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11 February 11:23 am

This might waste about 10 minutes of your life, but it's totally worth it. Vote or tweet your answer to @philaunion #SpotTheBall. There will be a new set of photos posted each day for the rest of the week. Correct answers will be revealed tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. 

Previous Rounds

Round One - Answers
Round Two- Answers

Photo credit: Sideline Photos, Greg Carroccio (photos from 2014)

11 February 11:00 am

How'd you do on round two of #SpotTheBall? Check out the answers below.

A new set of photos will be revealed this afternoon. Make sure to vote or  tweet your answer to @philaunion #SpotTheBallCorrect answers will be revealed tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. 

Previous Rounds

Round One - Answers

Photo credit: Sideline Photos, Greg Carroccio (photos from 2014)

 

 

 

10 February 4:32 pm
The countdown to the Philadelphia Union Home Opener has begun and we want you to get in on the action! Round up your friends and take a picture with your own #StandForBlue countdown sign. You can download one HERE. You can also download the full list of numbers HERE.
 
Upload your photo to Twitter and/or Instagram and make sure to tag @philaunion and we may use your photo during our countdown. We hope you all have fun with this and we look forward to seeing you all #STANDFORBLUE on March 7th at PPL Park. 
 
 
10 February 10:36 am

So... Day One of spot the ball might've been a little easy. We're hoping this round will be a little more challenging. Each photo has a poll where you can record your answer. You can also tweet your answer to @philaunion #SpotTheBall. There will be a new set of photos each day for the entire week!  Correct answers will be revealed tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. 

Previous Rounds
Round One - Answers

Photo credit: Sideline Photos, Greg Carroccio (photos from 2014)

10 February 10:26 am

Spot the ball day one answers are now revealed. Check out how you did below.

There will be a new set of photos today at 12:00 p.m.  You can also tweet your answer to @philaunion #SpotTheBall

Photo credit: Sideline Photos, Greg Carroccio (photos from 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 February 10:11 am

In anticipation for the home opener, we're bringing you photos of the Union in action, but there's a trick. We've hidden the ball. Now it's up to you to spot where it is. Each photo has a poll where you can record your answer. You can also tweet your answer to @philaunion #SpotTheBall. There will be a new set of photos each day for the entire week! 

The correct answers will be revealed tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. 
Good luck...

Photo credit: Sideline Photos, Greg Carroccio (photos from 2014)

 

 

 

09 February 5:18 pm

So everyone, how was your Monday? Ours was pretty good.

Yes, 6-foot-5 center back Steven Vitoria is officially a member of your Philadelphia Union. Vitoria was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, but moved to Portugal when he was 18-years-old to advance his professional soccer career.

He’s now 28 and has been with Portuguse powerhouse Benfica for the past 18 months. He gained notoriety during the 2011-12 season when he led Estoril to a Portuguese second-division title. The following year, he helped guide the team to a fifth place finish in Primeira Liga and into Europa League Qualifying. The ensuing offseason he joined Benfica.

Along with the rest of his new teammates, Vitoria and the Union were back on the training grounds Monday morning to jump start their second week in Clearwater, Fla. Following Saturday night’s loss to Jacksonville, the team bus arrived back at hotel shortly after midnight and Jim Curtin gave his team the day off Sunday.

It was a perfect day to recharge the batteries, especially for yours truly.

But first, let’s recap some of the weekend. C.J. Sapong took over our Twitter account on the way to Jacksonville. Fans could directly reach him by using #AskCJ and, as expected, he was a beast. Really, what more would you expect from this guy? Among the litany of questions he answered, he might, just might, have a date circled on his calendar (looking at you, Sporting Kansas City).

And there was also this. We're sorry, Andre Blake.

 

I'm sure Dre will be out for revenge. Elsewhere, a couple of fun videos you may have missed over the weekend included some behind the scenes shots from Media Day. Maurice Edu is in the middle of it, as usual. Jimmy McLaughlin and Antoine Hoppenot had a pretty good time, too. And you saw a snippet of this in last week’s Daily Doop, but here’s some video of Andrew Wenger testing his hand in broadcasting with Zach Pfeffer.

Saturday, the Union lost 3-1 to Armada FC, although I’m sure you already knew that. Yes, we know all of you out there in Doop-land aren’t happy. Guess what – neither are we.

Good news: it’s one preseason game and there are still five more to get it right. The first step in that direction is tomorrow night against Tampa Bay Rowdies, tomorrow, at 6 p.m. at our Spring Training home, Joe DiMaggio Complex.

Preparation for that started today, with the longest single-training session of the preseason so far. After typical fitness and passing work, teams were split up for 4v4, 6v6 and 8v8 games for over an hour. Vitoria spent much of the day with the first team and was teamed up with Ethan White during the 8v8. There were a few other highlights including this goal from Sapong:

 

Love the finish from @bigafrika88

A video posted by Philadelphia Union (@philaunion) on

The team had a lifting session in the afternoon and will have a relatively quiet day tomorrow morning. It looks like there will be a light run in the morning, and the team will be ready to go against Tampa Bay for a 6 p.m. kickoff. Follow our live updates from Joe DiMaggio Complex.

After Tuesday wraps up, the team's first phase of Spring Training in Clearwater is just about over. The team will have two more training sessions, Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, and will fly back to Philadelphia Thursday afternoon. The guys will get the rest of the weekend off before flying back to Clearwater Monday morning.

A few more things I have to push because, frankly, I just like all of them. Have you tried our spot the ball challenge? I went 0-for-3. The answeres will be revealed tomorrow at 10 a.m. Also, a new mic'd up is out with Curtin, White and Danny Cruz. By far my favorite part is Austin Berry having a little fun with our audio guys:

 

Here's a sneak peak of the new mic'd up video during spring training. Full video will be released today.

A video posted by Philadelphia Union (@philaunion) on

Contact Philadelphia Union press officer Chris Winkler at cwinkler@philadelphiaunion.com.

06 February 12:06 pm

Below is a look at some of the recent and upcoming events on the Foundation calendar. To learn more or to get involved, contact the Philadelphia Union Foundation at foundation@philadelphiaunion.com

Or visit our website, philadelphiaunion.com/foundation.

MLS WORKS & PUF Community Service Project @ Philabundance: January 14th

MLS W.O.R.K.S., CR reps from every club, Union, PUF, MLS Draftees and Zach Pfeffer joined to sort and pack over 4,000 lbs of food to be distributed to 400 shelters in 9 different counties. Furthermore, MLS W.O.R.K.S. and PUF gave Philabundance a donation that will provide food for 10,000 families. For more information on Philabundance visit: http://www.philabundance.org/. Check out the article here.

Philadelphia Union Foundation at the NSCAA Convention: January 14 – 18th

PUF in conjunction with NSCAA Foundation sponsored 6 coach scholarships to the NSCAA Convention that took place in Philly this year. These 6 coaches were able to grow their knowledge and networking of the sport. The PUF recognized the group at the PUF presentation at the convention, where PUF mission, goals, and current successes were presented.

MLK Day of Service: January 19th

Union representatives met at Chester high School for a Martin Luther King Jr. remembrance day, “Pieces of Peace”.

Shining Stars Award – March of Dimes: January 21st

CSN recognizes Union’s Ray Gaddis as a mentor to Shining Star Amelia Kepple. Ray and Amelia became friends over the past year and were able to spend time together at PPL Park. Ray, along with other athletes from the Philadelphia Professional Sport Teams were honored at the March of Dimes award banquet.

For more on Shining Stars and March of Dimes, please visit: http://www.csnphilly.com/page/shining-star

Simon’s Soiree: February 7th

The PUF will attend Simon’s Soiree in continued support of “Simon’s Fund”. PUF will work with this organization in continuing to spread awareness of heart conditions and the importance of heart screenings.
For more info visit: http://www.simonsfund.org/

Chester Football Program Dinner: February 28th

Rick Jacobs, Executive Director of the PUF will be the guest speaker at the Chester-Wide Football Program Dinner. The Foundation’s mission aims to provide opportunities to youth in the community. PUF feels that using sport as a conduit for change is a powerful approach. The Foundation is happy to collaborate with the Chester Football Program in order to bring awareness and initiative to the area’s youth sports programs.

Cocktails & Cleats: March 11th

The PUF brings you the 3rd annual Cocktails & cleats Celebration presented by Cozen O’Connor. Sign up now for a night filled with fun: silent and live auctions, plated dinner, open bar, complimentary valet parking, a chance to meet the Philadelphia Union team.

To register visit: http://www.philadelphiaunion.com/foundation

Give the Gift of Soccer – Chester City United: April 6th – June 6th

Chester City United will kick off in April of this year for a two season, 3 day a week, after school soccer program. But, we need your help! Give the Gift of Soccer - $30 will pay for the registration for one young soccer player to participate in this program. The program includes a t-shirt and other fun soccer gear!

To donate visit: http://www.philadelphiaunion.com/content/give-gift-soccer

05 February 8:36 pm

It's Day Four here in beautiful Clearwater, Fla., and even a hectic overnight thunderstorm didn't halt the Union's practice plans.

OK, a morning lift was the plan, anyhow.

But if you've been following along this week, you've probably noticed strength and conditioning coach Kevin Miller is usually the first name mentioned. The players might be getting sick of seeing Kevin, too. But he's the best in the business for a reason and today three separate groups had a 30-minute lifting session with the coach.

In the afternoon, the team had another rigorous two-hour session on a wet, but playable field. Much of the last hour was dedicated to rotating four-goal games, with keepers Andre Blake, John McCarthy, Brian Sylvestre and Zak Downes in net. Downes is another new trialist with the club. Don't worry Union fans, Vincent Nogueira was back on the field Thursday, joined by Brian Carroll and Michael Lahoud who have both been nursing injuries, as previously reported. Nogueira's off-day during Wednesday's scrimmage seemingly had people worried. But the move was precautionary and he was back on the field for the entire afternoon session.

The head coach Jim Curtin was busy today, too. Curtin held a 1 p.m. conference call with reporters to discuss the upcoming match against Jacksonville Armada FC. Yes, I know -- we all know -- there are other things on everyone's mind. Jim answered a few of them, as reported by Dave Zeitlin of MLSsoccer.com, including this about his look at the transfer market:

“We have clear targets, and we’re actively pursuing them. But at the same time, the guys that are here having the success they’re having is good. I want competition at every spot. I want guys to always be looking over their shoulder and know there’s someone pushing behind them.”

Elsewhere, there's plenty of news to report from us, too. The team reached an agreement with 6abc, Comcast SportsNet and The Comcast Network to broadcast all local games this year. Along with three other home games, the season opener against Colorado Rapids on March 7 will be broadcast on 6abc. CSN and TCN will split the remaining 21 locally televised games. The Union have nine on national TV.

Also, if you missed it yesterday, 10 members of the Union academy signed national letters of intent to play soccer at Division 1 colleges this upcoming season. You can see our report here.

In other news, Fred did not win the Powerball last night. He was back on the field today, but happy as ever. "Next time" he said.

 

We're ready for Day Four in @MyClearwater. @freddasilva77 is here, he did not win PowerBall.

A photo posted by Philadelphia Union (@philaunion) on

 

More from yesterday: if you caught Wednesday's Daily DOOP, I had mentioned Andrew Wenger had scored a goal during an intra-squad scrimmage. He then tried his hand at broadcasting, leading me to wonder if there's anything more he could do. Well, add editor to this list. I mistakenly credited Wenger with a goal that was actually Cristian Maidana, as Andrew pointed out to me. Thanks for reading, Andrew. Sorry, Chaco. Sorry, fans.

Elsewhere, our video team pushed out two awesome videos that you may not have seen. We go behind the scenes with Dzenan Catic on our "On the Road" series. And, Jim Curtin, Ethan White and Zach Pfeffer react to the second week of training.

Catic, the rookie, was great, but hopefully you saw C.J. Sapong getting into a freestyle post-practice. Sapong does all of the rounds for us, as you may have noticed, and tomorrow we're thrilled to have him do another. C.J. is taking over Twitter from 1:30-2:30 as the Union head for Jacksonville for their first preseason game of 2015.

We're back at it tomorrow with a morning session before a quick lunch. The team heads for Jacksonville early in the afternoon ahead of Saturday's match and will have the night off upon arrival. And if you haven't started your countdown yet, please do. You know we have.

Contact Union press officer Chris Winkler at cwinkler@philadelphiaunion.com.

04 February 8:50 pm

Wednesday offered the best weather so far since the Union have been in Clearwater, and coincidence or not, out came the goals. Just a day after C.J. Sapong said the offensive flow was coming along, a barrage of goals highlighted the afternoon’s session full-length scrimmage.

The increased length and width probably helped, too.

But Wednesday started far away from the Union’s practice facility at the Joe DiMaggio sports complex. Strength and conditioning coach Kevin Miller took the team on an 8 a.m. run along the beach outside of the Union’s hotel room.

 

Good morning from #Clearwater

A photo posted by Philadelphia Union (@philaunion) on

The team had the rest of the day off until afternoon intersquad scrimmages. After a 20-minute workout, the teams were broken into three squads and played two 30-minute matches.

First Game
Red team (4-4-2): Andre Blake; Fabinho, Ethan White, Austin Berry, Sheanon Williams; Jimmy McLaughlin, Eric Bird, Fred, Danny Cruz; C.J. Sapong, Conor Casey.
Gray team (4-2-3-1): John McCarthy; Raymond Lee, Maurice Edu, Richie Marquez, Ray Gaddis; Aodhan Quinn, Zach Pfeffer; Andrew Wenger, Cristian Maidana, Sebastien Le Toux; Dzenan Catic.

Dzenan Catic started the scoring about five minutes in off a feed from Cristian Maidana. It was a good pass from Maidana as Catic found a sliver of space inside 18, and then beat Andre Blake to his left. But the red team equalized immediately, with Sapong taking advantage of a failed clearance before finishing.

Zach Pfeffer had a strong game in the midfield and banged home a goal around the 12-minute mark (assist to Sebastien Le Toux) to put the gray team back ahead. He then added an assist late in the match to Andrew Wenger to put gray up 3-1, where it ended.

“Yea I liked [where I played today], I felt comfortable,” Pfeffer said. “Chaco [Maidana] and I had the freedom to change – I started at the 8, he was the 10 – and we were able to interchange. I thought it worked well.”

Wenger had a strong game, too, looking very much like his usual self up along the left wing. And in case you were wondering what more the former ACC Offensive, and Defensive, Player of the Year could do, how about broadcasting?

 

We have a new reporter on staff #SunSandSoccer

A photo posted by Philadelphia Union (@philaunion) on

 

Second Game
Red team (4-2-3-1): John McCarthy/Andre Blake; Fabinho, Austin Berry, Ethan White, Raymond Lee; Eric Bird, Aodhan Quinn; Jimmy McLaughlin, Cristian Maidana, Danny Cruz; Dzenan Catic.
Gray team (4-2-3-1): Brian Sylvestre; Petros Kanakoudis, Aaron Simmons, Derrick Jones, Navid Nasseri; Michael Lahoud, Brian Carroll; Yosef Samuel, Antoine Hoppenot, Eric Ayuk Mbu; Aaron Wheeler.

In between scrimmages, head coach Jim Curtin stressed the importance of defending and it showed. The fresh gray team had the run of play for much of the early portion of the match, but it went scoreless for about 25 minutes. The best scoring chance during that period came from an Aaron Wheeler header that Blake saved. It was a nice build-up play along the left side between trialist Petros Kanakoudis and academy member Yosef Samuel, with Kankoudis playing the cross in.

Danny Cruz scored the game’s lone goal thanks to a nice run without ball to latch onto a cross for a tap-in. The gray team didn’t go down without a fight though, as trialist Eric Ayuk Mbu powered a header in that forced a diving stop from trialist John McCarthy.

So yes, the goals were there, but defender Ethan White had a logical explanation. After all, it was the team’s first full-length scrimmage.

“It’s always frustrating giving up goals, especially when they’re preventable,” he said, “But when we get into bigger spaces, that means there’s more room for error. Guys are still getting to know each other – we’ll get it together.”

The injury report is the same. Both Brian Carroll and Michael Lahoud got into the final scrimmage and are on the mend. He'll be ready to go for Saturday's preseason match against Jacksonville. Other non-roster invitees not mentioned include trialists Aodhan Quinn and Navid Nasseri, who both joined the training sessions yesterday. And as we reported on Monday, academy member Derrick Jones is with the club as well as Samuel. Fellow members Sebastien Elney and Sean Wilson will join the team soon.

So Day Three from Clearwater is in the books. Curtin has liked what he’s seen so far.

“The workload has really increased, we’re getting some fitness work in,” he said. “We pushed them out here today for the first time in a 30-minute scrimmage – some guys got pushed a little more. I was happy with the chances we created – I thought we scored some good goals – but we need to work on some team defensive things, not just the back four.

“It’s still early, though,” he continued. “We have some time to get things right.”

And on the fun side, the powerball lottery is up to $317 million with another drawing tonight. Fred was kind enough to let us know why he might not be at work tomorrow. Best of luck.

Contact Union press officer Chris Winkler at cwinkler@philadelphiaunion.com.