October 29, 2014 |
WITH THE Union out of postseason contention, local soccer fans and members of the media alike have already began to ponder the pressing offseason questions and look ahead to 2015. They're not the only ones. "I'd say the second we were eliminated from the playoffs [on Oct. 11] you start to think about the next year," said interim manager Jim Curtin, who could soon see that interim tag removed. "You have to. This game moves fast. It waits for no one. We have a good idea of the guys we're going to protect already [in the Dec. 10 MLS Expansion Draft]
October 21, 2014
FOR THE FOURTH time in 5 years, soccer fans in Philadelphia won't witness the hometown club in the MLS playoffs. But at the very least, the Union sent the PPL Park regulars out with a win. "I know we came up short and the focus now, the only word I use around the guys is playoffs for next year," Union interim manager Jim Curtin said after Saturday night's home finale, a 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City. "We're not going to talk about championships or anything like that. We're talking about the playoffs for 2015 and that's the goal.
October 17, 2014 |
AMOBI OKUGO could very well make his 100th start with the Union tomorrow night. But could it also be his last at PPL Park? Okugo, the lone member of the club for each of its five seasons, is one of several key Union players facing an uncertain future here. The skilled and versatile midfielder is playing on a contract that expires at season's end, which last Saturday's debacle against Columbus ensured to be a week from Sunday. With the end of Maurice Edu's 1-year loan from Stoke City looming - the Union has an option to purchase - and Conor Casey's contract also expiring, the front office has tough decisions ahead.
October 16, 2014 |
THERE IS still no scheduled official announcement. That might not occur until after the Union finishes its season at the Columbus Crew on Oct. 26. But yesterday in a conversation with the Daily News, Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz all but affirmed the widely held belief that interim Union manager Jim Curtin will have that tag removed and keep his job for the 2015 season. While discussing the current state of the franchise and the disappointment in missing the MLS playoffs for the fourth time in its five seasons, Sakiewicz said he expects that the Union will have a "significant" roster shake-up in the offseason, then added, "You can quote me that Jim Curtin, [assistant coach Mike Sorber]
October 13, 2014 |
It was a span of about five minutes, and it signaled the meaningful end of the Union's season. With the Union holding a 2-0 lead after Andrew Wenger scored in the 75th minute, they were jolted by a three-goal flurry that ensured they would miss the MLS playoffs for the fourth time in their five-year existence. That display of offense led the Columbus Crew to a 3-2 win over the Union before a stunned crowd of 15,849 at PPL Park. With the loss and the New York Red Bulls' win over Toronto on Saturday, the Union were eliminated from playoff consideration with two games remaining.
October 11, 2014 |
The Union are in need of offense, and the reinforcements appear ready to help in a must-win game against the Columbus Crew on Saturday at PPL Park. Trailing Columbus by four points for the fifth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot with three games left, the Union have no margin for error. And although things could change, it appears that the Union's two leading goal scorers will return for the game. Sebastien Le Toux, who has a team-high 12 goals, and Conor Casey, who has scored eight, missed the 1-1 draw with the visiting Chicago Fire on Oct. 2. Le Toux has been battling an ankle injury, and Casey has tendinitis in one of his knees.
October 10, 2014 |
WHEN THE UNION players walk through the tunnel and onto the PPL Park pitch tomorrow night, it could be the start of their last meaningful game of this up-and-down season. It's up to them to make sure their following two weekends carry the same importance as this one. There's no way around it - the Union (9-10-12) needs three points against the Columbus Crew (11-10-10) to keep its already slim postseason hopes alive. A loss and a New York Red Bulls win against Toronto FC tomorrow would mathematically eliminate the club from contention.
October 9, 2014 |
Zac MacMath is back in goal, a place that the confident fourth-year Union keeper never felt he should have left. "You take that and use it as a chip on your shoulder, more reason to prove people wrong and prove that I deserve to be a starter," MacMath said Tuesday about his demotion. The Union's interim manager, Jim Curtin, said MacMath would be in goal for Saturday's crucial game with the Columbus Crew at PPL Park after the team made the expected announcement that Rais Mbolhi would be joining Algeria to compete in the African Cup of Nations.
September 9, 2014 |
THE UNION'S playoff push reached new heights over the weekend, ensuring that the club entered this week in its best Eastern Conference standing of the season. After capping a home-and-home sweep of Toronto FC with Saturday's 2-0 victory, the Union was tied for third place in the 10-team conference. With 36 points, it entered this week ahead of its next opponent, the New York Red Bulls (34) and Toronto (33) in the standings, though the Philly club has one more game than each of those teams.
March 28, 2014 |
HEEDING HIS coaches' advice after the last Major League Soccer season, midfielder Leo Fernandes set out in the offseason to try to become the Union's fittest player. News of the team's acquisitions of Maurice Edu, Cristian Maidana and Vincent Nogueira rendered only more incentive to grind it out while training. Thus far in the young MLS season it has paid dividends for Fernandes, playing his best soccer since the Union selected him in the fourth round of last year's Supplemental Draft.