MLS Regular Season

29 June 12:17 pm

The weather for today’s practice was perfect, hot and sunny but with a cooling breeze coming off the water.

Everyone was in practice today with the exception of Fernando Aristeguieta who is still trying to come back from an ankle injury.

Practice began with passing drills, working on the long through balls on the ground while utilizing only two touches. This then shifted over to long air though balls, trying to get the balls to drop in past the defenders(training dummies).

Goalies were again working on bouncing ball and reaction saves, working more on saving balls that fall into the box.

Practice then switched over to a game of transition possession, with three separate teams trying to complete 10 passes while under duress from an opposing teams. Michael Lahoud and Sebastien Le Toux did not participate in this but instead worked on rehabbing and doing other strength and conditioning exercises.

The three teams broke down like this:

Green: Sheanon Williams, C.J. Sapong, Eric Ayuk, Jimmy McLaughlin, Steven Vitoria, Fabinho, Vincent Nogueira

Orange: Cristian Maidana, Ray Gaddis, Brian Carroll, Richie Marquez, Raymond Lee, Conor Casey, Antoine Hoppenot

Grey: Zach Pfeffer, Maurice Edu, Dzenan Catic, Andrew Wenger, Fred, Ethan White

This then turned into small-sided games on a shortened field. Orange won the first two games, green won the next two, and then grey won the final game. Antoine and Sheanon looked particularly good, both scoring for their respective teams.

27 June 6:16 pm

The Philadelphia Union take on the Montreal Impact at 7 p.m. tonight at PPL Park. Here is the lineup:

 

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Starters:

ST: C.J. Sapong, MLS start No. 76, Union start No. 7

LAM: Zach Pfeffer, MLS start No. 11, Union start No. 11

CAM: Cristian Maidana, MLS start No. 36, Union start No. 36

RAM: Eric Ayuk, MLS start No. 5, Union start No. 5

LDM: Brian Carroll, MLS start No. 310, Union start No. 122

RDM: Vincent Nogueira, MLS start No. 42, Union start No. 42

LB: Fabinho, MLS start No. 45, Union start No. 38

CB: Richie Marquez, MLS start No. 8, Union start No. 8

CB: Maurice Edu, MLS start No. 86, Union start No. 48

RB: Ray Gaddis, MLS start No. 96, Union start No. 96

GK: Brian Sylvestre, MLS start No. 9, Union start No. 9

Bench: Andre Blake, Sheanon Williams, Ethan White, Andrew Wenger, Fred, Antoine Hoppenot and Dzenan Catic.

 

Career Stats vs. Montreal:

C.J. Sapong (7 GP, 4 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Zach Pfeffer (0 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Cristian Maidana (2 GP, 1 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Eric Ayuk (0 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Brian Carroll (8 GP, 8 GS, 0 G, 1 A)

Vincent Nogueira (3 GP, 3 GS, 1 G, 0 A)

Fabinho (4 GP, 4 GS, 1 G, 0 A)

Richie Marquez (0 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Maurice Edu (3 GP, 3 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Ray Gaddis (6 GP, 6 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Brian Sylvestre (0 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

26 June 1:59 pm

The Philadelphia Union U-18s were in action again today for the final day of group play in the US Soccer Development Academy playoffs. The U-18s took on LA Galaxy’s U-18s in the final game for U-18 Group E.

The U-18’s game was first, playing against the LA Galaxy at 9 a.m.. The Union U-18s are unable to advance beyond the group stage, making this the final game for some members of the team.

Today’s lineup featured a bit of a shake-up, running a 4-1-4-1 formation with Yosef Samuel up top. This was Samuel’s first game action in the USSDA playoffs.

 The game started fast for the Union with Samuel getting off some good looks early and actually putting on into the goal in the 8th minute off of a long distance strike. After the goal, the game opened up more for both sides as both were playing for pride after being mathematically eliminated.

The Union continued to high press, even after the halftime break, causing some mayhem for the Galaxy. They took their foot off the gas a little bit but managed to keep it close. Towards the end, coach Peter Fuller started to put more on the seniors in, giving them the chance to play in their final game. They managed to hold the game as it was and when the final whistle blew, the Union had won 1-0.

26 June 11:48 am

Today was a good day for practice, with the weather being cool but humid, allowing the players to recover more and prepare for the game tomorrow.

Conor Casey, Dzenan Catic, and Michael Lahoud were all in practice today, though Lahoud only participated in warm-ups with the team before doing individual strength and conditioning work.

Practice opened up with triangle passing, working on the one touch pass and controlling the ball when if comes to their feet. Curtin stalked around the team as they did this, calling out mistakes and praising those who deserved it.

After the triangle passing, the team moved over to transition possession, where they had to complete at least ten passes before attempting to play it down to where the other team was waiting.

While this was going on, all three goalkeepers worked on their reflexes, especially pouncing on balls that bounce in the box.

Practice wrapped up with 10v9, where the team with 10 played without a keeper. The teams broke down like this:

Grey (10): Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Maurice Edu, Ray Gaddis, Vince Nogueira, Brian Carroll, Zach Pfeffer, Cristian Maidana, C.J. Sapong, and Eric Ayuk

Green (9): Sheanon Williams, Andrew Wenger, Ethan White, Antoine Hoppenot, Fred, Casey, Steven Vitoria, Catic, and Brian Sylvestre

After practice was over, the team voluntarily decided to work on shooting. Curtin told them the focus was getting it on goal rather than scoring a spectacular goal, something that should increase the number of rebounds in the box.

25 June 1:25 pm

Always nice to updates stats after three points. Today, let's take a look around the league and see where the Union and some players stack up.

C.J. Sapong -- consecutive games with a goal.

Union -- Franchise Games MLS -- 2015 Games
Jack McInerney (Sept/Oct 2012) 4 Charlie Davies (April-May) 4
Sapong (June-present) 4 Chris Wondolowski (May) 4
    Sapong 4
    Sebastian Lletget (active) 3
    Five others tied 3

 

 

 

 

C.J. Sapong -- goals per minute played

Player Team Min/goal Goals
Sebastian Lletget LA Galaxy 73 3
Anatole Abang NY Red Bulls 89.5 2
Chad Barrett Seattle 102 3
Sapong Philadelphia 108.2 6
Kei Kamara Columbus 111.8 12

 

 

 

 

 

  • Sapong is also tied for 9th in MLS with six goals scored. Kei Kamara leads the league with 12. Full list here.

Cristian Maidana -- assists

Player Team Assists
Ethan Finlay Columbus Crew SC 9
Benny Feilhaber Sporting Kansas City 8
Sebastian Giovinco Toronto FC 7
Clint Dempsey Seattle Sounders 6
Maidana Philadelphia 5
7 others tied   5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maurice Edu -- minutes played

Player Team Minutes
Bobby Boswell D.C. United 1625
Baggio Husidic LA Galaxy 1590
Perry Kitchen D.C. United 1571
Juninho LA Galaxy 1544
Omar Gonzalez LA Galaxy 1542
Edu Philadelphia 1530
6 others tied   1530

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Others Notables

  • Brian Sylvestre is tied for 10th in MLS in clean sheets with four. Full list here.
  • Andrew Wenger is tied for 6th in MLS in games played with 18.

Team Stats

  • Union are eighth in shots on goal (74) and 10th in goals scored (20).
  • They're second in goals scored (11) on the road.
  • Despite being last in MLS in goals allowed, the Union are the only team in the league not to concede a goal in the first 15 minutes.
  • They're 12th in MLS in average home attendance at 17,493.
24 June 6:13 pm

The Philadelphia Union take on the Seattle Sounders at 7 p.m. tonight at PPL Park. Here is the lineup:

 

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Starters:

ST: C.J. Sapong, MLS start No. 75, Union start No. 6

LAM: Andrew Wenger, MLS start No. 54, Union start No. 36

CAM: Cristian Maidana, MLS start No. 35, Union start No. 35

RAM: Zach Pfeffer, MLS start No. 10, Union start No. 10

LDM: Brian Carroll, MLS start No. 309, Union start No. 121

RDM: Vincent Nogueira, MLS start No. 41, Union start No. 41

LB: Fabinho, MLS start No. 44, Union start No. 37

CB: Richie Marquez, MLS start No. 7, Union start No. 7

CB: Maurice Edu, MLS start No. 85, Union start No. 47

RB: Sheanon Williams, MLS start No. 138, Union start No. 138

GK: Brian Sylvestre, MLS start No. 8, Union start No. 8

Bench: John McCarthy, Ray Gaddis, Ethan White, Eric Ayuk, Fred, Antoine Hoppenot and Dzenan Catic.

 

Career Stats vs. Seattle:

C.J. Sapong (5 GP, 3 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Andrew Wenger (3 GP, 3 GS, 1 G, 0 A)

Cristian Maidana (1 GP, 1 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Zach Pfeffer (0 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Brian Carroll (7 GP, 6 GS, 1 G, 0 A)

Vincent Nogueira (1 GP, 1 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Fabinho (0 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Richie Marquez (0 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Maurice Edu (1 GP, 1 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Sheanon Williams (5 GP, 5 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Brian Sylvestre (0 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

20 June 10:17 pm

The Union play the LA Galaxy for the only time this season at 10:30 tonight. Here is our lineup:

 

4-2-3-1

Starters:

ST: C.J. Sapong, MLS start No. 74, Union start No. 5

LAM: Andrew Wenger, MLS start No. 53, Union start No. 35

CAM: Cristian Maidana, MLS start No. 34, Union start No. 34

RAM: Zach Pfeffer, MLS start No. 9, Union start No. 9

LDM: Brian Carroll, MLS start No. 308, Union start No. 120

RDM: Vincent Nogueira, MLS start No. 40, Union start No. 40

LB: Sheanon Williams, MLS start No. 137, Union start No. 137

CB: Richie Marquez, MLS start No. 6, Union start No. 6

CB: Maurice Edu, MLS start No. 84, Union start No. 84

RB: Ray Gaddis, MLS start No. 95, Union start No. 95

GK: Brian Sylvestre, MLS start No. 7, Union start No. 7

 

Bench: John McCarthy, Raymond Lee, Ethan White, Fabinho, Fred, Jimmy McLaughlin, Antoine Hoppenot

 

Career Stats vs. LA

 

C.J. Sapong (5 GP, 3 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Andrew Wenger (3 GP, 1 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Cristian Maidana (0 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Zach Pfeffer (1 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Brian Carroll (19 GP, 18 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Vincent Nogueira (1 GP, 1 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Sheanon Williams (6 GP, 6 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Richie Marquez (0 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Maurice Edu (4 GP, 4 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Ray Gaddis (2 GP, 2 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Brian Sylvestre (0 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

18 June 7:49 am

Here is the team's injury report for this week:

 

Player Status Injury
Sebastien Le Toux QUESTIONABLE Left knee MCL sprain
Mike Lahoud QUESTIONABLE Right quad strain
Ferndando Aristeguieta QUESTIONABLE Left fibular contusion
Conor Casey QUESTIONABLE Left quad strain

 

The only new addition to the injury report is Le Toux who was injured after being subbed on in the U.S. Open Cup game on Tuesday against the Rochester Rhinos.

 

17 June 12:51 pm

Today was a great day for practice, with the sun staying out for long periods of time while the breeze came in off of the water.

Practice today was a relatively easy day, especially for yesterday's starters, most of whom play 120 minutes. The starters did some warm ups before ending early with some stretching and conditioning. 

Those who didn't start or are coming off of injuries proceeded to play small sided games with varying tasks. One of the people who returned to practice today was Conor Casey, his first game action since re-injuring his hamstring playing the New York Red Bulls.

Practice consisted mostly of various versions of 4v4. The first version was a normal 4v4 where Conor played offensively for both teams as an extra man. 

Those teams broke down like this:

 

Brian Carroll, Jimmy McLaughlin, Ethan White, and Raymond Lee in gray

Sheanon Williams, Fred, Eric Bird, and Antoine Hoppenot in orange 

 

The game then expanded to a half field where goalies were involved. This was a 3v2 set up where Antoine played offense on one end and Casey played offense on the other end. Everyone else were in teams of two and they rotated between moving forward against another team of two or defending against one.

Practice ended with a normal 4v4 with the exception of Conor and Antoine not allowed on to the defensive half of the field for their respective teams. Both Brian Sylvestre and Andre Blake looked good in goal.

After practice, Lee, McLaughlin, and Bird got some extra work in on receiving crosses. Antoine and Sheanon did extra conditioning work while Andre and Brian did some extra goal kicks.

 

15 June 4:31 pm

The Union held their weekly press conferece today, pushed ahead from the usual Wednesday spot due to the US Open Cup game agaisnt the Rochester Rhinos tomorrow. This week, John McCarthy was the player giving his thoughts on the upcoming week. Here are some of his highlights:

 

John, this is like old-home week – you go up against Reading and now Rochester, how are you feeling?
 
Yeah, it’s pretty cool. It will be nice to see the group of guys and my old coach – they mean a lot to me, the players, so it will be good to get back on the field with them, but that’s not going to be against them so it will be nice.
 
Is there any extra incentive -not that you need it- going up agaisnt your old team?
 
No, no – it’s just something that you look forward to and want to take advantage of it – and it doesn’t matter what team it will be, now it’s the Open Cup and it’s a nice tournament that would be something nice to win and this is the first step for it.
 
What can you tell us about Rochester – for fans and people that haven’t seen them play and don’t know any of their players.
 
Yeah, they got a good group of guys. This year, they’re undefeated I think in USL so they had a really good run so far in the regular season, and the Open Cup I think they already have a couple of wins under their belt against a few teams. So they have a good group of guys, a good core, and I think about 11-12 guys returning last year so it’s really good for them.
 
What’s the mindset for a USL team playing against an MLS team? Do they almost feel like they have nothing to lose?
 
Yeah, pretty much. I mean it’s kinda like you have nothing to lose and they might look at it as an opportunity for them to get a couple extra looks throughout the season – so they go out there and give it their all, come out with their best lineup, and we’re going to take it to them.
 
 
After McCarthy spoke, head coach Jim Curtin jumped up on the stand to give his weekly musings on the upcoming games. Here is some of what he said:
 

Jim how do you approach the lineup for a game like this?

Yeah, it’s a good team coming-in in Rochester. I’ve watched a bunch of tape on them; they don’t concede a lot of goals – they’ve only given up four and scored 16, they’re 8-0-4 so they haven’t been beat this year. We’re going to have to be on our game – can’t take them lightly. They’re a well-coached, organized team and they have a couple weapons. Fortunately, the Dos Santos kid – the striker – is suspended from the Harrisburg game. I don’t think they’ll press us in our building, but maybe they do, it’ll be something we’re ready for but I expect them to sit back a little bit, give us possession, and make us really have to break them down. Which will be a difficult task because they have some big bodies in there. They have guys that are MLS in one or two years and they’re guys with a chip on their shoulder – lot of familiar names if you go through their roster, a bunch of guys that are playing with edge right now and winning. It’ll be a tough task in terms of how we look at our squad – we’re going to have to field a team that is up to the task and without going into too many details into my lineup, it’s going to be a group that will go out and compete and a group that sets us up knowing that we do have a busy stretch. So there could be some younger guys that see minutes. 

Those early games in the US open cup last year – especially against Harrisburg – definitely weren’t a walk in the park. A lot of the guys who are on this team this year know that – are they taking that into account?

For sure, yeah. I’ve been warning them as much as possible all week. The early round games are in a lot of ways the toughest – because if you run into a Cosmos, or Rochester, this is a chance for them to knock off one of the higher league in terms of standings – they want to impress and say they belong in MLS as a team, as an individual. So that parts challenging – getting the guys motivated. The key is playing at a tempo and a speed that they’re not maybe used to – when MLS games get ramped up, it is faster, it is a stronger league, but there is any given day a team that can come in here and give you a tough time. Last year you saw it with Harrisburg and the Cosmos – those were our two toughest games – because they are still good teams, they both can play, the guys get paid to play, so they are professionals, as well. It’s challenging to get our guys to be ready for it, you see it so often though, these games become tricky, and MLS teams are going to lose in this round. That’s a fact. Someone is going to go down, it happens every year, and you have to do your best to prevent it. The advantage is we have a home game, we don’t have to travel which is good, and we have a big nice field we can play on. So we have to take care of business, it’s up to us to execute and go on the field and put together a good performance on a Tuesday night.

Does it help at all, having a guy like John (McCarthy) who understands the other side and the mentality that Rochester is going to bring into this?

Yeah, for sure.  He helps in the scouting, he helps in all the little things. So again, he’s a guy who has been on both sides – he can speak to how good of a team this Rochester group is – they weren’t as strong last year, but this year they have come in and really separated themselves from a lot of the other teams in the league and are doing really well. Again, we’re not going to have a let down or be caught off guard or underestimate them in any way. John has played both sides, obviously he wants to get a win now for Philadelphia.