Philadelphia Union

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.

03 June 10:10 am

It's a double-game week for the Union, starting tonight at 7 p.m. against Columbus Crew SC at PPL Park. The game will be broadcast on The Comcast Network. It's also the third game in an eight-day stretch, leaving Jim Curtin with a few tough management selections. The good news is the team is relatively healthy, perhaps the most they've been since the season opener back on March 7.

Player Status Injury
Andre Blake OUT Right knee menisectomy recovery
Mike Lahoud OUT Right quad strain
Antoine Hoppenot QUESTIONABLE Left hamstring strain
Conor Casey QUESTIONABLE Right quad strain
Steven Vitoria QUESTIONABLE Left knee strain

With Blake out, the keepers will be Brian Sylvestre and John McCarthy again. Lahoud's injury, also not a surpise, will likely continue to be filled by Brian Carroll. Lahoud will miss a game against his a good friend and national teammate Kei Kamara. If you missed today's story about the two building a school back home in Sierra Leone, check it out here.

Three questionables for tonight include Steven Vitoria. The center back last played April 25, the last time the Union played Crew SC. Vitoria has a shot to be in the 18 tonight, but all signs are pointing to another CB pairing of Maurice Edu and Richie Marquez.

For Columbus, they have three questionables in Wil Trapp, Chris Klute and backup keeper Matt Lampson. Trapp has been going through concussion symptoms and hasn't played since April 8, but has been back in training for roughly the last week-and-a-half.

The bigger news is Crew SC will be without center back Michael Parkhurst, who is suspended for one-game following a red card in Crew SC's prior game against Orlando City. He's started all 12 games this year and will likley be replaced by Tyson Wahl, alongside Emanuel Pogatetz.

02 June 6:19 pm

In today's press conference, team captain Maurice Edu spoke about the teams performance in the last game and thier focus moving forward. Here are some highlights from what he said:

On the team’s latest run of form

I think we’re starting to click at the right time. We had a difficult start in terms of results early on, but in saying that I wouldn’t say that we were playing terribly. I still think that we had a handful of games that we played pretty well at the start of the season, but we didn’t put together complete performances. We played well in those games, and ultimately in glimpses we came up short. So in the last three games, even in the DC game where we lost, we were proud of our performance. We felt that we put together a good performance over the course of the ninety minutes and in a couple small details we lost that game. But if we go out there and perform like that in the next couple games, we’re confident that we can get the results we want.

On the team’s momentum carrying over from their run of results

I think that the last few games have been a continuation of hard work. We’ve trained well and come into these games very confident, which I think has showed. We’re obviously disappointed not to win that game after going up early, and we thought we could have been up a couple of goals after that first half. From that standpoint we’re obviously disappointed but if you go back and watch the film, you can see that we still played well. We still created a lot of good chances, and defensively I thought we were pretty solid as a group. And again, we’re confident that if we play like that, we’ll get the run of results that we need.

 

After Edu spoke, head coach Jim Curtin jumped on the podium for his weekly presser. Here are a few of his highlights:

On the team’s reaction to the last loss against Columbus

 

Yeah, if you look at the season as a whole, the Columbus and Vancouver games were where we got outplayed and beat soundly. Columbus has a way of playing that when they get on you early and dictate the rhythm of the tempo of the game, they’re as good as anyone. They’ve had some unfortunate calls go against them with the red card and penalty against Michael Parkhurst that early in the game against Orlando, and to go on and still get that 2-2 result was impressive. They’ve had a little bit of an unlucky run lately but they’re a good team, a team we respect a great deal, and when they’re clicking on all cylinders they’re a handful. We’re fortunate to get them without Michael Parkhurst who I think is really an underappreciated center back in the league, not just for his defending but for his ability to possess and start their attack as one of the best passers in the league. So for them to be missing him is an advantage for us.

On the positives to take out of the loss against DC

Yeah, the guys are confident now, that is for sure. There’s a belief in the group and we’re healthy, at least as healthy as we’ve been. There’s some continuity in practice each week which goes a long way. I think the guys have worked hard and we’ve gotten a lot of good performances out of some veterans. I think that Brian Carroll’s quietly done a great job in stabilizing midfield. Vincent Nogueira’s back in the mix with Chaco and you guys have written about how important it is to have them both on the field at the same time. You sprinkle in some other guys having good performances and there’s a belief in the group. We know we’re not anywhere near where we want to be in the standings but at the same time we’ve looked like what we can show in the last three games. We can be a team that can play with anybody in the league and that’s the way we’re taking it. Now we have some games at home, 4 out of 5 in June and we need to go on a run if we want to put ourselves back in the playoff picture.

02 June 2:01 pm

Today’s practice was even colder and windier than yesterday, with temperatures on the field around 55 degrees. The conditions on the field were also lees than optimal as the grass has become waterlogged due to the heavy from the past two days. Players struggled to find their footing at first, slipping whenever they tried to make sharp cuts, but they managed to work past it after the first few minutes.

Curtin had the players practicing with passing the ball in triangles, working on the one touch passing that is so important in the pro game. The triangle passing was done at full speed, eventually integrating through balls for an added flourish.

During the drill, Curtin walked in and around the players, sometimes intentionally getting in the way, coaching patience and the importance of timing. Timing is key for the team as a majority of their offensive play comes off of counterattacks, using the through ball to deadly effect.

Andre Blake and Steven Vitoria were doing strength training during this time, working on overcoming their individual injuries. Vitoria was healthy enough to actually get some play in practice, participating in the transition possession drill and the 11-on-11 drills.

The transition possession drill had an added element of difficulty as the teams of seven players had to pass around the high press, completing 20 passes between them before they could pass it to the other end of the field.

Practice wrapped up with some light 11-on-11 and some practice with corners and shooting, with both Fernando Aristeguieta and Richie Marquez aggresively attacking the ball in the air.

01 June 12:37 pm

Practice today took place in less than optimal conditions, as the weather flipped between light rain and wind.

In preparation for a busy week, with a game on Wednesday and a game on Saturday, the team had a light practice, with many of the starters getting in some light cardio and passing before getting out early.

The rest of the players, those who are coming back from injury/were on the bench on Saturday, trained with players from Reading United and the academy teams who were brought up for the day.

The Union were buoyed by the fact that Steven Vitoria returned to training for the first time in three weeks, hopefully giving a boost of strength to a backline that hasn’t been fully healthy since the beginning of the season.

In terms of what occurred during practice, players participated in multiple passing and possession drills with an eye on trying to play in the counterattack. C.J. Sapong looked like a man possessed, working tirelessly both on and off the ball.

At the end of practice, each of the Reading and academy players attached themselves to a player, peppering them with questions and seeking advice about playing professionally in the MLS.

Eiður Guðjohnsen is still practicing with the Union, preparing to leave for Iceland later this week when they play in their Euro 2016 qualifiers.

 

Academy Players:

Will Campbell (Committed to the University of North Carolina)

Yosef Samuel

Sebastian Elney (Committed to the University of Maryland)

Derrick Jones

 

Reading Players:

Tim Lazorko

Keegan Rosenberry

Kyle Morton (GK)

 

30 May 4:15 pm

Philadelphia Union and D.C. United have met 13 prior times with both clubs winning five matches. Saturday's match will be the second between the two clubs this year. The Union won the first match 1-0, at PPL Park just two weeks ago thanks to a stoppage-time winner from Zach Pfeffer.

But here is today's starting lineup with career stats listed in parenthesis. It is Andrew Wenger's 50th career start in MLS.

4-2-3-1

GK: Brian Sylvestre (Game No. 4, start 4)
LB: Fabinho (Game No. 40, start 34)
LCB: Richie Marquez (Game No. 4, start 3)
RCB: Maurice Edu (Game No. 82, start 81)
RB: Sheanon Williams (Game No. 135, start 134)
LCDM: Brian Carroll (Game No. 328, start 306)
RCDM: Vince Nogueira (Game No. 39, start 37)
LAM: Andrew Wenger (Game No. 93, start 50)
CAM: Cristian Maidana (Game No. 37, start 31)
RAM: Sebastien Le Toux (Game No. 198, start 164)
ST: Fernando Aristeguieta (Game No. 10, start 10)

Bench: John McCarthy, Raymon Gaddis, Ethan White, Fred, Zach Pfeffer, Eric Ayuk, C.J. Sapong.

Career stats vs. D.C.

Brian Sylvestre (1 GP, 1 GS, 0 GA)
Fabinho (3 GP, 2 GS, 0G, 2A)
Richie Marquez (0 GP)
Maurice Edu (9 GP, 9 GS, 1G, 1A)
Sheanon Williams (9 GP, 9 GS, 0G, 3A)
Brian Carroll (15 GP, 15 GS, 1G, 1A)
Vince Nogueira (3 GP, 3 GS, 0G, 0A)
Andrew Wenger (4 GP, 3 GS, 0G, 0A)
Cristian Maidana (3 GP, 3 GS, 0G, 0A)
Sebastien Le Toux (13 GP, 11 GS, 5G, 3A)
Fernando Aristeguieta (0 GP)
 
Of particular note, Le Toux has thrived against D.C. while playing for the Union -- all career five goals and three assists have come when playing for the Union.
29 May 3:15 pm

Today was another hot day for practice, with the sun mercilessly beating down on the field. The weather seemed to reflect the mood of the players who were having a very good time, laughing and joking amongst each other.

That does not mean, however, that the team was goofing around or slacking off, as their intensity in practice was as high as it has been all season. Realizing that they can very possibly win the game against D.C. United on Saturday, the team practiced with upmost efficiency, talking and making crisp passes, while also calling out other players when they made a mistake.

The team worked a lot on keeping possession in transition, as well as winning it back in transition, with the team having to make ten passes against a high press before they could proceed.

Practice ended with practicing corner kicks, with Richie Marquez putting in a particularly good shift, as well as regular shootng practice and free kicks to round it all off.

Brian Sylvestre was back in goal today, preparing for the game this weekend, a welcome sight for the team as Sylvestre has posted back-to-back shutouts in the last two wins.

 

27 May 3:22 pm
River Cup V is a friendly, on field competition between the Union Front Office & Technical Staff and the Union Supporters Group the Sons of Ben.
 
Event Timeline: 
  • September 19th 2015
  • 10:00AM Union Ownership Game
  • 11:30AM RiverCup match
  • 3:00PM Delaware River Craft Brewfest
River Cup Proceeds benefit the Philadelphia Union Foundation! The Philadelphia Union Foundation provides opportunities for children through the power of relationships to offer transformational change in the areas of education, community, health and recreation. The Philadelphia Union Foundation believes that the 21st century presents enormous challenges for today's youth. It is our aim to have a positive impact on these children with respect to character development, academic performance and physical well-being. The Foundation will use soccer as a conduit for change by reinforcing character values of integrity, effort, accountability, and pride.
 
Tickets will go on sale June 15th! Stay tuned for the purchase information.
 
 
27 May 2:55 pm

Injury Report:

 

 

Player

Status

Injury

Andre Blake

Out

Right knee menisectomy recovery

Michael Lahoud

Out

Right Quad Strain

Steven Vitoria

Out

Left hamstring strain

Ray Gaddis

Questionable

Left ankle sprain

Jimmy McLaughlin

Questionable

Left ankle sprain

Conor Casey

Questionable

Left quad strain

Antoine Hoppenot

Questionable

Left hamstring strain

 

Practice:

On another gorgeous day for practice, the players once again could be seen training very hard. There were some faces missing, including starting goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre, and starting centerback Ethan White.

The Carolina RailHawks recalled Sylvestre yesterday so he could start in goal for the team in their U.S. Open Cup game that is being held tonight. While he will return Thursday, by playing for the RailHawks in the Open Cup means that he is “cup tied”. Being cup tied to the RailHawks prohibits him from playing for the Union in any U.S. Open Cup games.

White was inside working on his knee, doing some light workouts with the trainers.

As far as practice itself, Ray Gaddis was, for the most part, a full participant, along with Kyle Morton, a goalkeeper who was temporarily brought up from Reading United.

Most of practice involved different variations of 5-on-5 and 7-on-7, with a special emphasis on shooting. In between each of the team drills, Curtin had players break into groups to practice shooting from distance on each of the goals.

Both Cristian Maidana and Fernando Aristeguieta looked to be in top form, with Chaco playing some great balls into the forwards, and Aristeguieta finishing well, showing that he has returned from Venezuela in top form.

Joining the team for practice today was Icelandic superstar Eiður Guðjohnsen. Guðjohnsen will be practicing with the team for the next week as he trains for Iceland’s upcoming Euro Qualifiers. In the past, Guðjohnsen has played for teams such as Chelsea, Barcelona, Monaco and Tottenham. He currently plays for the Bolton Wanderers. 

 

27 May 9:51 am

In case you haven’t heard, both Brian Sylvestre AND Fabinho have made the MLS Team of the Week after their Week 12 performances against the New York Red Bulls.

Fabinho was getting the start in place of the injured Ray Gaddis and surpassed everyone’s expectations. In what Jim Curtin called his best game in a Union uniform, Fabinho had six interceptions and six clearances while providing an assist to C.J. Sapong after a great run done the left-hand side of the field. Fabinho was able to push forward while keeping the New York Red Bull’s Lloyd Sam from getting a shot on goal.

Sylvestre had another great game in goal, shutting out the Red Bulls for only the second time this season and the first time at home. He only had to make three saves but they were all key to the victory. His best save of the match came after Sacha Kljestan’s shot was deflected, making Sylvestre dive to his left, only for the ball to end up at Bradley Wright-Phillips feet. Wright-Phillips quickly shot towards the exposed half of goal but Sylvestre managed to kick his legs out and send the ball out of bounds instead.

Jim Curtin also recieved an honor this week, being selected as the MLS Coach of the Week for Week 12.