Philadelphia Union

12 June 1:19 pm

Practice today took place in conditions similar to what you would find in the Sahara desert. It was hot and dry, unusual considering the practice fields are 500 feet from the water and they usually get a breeze blowing inland.

Missing from practice today were Eric Ayuk, Jimmy McLaughlin, Eric Bird and Raymond Lee. All four went to go play with the Harrisburg City Islanders as they take on St. Louis FC in St. Louis.

Practice consisted mostly of a seven-on-seven drill where the two teams playing focused on possession and smart passing. For this version of seven-on-seven, the teams had to shoot into small goals placed around the field. Both Curtin and assistant coach Mike Sorber could be heard correcting individual players and any mistakes that were made.

The team then switched over to full-size goals for the last 15 minutes of practice, with John McCarthy, Andre Blake and Brain Sylvestre rotating in and out. Chaco looked particularly good today, playing great balls into the middle with both feet and finishing with a lot of technique.

Yosef Samuel joined the team for practice today. Samuel is a member of the Union’s U-18 Academy team.

10 June 1:04 pm

Today’s practice was HOT with temperatures on the field reaching above 95 degrees. Players were allowed to get a late start today after the friendly against Reading United yesterday, stating practice at 11 as opposed to 10.

Because it was so hot out, players were allowed to take it easy, especially in the early stages of practice when they do their strength and conditioning drills. Water breaks were frequent but not so frequent that they disrupted the flow of practice.

Michael Lahoud was back in practice today, fully participating for the first time since his injury against Toronto FC in early May. He looked very good for someone who hasn’t practiced in a month, and even stayed late to work on his passing and cutting.

The players did a lot of one touch possession passing, playing a 9-on-2 game where the nine outside players one touched passes to each other while trying to avoid the two who were running around in the middle trying to intercept the ball.

While they did that, the goalkeepers (all three of them) worked on their reflexes and their positioning on reflex saves. Andre Blake looked better today than he did all last week now that he has had a full week of practice under his belt.

Another familiar face was back in practice today as well, if only for a week. Danny Cruz was with the team today in practice, working to stay fit while his current team, FK Bodo/Glimt of Tippeligaen, is on international break. He is in town to visit his fiancé.

Practice ended with the team doing three separate line drills that had them work on their footwork, passing, and their first touch on the ball. All three lines were then directed towards goal where the three Union keepers tried to stop their shots.

10 June 9:32 am

Week 14 wasn't quite what Union fans envisioned, especially after a 3-0 triumph over Columbus Crew SC on Wednesday, but some Union players received some well-deserved accolades for last week's performances.

Start with forward C.J. Sapong, who scored a pair of goals this week against Columbus and New York City that earned him a nod on MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week. He now has four goals on the year and is third in MLS in goals scored per minute played.

The recent run of form has defender Sheanon Williams making some headlines. Another strong week for the resurgent right back placed him on Goal.com's Team of the Week.

Goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre posted his remarkable third clean sheet of his young career on Wednesday against Crew SC. He kept keep the game scoreless with a wonderful save on Aaron Schoenfeld in the first half. That earned him a nomination for the Save of the Week.

And some power rankings. The Union are No. 17 at Bleacher Report, No. 18 at ESPNFC and at MLSGB and finally, No. 20 at MLSsoccer.com.

09 June 5:11 pm

It doesn’t matter which way you cut it, Saturday’s 2-1 loss to New York City FC was certainly a disappointing result. But some of the advanced stats do point to Saturday being one of the Union’s top performances this season, at least offensively.

The Union had season-highs in shots on target (7) and passing accuracy in the final third (75.4 percent). They also approached season-highs in passing accuracy at 79.5 percent (second), crosses with 32 (second), chances created with 11 (third) and attempted shots with 12 (fourth).

So, let’s see where they stack up against the rest of MLS in some categories.

Team Possession Passing Accuracy Total Shots Chances Created
New York Red Bulls 54.9 (1st) 75.5 (15th) 14.2 (3rd) 10.1 (8th)
Seattle Sounders FC 54.3 (2nd) 80.2 (3rd) 10.2 (18th) 7.6 (18th)
Orlando City SC   53.7 (3rd) 82.6 (1st) 11.9 (12th) 8.4 (13th)
New York City FC 53.4 (4th) 77.2 (7th) 12.9 (9th) 10.1 (9th)
LA Galaxy 52.8 (5th) 76.3 (11th) 10.6 (17th) 7.9 (16th)
D.C. United 52.0 (6th) 76.8 (8th) 10.9 (15th) 7.6 (19th)
Portland Timbers 51.6 (7th) 79.9 (4th) 13.4 (6th) 10.3 (6th)
Columbus Crew SC 51.3 (8th) 81.7 (2nd) 14.4 (2nd) 11.5 (2nd)
Real Salt Lake   50.9 (9th) 75.8 (14th) 9.9 (20th) 6.7 (20th)
Chicago Fire   50.2 (10th) 78.3 (6th) 15.5 (1st) 12.1 (1st)
Sporting Kansas City 49.9 (11th) 75.8 (13th) 13.1 (7th) 10.9 (3rd)
Houston Dynamo   48.5 (12th) 76.1 (12th) 12.3 (10th) 8.7 (10th)
Colorado Rapids   48.3 (13th) 74.4 (17th) 13.8 (5th) 10.6 (5th)
New England Revolution 48.3 (14th) 74.6 (16th) 11.0 (14th) 8.4 (12th)
Montreal Impact   48.2 (15th) 79.0 (5th) 12.1 (11th) 8.1 (14th)
FC Dallas 46.9 (16th) 74.1 (19th) 10.1 (19th) 7.9 (17th)
San Jose Earthquakes 46.5 (17th) 74.2 (18th) 11.6 (13th) 8.5 (11th)
Philadelphia Union 45.8 (18th) 73.8 (20th) 10.8 (16th) 8.0 (15th)
Toronto FC 45.5 (19th) 76.7 (9th) 13.0 (8th) 10.1 (7th)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 45.4 (20th) 76.4 (10th) 14.1 (4th) 10.9 (4th)

As we documented earlier in the year in this blog, possession isn't detrimental strictly on it's own. Teams like Toronto and Vancouver have created plenty of scoring chances regardless of the amount of possession they have per game. But, this possibly stems from increased accuracy in passing. Furthermore, look at the Fire, who lead the league in total shots and chances created, while only have league-average possession.

Regardless, the Union have continued to put together better numbers in all of these categories when they've been able to feature a healthy Cristian Maidana and Vincent Nogueira.

Finally, one last number to push along is the resurgence of forward C.J. Sapong. Since returning from a month-long absence, Sapong has bagged three goals in four games and is now third in MLS in goals per minute played.

Player Minutes per goal Goals
Chad Barrett (SEA) 102 3
Kei Kamara (CLB) 116.2 10
C.J. Sapong (PHI) 117.3 4
Will Bruin (HOU) 124.7 7
Jozy Altidore (TOR) 131.8 5
Krisztian Nemeth (SKC) 135.3 6
Cyle Larin (ORL) 137.6 5
Clint Dempsey (SEA) 138 7
Chris Wondolowski (SJ) 147.3 8
Obafemi Martins (SEA) 150 6

 

09 June 10:04 am

The Philadelphia Union were off on Monday and goalkeeper John McCarthy spent his time at duPont Hospital in Wilmington, Del.

The 22-year-old Philadelphia native surprised one patient, Cameron McCarthy (no relation), to drop off a few gifts and even brought some hair clippers. The Union goalkeeper then let his new friend shave off all of his hair.

 

Cameron shaves John McCarthy's head at the hospital! #TeamCameron

Posted by Philadelphia Union on Monday, June 8, 2015

 

To help support Cameron and her fight, you can visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/teamcameron111 and can donate at http://www.gofundme.com/w5d79c. And if you missed it, here's MyFoxPhilly's story. #TeamCameron

 

 

Had a great day today with my new friend #fightlikeagirl #TEAMCAMERON

A photo posted by John McCarthy (@jmacdaddy77) on

08 June 2:15 pm

As many of you probably know, tonight the United States Women's National Team plays its first game of the 2015 Women's World Cup agaisnt Australia. The game will take place in WInnipeg, Canada at 7:30 p.m and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1. In the interest of supporting the USWNT and the Women's World Cup, we asked a couple of the players to give their predictions on what the score will be tonight.

Here is what they said:

 

Sheanon Williams: 2-0, USA wins

C.J. Sapong: 3-1, USA wins

Vince Nogueira: 2-0, USA wins

Michael Lahoud: 4-1, USA wins

Sebastien Le Toux: 2-0, USA wins

Ray Gaddis: 4-0, USA wins

John McCarthy: 3-0, USA wins

Brian Sylvestre: 3-0, USA wins

Zach Pfeffer: 2-0, USA wins

Richie Marquez: 2-0, USA wins

Ethan White: 3-1, USA wins

 

It isn't surprising that the Union all picked the USWNT to win as they are viewed as one of the favorites to win the tournament. The team finished in second in the last Women's World Cup in Germanny in 2011, losing in penalty kicks to Japan. The team then went on to win the gold in the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

 

06 June 6:10 pm

Philadelphia Union and New York City FC have met twice so far this season, with the Union winning the first game and playing to a draw in the second, with Saturday's match being the third between the two clubs this year. The Union won the first match 2-1 at PPL Park, and then drew 1-1 with NYCFC five days later in Yankee Stadium.

Here is today's starting lineup with career stats listed in parenthesis.

 

4-2-3-1

 

GK: Brian Sylvestre (Game No. 6, start 6)

LB: Fabinho (Game No. 42, start 36)

LCB: Richie Marquez (Game No. 6, start 5)

RCB: Maurice Edu (Game No. 84, start 83)

RB: Sheanon Williams (Game No. 137, start 136)

LCDM: Brian Carroll (Game No. 330, start 308)

RCDM: Vince Nogueira (Game No. 41, start 39)

LAM: Andrew Wenger (Game No. 95, start 52)

CAM: Cristian Maidana (Game No. 39, start 33)

RAM: Sebastien Le Toux (Game No. 200, start 166)

ST: C.J. Sapong (Game No. 120,start 73)

 

Bench: John McCarthy, Raymon Gaddis, Ethan White, Fred, Zach Pfeffer, Eric Ayuk, Jimmy McLauhglin

 

Career stats vs. NYCFC

Brian Sylvestre (0 GP)

Fabinho (0 GP)

Richie Marquez (0 GP)

Maurice Edu (2 GP, 2 GS, 0G, 1A)

Sheanon Williams (2 GP, 2 GS, 0G, 0A)

Brian Carroll (0 GP)

Vince Nogueira (2 GP, 2 GS, 1G, 0A)

Andrew Wenger (2 GP, 2 GS, 0G, 0A)

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

Sebastien Le Toux (2 GP, 2 GS, 0G, 0A)

C.J. Sapong (2 GP, 0 GS, 1G, 0A)

05 June 2:07 pm

Practice today, much like the weather gradually warmed up as it went along. Players got out on the field around 10 and proceeded to do stretches and other conditioning work before breaking down into passing drills.

While the players warming up, the goalkeepers were practicing, with Brian Sylvestre, John McCarthy and Andre Blake all fully participating.

The team focused on quick, one touch passing before moving over to transition possession. The team broke down into three separate squads of seven men, with each team having to complete ten passes, with two touches on the ball before passing it up.

While the team was doing the drills, Curtin was coaching them up, telling them to keep their composure on the ball and to wait for passing lanes to open up before giving the ball up so that they aren’t forcing the pass.

Mike Lahoud was doing strength and conditioning, trying to recover from his injury so he get back to practicing with the team.

Practice ended with the starters going up against a scout team made up of the bench players. The team worked on moving the ball around in the midfield while under game-like pressure, trying to play the ball in over the top.

Following that, the team practiced corners and shooting, with McCarthy in goal as Sylvestre did some extra conditioning work.

After practice, Maurice Edu and Curtin both participated in an event for the Special Olympics. Both of them carried the Special Olympics flame which is making its way across the country to Los Angeles, where the 2015 Special Olympic World Games are being held.

04 June 6:19 pm

Here are a few highlights from twitter following the Union's 3-0 win on Wednesday night

 

 

04 June 1:50 pm

Today’s practice started out with some very good news for the Union. Just when they thought things couldn’t get any better after a dominating performance against Columbus Crew SC, goalkeeper Andre Blake was a participant in practice today.

For the work that he did in the goalkeeping drills, Blake looked sharp, showing good movement and dexterity on his knee. The spring is definitely back in his step, showing off how he is able to jump and cut without any issues.

The mood at practice today was lighthearted, joking around yet playing with the passion of a team that has won three out of four games and wants to win more.

Vince Nogueira and the rest of the starters had a light day today, participating in only the passing drills before doing some strength and conditioning work. Instead of joining the starters in the passing drills, Nogueira spent some extra time running and jogging around the field, looking to maintain the fitness he has showed in the past couple of games.

The passing and movement drills today deal with playing the long ball, with the added focus of staying onsides. When the starters left to go work on conditioning, the players who were on the bench and those coming back form injury did 4v5 drills, playing on a field that was a third of the size of a normal pitch.

Steven Vitoria fully participated in these drills, playing as the facilitator for both teams, and was not allowed to score.

The teams broke down like this:

Green: Jimmy McLaughlin, Ethan White, Zach Pfeffer, Eric Bird

Gray: Eric Ayuk, Fred, Ray Gaddis, Raymond Lee

Both teams played well and really got after the ball but the star was Lee, who showed off some of his shooting skills while playing from his traditional defensive position.