I’m convinced that Arjen Robben bares more resemblance to former U.S. MNT coach and current Egypt MNT coach Bob Bradley than Bradley’s actual son, Michael. And, I can’t be the only one that thinks this.
Manchester City won the Manchester Derby to go even on points with United, ahead on season’s goal differential. Wonderful. This just gives Mario Balotelli another opportunity to completely f*ck City’s season up.
Real Madrid captured their league title this week. Congratulations! How’d your Champions League season go? Anyway, here’s a team with a manager who is very set in his ways, some of his players don’t like him and disagree with his tactics. Yet, they go through with the game plan like professionals. And their leading goal-scorer is a midfielder. Is THIS where Nowak gets his ideas from? Because I totally buy the parallel that Freddy Adu = Mesut Ozil and Michael Farfan = Cristiano Ronaldo. Yeah. Sure.
I don’t even know why I just made that Union-Real Madrid comparison
Union play a 1pm PST match in a stadium full of people who tailgate with lattes. And they’re owned by Drew Carey. All they do is purchase the right to host the US Open Cup final every year to give them the advantage in winning a tournament that most of MLS doesn’t care about. I’m still pissed about the Flyers being down 2-1 to the Devils. I need a Union win tomorrow.
-Nick Y., the other .5 of Unholy Union
Friday, July 29, 7:30pm, PPL Park, Chester, PA (Fox Soccer Channel)
Now that all of this “Let’s put together a collection of MLS players to be massacred by Manchester United” nonsense is over with, let’s move on to the unofficial 2nd half of the season. Union host defending league champ Colorado Rapids in the unusual Friday match. Being that this match happens just 2 days after the “All-Star Game” (It’s a shame that the people who vote for the players don’t actually watch the games, apparently. How the right side of the Union defense was not there is beyond….everyone), I wonder how in-form Faryd Mondragon will be. Granted, he only played in the first half of the match, and it was only in northern New Jersey, but Dragon usually poses with half of the other team to take pictures with his kids, and then gives the media comprehensive interviews, et cetera. There’s a chance that after the photo opportunities and jersey-trading, he didn’t leave Pink Cow Arena until 5am this morning.
For Colorado, Omar Cummings is the one attacking player I fear. I refer to him as “scary-good” for a reason. He played in the “All-Star Game” so I hope he is tuckered out from it. Unless he spent the match standing around studying Wayne Rooney’s hair transplant. In any event, I hope Omar is a bit off of his game. Especially since Rapids are already down Connor Casey who blew out his achilles’ tendon and is done for the year. We here at Unholy Union Blog wish him well and a complete recovery, so that Union can be responsible for kicking his ass next year. Speaking of injuries, the assailant in the gruesome Steve Zakuani leg-breaking is back. Brian Mullan has returned from suspension, having played 85 minutes against New England. If poetic justice truly existed, Casey’s injury would have happened to Mullan instead, but I digress. The other player to look for is Sanna Nyassi, who scored a hat trick against NY (and we thank him for that) 2 matches back. It’s likely that he’ll be up top with Cummings again, in an effort to score against a Union defense that’s better than what Manchester United saw Wednesday night (again HOW IN THE HELL COULD YOU CALL THAT GROUP “ALL-STARS”?????????).
Union are coming off of 2 impressive performances in friendlies against Everton and Real Madrid. There are plenty of positives to be taken out of those matches, as well as some things that need to be ignored. The win against Everton was good, however it must be tempered by the fact that Everton didn’t really care to win that game anyway. They would have been just fine with spending that evening at Harrah’s instead of putting on a good show for our fans. Roger Torres was the star of the game…. where noone attempted to put hard tackles in on him. He played great, in both games, but they’re meaningless friendlies, so no hard tackles to be adminstered means he left his jittery feet at home. They (and by they I mean Carlos Valdes) also learned that sometimes the simple play is the correct play. He whiffed twice on Saturday against Real and it lead to 2 goals. The first was him trying to trap the ball with his raised leg and missing it, the other was opting not to simply play the ball over the touchline but rather faking his opponent out to keep the ball in play. It serves as a reminder to all: make the simple play. Union are not Real Madrid, they are not fancy and electric on the ball. They are a workman-like team that is based on defensive strength.
The lineup I expect will have at least 1 Farfan in it. Ok, that’s a very simple statement to make, since one, Gabe, is the de facto left fullback, but his brother, Mike, acquitted himself nicely against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Traveling Circus, and may be in line for more minutes. At the expense of whom, you might ask? Kyle Nakazawa. Alzheimer’s patients look less lost than Naka did against Real Madrid. It’s no shame to get outplayed by a team I consider to be top-5 in the world. But his obvious lack of ability to find the game in any way was very disappointing. And in twisted Peter Nowak logic, that means Naka will probably start, because, Nowak fills out the lineup card and I don’t. We will see Carlos Ruiz, Danny Mwanga, and Sebastien Le Toux. We’ll also see Brian Carroll, and our normal back 5. Justin Mapp will go back to left wing, ho hum.
What I also expect to see is a 2-1 win for Union. This is the time of the season when 3 points are needed from home matches. This team has gelled well over the course of the season, and I believe these international friendlies have forced them to play more cohesively than any league match has. I’d like for Union to earn a clean sheet, but I fear Colorado’s attack too much to assume a shutout.
Nick Y., the other .5 of Unholy Union
I believe that anyone who went to the match VERSUS Real Madrid on Saturday all has had an experience with this – Local people wearing Real Madrid jerseys. You would have noticed a number 7 on the back, most likely. The typical wearer would also be female, white, and from West Chester. Yes, I am stereotyping.
Let me get this off my chest – If you are from Philadelphia, or the surrounding areas – born here and not a first generation born of parents from a foreign country (most likely spain, maybe portugal, mexico however has no excuse) YOU ARE MORONIC FOR ROOTING FOR REAL MADRID!
I get the point of these friendlies – advertising the lesser league with the big marquee money maker. I wouldn’t have much of an issue if Ronaldo, their “star” wasn’t so much a fashionista than a soccer player. BUT, a huge one, if you are from Philadelphia and do not support the local team – there is no excuse.
This goes along the lines in all sports. I understand that maybe you live here, but you were originally from New York or Arizona and don’t support any Philadelphia teams. That’s understood. If I moved I would expect my children to root for the local team even though I would always be rooting for Philadelphia, it’s a common concept. If you are American and from DC or New York and came to see the game, I have no issue with you. It’s everyone from here that I have the issue with. If you consider yourself a Philadelphian (suburbanite included) through and through, then why were you not rooting for the Union on Saturday. Why were you doing the wave? You did realize that was in support of Real, right? It’s not a soccer thing (here), right? It’s also bloody stupid anymore.
Now to my actual reaction to the game – it was fun. I enjoyed it (minus not truely being able to heckle thanks to the 5 teenage girls who were ronaldo’s fan club in the section). We sat above and to the left of the Supporters End, and it was marvelous seeing from that angle. You could see the entire crowd, and to be honest, it was sickening when I saw 90% of the crowd rooting for “Madri” at one point… but the overwhelming outnumbered support had no hampering on the game or the stands from what I could tell.
It was a friendly, it was meant as fun. And, it was even better because it was a GOOD game. Both teams had plenty of shots, possession, and attacking. We understand Real wasn’t trying necessarily too hard, either because of the heat, a friendly, or cause they were dogging it (really, they didn’t play up to full par and could still probably massacre us) but it made it enjoyable. If there were any fights, it’s because someone needs to not watch green street hooligans, or needs to lay off the booze. – i was just notified of a big fight after the match which I apparently walked past after the fact, it wasn’t as big as it was made out to be, but consisted of people in phillies gear – so to my point, lay off the booze. But I think overall the fans were there just to see one of the best teams in the world play our local team. And in that, I think no one left feeling unsatisfied, and that we all had a good time.
Back to my original commentary – if this was a game that mattered, say the Champions League, and the Linc was that overwhelmed with away support, there is seriously something very wrong with your mindset…
But I know that there are many converts, or at least people now interested to see the Union, and in that, it was a success.
The way that I sum up Sunday’s performance against Revolution is that this is EXACTLY what should have happened. No more scoreless draws at home, THIS is what you do to a bad team who is also missing their best player. Union dominated possession and had all of the threatening chances in the match. They made the Revs look like the only reason they were on the field was because the MLS schedule told them they had to be there. From New England’s perspective, the smartest people on their side were the member of the supporters’ group, “The Fort,” who staged a walkout in the 17th minute in protest of their team’s front office. Those lucky people saw their side down only a single goal, and as the rest of us who watched the whole match know, it only got worse for NE from there.
I didn’t bother submitting grades for this match because that would be giving them credit for something they were supposed to do. I would have high praise for them winning 5-0, but seeing how they really won 2-0, adding a breakaway in the waning seconds, they deserve just standard compliments. A similar performance in their next league match on Friday, July 29, against defending MLS Cup Champion Colorado Rapids would carry far more weight.
As to these friendlies Union will be playing in the interim, I am a fan of the team doing this. My theory in sports is that you only get better by playing better players. These matches against Everton and Real Madrid are excellent opportunities to learn something from a collection of the best players in the world. I’m looking forward to seeing how Sheanon Williams and Carlos Valdes handle the likes of Leighton Baines and Tim Cahill. I’m also curious to see if playing in a no-pressure environment can get Sebastien Le Toux to score a goal, though dealing with Sylvain Distin and Johnny Heitinga could prove to be too much for him anyway. If nothing else, it will be a fantastic way for Union to view first-hand how a top-level club organizes itself and works to break down a defense.
The point that I hope Union take away from this match, and the match against Real Madrid on Saturday, is at least one technique or philosophy that they can incorporate into themselves to improve both individually and as a team. I know Everton is in preseason and this is just a money-grab for the club, but there’s no way that they want to lose to an American club team. They will play hard to prove their season readiness to manager David Moyes. Union should take this both as a challenge, and a bonding experience, to take down a team playing in the highest level of English Football. One thing I will be looking for is maybe Sheanon Williams being able to mirror Leighton Baines’ technique crossing balls from the defensive wing position, though Baines plays the left side. Should Sheanon improve that aspect of his game, he’ll earn the right to play in the All-Star game every year that he’s in MLS. Other than that, I hope Marouane Fellaini is on the trip because his white man afro is fantastic.
Nick, the other .5 of Unholy Union
Welcome to your bribery alleged update of touchlines. This time we’ll score twice as much.
“Uncle” Jack Warner has been dooped! His vice president, or assitant, or however this oligarchy works, has brought forward allegations that Jack Warner, president of CONCACAF, had set up a meeting with other CONCACAF members with FIFA presidential candidate Bin Hammam (the guy who is responsible for Qatar in 2022) so that they can publicly bribe for votes behind closed doors for a whopping 40,000 USD. If you want to secure votes from those who are pocketing over 6 figures from other bribes, make sure it’s more than an accountant’s starting salary.
Word has it (which by this posting is probably news) we have signed the 33 year old Serbian striker. Next week we are going to be signing his bedside nurse. She can do double time for Ruiz.
From the birthplace of soccer, Fulham have officially qualified for UEFA Europa league on Fair Play. I wonder if I can get into the basketball all star game based off all of my “Good Sport” trophies I received when playing CYO.
The Gold Cup is around the corner, and NYRB lose more reasons for people not to come to the stadium.
In all seriousness, Juan Agudelo, Rafael Marquez, Tim Ream, and De Rosario are all called up for their respective National duties. In looking at this, Nick and I forgot that Canada existed and both said “oh yea, damn canadian”.
Ruiz called up for international duty. 90% of Union fans rejoice. Why? Because our leading scorer is going to be gone. It’s all in the stats.
On July 15th, the Inaugural River Cup will be played by the FO of the Philadelphia Union, and the SoBs of… well… the SoB’s. Say what you will about the SoB’s, but nothing is finer than seeing a ginger in a kilt try to play soccer.
The trip to Toronto will show us exactly who can’t cross international borders… I’m looking at you Nakazawa.
Real Madrid is officially our “Big friendly at the Linc”. Some people are happy, others are mad at the prices, where as, i’m laughing my ass off. Why? My girlfriend won’t get to see her ‘other’ “favorite” soccer player because she’ll be out of country. She’s 0 for 2 for ‘soccer heart throbs’. Schaudenfraud my friends.