Blog

06 June 3:24 pm

Social Timeline: Week of June 1st Check out what the Philadelphia Union was up to this week through our social timeline! The Philadelphia Union announced its watch party, Thursday, for the Champions League Final!

Post up, relax and watch Juventus F.C. take on F.C. Barcelona for the Champions League Final! The watch party will being at 2:30 pm, live at PPL Park in the TruMark Financial Club. All you need is your match game ticket for Union vs. NYCFC in order to enter. Watch post- game reactions from head coach Jim Curtain and Union Players!

After the Union’s 3-0 victory over Columbus Crew SC on Wednesday, June 3rd, Jim Curtain, Maurice Edu, and CJ Sapong express their satisfaction with the match performance during post game interviews. The Philadelphia Union now switches gears and starts preparing for Saturday’s match against NYCFC at 7p at PPL Park.

 

We had a special guest at practice today!

A photo posted by Philadelphia Union (@philaunion) on

Christian Maidana and the Union welcome a special guest at practice!

 

Three goals, three points. #DOOP

A photo posted by Philadelphia Union (@philaunion) on

Players celebrate their 3-0 win against Columbus Crew SC. Be sure to get your tickets for Saturday’s match Union vs. NYCFC!

IBX- Blue Cross announces an enter to win sweepstakes for four free suite seats, parking pass and food to the Union vs. Sounders match on June 24, 2015.

05 June 2:07 pm

Practice today, much like the weather gradually warmed up as it went along. Players got out on the field around 10 and proceeded to do stretches and other conditioning work before breaking down into passing drills.

While the players warming up, the goalkeepers were practicing, with Brian Sylvestre, John McCarthy and Andre Blake all fully participating.

The team focused on quick, one touch passing before moving over to transition possession. The team broke down into three separate squads of seven men, with each team having to complete ten passes, with two touches on the ball before passing it up.

While the team was doing the drills, Curtin was coaching them up, telling them to keep their composure on the ball and to wait for passing lanes to open up before giving the ball up so that they aren’t forcing the pass.

Mike Lahoud was doing strength and conditioning, trying to recover from his injury so he get back to practicing with the team.

Practice ended with the starters going up against a scout team made up of the bench players. The team worked on moving the ball around in the midfield while under game-like pressure, trying to play the ball in over the top.

Following that, the team practiced corners and shooting, with McCarthy in goal as Sylvestre did some extra conditioning work.

After practice, Maurice Edu and Curtin both participated in an event for the Special Olympics. Both of them carried the Special Olympics flame which is making its way across the country to Los Angeles, where the 2015 Special Olympic World Games are being held.

04 June 6:19 pm

Here are a few highlights from twitter following the Union's 3-0 win on Wednesday night

 

 

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 3:02 pm
This will be the 14th all-time meeting between Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew SC. The Union are 3-9-1, but are 3-3-0 at PPL Park. Their struggles against Crew SC have come in Columbus. It's the second meeting this year, with the first coming at MAPFRE Stadium and a 4-1 win for Crew SC.
 
Today's starting lineup:
 
GK: Brian Sylvestre (Game No. 5, start 5)
LB: Fabinho (Game No. 41, start 35)
LCB: Richie Marquez (Game No. 5, start 4)
RCB: Maurice Edu (Game No. 83, start 82)
RB: Sheanon Williams (Game No. 136, start 135)
LCDM: Brian Carroll (Game No. 329, start 307)
RCDM: Vincent Nogueira (Game No. 40, start 38)
LAM: Andrew Wenger (Game No. 94, start 51)
CAM: Cristian Maidana (Game No. 38, start 32)
RAM: Sebastien Le Toux (Game No. 199, start 165)
ST: Fernando Aristeguieta (Game No. 11, start 11)
 
Bench: John McCarthy, Raymon Gaddis, Ethan White, Fred, Zach Pfeffer, Eric Ayuk, C.J. Sapong.
 
Career stats vs. Crew SC
Brian Sylvestre (0 GP)
Fabinho (3 GP, 3 GS, 0G, 1A)
Richie Marquez (0 GP)
Maurice Edu (8 GP, 8 GS, 0G, 0A)
Sheanon Williams (9 GP, 9 GS, 1G, 0A)
Brian Carroll (9 GP, 9 GS, 1G, 1A)
Vincent Nogueira (2 GP, 2 GS, 0G, 0A)
Andrew Wenger (3 GP, 3 GS, 1G, 0A)
Cristian Maidana (3 GP, 3 GS, 0G, 0A)
Sebastien Le Toux (10 GP, 9 GS, 3G, 4A)
Fernando Aristeguieta (0 GP)
 
Not a whole lot of career success for today's lineup outside of Le Toux. Of interesting note, Williams and Carroll's goals each came in the same game, a 3-0 win at PPL Park on June 5, 2013. Conor Casey also score for the Union.
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)