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 Preview — Matchday Promo: NYCFC vs. Philadelphia Union

Match Coverage, Match Preview, News, Union, UnionFanTV

Before each Philadelphia Union Matchday, Philly Football Daily Executive Video Producer Andrew Treves brings you the sights and sounds from the Union’s last time out.  

Andrew Treves captured the sights and sounds from the stands, concourse and field during the Philadelphia Union’s last meeting with the New York City Football Club. Check it:


Wednesday Roundup — October 24, 2018

News, Roundup

News Roundups are posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning with quick hits on what you may have missed and what is still to come in The Beautiful Game.

Here’s what you may have missed and what is still developing. And, as always, here’s to helping bring you, the Fan, up to speed and Ahead of the Game.

High School Soccer 

PIAA 4A Playoffs

No. 24 Penn Wood was edged by No. 9 Unionville, 1-0, in the opening of the PIAA District I 4A Playoffs on Tuesday night. Unionville senior forward Tom Kelly added the game’s winning goal. Kelly’s goal came inside the first 11 minutes.

Penn Wood (12W, 7L) outshot Unionville (14W, 1L, 1D) nine to seven on the night, but the Patriots were unable to break the Indians’ staunch backline through the remaining 80 minutes of Tuesday’s game. Penn Wood finishes its season having won the DelVal Title for a fifth time in six years while Unionville advances in the tournament.

Next up for the Indians is a pivotal match on Thursday night against No. 8 Harrison, the lowest ranked of the remaining four Central Athletic League teams represented in this year’s tournament.

No. 20 Haverford fell to Cesar May and No. 13 Downingtown East, 2-1, on Tuesday night. May played both hero and helper, scoring on a free kick in the 54th minute before assisting on the game’s eventual winner later in the contest. Fords’ senior Alex Reardon notched the lone goal for the visitors in the 80th minute.

Downingtown East (14W, 1L, 1D) advances to play No. 4 Abington on Thursday night while Haverford’s (11W, 8L) season comes to an end.

Entering the District One tournament along with top-seeded Conestoga on Thursday are Central Athletic League rivals No. 5 Lower Merion, No. 7 Radnor and No. 8 Harriton.

Conestoga will begin its quest for another PIAA State Championship when it hosts No. 16 Council Rock North at Teamer Field on Thursday night.

Lower Merion will play host to No. 12 Owen J. Roberts.

Radnor will host No. 10 West Chester Henderson, in what is a touted matchup of two district giants.

Harriton will welcome in-form Unionville.

Check out the rest of the PIAA District I 4A bracket here.

College Soccer 

Nothing Separating Temple, Penn on Tuesday

There was nothing to separate the men’s soccer teams of Temple University and The University of Penn after 110 minutes of scoreless, grueling soccer played at Temple’s Sports Complex on Tuesday night.

Temple nearly notched the game’s winning goal in the 110th minute, but senior Belal Mohamed was deemed offside just moments after. Penn edged Temple in shots (16 to 14) on the night, but the Quakers were unable to beat Owls’ keeper Simon Lefebvre. Lefebvre earned his sixth clean sheet of the campaign.

Temple (4W, 8L 4D) will play its last game of the season on Saturday, October 27, an American Athletic Conference game against Tulsa. Before the game, the Owls’ program will recognize its six seniors for Senior Night. Kick off is slated for 7:00 PM EST.

Next up for the Quakers (2W, 4L, 6D) is an important Ivy League game at Rhodes Field against Brown. Penn currently sits winless at the bottom of the Ivy League. A win would see the Quakers move past the Bears in the league.

Senior Day, Soccer Six Showdown Between Drexel and St. Joe’s

Drexel University Men’s Soccer team will recognize its seniors tonight, at 6:00 PM EST, before hosting their season finale at Vidas Field. Tonight’s game is a crucial Soccer Six showdown with city rivals Saint Joseph’s University.

Drexel (8W, 5L, 3D) will be playing for more than just pride and its seniors in the Dragons’ last game. A share of the Philadelphia Soccer Six league championship is still at stake.

Saint Joseph’s (8W, 5L, 2D) enters tonight’s contest having won eight games during the current campaign. It is the program’s most wins in a season since 2003. Saint Joe’s offense features three of the four best scorers in the city and is led by Alvin Dahn. Dahn has bagged seven goals and eight assists this year.

Drexel leads the all-time series with Saint Joseph’s, with 30 wins, 13 defeats and four draws. In the last meeting at Vidas Field, on September 22, 2015, the Hawks and Dragons settled for a scoreless draw.

Philadelphia Union 

Homegrown Trio Receive Under-20 Call-Ups

On Tuesday, Philadelphia Union’s Homegrown triumvirate, comprising defenders Matt Real and Mark McKenzie as well as midfielder Anthony Fontana, received call-ups to the United States Under-20 National Team. Philly’s trio will represent the U20s in their upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign. Qualifying will run from November 1 to 21 in Florida.

Head coach Tab Ramos selected the three Union players to his list of 20 players that have been called upon to represent the USYNT in its campaign to qualify for the 2019 U20 World Cup.

Real, McKenzie and Fontana will link up with former Philadelphia Union Youth Academy teammate, goalkeeper C.J. dos Santos who is currently plying his trade in Portugal with the S.L. Benfica U19 team.

Philadelphia, with three players in Ramos’ squad, is the most represented of any Major League Soccer team. Only FC Dallas has more than one player selected to represent the top-seeded Americans in the qualifying tournament.

Only the top-four teams, in the qualifying campaign that consists of 34 nations, will qualify for U20 World Cup in South Korea. The World Cup will be played from May 23 to June 15.

Major League Soccer

MLS Players’ Association Releases Updated Salary Guide

Last night, the MLS Players’ Association released its updated Players’ Salary Guide for the current season. It is the sixth straight year that the MLSPA has disclosed the Guide.

MLSPA’s Players’ Salary Guide contains salary information of every player under contract in the league (as of September 15). Check out the complete guide, comprising MLS players’ base salary and annual average guaranteed compensation here.

Atlanta’s Martino Denies Contract Extension

It’s official.

Ending weeks of speculation, Atlanta United announced that head coach Tata Martino will not be returning to The Five Stripes in 2019. Martino has denied a contract extension that was proposed by the club.

Following United’s playoff run, Martino and Atlanta will part ways and explore other options. According to the club’s release, Martino made the decision to move on due to “personal reasons.”

No further comments have been made regarding his future. Martino has been rumored for the Mexican National Team job. Atlanta United is currently first in the Eastern Conference with 69 points and on pace to win the MLS Supporters’ Shield.

U.S. Soccer

Sargent Scores Game-Winner in Bremen Friendly

Weeks after scoring the lone goal for the United States Men’s National Team in its friendly against Peru, Josh Sargent, 18, scored a winning goal for his club, Werder Bremen.

Sargent’s goal came in the 86th minute of a friendly against Bundesliga 2. outfit DSC Arminia Bielefeld, and it looked a little something like this:

Thank you for checking out Wednesday’s News Roundup. Check back here, on Friday morning, for all the latest happening in The Beautiful Game. Until then, Cheers.


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.

Three Takeaways — Philadelphia Union vs. NYCFC

Opinion, Three Takeaways

Welcome back to another edition of Three Takeaways, a segment in which I dive in after each Philadelphia Union match, revisit and take a closer look at what went well and what ultimately did not.

On Saturday, August 18, the New York City FC came to Talen Energy Stadium to take on the Philadelphia Union. Philly came out firing in the second half, winning the game, 2-0, after goals from Cory Burke and Ilsinho.

17,594 was Saturday’s attendance for what felt like a MLS Playoff atmosphere, with traveling fans taking up nearly two sections at TES and making their presence known for most of the game.

It was an exciting match in Chester, and there’s a lot to talk about. I’ll get right to it.

Performance of the Year?

It’s a HUGE result for the Union.

Going into the match, the Union sat fifth in the Eastern Conference and seemingly without a prayer of reaching fourth. Following the victory on Saturday, the Union now reside just six points from Columbus Crew SC in fourth.

Philly visibly dominated New York in the second half, after holding their own in the first. In the second half, the Union peppered eight shots on Sean Johnson with four SOG, while holding the visitors to just four shots on Andre Blake with one SOG.

Jim Curtin’s side worked as a team and looked complete for the first time in a long time.

C.J. Sapong did the dirty work on the right side, winning several aerial duels.

David Accam went on several blistering runs down the left flank, while Bořek Dočkal and Alejandro Bedoya worked the passing lanes and clogged the middle of the park. Dočkal earned both assists on the night, his fourth and fifth in the last five games.

Right now, it’s still probably a stretch to say that the Union catch Columbus in fourth, but if Curtin’s team continues to play like it did on Saturday, the new-look Union might just be the best side fans have seen in a while.

David Accam is BACK

Apparently penciling Accam down as Man of the Match is considered a hot take, seeing as the club’s list comprised Dočkal, Ray Gaddis, Burke, and Ilsinho. But let’s take a step back and analyze what he did.

In the 68 minutes that Accam played, the Ghanaian made himself a highlight reel. Accam raced up and down the field time and time again, nabbing three shots on goal in three shots, and showing off his sheer pace against the NYCFC defenders.

In all honesty, if Accam lasted the full 90 minutes, he probably could’ve finished and put the ball in the back of the net.

That being said, I do like Curtin’s like-for-like switch, with Ilsinho coming on for Accam. Ilsinho added an entirely different component to the game, and was able to make New York City’s defense miss, instead of just running around them, forcing them to adjust.

All the same, Accam, in my opinion, had a much better game overall when it came to wearing down the defense and forcing the NYCFC defense into uncomfortable situations. For me, the Ghanaian was the best player on the field Saturday.

How Did the 4-3-3 Work?

For the first time, in what feels like forever, Curtin altered his formation, rolling with a 4-3-3, instead of the usual 4-2-3-1.

Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the 4-2-3-1. Having a lone striker is just that, alone. Sapong has, at times, had nobody around him, making it harder for last season’s top-scorer to find the back of the net.

However, with the 4-3-3, Burke is given much-needed help up top from Sapong and Accam, and later Ilsinho. For most of Saturday’s game, New York’s backline was overloaded by the Union’s triumvirate. Philly, with three men up front, was given more flexibility.

Sapong tracked back at times to help defensively, allowing Burke to stay up top, and Accam to make runs. Each of the three players were put into positions where they flexed their strengths, which ultimately aided the Union’s midfield and attack.

Now, there is a chance that Curtin will revert back to his favored 4-2-3-1. Admitting that you could be better is important, and exploring ways to become better is just as critical. Hopefully, the Front Office recognizes this, and will continue to explore new alleys including staying with the 4-3-3.

Please be sure to check back here, next Saturday when Lister analyzes the Union’s performance against the visiting New England Revolution at Talen Energy Stadium. Until then, cheers.