Team

22 July 2:59 pm

For those of you who don't know, the Union beat the New York Red Bulls in penalty kicks yesterday after going down a man in the first half. You can read the recap of the game here but in the mean time, take a look at some of the highlights from Twitter during/after the game:

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 July 6:20 pm

The Philadelphia Union take on the D.C. United 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. 77, Union start No. 8

LAM: Andrew Wenger, MLS start No. 55, Union start No. 37

CAM: Cristian Maidana, MLS start No. 37, Union start No. 37

RAM: Sebastien Le Toux, MLS start No. 167, Union start No. 124

LDM: Brian Carroll, MLS start No. 312, Union start No. 123

RDM: Vincent Nogueira, MLS start No. 43, Union start No. 43

LB: Fabinho, MLS start No. 46, Union start No. 39

CB: Richie Marquez, MLS start No. 9, Union start No. 9

CB: Maurice Edu, MLS start No. 87, Union start No. 49

RB: Ray Gaddis, MLS start No. 97, Union start No. 97

GK: Brian Sylvestre, MLS start No. 10, Union start No. 10

Bench: John McCarthy, Sheanon Williams, Ethan White, Zach Pfeffer, Fred, Antoine Hoppenot, Conor Casey

 

Career Stats vs. Portland

C.J. Sapong (5 GP, 4 GS, 1 G, 1 A)

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

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

Sebastien Le Toux (6 GP, 6 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Brian Carroll (5 GP, 5 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

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

Fabinho (2 GP, 1 GS, 0 G, 3 A)

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

Maurice Edu (1 GP, 1 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)

10 July 3:56 pm
This Saturday, the Philadelphia Union will play host to the Portland Timbers, a red hot team that has won six of their last seven games, only losing 5-0 against the LA Galaxy. With the exception of that game, Portland has allowed only two goals in their last six contests.
 
In a season where Diego Valeri and Will Johnson have missed significant games, the Timbers have been forced to rely on a steady defense in an increasingly competitive Western Conference. Despite the significant attacking talents around the league, Portland’s backline has stood up to the test, allowing only 1.05 goals a game. This defensive effort has been achieved through a variety of factors, most notably the outstanding play of center backs Liam Ridgewell and Nat Borchers. While they are a ruthlessly effective pairing, Ridgewell and Borchers go about their play in drastically different styles, and the numbers back it up. 
 
Liam Ridgewell is a highly mobile and active center back, as evidenced by his 131 clearances (2nd most in MLS), 74 recoveries, 11 blocks, and 25 interceptions. He has additionally won 65 duels, 34 of which were in the air, giving him a ground duel percentage of 59.5% and an aerial duel percentage of 69.4%, both of which are outstanding numbers amongst MLS center backs. Ridgewell has achieved these numbers using his high motor and strong frame to break up plays all over his team’s defensive half. But despite Ridgewell’s tremendous energy and mobility, he is a less refined passer of the ball, with a total passing accuracy of 77.3% and an attacking half accuracy rate of 60.7%.
 
Meanwhile, Nat Borchers has adapted his game to accommodate Ridgewell’s strengths and weaknesses. While his partner is quick to move up the field and breakup play, Borchers uses his positional awareness to fill in holes away from the ball and maintain Portland’s defensive shape. This more conservative and disciplined playing style has led to reduced numbers (88 clearances and seven tackles won), but has been quietly effective in its own right. Because of his tendency to hold shape, Borchers has accumulated 20 blocks over the course of the season. And most notably, he has only conceded six fouls and has yet to earn a card in his sixteen games played thus far, a key reason that Portland is dead last in fouls conceded per game. Borchers has also bolstered Portland’s attack in utilizing his distribution ability, with a total passing accuracy of 87.7%.
 
Despite their differences, Liam Ridgewell and Nat Borchers have become one of the most feared and respected center back pairings that MLS has to offer. Their partnership has boosted Portland to third in the West, and the Union attack must come in well prepared in oder to have a chance at breaking them down.
 
01 July 11:10 am

So, here we are. 19 games into the 2015 MLS season, just over halfway done. What do we think?

Wait, don’t answer that. You’re probably not very happy, right? I mean the team is only 5-10-4, not exactly a record that makes you smile and say “I think we have a chance to win the MLS Cup this year”.

So sure, the record might not be great. We’ve let up far too many goals, something that head coach Jim Curtin and many other members of the team have admitted to. Sure, there are times this year when the Union have struggled to score goals, with some of the team's best players going through goal droughts.

But nobody is hiding those facts.

In the first 11 games, the Union went 1-7-3, only scoring 10 goals while conceding 21. That isn’t exactly a recipe for success. However, it’s important to remember injuries have nearly paralyzed the team throughout the first 3-4 months of the season. Take the goalkeeper position, where Brian Sylvestre, a player who started the season essentially as the team's fourth-string goalkeeper, has been forced into action. That doesn’t mean Sylvestre is playing bad, he’s been very good since joining the team on loan from the Carolina RailHawks, but his playing time was the result of a combination of poor form and a series of freak injuries, forcing the team to look elsewhere.

In the nine games that Sylvestre has played, he has only allowed 14 goals, and that includes the blowout losses to Vancouver Whitecaps and Los Angeles Galaxy (eight goals allowed in the two games combined) that weren’t entirely his fault. In fact, he had seven saves against Vancouver, which at the time, was tied for the league-high in a single game this season.

So while Sylvestre has been having himself a good season, he isn’t the only one. The team looked itself in the mirror after the Vancouver loss and decided things needed to change.

Since the game against Vancouver on May 9, the Union have gone 4-3-1 in league play and 2-0 in the US Open Cup for a combined record of 6-3-1. In those 10 games, they have scored 14 goals while only allowing 12, leaving the team with a positive goal differential for that stretch. That includes a 5-1 drubbing to LA Galaxy.

Key offseason acquisition C.J. Sapong has found his form, scoring five of his six goals in that stretch. Sheanon Williams has roared to life, solidifying his spot at right back with a couple of very impressive performances while Fabinho has played out of his skin at left back since coming on for an injured Ray Gaddis on May 17.

The resurgence of Brian Carroll and the technical midfield duo of Cristian Maidana and Vincent Noguiera have helped to lock down the center of the pitch, giving more room to the players on the wings to maneuver around opponents.

Oh and Maurice Edu -- the team’s captain? He’s quietly having one of the best seasons of his career, anchoring the backline with Richie Marquez, the Union’s version of Sergio Ramos (hair and all).

While some would try to take away from this Union team, keep trying to look at the positives rather than the negatives. Yes the season started poorly, but since the middle of May, they’ve been playing like one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference, something that shows in the fact that the New England Revolution, who sit in second, are only five points ahead of the Union in the standings (and they're even in games played).

So as we prepare to enter the second half of the season, enter it thinking about how this team primed to string together a run of results and how at the end of it. Who knows, they may be driving down the streets of Philadelphia holding not one, but two pieces of hardware.

30 June 6:31 pm

The Philadelphia Union take on the D.C. United at 7 p.m. tonight at PPL Park. Here is the lineup:

 

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Starters:

ST: C.J. Sapong

LAM: Andrew Wenger

CAM: Cristian Maidana

RAM: Eric Ayuk

LCDM: Brian Carroll

RCDM: Vincent Nogueira

LB: Sheanon Williams

CB: Richie Marquez

CB: Maurice Edu

RB: Ray Gaddis

GK: John McCarthy 

Bench: Andre Blake, Fabinho, Ethan White, Zach Pfeffer, Fred, Antoine Hoppenot, Jimmy McLaughlin

 

Career Stats vs. DC

C.J. Sapong (9 GP, 4 GS, 1 G, 0 A)

Andrew Wenger (5 GP, 4 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Cristian Maidana (4 GP, 4 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Eric Ayuk (2 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Brian Carroll (16 GP, 16 GS, 1 G, 0 A)

Vincent Nogueira (4 GP, 4 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Sheanon Willams (10 GP, 10 GS, 0 G, 3 A)

Richie Marquez (1 GP, 1 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

Maurice Edu (10 GP, 10 GS, 1 G, 1 A)

Ray Gaddis (5 GP, 5 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

John McCarthy (0 GP, 0 GS, 0 G, 0 A)

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 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.

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.