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Match Preview: Union at DC United

June 30, 2011 1 comment

RFK Stadium.  Saturday night.  7pm.  And we will be there.

Yes, this will be the first time the “Unholy Duo” will be attending a road Union match.  And we can’t wait.

But to the preview of the match.  This is the first league meeting of the season for these two teams, as their previous encounter was in a U.S. Open Cup qualifier (DC won that, on PKs, but whatever, it wasn’t a league match).  DC sits 8 points below Union in the standings, but they’ve been in similar form to Union recently, both 1-1-3 in their last 5 matches.  DC will welcome Dwayne de Rosario to their team, as he is expected to make his debut in their starting XI.  Union fans know how it goes in the first match that a new player is introduced to the team and has little time to train (Ruiz, Paunovic).  Hopefully, like Union, United will seem completely out of sorts and be unable to score a goal.

Union seem to be getting over the injection of Paunovic into their lineup.  His scoring a goal has stopped me from ripping Union for signing a 33-year-old who had been retired longer than Union have existed.  And that the team scored 3 goals in the match was encouraging.  The big questions coming in are:  Who starts at forward alongside Carlos Ruiz, who starts at right wing midfield if Le Toux is the other forward, and can the defense regain its form after conceding 2 goals last week?  Seba made it known that he would like to be a forward only, and he would like Danny Mwanga up top with him.  And I think most Union supporters agree.  My guess is that Peter Nowak will start Le Toux with Ruiz again, and we’ll see a Farfan on the right wing.  The less-certain answer is about the backline.  I’m counting on some newcomer disorganization from DC to account for a lack of threats to the Union rearguard this match, but that may obscure the point that these guys are not as good as they were at the season’s outset.  Other than Jordan Harvey getting a red card, and being subbed out a few times, the back line has played almost every minute of every match (yes, there was the one time Danny Califf was sick, I know).  This may be a point in the season where they need to hit their second wind, so to speak.  We’re only half way through the season, so the back four needs to regroup and shut down an opponent in their stadium. 

My prediction is that the Union defense can not keep a clean sheet, but the offense will pick up the slack.  I see this match ending 2-1 in favor of Union.

Nick Y., the other .5 of Unholy Union

Your “Is it dead?!?” Touchlines

June 28, 2011 8 comments

Taking my time away from pissing off those on big soccer 😀

The US Women’s national team is playing North Korea today. I didn’t realize they let women do things…  Hold on a second *someone whispers into my ear* OH!  Wait, they’re not muslim?  What are they?  *whispers*  Oh, asian… right.  So they let women do things? *whispers again*  Oh, asian communists… and your point?

I attempted to start watching this game at work, but I.T. got smart and blocked ESPN3.  I guess my watching every World Cup match last year brought it to their attention or something.

In news of the CONCACAF presidency circus – nothing new…which is suprising.  All I know from news articles from Barbados and Jamaica – which let me tell you, are unbiased – is that the “President of Concacaf Lisle” shit for brains “Austin” is still trying to use a Bahamian court to overrule FIFA, who is under the jurisdiction of a real court in Zurich (okay, it’s more like a fantasy wonderland).   This screams one of those backroom brawls where the little guy is so beat up that even his friends are yelling at him to “stay down” but he’s too brain damaged already to know otherwise.

CONCACAF Gold Cup went off without a success… wait… No, that’s right, without a success.  Between the beginning where 5 players on Mexico were found with illegal substances in their body, and USA barely even managing to score 1 or 2 goals a game, the predicted final happened.  USA versus Mexico, on US soil…. in a place that was overrun with Mexico supporters (fail) that supported the winning team (fail) that came back from a dos y cero deficit (fail) in the first half (fail) before halftime…

Let’s face it, Bob Bradley reeks of fail.

Bald bastard.

In 1 week on the Union, the #oldserbian started 3 matches, and has won our hearts.  In 1 week he got 1 goal, 1 assist, and 1 scowl from Le Toux.  That’s a Union hat trick if I ever saw one.  It’s also nice to see our AARP program in full effect.

Scowl may or may not have happened.

Is there something wrong with Le Toux this year with not being able to score in the run of play?  Or is he just finally being French?

SoB bus trip to DC is this Saturday.  We will find out 2 or 3 things –
1) If people like my blog and/or online activity
2) What my blood type is (see 1 as to reasoning why)
3) If my liver can take such a long day (which will result in 2)

And with that, COME ON THE U!

*Please remember I’m only ripping on the stereotypical culture that is something other than american for a cheap laugh… If you think I’m being sexist, go make me a sandwhich.

 

– Dan K

Categories: Touch Lines

Postgame Reaction: Union vs Sporting Kansas City

June 23, 2011 3 comments

They say draws are like kissing your sister, and I guess that saying is to mean that getting to kiss a girl is good, but that it’s your sister makes it disgusting.  Well, this match was kind of like that, if your sister is a transexual.

ALL SEASON WE WANT THEM TO SHOOT MORE AND THEY GET 26 ATTEMPTS ON GOAL WITH NO FRIGGIN GOALS!!!  HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Ok, I feel a little better now.

Then again, that was the last place team in the Eastern Conference they were facing…  I’m going to punch something…

Thus is the maddening back-and-forth we’re left to deal with in this aftermath.  They played very well in possession and creating chances.  But much of their play was a bit too slow and deliberate which allowed SKC to adjust and defend accordingly.  Le Toux and Ruiz worked together better than they had at any point of this season.  They combined for many chances on goal, which is great to see.   But most of those shots went wide (all of Le Toux’s) and only 1 forced a quality save (Fat Chooch’s free kick).  Paunovic started (I should have seen this match ending this way just because of him) and played comfortably in the central attacking midfielder (CAM) role, and didn’t kill the team.  But he’s still too old and doesn’t know the team well enough to play at the speed that we need to take advantage of a team that knows it’s inferior and played the entire match hoping for a draw.  The defense played solidly and didn’t allow 40-year-old non-virgin Mondragon to be threatened more than once or twice.  But that’s because KC played the entire match as if they were more than happy to leave with a point from a scoreless draw.  Sheesh.

This should have been the soccer version of the scene in The Godfather when Sonny Corleone meets his end, or at least a re-run of the match vs Toronto FC, but instead we’re left with back-to-back matches against last-place teams yielding just a single point in the standings.  And, unlike the aforementioned TFC match, the Union are back to not finding the net.  They have no goals this week, with another patsie opponent, Chivas USA, awaiting them Saturday.  Granted, leading scorer Danny Mwanga was unavailable due to a knee injury, but with an attack-minded lineup in from the start, I feel the result of this match should have been a foregone conclusion. 

I’m on the record, through the YSA Report podcast, as saying that the first 17 matches can be about building the team, and gelling, and all of that hokey pokey nonsense that coaches talk about, but the final 17 are purely about results.  Therefore, I won’t rip them for using the experimental lineup that they did, as this was just the 15th match of the season.  However, home matches against bottom-feeders shouldn’t result in anything other than wins.

End rant.

Nick, the other .5 of Unholy Union

Match Preview: Union vs Sporting Kansas City

June 21, 2011 5 comments

When:  Wednesday, June 22, 7:30pm.  Where:  PPL Park, Chester, PA

DO NOT START PAUNOVIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is all.

Nick, the other .5 of Unholy Union

All too personal Touchlines

June 20, 2011 Leave a comment

We get no downtime this week.  From traveling to the far reaches of the Oregon Trail up to Vancouver (our team played like they had dysentery, that’s the only reference I got) and now back, they must fight off the evil witch and that damn dog Todo while trying to recover 3 points against Kansas City Sporters on Wednesday.  Can our team recover?  Can they play like they have a set?  Or are we just dust in the wind.

Speaking of wind(bags), Captain Jack Warner has finally jumped ship with his resignation from FIFA and CONCACAF!  The catch?  All allegation investigations on Warner have been closed, open only if the bastard comes back into soccer.  Who here smells something fishy?

Speaking of fish, rumor has it that Ruiz is looking to play elsewhere once the summer transfer window opens up.  No wonder we got someone just as old and worthless as he is.

Speaking of the Old Serbian, I have nothing against Paunovic… it’s just fun to make jokes on him based on his age and it was a comment being said in passing (as I have said it before to others).  Now, if he plays worse in the next match, or even at all, there will be hell to pay (or just some twitter comments).

How far does “In Nowak We Trust” go?  How much longer can we take his baffling decisions?  As much as I’m annoyed, at least he hasn’t gained 200 pounds, eats nothing but cheesesteaks, and gotten a case of “um’s” like some other coaches in the area.  As long as that doesn’t happen, I think I’ll be happy.  Philly can only take so much of it you know.

And to close – RIP Ryan Dunn and his passenger.  Any death is nothing to laugh about.

(what, you thought I’d make some jackass comment?)

Categories: Touch Lines

Hangover Analysis of the Vancouver riot

June 19, 2011 1 comment

As I’m sitting at home watching the USA vs Jamaica match, I figured I might as well put up a post of the travesty that was last night.

Philadelphia Union lost to Vancouver Whitecraps… i mean Riot… i mean.. whatever.  1 nothing.  Vancouver’s goal, albeit nicely struck (easily a goal of the week candidate) was sour in every sense of the word, like sour gummi worms.

At first, I thought we were in for a good game.  I liked the referee prior to this game (Alex Prus), he was decent in the game at PPL so I figured it would be a well officiated game.  Union have been making decent lineups from the get go, so before the game I had a great feeling.

Then I saw Miglioranzi in the lineup.  Paunovic, our newly acquired 2 1/2 year retired, 33 year old serbian.

Being an away game i was on twitter with all the fellow union fans on their computers or smart phones.  I myself was at a computer… needing a new beer I came back to this tweet which my response started a craze:

Philly Soccer Page
Anyone have a good reason Mwanga shouldn’t start? Or anything official?
Unholy Union
@phillysoccerpg old serbian and old migz

Apparently my response of the fact we have an old serbian began a hashtag joke frenzy you can see here at brotherly game.  Again thanks for the credit.

This was a welcome distraction, as well as Andrew from The Union Dues coming up with #rememberthetimemigs comments that were painfully funny only because they were heartbreakingly true (“Remember the time when migs was taken off and mystified me as to why? i don’t” ).  Needless to say, a game where the majority of comments are heckling your own players doesn’t bode well for game reviews…

In between me yelling at Hassli to go back to Green Street and making jokes about anyone and everything, the refereeing was atrocious.  Plenty of hard tackles,scissor tackles from behind, and inconsistent calls that are consistent with the MLS officiating.  But sadly, we can’t blame this game on officiating alone.  So who can we blame it on?  Our defense? Offense? The other team?

Well, our defense was good.  Our offense had their own pressing moments, but hardly any shots on goal… and any shots on goal were by Carroll, so they are in the list of blame.  Vancouver played terribly, in every sense of the word – nothing pretty about their play, and they weren’t at all good.  So what could possibly be the problem?

Nowak.

Unless of course he’s on a coke binge and it’s his 5th day awake, what in god’s name makes you think the lineup last night is any good at all.  We have Paunovic who is new being paired up with Le Toux.  Okay, experienced striker who is 2 1/2 years rusty, with someone who is on a dry streak this year.  Experience may overcome the odds, if he played his position and not deep in the middle of midfielders… so we had Le Toux who runs all over, and Paunovic who is receeded, we clearly have no one to feed any counterattacks to.  Atrocious.

Not only that, we threw Miglioranzi back into the mix i suppose to say “Yes, you’re still on the team”.  He is as wanted in the lineup from fans as a colonoscopy.

So with a lineup that was destined for a come from behind game, the surprise appearance of a professional referee being an MLS referee, and members of Vancouver playing like they are prepping for a UFC match, it was an ugly game for everyone.  Very few chances created by the Union, we were set to fail from the beginning with another lineup scratching our heads, and a worse performance than we did in FC Dallas.

Only a few plays are worthy of comment:

Vancouver’s goal –
It’s hard to say, but our defense lapsed in thinking allowing Rochart to make a strike from outside the box into the far side out of Mondragon’s reach.  Someone on twitter asked if he was 5 years younger would he have made that save.  The answer is no – mostly because it was a good challenging strke and the only thing that could have allowed Mondragon to save it would have been his postioning on the angle, which was maybe only a step too far to the wrong side.

Mondragon on defense –
Twice this man ran out into the run of play on a ball, and twice left the net open scarily giving us all agita.  Luckily enough vancouver is that bad – once losing the ball before any threatening play, and the second time our defense collapsed into the box and proved their worth by blocking the shot out of bounds before it could get near the goal.

Most everything else could be summed up from other analyses – Migs gives up the ball too many times, bad passes. No offense, no shooting.  What is Nowak thinking.  ETC, ETC.  The only thing we can take away from this game is a bitter taste in our mouth, a feeling of being cheated, and wondering why we lost a 3 points that should have been a given.

Match Preview: Union vs Real Salt Lake

June 10, 2011 1 comment

Saturday, 4pm, PPL Park, Chester, PA, ABC, 123, more commas,,,,,

Union are 2-0-1 in their last 3 matches, and RSL lost on Wednesday at Columbus.  I would like to say that these trends mean an easy Union win, but that would be short-sighted.  Salt Lake is another team with a great defense, much like Union, as they’ve given up only 6 goals in their 11 league matches.  Union are pourous by comparison, conceding 10 goals in their 12 league matches.  In other words, don’t expect a 6-goal outburst like what we saw in Toronto.

The positives for Union are that they’ve looked better offensively since Carlos Ruiz has not been on the field.  This spans that 3-match streak I mentioned above, and it’s far from coincidence.  Sure, Toronto FC is a sub-standard soccer club, and Union made them seem exactly that (aside from those moments of lunacy that led to 2 goals being scored against them, but I’ve tried to erase them from my memory…).  The real point is that the team has looked better in all phases of attacking soccer with no Fat Chooch in the lineup.  Something else to look forward to is Jack McInerney featuring alongside of Danny Mwanga (At least I hope).  Jack Mac looked in great form considering his lack of first-team playing time.  He almost finished a chance, and created a great chance for the stone-footed Sebastien Le Toux (I cried typing that phrase, but I’m slowly coming to grips with the fact that Seba is not Superman).  Union will need the offense to be effective if they plan on not being RSL’s 8th clean sheet.

I mentioned a couple of them before, but now for the negatives.  Sebastien Le Toux HAS TO, and I can’t emphasize that enough, HAS TO do better with his first touch so he doesn’t spoil great scoring chances.  The way he botched Jack Mac’s through ball was criminal, and it’s really starting to get on my nerves.  I understand that he had a great year last season, but his play this season is so disparitly awful that I’m thinking having him come off the bench may not be the worst idea.  Set piece defense has also become a black cloud over this Union side.  Their ability to stop similar plays during the run of play is what’s made them the Eastern Conference leaders.  Their inability to stop those same plays when their opponent initiates from a re-start has cost them points already.  It’s not a secret, so I have faith that the coaching staff is working with the team on straightening this deficiency out.

It seems as if their run in the CONCACAF Champions League has taken on toll on the SLC Punks (yes, I had to work in that reference).  More than half of their goals conceded have come since losing in that tournament’s final and they only have 1 win in their last 5 matches (1-2-2).  The hope for Union is that they’ve caught a normally very strong RSL side in a funk and can secure all 3 points while playing at home.  However, I see this match ending in a draw.  I’m pretty sure it’ll end 1-1, but would not be surprised to see our first completely scoreless match of the season.

Nick, the other .5 of Unholy Union