Marc Narducci: An eventful day for the Union, on and off field

Posted: May 14, 2012

Even by Union standards, this was a busier than usual day at the office.

One that included their first multigoal game of the season, another questionable officiating decision, more defensive lapses, and a trade rumor concerning the team captain.

Other than that, things weren't too out of the ordinary for a Union, who lost to the New York Red Bulls, 3-2, in Sunday's Major League Soccer match at PPL Park in Chester.

The Union are now 2-6-1 and not much has gone well, but this was by far their best offensive showing and not just because they increased their season total to seven goals - or two fewer than New York striker Thierry Henry, who missed his third straight match with a hamstring injury.

The Union had many scoring chances even after Freddy Adu was ejected for his second yellow card in the 43d minute. The card was for diving, which is what the Union probably felt like doing at ref Jorge Gonzalez for making that call.

After the game the Union were more restrained.

"It's a 50-50 call and could go either way," Adu said.

We're certain if given truth serum, Adu and the rest of the Union would put it more at 90-10 in favor of no call.

Either way, Union forward Lionard Pajoy, who had scored once in his first eight games, had two goals, and missed a number of other chances, but he wasn't alone.

Even a man down, the Union went up 2-1 early in the second half, then got down 3-2 and blew several other chances with the lead and without.

Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said he felt the Union wore down.

Union team manager Peter Nowak's response?

"I thought they got more tired than we did," he said.

Either way, the Union showed some offensive life on a day that they had to talk about the rumor of the potential trade of central defender and captain Danny Califf to Chivas USA.

Nowak wouldn't confirm the team that inquired, but he said the Union have received an offer for Califf and had informed him.

According to Nowak, Califf wasn't available to play on Sunday due to a hamstring injury.

As for the offer, Union CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewciz expanded slightly on the issue.

"There is no deal," Sakiewicz said. "That doesn't mean they can't put something on the table that is a real deal."

Translation?

Up the ante.

Either way, the Union keeps talking about how difficult it has been for the newcomers to make adjustments this year and then they keep on looking at bringing in new players.

Eventually, the team that Nowak wants will be out there.

The 34-game season is now officially past the quarter pole for the Union, so there is plenty of time remaining. The top five teams in each conference will earn a postseason berth.

For now, the Union are a team in flux. On Sunday, six players saw action who weren't here last season, when the Union went 11-8-15 and earned a playoff berth in their second year.

The Union are still trying to find their identity while attempting to play consistently - and, so far, neither situation has been close to occurring.


Contact Marc Narducci at 856,779-3225, mnarducci@phillynews.com or @sjnard on Twitter.

 

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