Photo: Paul Rudderow
It may have been more “whew” than “WOO!” but a win is a win.
Peter Nowak said of the the win, “I think it was very important to the confidence. They start to see now that the work pays off and we got to keep going.”
He said further, “I think this was extremely important for the guys in the locker room to have the feeling of getting three points. We deserved it a long time ago but today we played an exceptional game.”
What did Nowak think of Gomez’s cheeky chip? “What can I say? You have to have the courage. Being without a win and to make a chip, the confidence is good. That’s the part that’s good, the trust that he is going to put it in. In that kind of game, the last thing you want to see is a chip, but that speaks a lot about the confidence he has.” Personally, it nearly gave me a heart attack.
Nowak, mindful of the furor that resulted when Danny Califf didn’t start in the home opener against Colorado, was sure to explain why he wasn’t in the line up. “Danny didn’t feel well after the game against Vancouver [two weeks ago]. The hamstring started to get tight so we put him on hold over the bye week we had. The doctors did a pretty good job to try and bring him back. By Friday, he started feeling it again but he was in the starting lineup. He felt it was worse [today]. Dave Zeitlin’s report continues, “‘It’s not me,’ Nowak added to laughs. ‘I love Danny Califf. Don’t get me wrong.’”
Califf explained that he felt his hamstring tightening up during a sprint in pre-game warmups. “About 25 yards into the sprint, I felt my hamstring grab at me. I felt like I probably could have pushed it and tried to go, but I didn’t want to have something happen in the first five minutes and have to burn a substitution.”
Nowak praised Raymon Gaddis’ performance in his first professional start. “Because of the speed he has, he’s always in good position to recover. We gave him a bit of freedom, but starting the game in front of 20,000 people, you could see that he was just trying to be secure. But as time went by, he was not shy going forward. It’s a great start for a youngster like that.”
Sheanon Williams said of Gaddis, “Ray did a great job. It’s his first game so I’m sure there were some nerves. I’m proud of him, proud of the other guys and proud of our team for going through this fight and getting our first win.”
Gaddis said, “I have to be prepared when duty calls. I’ve been playing soccer all my life, so I wasn’t even thinking about the moment. This was a good opportunity and you have to take (advantage of) the opportunities when you get them. PPL Park and the fans here are extraordinary. The intensity and how loud everything was, (it) was tremendous.”
He added, “I felt comfortable, my teammates made everything easy for me. Without having any prior experience, Sheanon Williams, Zac MacMath, Carlos Valdes, Gabe Farfan, all my teammates were helping me. I believed in my ability, so the two went together very well today.
Freddy Adu was pleased to be back. “It felt great [to return], especially in [a] winning effort. I’m glad I was a part of the play that led to the goal as well. My goal this year is to be an impact player for the team, not just to play well. I want to be involved a lot more offensively and going forward. From that perspective, it felt good today. Just gonna keep working hard and doing my best to help the team in which any which way possible.”
SI says Adu’s substitution detracts from the Union’s win. “Adu walked off the field rather slowly with a bewildered look on his face, gave Nowak a tenuous handshake while avoiding eye contact and took his seat on the bench…To Adu’s credit, he was all smiles in his postgame interview on NBC Sports Network, said all the right things about the team’s victory and did not acknowledge his obvious frustrations at all. That said, it is worth watching how this situation develops going forward, as Adu’s creativity is vital to the Union’s attack, and his relationship with Nowak is central to that creativity rising to the surface.”
The Guardian also picked up on the Adu substitution. “[T]he Union came out for the second half at PPL Park with Freddy Adu still popping up on both flanks to torment the Crew defense, but also provide cover in midfield, as he had done all afternoon…Columbus saw the chance to flood the midfield and duly spent a worrying few minutes overrunning Philadelphia in that area – stealing the Union’s initiative on interceptions and being first to the ball (in an area Union had excelled all night). A sharper team might have punished Philadelphia.”
Match reports and such:
- Chris Vito has three observations from the game: The defense can carry the team, why did they play so conservatively once they had the lead?, it may have been early in the season for a must-win but it was won.
- Philly Union Talk says if competition rules selection at left back, so it must also at forward.
- Union Dues says the team just need a little more time to get the offense together.
- The Columbus Dispatch, which calls the PK call dubious reports Warzycha’s reaction to the decision. “It’s tough to lose the game on a cross like this. If it’s a penalty, it’s a penalty, but it’s tough to lose a game like that. If you’re 100 percent sure that’s a penalty, we’re fine. But if you’re not, then I’m not.”
- The Columbus Examiner says of the penalty call, “Referee Michael Kennedy correctly pointed to the spot, and Union midfielder Gabriel Gomez cheekily scored down the center on a soft chipped shot.”
- Crew coach Robert Warzycha tells the Columbus Dispatch, “They had more fouls, especially in the first half. They got three yellow cards and the referee let a couple of things go. There were a lot of tactical fouls in the beginning of the game. That is what will happen when two average teams play each other and try to win the middle of the field. I’m not complaining about that.”
- Columbus Crew blog Massive Report notes that a goose struck the windshield of the bus that was carrying Crew supporters to the game, resulting in the cancellation of the trip. The report also says, “Columbus weren’t able to break through Philadelphia’s defense for the entire game, resulting in a 1-0 defeat. In fact, they barely looked like scoring or creating any quality chances throughout the entire duration of the game.”
- The Guardian has a minute-by-minute report.
- GantDaily.com isn’t sure if the Union played on Friday or Saturday and believes “Philadelphia played without goalkeeper Will Hesmer and forward Tommy Heinemann due to injuries, but got a boost with the return of Freddy Adu.”
ESPN notes the fact that the Union have not scored a goal from the run of play in 2012. “Not to pound on the long-since deceased why-in-the-world-did-they-trade-Sebastien-Le-Toux horse some more, but the Union simply isn’t creating chances…Many have argued that Pajoy was the target man the Union so badly needed, but Le Toux’s movement is badly missed. Whereas Pajoy is static, Le Toux facilitated the Union’s offense by linking up with his slew of talented teammates, drifting wide and helping the attacks into the final third…Without him, most attacks strand before they can get to Pajoy, causing the dearth of real chances and rendering long spells of good possession void.”
How’s this for a positive factoid: 90soccer.com notes that MacMath and the Union defense are on a 242 minute shutout streak. (Warning: actual time of shutout varies according to the report, but this was the biggest.)
A report on Goal.com’s German language site says 27-year-old forward Kai Herdling will join the Union on loan from Hoffenheim’s Bundesliga 2 team (Crappy translation here). The report is confirmed by another report on the Hoffenheim website (crappy translation here). The loan is set to take place through June 30 with an option for it to be extended to Dec 31. Hat tip to the Brotherly Game for finding the German-language reports and also to the inimitable @barbcvphilly for taking a photo of Herdling practicing with the senior team during Monday’s reserve game.
The Union move up to No. 16 in Bleacher Report’s power rankings.
The Union announced on Friday that they will play Harrisburg City Islanders on June 12.
Former Union forward Morgan Langley, now back again with City Islanders, talks about what he learned from his time in MLS and his desire to get it back to the top flight.
Tom Brandt, the Penn defender selected by the Union in the Supplemental draft, has signed with Harrisburg.
In the weekend’s Eastern Conference action, Kansas City remains in first place after defeating Real Salt Lake 1–0. Second place New York drew 2–2 with San Jose at home. Third place DC United topped fifth place New England 2–1 on the road. Fourth place Houston drew 1–1 with seventh place Chicago on the road in a match that was called after 65 minutes due to severe weather. Ninth place Montreal remain winless on the road after losing 2–1 to Dallas. Tenth place Toronto have yet to win, losing 1–0 at home to Chivas USA. And the Union move up to No. 8 after defeating sixth place Columbus 1–0 at home.
Goal.com has five thoughts from the weekend.
19-year-old forward Joe Gyau has signed a three year contract with Hoffenheim.
Forbes says all of the talk about what kind of fees Clint Dempsey might fetch may be a case of irrational exuberance.
LA Times looks at the interest US players are garnering from European clubs.
Why doesn’t Seattle get to host USMNT games? Read on.
27 players have been called up to the USWNT training camp in Florida that will run April 18-30. Among them are former Philadelphia Independence players Nicole Barnhart, Heather Mitts, Lori Lindsey, Megan Rapinoe and Amy Rodriguez.
The New York Times talks to Christie Rampone on her way to her fourth Olympics for the US.
Following the tragic of death of Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini from an apparent heart attack during a match on Saturday, all players in Serie B will wear his No. 25 on the back of their jersey in the next round of games. Morosini, who was orphaned as a teenager, is survived by an older sister who is disabled. Udinese, the team from which Morosini was on loan, have promised that the sister will be provided for.
Goal line technology cannot come soon enough to England.