a clean sheet or away win last season. It wasn’t until the 23rd game against Chicago that the Union secured a clean sheet in 2010. The Union also showed that they are able to hold onto a lead with this win. The only downside was that attendance in Houston seemed poor, with lots of empty seats mixed in. Note: Attendance was supposedly 19,385, which is pretty good for MLS. However, Robertson Stadium has a capacity of 32,000, which is perhaps why it looked sparse in places.

Faryd Mondragon is now captain of the Union. He seems suited to the part, and he does look scary at times when he plays. Maybe the change of captaincy will take some pressure off Califf. Mondragon made a few saves and demonstrated good ball distribution and communication with defense, which overall seemed better organized. It seems the starting four in back are beginning to gel as a unit.

Less clear is what is going on with the midfield. It just looks like one big cluster f**k to me. I don’t understand what Kyle Nakazawa has done to be starting in the season opener or to be protected in the expansion draft. He made another terrible free kick in the 36th minute. I don’t see why people think he is such a great free kick taker. I have yet to see any concrete evidence of it. The lineup in midfield included Justin Mapp, Stefani Miglioranzi, Brian Carroll, and Nakazawa – basically three center midfielders and a left midfielder. Mapp was substituted for forward Danny Mwanga in second half. At least the Union were continuing to go for the second goal rather than sit on 1-0 lead. In another area of concern, there wasn’t much shown by the offense. Carlos Ruiz earned a yellow card and spent a predictable amount of time on the ground.

I saw my first Bimbo ad during halftime. I’m not sure if I like it or if it makes me nauseous from the cuteness. It did incorporate some soccer. Taylor Twellman does  seem like an improvement over Kyle Martino. At least, I found his comments more insightful.

In other news, the Union finally made honest men out of Keon Daniel, Levi Houapeu and Gabriel Farfan. I believe the roster is now up to 25. Daniel and Farfan appear to be the two “defenders” the Union were supposed to be on the verge of signing. Both are actually midfielders. The midfielder glut continues, and the Union will lurch forward with five rostered defenders.

Let’s get a winning streak going next week!

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Twitter is Great, but Streaming Video Would be Nice

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The Philadelphia Union played its first pre-season game in a rainy Orlando this afternoon against the U-17 U.S. Men’s National Team. The Union managed a 1-1 draw against the teenagers. As there was no video of the match available, this synopsis comes from written sources.

The Union fielded two completely different teams in each half. The Union starting eleven consisted of Mondragon, Harvey, Valdes, Califf, Williams, Mapp, Carroll, Nakazawa, Le Toux, a mystery trialist, and Mwanga. Sebastien LeToux scored an early goal on an assist from Justin Mapp. He then scored an apparent second goal off a header in the sixteenth minute, but it was whistled offside.

The second half lineup consisted of MacMath, a trialist, Orozco Fiscal, Arrieta, Noone, another trialist, Miglioranzi, Okugo, Jacobson, Richter, and McInerney. The second half trialists appeared to be Keon Daniel and Chris Agorsor, from an online photo. Alex Muyl equalized for the U-17’s, assisted by Alessandro Mion, in the eightieth minute.

Photos of the match are on the Philadelphia Union Facebook page. The Union were wearing a new training shirt, which looked great with the dark blue shorts. The plain white background is certainly the best with the new Bimbo logo.

The first half lineup reflects what I believe will be the Union’s starting lineup in 2011, minus the trialist and possibly Nakazawa. I don’t believe there’s a clear choice for a second starting forward in the lineup played in the first half. LeToux was presumably playing midfield today, and it will be interesting to see the team experiment with him at forward with different midfield combinations in future preseason games.

I’m sorry that I was unable to make any of the open training sessions at YSC Sports – if only I still worked in the suburbs. The open sessions seem to have been well received, and I hope they do it again next year. However, the excellent work done by bloggers and fans at identifying the trialists may make them think twice.

Random observation from the weekend: Niko Kranjcar scored a goal in extra time to give Spurs a 2-1 win over Bolton. The goal reminded of the types of shots Andrew Jacobson takes on goal that, unfortunately, miss the back of the net. Maybe this season.

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Did We Miss Halftime?

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Philadelphia Union 1-4 Colorado Rapids
September 29, 2010

Philadelphia Union 1-1 Houston Dynamo
October 2, 2010

Let’s start with the Colorado game. One could argue that this mess was attributable to the altitude. One could hope, but as the Union are a pretty fit team, I kind of doubt it.  The Philadelphia Union fell 4-1 to the Colorado Rapids in Denver at a very lightly attended game.  It is a toss up as to whether crowd was worse than the game in Dallas. When the crowd looks this bad on television, it’s moot as to what the actual numbers are.

Omar Cummings scored two goals for the Rapids early in the first half.  Cummings was not marked properly by Danny Califf on the first goal and on the second goal, off a set piece, by Amobi Okugo. The Union were never in it after these two goals. Danny Mwanga was left at home due to his shoulder injury.  The Union really misses the extra offensive spark he provides when he doesn’t play.  He also takes some of the marking away from Sebastien LeToux. In one of few positives in the game, Jack McInnerney scored a very nice unassisted goal for Union.

My cousin, the same one who made us 20 minutes late to the Dallas game at the Linc, attended the Houston Dynamo game with me. I, therefore, know she has attended at least one previous soccer game.  After we sat down, she said, “So does this game have three quarters?” I put aside the fact that this would be impossible in any sport, and answered that the game has two 45 minutes halves.  In the 43rd minute, she then turned to me, genuinely confused, and said, “So did we miss halftime?” I then had to explain that the clock counts up.

Several experienced players, including Califf, Justin Mapp, Stefani Miglioranzi, and Fred were “rested” for this game – “rested” or on a “time out.” The Union scored on a great goal by LeToux off a Roger Torres assist. LeToux made a great first touch to control ball before putting the ball in the back of the net.

The Dynamo goal, by Andrew Hainault, was the result of an obvious mistake by Brad Knighton, who failed to control the ball after a shot by punching the ball right back to the attacker.  I’m not totally convinced Knighton is the better choice in goal over Chris Seitz.  I feel that the best qualities of the two keepers together would make an actually good keeper.  We could call him “Sightzton.”

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