ICYMI: Union Blanked by Sporting, Remain Winless to Start the Season

Match Coverage, Match Recap, Union

The Philadelphia Union fell, 2-0, to Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, March 10, at Children’s Mercy Park. It’s another loss for the Union, who have dropped their first two games of the season.

Philly played the majority of the second half with 10 men after midfielder Marco Fabian received a straight red card for allegedly stomping on Kansas City forward, Johnny Russell.

Ilie Sanchez opened the scoring for SKC in the 11th minute, converting a controversial penalty to put the home side up, 1-0. Later, in the 60th minute, the Union were reduced to ten men after a straight red card was shown to Fabian. Sporting put the game to bed 20 minutes later, pressing Union defender Jack Elliot into an own goal in the 80th minute.

The Union will likely have to play their next couple of games without Fabian, whose penalty was saved by Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia in the 41st minute and who scored the team’s only goal in the season opener against Toronto Football Club.

While Philly played most of the second half with ten men, the visitors still managed to generate offense, registering 12 shots in total, five of which were on target, two more shots on target than Kansas City mustered.

Despite conceding twice, the Union defense limited Sporting to just one other clear look at goal. In the 61st minute, Kansas City captain, Graham Zusi, rattled his freekick off the crossbar from the edge of Philly’s 18-yard-box. Zusi’s free-kick resulted from Fabian’s questionable stamp on Russell.

The Union’s next game is on March 17 and will be played away from home, against the reigning MLS Cup champion, Atlanta United, at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 PM EST on Fox Sports South, ESPN+ and Fox Sports Carolinas.

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U in Review — NYCFC vs. Philadelphia Union

Match Coverage, Match Recap, News, Union

On Decision Day, the Philadelphia Union were defeated by the New York City Football Club, 3-1, conceding three first half goals including an own-goal and failing to convert a penalty kick.

Philadelphia Union were rightfully up for Sunday’s game against the New York City Football Club, the final game of the 2018 Major League Soccer regular season.

A win on Decision Day would have secured a third place finish in the Eastern Conference as well as a home playoff game, something the Union have been in search of since crashing out against the Houston Dynamo in 2011.

But the visitors went down early, failing to recover from their first half blunders.

Philadelphia’s mistakes included an Auston Trusty own-goal and consecutive missed clearances from Union defenders that eventually led to a David Villa dagger in the 34th minute. Villa’s goal widened his team’s lead to three goals to one, while Sean Johnson’s saved penalty in the second half kept the home side two goals to the good.

New York (16W, 10L, 8D) ended its regular season campaign with a win, defeating Philadelphia (15W, 14L, 5D), 3-1. Despite their recent struggles, NYCFC locked down third in the East as well as hosting rights against the Union for the Knockout Round of the MLS Cup Playoffs.


NYCFC drew first blood, scoring in the 8th minute. New York’s goal came courtesy of cumbersome French defender Maxime Chanot.

Chanot separated himself from his marker, C.J. Sapong, before rising to meet the in-swinger from teammate Maxi Moralez. Chanot headed past Andre Blake to notch the first goal of the contest, the Frenchman’s first goal of the season.

New York would double their advantage just minutes later, with help from an Auston Trusty mishap.

Philly’s young defender attempted a stab at the ball, which took an unfortunate deflection into the Union’s side netting. It is the second own-goal for the Homegrown, with his last coming in the U.S. Open Cup Final against Houston.

Philadelphia received a spark a few minutes later, however, with Cory Burke pulling a goal back for the visitors in the 13th minute.

Following an appealing piece of interplay with Fafa Picault, league assist-leader Borek Dockal split the seams, threading a well-timed pass into the path of Burke. Philadelphia’s joint top-scorer bagged his 10th goal of the campaign.

Following a brief lull in the action, City’s captain, David Villa, complicated matters for the Union. Villa followed up a diving save by Blake with a slotted shot past the rooted Jamaican.

Villa was mostly held in check by the Union’s young center-halves throughout the half and ultimately the game, too. But a lapse in the reactions by the Union backline provided the Spaniard with more than enough time to pounce on the loose ball and widen City’s lead to two.

On a yellow card and risking a ban for the playoffs, Cory Burke was subbed off at the start of the second half, making way for Ilsinho. Television cameras picked up on an exchange of words between Burke and head coach Jim Curtin, with the Jamaican looking teary-eyed.

Philadelphia was unable to generate many chances in the second half. Undoubtedly the Union’s best opportunity to pull within a goal of City came in the 59th minute. Philadelphia was awarded a penalty kick after Johnson was deemed to have brought down a Union player.

Picault elected to take the spot kick, and his ensuing shot was parried out by Johnson to keep the score 3-1.

Johnson’s save was one of the few he was forced to make on the day. Philly registered five total shots on New York’s No. 1, but the visitors sorely needed three of them to eek past Johnson for a guaranteed game at Talen Energy Stadium.

Starting XI —

New York City Football Club (4-2-3-1):

Sean Johnson; Ben Sweat, Alexander Callens, Maxime Chanot (Ebenezer Ofori, 87′), Anton Tinnerholm; Yangel Herrera, Alexander Ring; Jesús Medina (Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, 85′), Maxi Moralez (Eloi Amagat, 69′), Ronald Matarrita; David Villa

Philadelphia Union (4-2-3-1):

Andre Blake; Ray Gaddis, Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Keegan Rosenberry (Fabinho, 69′); Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya; Fabrice-Jean Picault, Borek Dockal, C.J. Sapong (Jay Simpson, 76′); Cory Burke (Ilsinho, 45′)

Scoresheet —

New York City Football Club:

Maxime Chanot (8′), David Villa (34′) 

Philadelphia Union:

Auston Trusty (OG, 10′), Cory Burke (13′)

Disciplinary —

Philadelphia Union:

Auston Trusty (Caution: Unsporting Behavior, 15′), Cory Burke (Caution: Unsporting Behavior, 40′), Haris Medunjanin (Dissent, 70′)  

Next Match —

Following the defeat to New York along with the result in Columbus, Philadelphia will return to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday to play in a knockout game. Kick off is still to be determined.

 

U in Review — Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls

Match Coverage, Match Recap, News, Union

Kaku converted from the penalty spot to propel the New York Red Bulls over a frustrated Philadelphia Union side on Sunday and keep the visitors in the race for the Supporters’ Shield. 

Stakes were high for both clubs entering Sunday’s Eastern Conference clash at Talen Energy Stadium, which had all the feels, fanfare and feistiness of an early MLS Cup Playoff game.

Following a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review in the 68th minute, the Red Bulls were awarded a penalty after referee Ted Unkel determined that Union captain Alejandro Bedoya had handled the ball inside his own penalty area.

Red Bulls’ midfielder Kaku converted the ensuing kick past Union goal keeper Andre Blake to break the deadlock and deliver the game’s eventual winner for the Red Bulls (21W, 7L, 5D).

Red Bulls’ slight victory was their 21st of the current campaign, a joint-league record shared by conference-leading Atlanta United, whose victory over Chicago Fire earlier in the day mounted even more pressure on Chris Armas’ side.

Sunday’s result thus not only tightened New York’s stranglehold on second place in the East, but also kept the Red Bulls in the race against United for the Supporters’ Shield, whom they currently trail by a manageable point and two goals.

New York will conclude its regular season on MLS Decision Day, October 28, when the Red Bulls square off against the Orlando City Soccer Club. City have endured a miserable MLS campaign, with the Lions ending a winless run of 14 games against Columbus Crew SC on Sunday.


For the Union, a win would have all but ensured the club that coveted home playoff game, something Philadelphia (15W, 13L, 5D) has been and will continue searching for since its last runaround against Houston Dynamo in 2011.

Philly dictated the tempo of the game from the first kick, and mustered the better chances to score throughout the first half apart from a brief spell when Kaku hit the woodwork following a poor clearance by Union defender Auston Trusty.

Perhaps the Union’s best opportunity to go ahead came in the 27th minute. Fafa Picault, home from United States National Team duty, hesitated to get his shot off at the top of the Red Bulls’ box. Picault was left unmarked, but his shot ultimately fired over the goal.

Picault nearly capitalized later in the half, making a well-timed run into the Red Bulls’ penalty area, which was picked out by Keegan Rosenberry to his right. His ensuing shot was blocked by Bedoya who hesitated to get out of Picualt’s path before making a last-ditch lunge for the ball. In the end, Picault’s shot was pulled wide after deflecting off his captain.

In the final third, the Union had next to no answers for themselves and posed fewer questions for New York shot-stopper Luis Robles. Robles was the busier of the two goal keepers on the day despite rarely being called upon.

Philly dictated and controlled the tempo in both halves, with the former ending in a clearing of both dugouts. Several cards were dished out by Unkel for “Unsporting Behavior.”

Despite weathering the visitors’ early storm and keeping tabs on the ball, the Union resorted to a familiar style of play, one that was last deployed in Houston for the U.S. Open Cup Final: the long-ball. It hardly troubled the Red Bulls’ staunch defense, which has leaked just 33 goals this season, a league best.


Philadelphia is having its best season since 2011, has broken a club record for wins in the regular season (15), and already has punched its ticket to this year’s playoffs after a resounding win over Minnesota United a few weeks back.

Next Sunday, the Union will play their final game of the regular season against the New York City Football Club at Yankee Stadium. NYCFC is sputtering as of late, having won just one game in their last eight.

Starting XI  —

Philadelphia Union: 

Andre Blake; Ray Gaddis, Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Keegan Rosenberry; Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya; Fabrice-Jean Picault (Jay Simpson, 81′), Borek Dockal, C.J. Sapong (Ilsinho, 61′); Cory Burke

New York Red Bulls:

Luis Robles; Connor Lade, Aaron Long, Tim Parker, Michael Murillo; Sean Davis, Tyler Adams; Alex Muyl, Alejandro Romero Gamarra (Cristian Cásseres Jr, 90′), Marc Rzatkowski (Derrick Etienne, 45′); Bradley Wright-Phillips

Scoresheet —

Kaku (Penalty, 69′)

Disciplinary —

Philadelphia Union:

C.J. Sapong (Caution: Unsporting Behavior), Auston Trusty (Caution: Unsporting Behavior), Fafa Picault (Caution: Unsporting Behavior) 

New York Red Bulls: 

Tyler Adams (Caution: Unsporting Behavior), Alex Muyl (Caution: Dissent)

Next Match —

Philadelphia Union are on the road to conclude the 2018 MLS regular season. On Sunday, October 28, the Union will square off against the New York City Football Club at Yankee Stadium. First kick is slated for 4:30 PM EST, with the match broadcasted on PHL17.

U in Review — Philadelphia Union vs. NYCFC

Match Coverage, Match Recap, News, Union

In a match between third and fifth, it was the latter that came out victorious, with the Philadelphia Union defeating the visiting New York City Football Club, 2-0, on Saturday night. 

Cory Burke and the Philadelphia Union continued their recent run of good form, with the Jamaican slotting home his sixth goal of the regular season in the 57th minute, a goal that fired the home side ahead in the match and served as the eventual winner.

It was a goal that was the direct result of both the high-defensive work rate of the Union midfield, namely that of captain Alejandro Bedoya, who dictated the middle of the park all night long, and also a willingness to play positive football.

Piggybacking off an interception from Bedoya near the center circle, Union playmaker Borek Dockal picked his head up and played a well-timed through ball into the path of Burke. Burke did well to turn the ball onto his favored right foot and calmly slot a low shot past an outstretched Sean Johnson.

Philadelphia put the game to bed in the 76th minute, when second-half substitute Ilsinho scored his fifth goal of the campaign that began with another Dockal pass and delivered the Union (10W, 11L, 3D) their second consecutive league victory.

It was another eye-catching goal from the Brazilian, who returned from injury on Saturday night and came on for fellow winger David Accam midway through the second half.

Ilsinho (rightfully) received the plaudits for his individual goal, but it is worth noting that, like Burke’s goal before his, a 1v1 opportunity was made possible by a heads-up, forward-thinking pass from Dockal, who notched his fifth assist in as many games.

City (14W, 6L, 5D) had their share of opportunities to go ahead earlier in the match. Philly’s backline pressed early, often and high up the pitch, which New York nearly capitalized on inside the second minute of the contest.

Auston Trusty was the player who initially misread the play leading to the eventual chance for NYCFC. Throughout the night, Trusty and his defensive partner, Jack Elliott, played on the back of New York’s forwards, David Villa and Jo Inge Berget.

Doing so nearly cost the Union, but Trusty did well to close down Villa, who managed to pick out Maxi Moralez. His shot was parried out of play by Andre Blake, who kept the game scoreless with a crucial save and several others throughout the night.

Overall, it was arguably one of Philadelphia’s most complete performances to show for this season. Speaking to media following the game, Union coach Jim Curtin praised the performance of his team.

“We challenged the group to raise their level,” Curtin began. “It was a complete team effort.”

Philadelphia, with the result, retains hold of fifth in the Eastern Conference, with a pivotal home match upcoming against the New England Revolution. Just four points separate the two clubs, and next Saturday’s game will offer a potential six-point swing for either side.

Scoresheet

Philadelphia Union

Cory Burke (57′)

Ilsinho (76′)

New York City Football Club 

N/A

Bookings

Philadelphia Union

Warren Creavalle (Caution)

New York City Football Club 

Anton Tinnerholm (Caution), Ronald Matarrita (Red)

Shots

Philadelphia Union 

13 Total; 6 On

New York City Football Club 

9 Total; 3 On

Possession

Philadelphia Union

50.5%

New York City Football Club 

49.5%

Starting XI

Philadelphia Union (4-3-3-)

Andre Blake; Ray Gaddis, Auston Trusty, Jack Elliott, Keegan Rosenberry; Alejandro Bedoya, Borek Dockal (Warren Creavalle, 87′), Haris Medunjanin; David Accam (Ilsinho, 67′), Cory Burke, C.J. Sapong

New York City Football Club (4-3-3)

Sean Johnson; Ben Sweat, Alexander Callens (Ronald Matarrita, 65′), Maxime Chanot, Anton Tinnerholm; Ebenezer Ofori, Alexander Ring, Maximiliano Moralez; Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (Rodney Wallace, 82′), David Villa (Jesús Medina, 56′), Jo Inge Berget

PFD’s Player of the Game

Jason Hannigan

It’s two more assists for the Union’s No. 10. Dockal always has his head up, picking out runners and seams that haven’t been exploited since the days of Vincent Nogueira and Tranquillo Barnetta. 

Borek Dockal. My pick for PFD’s Player of the Game.

Next Match

Philadelphia will host a crucial match next Saturday, with the Union playing the New England Revolution for the second time in two weeks. First kick is set for 7:00 P.M. ET and will be broadcasted on PHL17.

U in Review — Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union

Match Coverage, Match Recap, News, Union

Cory Burke scored his fifth goal of the season, to help the Philadelphia Union down a frustrated 10-man Houston Dynamo, 3-1, on Wednesday night at BBVA Compass Stadium. 

Entering Wednesday night’s game against the visiting Philadelphia Union, a potential opponent in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final, the Houston Dynamo had dropped just two matches at BBVA Compass Stadium in league play this season.

Even more noteworthy, the Union’s last victory against the Dynamo in Houston came back in 2011 when former Union captain and club legend Danny Califf tapped home a rebound to secure three points on the road for the second-year club.

On Wednesday, it was Jamaican international Cory Burke who played the hero for the Union, scoring the go-ahead goal in the 70th minute, in what was the forward’s last touch of the game before being substituted for Fabian Herbers.

Following the victory, the Union move to 8W, 10L, 3D on the year. Philly remains rooted in the seventh place in the Eastern Conference, with just a point separating the Union from the New England Revolution in sixth place, the final MLS Cup Playoff position.

If you’re a Union fan, the result was a hopeful one, proving the Dynamo are beatable at home and that the team is capable of winning in hostile environments away from Talen Energy Stadium.

Not to mention, head coach Jim Curtin‘s side showed great discipline throughout the night, pushing for a goal after going down early and maintaining its cool when the referee appeared to lose control of the game.

Houston jumped to an early lead courtesy of a goal from the Dynamo’s leading scorer this season, Mauro Manotas. Manotas bagged a career high 11th goal on the year, cooly slotting his shot past an outstretched Andre Blake in the 10th minute.

Manotas made Union defender Mark McKenzie bite, drawing the young defender in for a tackle before dishing out a successful give and go that set the Columbian forward up for a one-on-one with Blake for the ensuing goal.

However, the Dynamo’s lead didn’t last long. In total, Houston led Philadelphia, 1-0, for just 24 minutes, before Union captain Alejandro Bedoya scored his second goal of the season in the 34th minute.

It appeared, at first glance, that Bedoya was offside on the through ball from Borek Dockal, but the referee ruled otherwise. Dockal assisted on both Bedoya and Burke’s goal for the Czech international’s eighth and ninth assist on the season respectively.

Houston went down a man in the 59th minute when midfielder Tomás Martínez was shown a straight red card for “serious foul play.”

Looking at the replay, it looked as if Martínez went for the ball at first, but continued his stride, stepping on the ankle of Auston Trusty after the ball was cleared by the Union defender.

Houston noticeably lost its cool afterward, culminating in a conceded penalty at the end of stoppage time.

Dynamo defender Alejandro Fuenmayor brought down Herbers inside Houston’s penalty area in the sixth minute of stoppage time, prompting the referee to award a penalty to the Union.

Fabrice-Jean Picault stepped up to the spot and finished a thumping effort that sent Dynamo keeper Joe Willis diving the opposite way and secured a 3-1 away victory for Philadelphia.

Scoresheet

Houston Dynamo

Mauro Manotas (10′)

Philadelphia Union

Alejandro Bedoya (34′), Cory Burke (70′), Fabrice-Jean Picault (90′ + 6′) 

Bookings

Houston Dynamo 

Tomás Martínez (Red), Darwin Cerén (Yellow), Alejandro Fuenmayor (Yellow)

Philadelphia Union

Alejandro Bedoya (Yellow), Keegan Rosenberry (Yellow), Mark McKenzie (Yellow), C.J. Sapong (Yellow)   

Shots

Houston Dynamo 

15 Total; 5 On

Philadelphia Union 

12 Total; 5 On

Possession

Houston Dynamo

47.9%

Philadelphia Union

52.1%

Starting XI

Houston Dynamo (4-2-3-1)

Joe Willis; Adam Lundqvist, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Jared Watts (Andrew Wenger, 74′), Adolfo Machado; Óscar Boniek García, Darwin Cerén; Alberth Elis (Memo Rodríguez, 76′), Tomás Martínez (Red), Romell Quioto (Arturo Álvarez, 81′); Mauro Manotas

Philadelphia Union (4-2-3-1)

Andre Blake; Ray Gaddis, Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Keegan Rosenberry; Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin; Fabrice-Jean Picault, Borek Dockal (Warren Creavalle, 88′), David Accam (C.J. Sapong, 57′); Cory Burke

PFD’s Player of the Game

Jason Hannigan

Borek Dockal returned to form tonight in Houston, setting up both the equalizer and the eventual match-winner for the Union. It was the Czech playmaker’s eighth and ninth assist on the year respectively.

Both of Dockal’s passes that led to the Union’s two goals were fine tuned and weighted excellently, summing up the majority of the Czech’s play throughout the night.

Borek Dockal. My pick for PFD’s Player of the Game.

Next Match

Philadelphia will travel to the Rose City on Saturday, August 4 to face the Portland Timbers at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. First kick is set for 11:00 P.M. ET and will be broadcasted on PHL17.