May 11, 2015 |
VANCOUVER, British Columbia - As if the circumstances going into Brian Sylvestre's first-ever start in Major League Soccer weren't already strange enough, add this to the mix: It came against the Vancouver Whitecaps, the team that brought him into the pros four years ago. Although Sylvestre made some fine saves, he and the rest of the Union's defense were simply overwhelmed in a 3-0 loss at BC Place. "It was frustrating," Sylvestre said. "We lost as a group. It's not on any individual performance.
May 9, 2015 |
Union defender Sheanon Williams has gone from franchise cornerstone to a player battling to remain in the starting lineup. Like many of his teammates, the 25-year-old Williams has gotten off to a rough start this year for the 1-6-3 Union, who visit the Vancouver Whitecaps (5-3-2) on Saturday. Williams is part of a defense that has surrendered 18 goals, the most in Major League Soccer. Union coach Jim Curtin has moved Williams to the left outside back spot, with Ray Gaddis switching over to the right.
March 5, 2015 |
AFTER TWO preseason training stints in Florida, the Union is back in town and preparing for Saturday's season opener against the Colorado Rapids at PPL Park (4 p.m., 6ABC). There's just one small problem: The game might not happen. Major League Soccer and the players union are locked in contentious negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement. With the first game leaguewide of 2015 set for Friday night - Chicago at Los Angeles (10 p.m., UniMás) - time is running out to get a deal done.
February 13, 2015 |
A DECADE ago, new Union defender Steven Vítoria left his native Toronto to join the youth academy of Portuguese powerhouse FC Porto. Back then, Major League Soccer didn't have any teams in Canada, and the nation's soccer infrastructure was limited. So it made more sense for him to move abroad at age 18 in order to realize his dreams of playing professional soccer. Vítoria's parents had immigrated from the Azores to Toronto before he was born, which made Portugal a natural cultural fit. And being invited to join a big club was too good an opportunity to pass up. But Vítoria never quite settled at Porto, in part because he was loaned out a few times to other Portuguese clubs.
June 10, 2014 |
NO MATTER the circumstances of the season to date, the match last Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps was always going to be an important one. The result would have 3 weeks to either offer good vibes or fester while Major League Soccer broke for this year's FIFA World Cup. That notion certainly wasn't lost on the Union, which has experienced a struggle-filled first portion of the season. And minutes after the final whistle blew at PPL Park late Saturday, the mood in the Philadelphia locker room was, for the most part, upbeat entering a weeklong respite from the pitch.
June 9, 2014 |
An unlikely victory was within the Union's grasp Saturday night. But then goalkeeper Zac MacMath fouled Vancouver Whitecaps forward Pedro Morales in the box in the 80th minute of play. Morales scored past a lunging MacMath on the ensuing penalty kick, and the Union had to settle for a 3-3 tie at PPL Park in Chester. MacMath wasn't thrilled with the penalty call. "I think he actually steps on my forearm and falls down," MacMath said. "Obviously, the referee, any time he sees contact with the goalkeeper and the forward, he's going to give the PK. " The Union looked dead in the water for the first 62 minutes of the game.
June 7, 2014 |
Don't let the Union's shutout win Saturday fool you. Their defense has been a problem this season, and they know it. With his team having surrendered 24 goals, the second-highest total in the Eastern Conference as of Wednesday, Union manager John Hackworth is reevaluating some of his decisions. Hackworth essentially admitted at his weekly news conference that moving forward Aaron Wheeler to center back before the season has been a failure. Wheeler hasn't appeared in two consecutive games, and Hackworth said he is now back at forward, where he played in 2013.
June 6, 2014 |
ANDREW WENGER and some of his Union teammates found themselves looking at the Major League Soccer standings the other day. "For how bad we've played at times and some of our results and the way I think we've felt directly after games, we're not that far out of it," Wenger said. The first-year Philadelphia forward then rephrased his comment. "I shouldn't even say we're that far out of it," he said. "We're on the cusp. " That's certainly an optimistic view for a club with fewer points (14)
March 18, 2014 |
MORE OFTEN that not, Sebastien Le Toux knows how to make the fans happy on opening day at PPL Park. Le Toux scored a goal for the second consecutive year and third time in the Union's five home openers. The veteran midfielder's first goal of the 2014 season proved to be all the offense the Union would need in its 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution on Saturday. After scoring three goals in Philadelphia's home opener in 2010, one goal with the Vancouver Whitecaps in their home opener in 2012, one goal in last year's Union home opener and another Saturday, Le Toux is still unable to figure out the exact reason for his spectacular home-opening performances.
July 30, 2013 |
THE UNION handed the Vancouver Whitecaps FC their first MLS home loss of the season, 1-0, on Saturday night. The only goal was in the 85th minute from Antoine Hoppenot. The win improved the Union's record to 9-6-7. Vancouver is 9-5-7. "[Aaron] Wheeler played me a good ball and I was through," Hoppenot said of the goal. "The ball was bouncing, and all I had to do was put it into the back of the net. Most of the work was done by Wheeler, so you've got to thank him for that goal.