Blog

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 3:19 pm

All 20 MLS teams are playing again this weekend. Here is the schedule for this weekend's games:

Friday May 29th

Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas, 9:00 p.m.

Saturday May 30th

Toronto FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 5:00 p.m.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Real Salt Lake, 6:00 p.m.

D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union, 7:00 p.m.

New York City F.C. vs. Houston Dynamo, 7:00 p.m.

Orlando City SC vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

Chicago Fire vs. Montreal Impact, 8:30 p.m.

Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers 9 p.m.

Sunday May 31st

Seattle Sounders vs. New York Red Bulls, 5:00 p.m.

New England Revolution vs. LA Galaxy, 7:00 p.m.

Here are some quick notes about each game:

Sporting Kansas City (4-2-6) vs. FC Dallas (6-3-3)

Sporting KC look to continue their good run of games after managing to play Seattle to a 0-0 draw on Saturday. The entire team has been solid lately, with three players making the MLS Team of the Week for Week 12. FC Dallas have also been playing well even though they are coming off a tough loss to Montreal. They are currently in the middle of a five game road trip over 42 days, the longest such trip without a home game in franchise history.

Toronto FC (4-5-1) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (5-4-3)

San Jose is coming off a hard fought draw in primetime on Sunday against an in-form Orlando City team. Chris Wondolowski continued to put the ball into the back of the net, scoring his team’s only goal and his 100th goal in his MLS career, making him only the ninth player ever to do so. For Toronto this is their second home game in a row, winning last week against the Portland Timbers. Without injured forward  Jozy Altidore the past two weeks, their other designated players, Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco, have stepped up and scored the goals for the team.

Vancouver Whitecaps (6-5-2) vs. Real Salt Lake (4-4-5)

With six wins through 13 games, the Whitecaps are off to a great start, and are currently sitting in third in the Western Conference, one point behind FC Dallas. They are coming off a 1-0 loss against the best defensive team in the MLS, the Colorado Rapids. Real Salt Lake is coming off a 2-0 home win against NYCFC, a game where midfielder John Stertzer scored his first MLS goal and goalkeeper Nick Rimando kept another clean sheet.

New York City FC (1-7-4) vs. Houston Dynamo (4-5-4)

Though New York City are coming off a loss to Real Salt Lake, it is only their twelfth game as a franchise and are still trying to move pieces around. With players like Mix Diskerud, David Villa, and soon-to-be-joining Frank Lampard, the club can only improve. Houston are coming off a late loss to an LA Galaxy team that used Robbie Keane as a sub in the second half. The Dynamo have been tough on the defensive end lately, only conceding one goal in each of their last four games.

Orlando City SC (3-5-4) vs. Columbus Crew (4-4-3)

Orlando City are coming off a gutsy draw against San Jose, playing with only 10 men for a majority of the second half. Kaka seems to be rounding into form at just the right time, scoring in consecutive games for the first time this season. The Crew arrive in Orlando on the heels of a 2-2 draw against Chicago. Kei Kamara had a first half brace, the third time he has scored a brace this season.

Chicago Fire (3-5-2) vs. Montreal Impact (2-3-2)

Chicago comes into the game off of a strong performance against the Crew. Down 2-0, they managed to fight back to get the draw as Jason Johnson headed in a goal in the dying embers of stoppage time. Montreal is also coming off a good performance, a 2-1 home win against FC Dallas. Ignacio Piatti and Jack McInerney both scored their second goals of the season to secure three points for the Impact.

Colorado Rapids (2-3-7) vs. Portland Timbers (4-5-4)

The Rapids are one of the toughest teams to play against in the MLS despite not having a stellar record. They have only allowed 10 goals in 12 games and are coming off an away loss to Seattle, the best team in the Western Conference. The Timbers are a team that has put together a nice string of games, including a 1-0 against a very good D.C. United team on Wednesday night. With rising star Darlington Nagbe, they are a dangerous team when in possession of the ball.

Seattle Sounders (7-3-2) vs. New York Red Bulls (4-2-5)

The match-up between the Sounders and the Red Bulls have a lot of soccer fans salivating, as both teams are strong offensively. The Sounders have the best record in the MLS and have also scored the most goals with 18, while only conceding nine. The Red Bulls are coming off a loss to the Union and look to get their high pressure game back on track in Seattle.

New England Revolution (5-3-5) vs. LA Galaxy (5-4-5)

In another game where it’s East vs. West, the Galaxy visit the Revolution, four days after coming off a 1-0 win against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday. Robbie Keane looks to be healthy again as the team preps for the arrival of Steven Gerrard. New England are coming off a 1-1 draw with D.C. United last Saturday. The game saw them go down to nine men with Chris Tierney and Lee Nguyen both being sent off early in the second half, meaning both players will be suspended for the game on Sunday.

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.

26 May 2:28 pm
On the most beautiful day of practice this year, the Union received multiple pieces of good news in the form of returning players.
 
The first player to make his way back onto the practice field was none other than ironman Ray Gaddis. Gaddis, who sprained his left ankle in the win against D.C. United, was back on the field in limited role that saw him participate in movement and passing drills before doing some light jogging. 
 
The other player returning was Fernando Aristeguieta, who made his way back from Venezuela this week after being called down to be in the 30-man roster prior to the 2015 Copa America. The team cheered and clapped when Fernando jogged onto the field from the locker room.
 
The first half of practice focused heavily on passing the ball, and moving without the ball to receive the pass. While this was happening, the goalies received one-on-one training, working on their reflexes and jumping on live balls in the box.
 
Two or three players from Reading United were at practice today, working with the team. Practice was forced to stop for a few minutes when one of the Reading players broke his wrist after getting hit with a shot.
 
Practice wrapped up with some shooting drills, with John McCarthy and Brian Sylvestre in fine form again.
 
After practice, Richie Marquez helped to put on the TruMark Soccer Clinic help in PPL Park, something both he and the kids visibly enjoyed.

 

24 May 8:52 pm

After the loss two weeks ago to the Vancouver Whitecaps, fans were calling for Jim Curtin’s head. Now, after the Union's first win at Red Bull Arena, they’re praising him.

Two weeks, two wins against opponents who are thought to be the best that the Eastern Conference has to offer. The Union have now managed to get 12 points from 13 games, five points behind the Red Bulls, who are in third.

As I mentioned in my thoughts at halftime, the Union seemed to be perfectly fine with the Red Bulls dictating the play, waiting for the chance to strike on the counter attack.

The first goal came when Andrew Wenger did a nice bit of dribbling on the left wing to set the ball up for Cristian Maidana, who hit it first time to Vincent Nogueira. Nogueira provided the goal with a nifty finish, hitting it in with the inside of his boot while facing the other direction.

The second goal came from more great wing play on the break, with Fabinho making a great run and an even better pass across the face of the goal to a streaking C.J. Sapong, who knocked it in for the second goal in 10 minutes.

“As a forward you just want to be near the goal, and [Fabinho] played the perfect ball, I really didn’t have much to do,” Sapong said after the game. 

The assist marks the second in two games for Fabinho, who was starting at left back for the injured Ray Gaddis.

At the end of the day, the Union played the kind of game that they needed to play to win by not trying to possess the ball against the high press from the Red Bulls. Brian Sylvestre and the rest of the defense came up big, posting another shutout in the second consecutive win. 

The team now gets Memorial Day off before they regroup and get ready to face D.C. United away at RFK Stadium next Saturday.

 

 

Here are a couple of other stats that may be of some interest:

 

Possession: New York Red Bulls: 66%, Union 34%

Clearances: NYRB 12, Union 27

Total passes: NYRB 542, Union 285

Total shots: NYRB 15, Union 7

Shots on goal: NYRB 3, Union 3

Crosses: NYRB 33, Union 14