The Philly Soccer Page Archives for January 2011

Stat chat: The Union defense

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Photo: Nicolae Stoian

The question of consistent selection with the Union starting lineups has vexed the team's supporters from the start of the season. Except for the defensive starters. The defensive starters have been comfortingly predictable, apart from three occasions involving illness or suspension—one of which happened to overlap with a transfer that came out of nowhere and resulted in a new back four.

Analysis and Player Ratings: WPS Final

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photo by Michael Long

For the second consecutive season, the Independence were defeated in the WPS Final. Last year, Philadelphia was humbled to the tune of 4-0 in a loss to FC Gold Pride. This year's game played out much differently with the Independence executing their game plan almost perfectly and only really failing to convert the chances they created.

The tinker toy lineup boost

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Many Philadelphia Union fans find it maddening how Peter Nowak tinkers with lineups.

Next week, it could pay off.

The Union will play three home games over an 7-day stretch, due to the makeup game against New England being set midweek between the Sept. 3 road game against Real Salt Lake and the Sept.

WPS Final in photos -Philadelphia falls to WNY Flash

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The WPS title was at stake on Saturday in Rochester, NY.

The Cheesesteak Supporters Club was in the house. A few of the stalwarts rented a giant conversion van.

They proceeded to decorate the van.

Note the yellow string of lights up top.

City Islanders send-off, booing your team, August round-up

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August is finally over. Let's review what happened:

The Union started out with a loss to Colorado. PSP/KYWÂ talked to Alexi Lalas about the dissonance between self-assurance and consistently incorrect predictions. Ed summed up the Union-Chicago tie well: U.G.L.Y. When PSP spoke with John Hackworth, he gave us some insight on how the team was dealing with the rough patch and how the coaches were trying to improve the performances.

Philadelphia Union at Real Salt Lake

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Televised live on TCN.

Sunny again in Philadelphia

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All of at the PSP hope that all of you, yours and all of your stuff made it through Hurricane Irene safe and sound.

Union

RSL's Kyle Beckerman will not join the US team for the Costa Rica friendly on Friday but will stay in Salt Lake City for Saturday's match against the Union.

With the rescheduled New England game meaning the Union will play three games in seven days—Real Salt Lake (A), New England (H) and Portland (H)—Chris Vito writes in the Delco Times that it is time for the Union to get some points.

Sunday funday: World footy round-up

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Columbus, Kansas City and Houston all lost last night, which is great news for the Union.

The Independence lost the WPS Final for the second straight season. But while last year's loss was a wipeout, this team came to play. The Independence did itself, women's soccer, and the city of Philadelphia proud.

Irene and the next five games

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Photo: Nicolae Stoian

Hurricane Irene closed airports, flooded roads and rails, and generally made it impossible to get aroun on the east coast.

Despite this disrupting natural disaster, it will be hard for MLS's Eastern Conference teams to argue that the storm was the reason they didn't show up on Saturday night.

Western New York 1 – 1 Philadelphia (5-4 in PKs)

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In a game worthy of a Championship, the Western New York Flash defeated the Philadelphia Independence in a shootout 5-4 after the teams ended 120 minutes of soccer tied at one. Ashlyn Harris saved Laura del Rio's penalty on Philadelphia's fifth and final shot after every other shooter had converted for both teams.

Independence play for title today, other news

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Hey everyone, there's a hurricane coming. Your game is probably cancelled today. Track the storm here.

In case you're the rare ticket-holder who doesn't know, Sunday's Philadelphia Union match is postponed till Sept. 7.

The Philadelphia Independence are still on today at 4 p.m. for the WPS title game against the Western New York Flash.

PSP talks to Sinead Farrelly

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(Photos: Michael C. Long)

After shaking off a right leg injury, first year Independence midfielder Sinead Farrelly put in her best performance of the season in the WPS Super Semifinal. Having gotten the best of magicJack and US National Team member Megan Rapinoe, the no. 2 pick in the 2011 WPS Draft has her sights set on claiming the league title in her first season.

WPS Final Preview: Western New York Flash vs Philadelphia Independence

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photo by Michael Long

Game Time: 4 pm Saturday

TV: Comcast Sports Network

The Philadelphia Indpendence is back in the WPS Final for the second time in only their second year of existence. After dropping last year's final 4-0 to FC Gold Pride, this year's motto has been "unfinished business".

KYW Philly Soccer Show: Independence in WPS Final

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Photo: Michael Long

Women's soccer leads the way this week on the KYW Philly Soccer Show when KYW's Greg Orlandini is joined by Philly Soccer Page writer Eli Pearlman-Storch and PSP‘s Philadelphia Independence beat writer Mike Servedio.

The Independence heads to Rochester, NY to face the Western New York Flash for the WPS crown on Saturday, August 27 (4pm, CSN).

Come on, Irene

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Union

So, no Union game on Sunday because of Hurricane Irene. What's a Philly soccer fan supposed to do? Support the Independence in Saturday's WPS Championship Final (CSN, 4pm), that's what.

Looking at the title of Kerith Gabriel's excellent piece in today's Daily News, "Union's youth has not been served," it would be easy to expect a rant about how some deserving young players on the Union roster are not getting enough playing time.

Does Valdes’ suspension have an upside?

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Carlos Valdes missing the New England match: Meh.

Carlos Valdes missing the game at Real Salt Lake? Dammit.

Due to New Englanders being scared of weather, the second scenario has come true. The options to replace Valdes are clear because, well, they are so few.

1. Drop Stefani Miglioranzi back and fill his spot with either a recovered Brian Carroll or an antsy Amobi Okugo.

USMNT roster for upcoming friendlies announced

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USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has named his 24-man roster for the upcoming friendlies against Costa Rica and Belgium. Eleven MLS players including Colorado's Jeff Larentowicz and Sporting Kansas City's Teal Bunbury were rewarded for their strong recent play with call-ups.

Michael Orozco-Fiscal is also on the roster.

Union game postponed until September 7

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The Philadelphia Union announced on Thursday evening that Sunday's match against New England Revolution has been postponed due to expected extreme weather conditions as Hurricane Irene makes its way up the Atlantic coast.

The announcement on the Union's website says, "The decision to postpone the game was made to ensure the safety of players and fans.

The Loneliness of the Holding Midfielder: A Profile of Jen Buczkowski

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"We talk about the back four, we talk about the forward line, Vero, but nobody's mentioned Buczkowski. She must have picked off a hundred balls and I think that's a credit to [her]. She's the unheralded hero. No one talks about her. But she's the one that's on the team sheet first every week.

Where the goals come from: Union compared to the league

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Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

On Wednesday we posted an article looking at how the Union has scored its goals at home and on the road and how its opponents have scored on them. Today we take a look at how the Union scores its goals and is scored upon compared to the rest of the league.

PSP talks to Joanna Lohman

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(Photos: Michael C. Long)

As the Independence prepare for Saturday's WPS Final versus Western New York in Rochester, the PSP had the opportunity to catch up with midfielder Joanna Lohman. Lohman's versatility has been on display of late, adding to coach Paul Riley's depth by turning in strong, confident performances both on the wing and in the center of midfield.

Handbags in Harrisburg, laps, more news

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Union

The Union went down two goals in the first half of Wednesday night's friendly against Harrisburg City Islanders before answering with five second half goals to finish 5–3. Tweets from fans at the game say that Peter Nowak made the starting XI—MacMath; Williams, Miglioranzi, Califf, G. Farfan; Okugo, Adu, Daniel, Le Toux; Paunovic, Mwanga—run laps after the first half.

Where the goals come from

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Photo: Nicolae Stoian

When it comes to goals, it's easy enough to find out who has scored them. As the season goes on, the hard part is remembering how the goals were scored. Did this goal come from open play or was it a set piece? Was that goal from a throw in or was it from a corner kick.

Power rankings drop, H-Burg friendly, Cheeseteaks & more

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Photo: Paul Rudderow

Union

In this week's power rankings roundup, the Union drop everywhere. At Soccer America, the Union fall three spots to tenth. The three spot fall at MLSsoccer.com is to ninth. At SBI, the fall is two spots to ninth while at ESPN the two spot decline is to tenth.

The Indian summer of Veljko Paunovic

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(Photo: Nicolae Stoian)

The old guy can play.

If there was ever any question—and there was—put it to rest now. Veljko Paunovic has earned a spot the field, somewhere. He showed it clearly against Columbus on Saturday in his best game of the season.

When Philadelphia Union signed him, all sorts of questions were raised—some by us —and rightly so.

Stat chat: Union at Columbus

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The Union slump worsened on Saturday with the 2–1 loss to Columbus. The Union's record on the road now stands at 3–5—4. Overall, they are 8–6–10 with a 5–1–6 home record.

The Union are now winless in five games, having gone L–D–D–D–L since their last win on the road in New England on July 17, which also happens to be the last shutout the team has recorded and the last league game Carlos Ruiz played for the club.

“Wildcard” returns, Richter vs Anibaba, John gone

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Union

I'm sure it's already been said, but it sure is great to have a Thorne back in our side.

And LeTwitter lives! Seba is online! If you aren't already following Sebastien Le Toux on Twitter... something angry and French. Come on, do it!

Michael Bullock reviews Sheanon Williams' meteoric rise from the Harrisburg City Islanders to a constant presence on the Philadelphia Union.

Holder returns to the Union

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Photo: Nicolae Stoian

The Philadelphia Union announced on Monday that Trinidad & Tobago goalkeeper Thorne Holder has been reacquired.

Holder was waived on July 26, presumably to free up an international spot on the Union roster. With the summer transfer window now closed, and the sole Union signing being the American Freddy Adu, Holder returns to the club to re-fill the vacant third goalkeeper role.

Player ratings and analysis: Union loss in Columbus

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Photo: Nicolae Stoian

Slowly but surely, Columbus has pulled themselves up the Eastern Conference ladder. Even as their top two strikers suffered injuries and the rest of their lineup rotated in and out of favor, the Crew scraped points together.

And when Philadelphia faltered, nobody was left to deny the Crew their place atop the East.

Slip and fall, more news

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Union

Ugh. The Union are now in fourth place. Ugh.

Peter Nowak on the Sheanon Williams handball:

For me it is physically impossible to see, from the angle the referee was running, and how far away he was. It is physically impossible is what I can say. And make a call like that, in a game like that?

Philadelphia 2- Magicjack 0 in photos

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A bigger stage awaits...

...the women of the Independence as the faced magicJack in the 2011 WPS Super Semifinal.

The action starts early and sticks to several dominant themes:
1) Frustrate Abby Wambach...

Estelle Johnson drives theme number 2:
Keep Rapinoe under wraps.

Sunday morning manager: Crew 2-1 Union

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When PSP runs our live commentary during away matches, we get lots of interesting comments and questions from readers. We take those comments and try to put together a list of questions that get to the heart of what Union fans want to know about the team.

The Question: Is it time to bid adieu to the diamond midfield, or are the Union's problems with shape and possession a personnel instead of a tactical issue?

Match report: Crew 2-1 Union

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There is a clear difference between playing well and creating chances, and the Philadelphia Union embodied the former on Saturday night.

A controversial (read: very poor) penalty call was the difference as the Union fell 2-1 to the Eastern Conference leading Columbus Crew Saturday night in front of what looked to be 45 people.

Match Report: Independence 2 – 0 magicJack

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photo by Michael Long

The Independence defeated magicJack 2-0 in the WPS Super Semi Final at PPL Park on Saturday afternoon. Goals from Tasha Kai and Amy Rodriguez were enough to see the Independence through as magicJack will feel a bit unlucky after hitting the wood work three times over the course of the match.

Adu, Independence at PPL, & bear fights

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Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Union

OK, so you're probably watching EPL right now, but when you get back, here's some stuff to keep you busy before today's Independence and Union matches.

The Crew have their eyes on Freddy Adu, but not so much as they do upon first place, which they're hoping to keep in tonight's match against the Union.

Crew v Union live chat

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Join PSP for live commentary as the Philadelphia Union travel to Columbus Crew to battle for the top position in the MLS Eastern Conference. Adam Cann will be your host, joined by Eli Pearlman-Storch and Mike Servedio (as soon as they get back from covering the Philadelphia Independence in the WPS Super Semifinal against magicJack at PPL Park).

WPS Super Semi Final Preview: Independence vs magicJack

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Game Time: 4 pm, Saturday

TV: Sort of? Tape delay of the game will be shown on CSN at 11 pm but you can watch the webcast live on Fox Soccer.

Before we get too far into this, let me confirm. The Independence are in fact playing a team called magicJack for the right to play Western New York in the WPS Final.

Q & A with Kensington SC founder Jim Hardy

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Photos: Nicolae Stoian

When we ran a photo essay by PSP photographer Nicolae Stoian about Kensington Soccer Club's Family Day a few weeks ago, the response was, simply put, overwhelmingly positive. KSC founder Jim Hardy now talks to the PSP about how the club got started, its mission and plans for the future, why soccer is such a powerful community building tool, and what you can do to help.

Preview: Philadelphia Union at Columbus Crew

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Photo: Nicolae Stoian

Game time: Saturday, 7:30pm ET

TV: The Comcast Network

Do not feel bad if after taking a look down the Columbus Crew roster for Saturday's showdown you find yourself scratching your head.

In a league designed to be dominated by superstars, the Crew have taken the industrious path alongside team's like Real Salt Lake and Dallas.

Heads up, Columbus

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Photo: Nicolae Stoian

Union

Peter Nowak on Saturday's crucial match in Columbus: "I think Columbus will be one of those games that [a challenge] will come our way and we have to grab one point or three points and have to make the best of it."

Danny Califf calls the match "a six pointer," adding, "It's the most important game of the season so far.

Boquete, Riley, Krzysik win WPS Awards

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cover photo of Boquete by Michael Long

The Philadelphia Independence's Veronica Boquete, Nikki Krzysik, and coach Paul Riley all won end of the season awards in front of the team's Super Semi-Final match on Saturday. Boquete won the Michelle Akers Player of the Year award, Krzysik received the Citi Sportswoman of the Year award as voted on by the players, and Riley won his second consecutive Coach of the Year award.

Supporters Summit in pictures

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Nick Sakiewicz & MLS Commissioner Don Garber

Don Garber greets Seba

Don Garber talks with his All-Star Team choice.

Faryd Mondragon greets the fans.

Amy Fadool moderates the discussion.

Nick Sakiewicz talks about the traffic situation.

Supporters summit, East Conference movement, more news

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Photo: Guido Gaeffke

Union

Judging from the reaction on Twitter, last night's Supporters Summit was a great success. Check out our report and look for Earl Gardner's photo essay later today.

The Union Dues has a report of their own.

One of the results of the summit will make Twitter followers happy: Sebastien Le Toux will join Twitter next week.

The first annual Philadelphia Union Supporters Summit

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(Photos: Earl Gardner)

On a beautiful summer evening along the shores of the Delaware River, 200 Sons of Ben members gathered in PPL Park's Section 107, looking out over the Commodore Barry Bridge. Across the pitch on the opposite side of the stadium, the word "Union" was emblazoned across the empty seats.

KYW Philly Soccer Show: Freddy Adu

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Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

The newest member of the Philadelphia Union is our guest on the latest KYW Philly Soccer Show podcast as Freddy Adu joins KYW's Greg Orlandini and PSP's Eli Pearlman-Storch. Adu joined MLS as a 14-year-old in 2004, winning a MLS Cup with Union Coach Peter Nowak when both were at DC United.

Adu, du, du, Adoop, doop, doop, that’s all I want to say to U

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Photo courtesy of Greg Carroccio and the Philadelphia Union

Union

The newest edition of the Philly Soccer Show, co-hosted by KYW's Greg Orlandini and PSP's Eli Pearlman-Storch, features an interview with Freddy Adu.

Ives Galarcep has an informative piece on Adu loaded with great quotes.

PSP talks to Nicole Barnhart

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(Photos: Paul Rudderow)

With PPL Park playing host to it's first playoff game this Saturday, August 20 at 4:00pm when the second-seeded Philadelphia Independence host the WPS Super Semifinal, the PSP caught up with Independence and US National Team goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart. A former WPS champion with FC Gold Pride who has earned 39 caps for the USA, Barnhart discusses the recent Women's World Cup, the Philadelphia Independence, PPL Park and WPS.

MLS releases new DP rules for young players

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Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Major League Soccer announced on Tuesday new Designated Player rules for players aged 20-years-old or younger and players aged 21 to 23-years-old.

Under the new rules, which will go into effect in the 2012 season, players in the first group will count as $150,000 against the salary cap while players in the second group will count as $200,000 against the salary cap.

Standings showdown

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Photo: Nicolae Stoian
With Saturday night's 2–2 draw against FC Dallas, the Philadelphia Union remain in second place in the East behind Columbus, with 34 points to the Crew's 37 and a game in hand. Two teams are level at 31 points—New York and Houston—with the Union having two games in hand against New York and one game in hand against Houston.

Stat chat: Union v Dallas

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In addition to the two PK goals Sebastien Le Toux recorded on Saturday in the Philadelphia Union's 2–2 draw with FC Dallas, Le Toux led the Union in shots on goal with three. Danny Mwanga and Keon Daniel each recorded a single shot on goal.

Le Toux's tally on Saturday brings his total of PK goals to three—all of Le Toux's goals have come from penalty kicks this year—the same number as Eric Hassli, Dwayne De Rosario, Jack Jewsbury and Alvaro Saborio.

Nowak tweets, more news.

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Union

With the transfer window closed, what was the big announcement out of the Union? Peter Nowak is now on Twitter.

Nowak tweeted, "Even old dogs can learn new tricks. Looking forward to interacting with the best fans in @MLS. Be gentle on me! #DOOP."

The official Union Twitter account assured followers that it actually was Nowak doing the tweeting, including, "Believe it or not it is actually him," and, "We promise you, it's his fingers doing the typing.

Player Ratings and Analysis: Union 2 -2 Dallas

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photo by Daniel Gajdamowicz

player ratings contributed by Mikey Cann

As with all seasons, we must learn to take the bad with the good. The downs with the ups. The late losses with the late wi... ties.

The Freddy Adu signing with the Freddy Adu performance.

Adu debut, Le Toux for two, Angel rumors, more news

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Photo: Kate Goughary

Will Juan Pablo Angel be joining the Union?

Speculation began to gain momentum when Faryd Mondragon, a close friend of Angel, tweeted, "What a dream come true will be to have my "brother" Juan Pablo Angel to play for the Philadelphia Union, he will fit perfectly in our Team!

Match report: Union 2-2 FC Dallas

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If you are looking for a Freddy Adu report, you have come to the wrong place.

Freddy Adu started, the fans were loud and rain held off, but that didn't make the play any prettier.

The Philadelphia Union tied FC Dallas 2-2 in front of a sold out crowd at PPL Park on Saturday Night.

Adu's debut lasted sixty minutes and, vacillating between striker and outside midfielder, his performance was a fair measure of the team as a whole.

Union v FC Dallas in photos

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PSP photographer Daniel Gajdamowicz was on the sidelines for Saturday's match between Philadelphia Union and the FC Dallas. Here's a photo essay of all the action.

Philadelphia Independence – magicJack Preview

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The Independence travel to south Florida to take on the mysterious team known only as magicJack in the final regular season game of the season. Philadelphia currently trails Western New York by three points in the league table, but hold the tie break if the teams should tie. MagicJack have secured a third place finish and will host either Boston or Sky Blue FC in the first round of the WPS playoffs, which will be later this week.

Freddy Adu introduced at Union press conference

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In a press conference at PPL Park today, Freddy Adu was officially announced as a member of the Philadelphia Union.

Adu and head coach Peter Nowak posed with Adu's number eleven jersey (which he acquired from Levi Houapeu in exchange for "a nice dinner") after answering questions from the media.

Preview: Philadelphia Union vs. FC Dallas

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Photo: Paul Rudderow

Game time: Saturday, 8:00pm ET

TV: 6 ABC

Freddy Adu and Peter Nowak are not the only reunion on tap for this weekend as former Union midfielder Andrew Jacobson and goalkeeper Chris Seitz return to PPL Park for the first time since leaving the club.

What does Freddy Adu change? Everything

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In last week's Sports Illustrated, Tom Verducci argued that baseball fans need to back off and give 18-year old phenom Bryce Harper room to make mistakes and grow.

When Freddy Adu was 18, he was already the highest paid player in MLS and agitating for playing time. His coach, Peter Nowak, famously responded, "nobody is above this team.

USA vs Mexico – fans photos

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(Summary is not available.)

It’s official: Reunited and it feels so good!

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Union

It's official: the Union announced on their website at 8am on Friday that Freddy Adu has signed with the club on a free transfer from Benfica. As is always the case, "Per Major League Soccer and club policy, the terms of the acquisition will not be disclosed."

Dave Zeitlin, writer for the Union, tweeted shortly after the announcement, "Freddy Adu is signed, sealed and delivered.

Freddy Adu to the Union

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Soccer By Ives reported on Thursday afternoon that Freddy Adu will be joining the Philadelphia Union.

"Adu will be introduced as the Philadelphia Union's newest signing on Friday," the SBI report said, "marking his return to MLS after four years in Europe, multiple sources confirmed to Fox Soccer on Thursday.

USA v Mexico match report & player ratings

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Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

On the day when US Soccer officially entered the Jurgen Klinsmann era, it was fitting that within a 90 minute match, the quality of play on either side of halftime served to contrast a past system that lacked creativity with a new future of bright, attacking soccer.

We’ll take it!

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US

Check out PSP photographer Daniel Gajdamowicz's pre-game and match photo essays.

Tim Howard said before Wednesday night's friendly between the USA and Mexico, "It's going to take all hands on deck." He wasn't wrong. And after a shaky first half, the defense's confidence grew and the offense started creating real chances in what was, in the end, a great effort from the US against an objectively superior Mexican team.

USA vs. Mexico in photos

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PSP photographer Daniel Gajdamowicz was at Wednesday's USA Mexico draw. Here's a photo essay of all the action.

USA vs Mexico pre-game festivities

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PSP photographer Daniel Gajdamowicz's photo essay of pre-game festivities at the USA Mexico game.

The road ahead

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Not so long ago we were looking at the Union at the season's mid-point. Five game's later and things look a lot less rosy than they did then.

At the season's midpoint, the 2–2 draw with DC, the Union were 7–4–6. Since then, the Union have one win, one loss and three draws for a 8–5–9 record.

KYW Philly Soccer Show: Amobi Okugo

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Photo: Earl Gardner

KYW's Greg Orlandini and PSP's Adam Cann are joined by Union midfielder Amobi Okugo in the latest edition of the Philly Soccer Show.

In part one, Okugo talks about the tough run of games coming up for the team, with Dallas coming to PPL Park this weekend and the Union traveling to Columbus next.

Preview: USA vs. Mexico

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Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Location: Lincoln Financial Field

Game time: Wednesday, 9:00pm ET

TV: ESPN2

Following the recent appointment of Jurgen Klinsmann as the coach of the US Mens National Team, the focus of US Soccer has turned to Philadelphia, where the Nats will play host to Mexico on Wednesday night in an effort to kick off Klinsmann's US career by turning over a three match losing streak against their arch-rivals.

USA! USA! USA! More news

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Union

Four days remain until the close of the transfer window...

The Union will host its first Supporters Summit on Wednesday, August 17 with Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz, Peter Nowak, Faryd Mondragón and MLS Commissioner Don Garber answering questions. If, as Sakiewicz said, "hearing from a wider audience than usual" is the reason for the summit, the fact that only registered members of the Sons of Be will be allowed to attend is rather mystifying, particularly if topics for discussion will include "the Union's style of play, the League schedule, game-day experience, ticketing, stadium expansion, single table alignment and playoff structure.

Tony Meola soccer camp in photos

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With the rain pouring down in buckets, the boys and girls of the West Philadelphia Hurricanes Youth Soccer Club probably thought practice would be called for the day. Yet, when they arrived at the Shepard Recreation Center at 57th Street and Haverford Avenue for an impromptu indoor training session, they received an unexpected surprise.

USMNT Training Session in photos

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PSP photographer Daniel Gajdamowicz was on hand for USMNT training session at NovaCare Complex. Here's a look at what he saw.

In pictures: Philadelphia 2 – 1 Sky Blue

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Sunday's match, the last home game of the regular season, was Fan Appreciation Night.

Tasha Kai once again proved why she is essential to this team, scoring the first goal...

...with this shot over Sky Blue's keeper, Jenni Branam.

Stat chat: Too many draws & the consistency question

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One of the criticisms you hear about soccer from Americans who don't know/understand/like the sport is that there are too many draws. I've always liked that draws are possible in soccer and find the need of some American sports fans to have a clear cut winner and loser frankly incomprehensible. For myself, I know I've probably had more draws than wins or losses in the game of life so why should the sport I love most be any different?

Valdes available, Bradley to Egypt, O-F back in town!

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The Union announced yesterday that Carlos Valdes will be eligible to play against Dallas FC Saturday. The absurd yellow card he received against Houston was supposed to lead to a suspension.

Michasel Orozco-Fiscal says he is happy to be back in Philly, even if it's just to train with the US National team.

Philadelphia Independence 2 – 1 Sky Blue FC

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photo by Michael Long

A stoppage time goal from Lianne Sanderson kept the Independence in the race for a first place finish in WPS on Sunday night at Widener University. Tasha Kai gave Philly the lead on 17 minutes with a wonderful strike from distance only to see her opener cancelled out seven minutes later by an Eniola Aluko goal.

Someone owes me two points

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Photo: Nicolae Stoian

1-0 looked like it would be enough against Houston. With ten minutes to play the Philadelphia Union looked as if they were on their way to another one goal, home victory. Second goal or not, they should have made it stand and for the second game in a row they are left with a draw that felt like a loss.

Lift Le curse on Le Touch!

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Union

John Hackworth, again filling in on the sidelines for Peter Nowak, said after the game, "I think frustration and disappointment are the two biggest feelings we have right now. We feel we deserved three points in that game."

Sheanon Williams said, "We gave up a goal in the 85th minute when we had the chance to go up two and lock the game up.

Player ratings and analysis: Union 1-1 Dynamo

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After the match, John Hackworth said, "I would get worried if we weren't creating those chances, but we are."

For the Union, the chances have been there all season. The problem, of course, is finishing them.

More than poor shooting

And it is not just a matter of getting shots on net.

Philadelphia Union v Houston Dynamo in photos

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Match report: Union 1-1 Dynamo

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The 2011 Jack McInerney has been passive and tentative, clearly frustrated at himself.

In front of a packed house at PPL Park on Saturday night, McInerney looked frustrated for a different reason. He wanted the ball. More, more, more. In the fifteenth minute: a goal. Moments later: A brilliant finish called back for offsides.

Houston, we have lift off

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Featured image: Paul Rudderow

Union

The Union are surely feeling the effects of their performance over the last two games, earning only one point out of six. If they are in need of a boost, the news that the Union have acquired the full rights to Carlos Valdes, who was on loan from Independiente Sante Fe, just might do the trick.

Independence – Sky Blue FC Preview

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Game time: Sunday, 6 pm

TV: Fox Soccer Channel

The Independence take on Sky Blue for the second time in two weeks on Sunday at Widener University. The game will be the last regular season home game of the season, and final game at Widener University with the Independence hosting their playoff game at PPL Park.

Preview: Philadelphia Union vs. Houston Dynamo

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Photo: Paul Rudderow

Game time: Saturday, 8:00pm ET

TV: 6 ABC

Any time an old streak ends, a new one can begin and that is exactly what will be on the minds of the Union players when they square off against Houston this Saturday at PPL Park.

PSP talks to John Hackworth

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After tying the Chicago Fire, John Hackworth took a moment to discuss the match with The Philly Soccer Page.

Philly Soccer Page: Both Farfans were used as outside backs tonight. What did you think of their play? It seemed like Chicago was able to pin them back more than you might like.

Chicago Fire v Philadelphia Union in photos

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The Philly Soccer Page's photographer Nate Monahan had a tough first assignment: Follow the Union to Chicago and show us what they look like on the road following a tough home loss. Nate's photo essay shows an anxious side trying to find their identity with the head coach missing and leading scorer gone.

Union rights to Carlos Valdes permanent

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The Philadelphia Union announced on Friday that they have secured the rights to Colombian centerback Carlos Valdes.

Valdes had joined the Union on loan from Independiente Santa Fe of the Colombian First Division in January.

The Union also announced that the Carlos Ruiz move to second division Mexican side Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz was now official.

Stat chat: Union at Chicago

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In Chicago on Wednesday night, it was another ugly showing by the Union.

In 90 minutes of play, the Union managed one shot on goal. Fortunately, Veljko Paunovic made no mistake with the shot. Recording three shots on goal in six appearances, he has now scored two goals.

With a little time away from the emotions of the match, it is perhaps easier to accept that a point on the road is a good thing (even if three points are what should be expected when the Union plays one of its games in hand against a last place team).

Who will soon be leaving the Union?

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Union

Who will soon be leaving the Union? In a story that is otherwise a yawner—now that he's actually gone, the Philadelphia Inquirer's Marc Narducci offers some criticism of Carlos Ruiz and says the Union are better off without him—is included a piece of very big news for Union fans. Describing the efforts the Union have underway to acquire a "young international striker" in the summer transfer window, a source tells Narducci that the Union "will make another move with one of their own players.

Player ratings & analysis: Union at Chicago

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Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Soccer being a team sport, player ratings have the inherent flaw of isolating an individual out of eleven interconnected pieces.

John Hackworth said as much after the match when he spoke of the Farfans struggling to get forward as a symptom of the team's early issues with shape and possession.

Klinsmann calls up 22 for USA v Mexico

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New USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann has announced a 22-player roster for next Wednesday's USA v Mexico friendly at Lincoln Financial Field.

Among those getting the call is Michael Orozco Fiscal, the former defender of the Philadelphia Union who is now with San Luis in the Mexican Primera.

Nine professional leagues from eight different countries are represented on the roster.

Thursday Morning Manager: Fire 1 – 1 Union

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When PSP runs our live commentary during away matches, we get lots of interesting comments and questions from readers. We take those comments and try to put together a list of questions that get to the heart of what Union fans want to know about the team.

The Question:Â How would the Union replace Ruiz in the starting lineup?

U.G.L.Y.

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Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Union

No time was wasted spinning Wednesday night's dismal performance from the Union against last place Chicago with this tweet going out moments after the end of the game: "With the 1-1 draw, the Union extend their road unbeaten streak to four matches and avoid their first losing streak of the season.

Match report: Fire 1-1 Union

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Even a broken clock is right twice a day. And while the Union offense isn't necessarily broken, but it only coalesces for the briefest of moments before returning to an unfocused state.

In front of 10,557 Saturday night at Toyota Park just west of downtown Chicago, the Philadelphia Union found fleeting success and are no closer to re-discovering their identity.

Preview: Philadelphia Union at Chicago Fire

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Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Game time: Wednesday, 9:00pm ET

TV: Comcast SportsNet

This midweek fixture could not come at a better time for a Union team desperately trying to put a poor showing against Colorado—their first home loss of the season—in the rear view mirror.

Putting out the Fire, more news

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Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Union

The last time the Union met Chicago, Michael Farfan's farfantastic goal from a Kyle Nakazawa free kick was eclipsed only by a Carlos Ruiz wonderstrike for a 2–1 win. Ruiz is now gone and Marfan is the prime candidate to fill in for the suspended Sheanon Williams at right back.

Chicago Fire v Philadelphia Union live commentary

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Join the PSP for live match commentary as the Philadelphia Union take on Chicago Fire. The commentary will be hosted by Eli Pearlman-Storch and Mike Servedio with Adam Cann providing updates from the press box at Toyota Park.

The commentary will go live at 8:45pm with kickoff scheduled for 9pm.

Philadelphia Independence v Atlanta Beat in Photos

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PSP photographer Paul Rudderow was on hand for Philadelphia Independence Sunday's nights 1–0 Win over the Atlanta Beat. Here are some photos from Sunday's match. (Click on the photo for a full-size photo.)

Heather Mitts being recognized for being on the US World Cup National Team.

KYW Philly Soccer Show: Alexi Lalas

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KYW's Greg Orlandini and Philly Soccer Page writer Eli Pearlman-Storch have a special guest on the latest edition of the KYW Philly Soccer Show as former US National Team player and ESPN commentator Alexi Lalas joins the pod to discuss the new USMNT coach, Jurgen Klinsmann.

In part one of the pod, Lalas and the co-hosts talk aboutt Klinsmann's hiring and the impact it will have on the American program.

Money, money, money

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Union

Kerith Gabriel reports that Carlos Ruiz is headed to Mexican second division side Veracruz, after all. The reason appears to be the simplest one of all: money. A source tells Gabriel that Ruiz stands to make "upwards of $400,000-plus" in the move to Mexico. What remains unknown—and as far as I'm concerned, this is the only thing that truly matters with this news—is what the Union will gain in return.

Player ratings & analysis: Union 1-2 Rapids

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Photo: Paul Rudderow

The Philadelphia Union's 2–1 loss at home on Friday night was overshadowed by Peter Nowak's post-game comments.

And that is probably a good thing.

Scenes of 2010

The team that was so impressive in two international friendlies failed to show up on Friday night.

Philadelphia Independence 1 – 0 Atlanta Beat

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Photo: Mike Long

Vero Boquete scored the only goal in the Philadelphia Independence 1–0 win over Atlanta on Sunday night. It was her third game winning goal in the last four games, and with it the Independence secured at least a second place finish in WPS. A season high, 4,000 people were on hand as Philadelphia welcomed the bottom team in WPS to Widener University

The match was the first at home for the Independence's USWNT players Lori Lindsey, Amy Rodriguez and Nicole Barnhart since the end of the Women's World Cup.

Time for change

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So much to discuss...

This is a looking like a long one. I left the Ruiz bit for last as incentive to get all the way through. Thanks for sticking with me.

First, the Union on the field...

"The Best Defense is a Good Offense"

This is clearly not a saying with which the Union have any familiarity.

Stat chat: Union v Rapids

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What a terrible first half.

While the Union tallied 20 attempts on goal by the end of their 2–1 loss to Colorado, only four were made in the first half. Of those, none was on target with Keon Daniel hitting the crossbar. Of the two Union forwards, Sebastien Le Toux and Danny Mwanga, only Le Toux registered an attempt on goal in the first half.

Heads U lose, tails U lose

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Photo: Paul Rudderow

Union

What to start with, reaction to the loss to Colorado or reaction to the departure of Carlos Ruiz?

The Colorado game

Nowak on Friday's loss: "There's no question we're pretty disappointed with the result, especially with the chances we had in the second half.

Philadelphia Union v Colorado Rapids in photos

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PSP photographer Paul Rudderow was on hand for Friday's nights 2–1 loss to Colorado Rapits. Here are some photos from Friday's match. (Click on the photo for a full-size photo.)

Amy Rodriguez of the US Women's World Cup Team was honored at the Union match.