Union and Equadorian National Draw at 1-1

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (May 11, 2010) - Philadelphia Union and the Ecuadorian National Team scrimmaged to a 1-1 draw at Lincoln Financial Field on Tuesday at Lincoln Financial Field. After losing four straight games on the road, a little extra game action for a young expansion side couldn’t hurt leading up to this Saturday's home game against FC Dallas. With that in mind, the Union set up a closed scrimmage against Ecuador, a national team that missed qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup by a mere point. Ecuador was coming off a 0-0 draw against the Mexican National Team just three days ago.

“We’ve been talking about structure and it’s important to get work playing against (strong competition),” said Manager Peter Nowak after the scrimmage. “Our structure needs to be better offensively and defensively. There were good moments in the game, a good play by Alejandro Moreno leading to the goal. In the second half, we had a couple of good chances to score. These experiences are very valuable to the team, knowing the movement of each other. We still have a couple of days before the game on Saturday to get better.”

In the first half, the Union sent out a lineup of Brad Knighton, Cristian Arrieta, Shavar Thomas, Michael Orozco, Jordan Harvey, Stefani Miglioranzi, Roger Torres, Fred, Kyle Nakazawa, Danny Mwanga and Alejandro Moreno.

Ecuador got on the board first in the 21st minute off of an in-swinging corner kick from Iván Kaviedes, which striker Joao Rojas rose up and buried.

The Union equalized just minutes later in the 24th minute, when Alejandro Moreno sent a cross from near the endline left of the goal into midfielder Roger Torres. Torres wound up and one-timed a volley from 10 yards out across the goal-mouth and into the left corner. Both sides looked pretty evenly matched on the pitch in the first half, and the 1-1 score at the break reflected the balanced action.

The Union’s lineup looked decidedly different in the second half, with Nowak going with Brian Perk, Thomas, Orozco, Shea Salinas, Andrew Jacobson, JT Noone, Torres, Amobi Okugo, Nick Zimmerman, Jack McInerney and Mwanga.

The Union outplayed Ecuador in the second half and nearly struck for a go-ahead goal on two occasions. Off of a free kick minutes after halftime, Thomas knocked a loose ball in the area past the goal line, but the goal was waived off due to an offside violation. In the 74th minute, McInerney’s strike from 10 yards out was stopped by a great save that kept both sides level at one goal apiece.

In the 80th minute, Ecuador went down a man, with midfielder Oswaldo Minda picking up a red card on a hard tackle of Salinas. The Union were unable to capitalize in the final 10 minutes, but the final score was inconsequential compared to the valuable experience gained heading into this weekend's match.

While Sebastien Le Toux was held out of the scrimmage as he recovers from a left MCL sprain, he was seen running sprints and doing agility drills behind the goal. His exact status for Saturday’s matchup against Dallas is still uncertain, but it’s a safe bet he’ll at least be on the bench after traveling with the team last week against Salt Lake.

"He is very close to stepping on the field,” said Nowak. I think (playing) Saturday is more than possible."

The Union have made a commitment to measuring up against international competition, whether it be in a closed training session like today’s or in exhibitions against some of the top club teams in the world, including scheduled friendlies against Manchester United on July 21st at Lincoln Financial Field and Celtic on July 14th at PPL Park.

Philadelphia will return to Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday looking to earn a result for just the second time this season. If the Home Opener is any indication, the home crowd might just provide the lift that the Union need to turn their season around.

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