Union defense posts first shutout of '12 vs. 'Caps

Returns of Califf, Williams bolster back line in scoreless draw

Danny Califf 2012

Photo Credit: 
Greg Carroccio

CHESTER, Pa. – Union defender Carlos Valdes said it best following Saturday afternoon’s 0-0 draw with Vancouver.

“If you can’t win, it’s better not to lose,” he said.

The Philadelphia defense played their best game of the season on Saturday, blanking the Whitecaps and allowing zero shots on goal.

“It was a good game for us,” Valdes continued. “It was a game that we probably should have won, but unfortunately we couldn’t score that goal. Deep down, the mentality is good. We’re trying our best and the goals are going to come. We’re closer. We’re creating more opportunities and continuing to improve.”

The Union back line was bolstered by the return of captain Danny Califf, who missed the Colorado and Chicago games.

“At least as far as the back line goes, all was right in the world,” said Califf, who played all 90 minutes on Saturday. “I think we did a good job of not giving them good looks. I think Zac came out and really took control of his box. He came out well on crosses and so that was big for him. As a group in general it was a big confidence booster.”

“It’s good to have Danny back in the lineup,” said right back Sheanon Williams, who also rejoined the lineup after returning from Olympic Qualifying with the United States U-23 team. “He’s our captain. He’s solid. We look to him for a bunch of reasons. He’s one of our leaders.”

With Califf back in the fold, the Union played with a four-man defense for the first time since the season opener in Portland. Williams was reinserted at his normal right-sided position. Porfirio Lopez started at left back.

“(They were) very good,” said Union manager Peter Nowak. “There was one moment in the second half where we didn’t see what was coming, but overall it was very solid. The five or six guys in front of Zac did a pretty good job both going forward and recovering. There were a couple of shots, but not many big chances for Vancouver. So, from that perspective we’re very happy to stop the series of mistakes and keep the clean sheet for Zac. It’s good for his confidence and good for our defense as well.”

Nowak brought off Lopez at halftime for Michael Farfan. The midfielder stayed forward while his brother Gabriel Farfan took over at left back. Gabriel, who played left back for the second half of the 2011 season looked comfortable reassuming his old role.

“He was very good going forward and defensively solid as well,” explained Nowak. “He’s accustomed to the position. It might not be his natural position, but he’s good at it. If he’s good at it, then we have to use him as a left back.”

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