March 13, 2012 |
PORTLAND, Ore. - In their first road game of 2012 Monday night, the Union took an early lead, but couldn't hold onto it. The Portland Timbers ran roughshod over the Union after Gabriel Gomez's 51st-minute free-kick goal, dealing the Union a 3-1 defeat in their Major League Soccer season opener. Backed by the raucous Timbers Army fan club, Portland controlled the ball early in the game. But the Union's defense - especially outside backs Sheanon Williams and Porfirio Lopez, a new signee - held firm within the narrow confines of Jeld-Wen Field's artificial surface.
March 11, 2012 |
The Union are hours away from opening their 2012 Major League Soccer season, with 13 fresh faces collected during a newsworthy offseason. It's a group the technical staff believes will vault the club past last season's 11-8-15 record and its inaugural MLS Cup playoff berth. During the Union's inaugural season CEO and managing partner Nick Sakiewicz said it would take "at least three years to build a championship team. " Welcome to Year Three. But do the Union have the pieces to make a serious run?
March 9, 2012 |
TALK ABOUT making the most of the offseason. The Union did exactly that, acquiring 13 fresh faces on a 27-man roster, looking to push past the first round of the MLS playoffs. Of the 13, however, only two, veteran defender Chris Albright and goalkeeper Chris Konopka, have prior MLS experience. However, within this lot is the co-captain of Panama's national team, a veteran at right back fans were hoping for, Brian Carroll's clone and four players competing on various national teams.
February 9, 2012 |
The biggest question facing the Union as they prepare for their third Major League Soccer season will be how to replace leading scorer Sebastien Le Toux. But at least there won't be a shortage of candidates. The team added to the pool by signing Colombian first-division forward Lionard Pajoy on Wednesday. Terms were not disclosed for the 30-year-old Pajoy, who led Itagüí Ditaires in scoring with 13 goals while adding three assists in 27 starts. During Colombia's Clausura, held in the second half of the calendar year, Pajoy had 10 goals in 18 starts.
February 9, 2012 |
IT TOOK SERIOUS bargaining, some schmoozing and a few cups of Colombian coffee, but the Union finally landed its man. The People's Paper first reported on Jan. 23 that the Union hoped to land forward Lionard Pajoy from Colombian first-division club Itagui Diataires. But a visa situation, along with what Union chief scout Diego Gutierrez described "having to corral a player in demand," made yesterday's announcement a bit later than anticipated. "He's a player in demand, he's a guy that scored a ton of goals in the Colombian league," Gutierrez said from the Union's preseason camp in Deltona, Fla. "He stands out from the smaller, quicker [Colombian]
February 7, 2012
THE UNION opened preseason in Orlando yesterday with a pair of expected arrivals - and early departures. Keon Daniel, the midfielder who failed to return after he left to play an international friendly in his native Trinidad and Tobago in August, rejoined the team. In 18 appearances last season, Daniel, 25, had a goal and a pair of assists. Also returning from a weeklong training stint with English Premier League side Aston Villa was forward Danny Mwanga. Mwanga, 20, the seventh player to venture overseas this offseason, took part in intensified training, presumably to prepare for his increased role given the loss of Union top scorer Sebastien Le Toux, now with Vancouver.
February 1, 2012 |
PURPLE SHOES. It's how I'll remember Sebastien Le Toux. Not necessarily the shoes, but the story that accompanied them. Le Toux, who announced, via Twitter, before the Union did yesterday morning that he was headed to Vancouver - later to be learned for allocation money - told me the following story once about his trademark purple cleats. Just before a match during the club's inaugural season, Le Toux was in the locker room lacing up his boots, a fresh pair of purple Nike Mercurial Vapors, when Union manager Peter Nowak looked at his choice of footwear, bewildered.
January 19, 2012 |
The Union might enter their third Major League Soccer season without Sebastien Le Toux, their leading scorer and, arguably, most popular player. Ives Galarcep of Foxsoccer.com reported Wednesday that the Union may sell Le Toux to Bolton of the English Premier League. Le Toux posted on his Twitter account, "On a jet plane headed to England. " Union manager Peter Nowak sent a text Wednesday saying, "Team policy is we don't comment or discuss on anything that is not certain.
December 8, 2011 |
After the Union's season, team manager Peter Nowak talked about the importance of having competitions at all positions. With the addition of Costa Rican international Josue Martinez on Wednesday, Nowak has added depth to the forward position. The 5-foot-10 Martinez turns 22 in March. It will be interesting to see the impact his addition has on Danny Mwanga. Of course, Mwanga and Martinez could both play up top if Sebastien Le Toux is moved back to the midfield. However, Le Toux is most effective as the target player up top. Mwanga, 20, took a step back during a second season that was marred by a hip injury.
November 22, 2011
Midfielder Freddy Adu was among 11 players the Union left unprotected for tomorrow's MLS expansion draft, according to a news release the team issued yesterday. Adu, a former teen soccer prodigy, joined the Union in August and scored two goals in 11 games. Also left unprotected were defenders Juan Diego Gonzalez and Joe Tait; goalkeepers Chase Harrison and Thorne Holder; forwards Levi Houapeu, Veljko Paunovic and Ryan Richter; and midfielders Morgan Langley, Justin Mapp, Stefani Miglioranzi and Kyle Nakazawa.