The Philadelphia Union U-18s were in action again today for the final day of group play in the US Soccer Development Academy playoffs. The U-18s took on LA Galaxy’s U-18s in the final game for U-18 Group E.
The U-18’s game was first, playing against the LA Galaxy at 9 a.m.. The Union U-18s are unable to advance beyond the group stage, making this the final game for some members of the team.
Today’s lineup featured a bit of a shake-up, running a 4-1-4-1 formation with Yosef Samuel up top. This was Samuel’s first game action in the USSDA playoffs.
The game started fast for the Union with Samuel getting off some good looks early and actually putting on into the goal in the 8th minute off of a long distance strike. After the goal, the game opened up more for both sides as both were playing for pride after being mathematically eliminated.
The Union continued to high press, even after the halftime break, causing some mayhem for the Galaxy. They took their foot off the gas a little bit but managed to keep it close. Towards the end, coach Peter Fuller started to put more on the seniors in, giving them the chance to play in their final game. They managed to hold the game as it was and when the final whistle blew, the Union had won 1-0.
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.
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:
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.
Always nice to updates stats after three points. Today, let's take a look around the league and see where the Union and some players stack up.
C.J. Sapong -- consecutive games with a goal.
|Union -- Franchise||Games||MLS -- 2015||Games|
|Jack McInerney (Sept/Oct 2012)||4||Charlie Davies (April-May)||4|
|Sapong (June-present)||4||Chris Wondolowski (May)||4|
|Sebastian Lletget (active)||3|
|Five others tied||3|
C.J. Sapong -- goals per minute played
|Sebastian Lletget||LA Galaxy||73||3|
|Anatole Abang||NY Red Bulls||89.5||2|
- Sapong is also tied for 9th in MLS with six goals scored. Kei Kamara leads the league with 12. Full list here.
Cristian Maidana -- assists
|Ethan Finlay||Columbus Crew SC||9|
|Benny Feilhaber||Sporting Kansas City||8|
|Sebastian Giovinco||Toronto FC||7|
|Clint Dempsey||Seattle Sounders||6|
|7 others tied||5|
Maurice Edu -- minutes played
|Bobby Boswell||D.C. United||1625|
|Baggio Husidic||LA Galaxy||1590|
|Perry Kitchen||D.C. United||1571|
|Omar Gonzalez||LA Galaxy||1542|
|6 others tied||1530|
- Brian Sylvestre is tied for 10th in MLS in clean sheets with four. Full list here.
- Andrew Wenger is tied for 6th in MLS in games played with 18.
- Union are eighth in shots on goal (74) and 10th in goals scored (20).
- They're second in goals scored (11) on the road.
- Despite being last in MLS in goals allowed, the Union are the only team in the league not to concede a goal in the first 15 minutes.
- They're 12th in MLS in average home attendance at 17,493.
The Philadelphia Union take on the Seattle Sounders at 7 p.m. tonight at PPL Park. Here is the lineup:
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)
The Philadelphia Union U-18s and U-16s were both in action today, with the U-18s taking on Kendall SC and the U-16s taking on Weston FC.
The U-18’s game was first, playing against Kendall, an academy team from the Southeast region. They held Kendall off for a majority of the first half, only conceding one goal off of a long pass in the 38th minute.
They started the half down 1-0 but managed to pull even in the 50th minute when Frederick Gil wove through the defense to tuck the ball into the back of the net. Kendall scored two minutes later to go back ahead 2-1. The Union continued to claw their way back to even after Mo Conde was able to direct his header past the goalkeeper in the 60th minute.
The game continued to be played close all the way to the finish where Kendall SC was able to score in the 89th to win the game 3-2. Since the Montreal Impact U-18s won today against the LA Galaxy U-18s, the winner of Kendall vs. Montreal on Friday will advance to the quarterfinals.
The U-16s also faced a tough test against Weston FC, keeping the score 0-0 until Weston managed to score in the 60th minute. Weston were given an extra burst of energy after scoring and started to win every 50-50 ball. The Union weathered the storm and scored in the 70th minute thanks to a goal from Tiger Graham.
With the score tied at 1-1, the Union turned it up one more notch and managed to score in the 79th minute, with Jack Skahan netting the goal after getting on the end of a throw in from Graham.
They would go on to win 2-1 and sit in first place in their group. Their next game is on Friday against the Houston Dynamo U-16s.
Said Academy Director Tommy Wilson after the U-16 game, “I'm really proud of the boys and Weston are one of the best teams we've played. The boys once again showed great resolve coming back from a losing position to win the match. Our focus now turns to the last game on Friday.”
The Philadelphia Union Academy U-16 team played their first game of the 2015 US Soccer Development Academy playoffs today, facing off against Everton FC Westchester.
The Union U-16s are the number two seed in the tournament and came out of the gates playing like it. Starting in a 4-4-1-1 formation, star in the making Justin McMaster played in his preferred number 10 role while Andrew Verdi got the starting nod in goal.
The Union took it to Everton in the opening minutes, forcing a corner and then a save off the line, all before the nine-minute mark. While they played a high pressure system, they had one or two mental lapses on the defensive end that called for Verdi to make some pretty remarkable saves.
The pressure from the Union eventually broke down the Everton defense, with the team scoring their first goal of the tournament through Tiger Graham, who was assisted on the goal by Jack Skahan. The game would go into halftime with the Union up 1-0.
The second half saw both teams come out with renewed energy but it only took two minutes for the Union to break through and score again, this time it was McMaster on another assist from Skahan. Both Skahan and McMaster would be subbed out in the 64th minute but the offense remained for the Union as one of the substitutes, Raheem Taylor-Parkes, scored just two minutes after being subbed on for McMaster.
Everton would go on to get one back but that was the end of the scoring on the day for both teams. Both teams looked tired at the end of the game with chances becoming less and less frequent. The game ended in a 3-1 Union win.
The Union U-16s will be in action again tomorrow when they face off against Weston FC at 2:30.
The Philadelphia Union Academy U-18 team played their first game of the 2015 US Soccer Development Academy playoffs today, facing off against the number one seed in the tournament, the Montreal Impact.
The starting lineup presented by the Union was similar to the one that was seen last week in their warm-up game against Reading United A.C. The team set up in a 4-1-4-1 lineup, with Sebastian Elney up top and Cameron Keys in goal.
The game was tight for both teams until the Impact managed to score in the 30th minute. They then score again in the 37th minute after they got a head to a corner kick. The score remained 2-0 going in to the half, with possession being split nearly 50-50. The game continued to be played close until the 70th minute when Derrick Jones came onto the field as a substitute.
After Jones was subbed on, the Union began to attack in full force, throwing everything they had at the Impact. After a succession of chances, the Union finally scored off of a Sebastian Elney free kick to make the score 2-1 with only stoppage time remaining.
Now, with a chance of getting a draw, the Union turned it up to a gear that they have rarely shown before and hammered the Impact until they finally made a mistake and conceded a penalty. Jones stepped up and slotted the ball past the keeper, leveling it up at 2-2. The referee blew his whistle shortly after kickoff.
This is a huge win for the U-18 team as they managed to get a draw against the toughest team in their group. This gives them hope to make it out of the group stage, as only the winner can advance to the quarterfinals.
The Union U-18’s had previously lost to the same Montreal team early May, losing 4-1.
The Union play the LA Galaxy for the only time this season at 10:30 tonight. Here is our lineup:
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)
Here is the team's injury report for this week:
|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.
The Philadelphia Union U16 Academy team handed the FC Continental U18s a 4-0 drubbing this afternoon in preparation for the USSDA playoffs next week.
After the game, head coach Jeff Cook was happy with his team’s performance and excited for the upcoming tournament.
“The main objective today was preparation for next week. We haven’t played a game since June 6 when the academy season ended so we wanted to get back into competing and preparing for a game…so I was pleased with how the guys approached the game. It’s going to be 3 good teams and we’re going to have to be very intensely focused on the first game. FC West Chester have made the playoffs and they’re a good club from suburban New York. We’ve seen some tape on them. They have a very good striker we’re going to have to control, and we’ll have to make good on our chances to score. We’re a good team going forward, so if we can maximize our chances it’ll give us a good chance to win.”
FC Continental played conservatively from the onset, holding a deep line and rarely pressuring the Union backline in their own third.
Philadelphia spent the opening moments cycling the ball and probing the Continental backline. Despite sustained pressure, they struggled to put together the final pass, save for a shot off the post in the first 15 minutes.
FC Continental grew into the game and put together a few spells of possession late in the first half, but left themselves vulnerable to a number of Union counters. One such counter caught them out as Joe Dezart stripped a Continental attacker in front of his own box. He quickly collected the ball and sent it forward to Justin McMaster. McMaster then took off down the field and played a through ball to a streaking Jack Skahan who blasted his breakaway chance into the upper corner of the net.
McMaster collected his second assist soon after, as his entry pass was badly misplayed by the Continental keeper and swept up by Tiger Graham, who put it through the keeper’s legs and into the net in the waning minute of the half.
The last bit of action occurred in the Union box, as a Continental attacker found space from 25 yards out and sent a low hard drive in towards Andrew Verdi’s goal. The shot had pace but was struck right at Verdi, who did well to smother it with multiple Continental attackers lurking for the rebound.
Head coach Jeff Cook put out a new 11 for the second half. The first action occurred only minutes in, as replacement keeper Justin Bajek.
The Union nearly struck once again as Raheem Taylor-Parkes narrowly missed a low angle shot to the far post.
Taylor-Parkes narrowly missed once again following some brilliant dribbling by Anthony Fontana. Fontana put together two spin moves before playing Raheem through, but his breakaway chance was well saved by the onrushing keeper.
After relentless pressure, the Union found their 3rd in bizarre fashion as a Dawson McCartney corner kick somehow eluded everyone and found its way into the net.
The biggest scare of the match occurred late on, as Justin Bajek whiffed on a Continental corner. Fortunately for him, Evan Godfrey was there to clear. It was one of several key interventions that Godfrey made during the half, as he put in a solid shift at center back.
The last goal was scored late on, as Kalil Elmekhar tore down Continental’s left flank and played a low cross into Juan Infante, who sent touched down the ball and struck a half volley off of the crossbar and into the net.
Cook also spoke volumes about the Union Academy program and how far it has come in only two years of existence.
“We’re coming to the end of our second year as a full time academy program and our objective is to produce outstanding players from our home territory that can eventually represent the club at PPL Park as professionals. We have about 75 players involved in the program now, of which 25 are in residency. Of that group, there’s another 50 that are students at YSC Academy. So it is a comprehensive full-time program. It’s 10 months so it’s very demanding and the staff is working absolutely tirelessly to try and accelerate the development of the most elite players in our region. We’re excited about the future and we feel that there are a lot of indicators that say we’re making good progress.”