Photo: Nicolae Stoian
Union 2–1 Schalke
The Union are now 4–0–0 in international friendlies at PPL Park after a very entertaining 2–1 win over Schalke 04. The official attendance was 7,464 which, as is usually the case with attendance figures, seems generous. Whatever. Speaking for myself, that was the most fun I’ve had at a Union game in a long time.
After Lionard Pajoy scored in the first half with a fine header (let me repeat that, Pajoy scored in the first half), Chandler Hoffman scored the game winner in the 88th minute. Said Hoffman, “It was a really cool feeling to get that goal. Ray (Gaddis) left me a great pass and I just sent it home.”
Said Gaddis, “Chandler is a hungry player. He knows how to score goals, and I knew if I just got that ball in the box, he had a really good chance of finishing it off. He just has that knack to score goals, and I knew regardless that you create most of your chances once the ball is in the box, so I wanted to put us in a position to have that chance, and Chandler took advantage of it.”
The Union had something like 18 shots in the game, deploying a 4–3–3. “Pajoy, we moved to a wider position and that seemed to open up some room,” John Hackworth said after the game. “Danny (Mwanga) did a good job stretching the defense, which was something we needed pretty badly. Josue (Martinez) came on and did a good job.”
Said Danny Mwanga of the positive play, “Now the most important thing is translating that into the season, we have to keep that mentality high. Every opponent, we have to play them like we’re playing games like this. If we can do that we would be able to get good results.”
The only thing that marred the evening was the injury to Bundesliga goal-scoring machine Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in a collision with Union goalkeeper Chase Harrison. A tweet from Schalke later confirmed that he had sustained a concussion (translation here).
Kerith Gabriel reports that the severity of Huntelaar’s injury is unknown and that he was released from Crozer Hospital into the care of Schalke’s medical team.
Marc Narducci profiles Zach Pfeffer, who was terrific in the second half. Said Hackworth of Pfeffer’s performance, “He was pretty composed on the ball and had a couple of attacking moments for us. He still has a lot to work on, but for a 17-year-old kid, it was fantastic.”
There are supposed to be highlights of the game on the Union website, but the player doesn’t seem to be working.
Penn Live.com looks at the Harrisburg City Islanders connection in last night’s win.
Veljko Paunovic says of Raul, “What I believe is that Raul needs the place to be loved admired and embraced by fans, where he can still enjoy playing what he loves the most—soccer, and scoring goals—and have a great experience for him and his family. If he asks me, I would tell him that Philadelphia is the best place for that. Hopefully he will become the first ‘Spanish of Ben,’ just like I became the first and proud ‘Serb of Ben.'”
Right then, back to league play.
When asked at Tuesday’s press conference about what kind of lineup the Union would put out against New York, Peter Nowak said, “We’ll see how they do against Houston and we’ll go from there and figure out what is the recipe for Sunday.” New York won on Wednesday night, 1–0, and are now within two points of Kansas City.
New York central defender Tyler Ruthven, who played for Harrisburg City Islanders in 2010, says of the Red Bulls current form, “We have the same questions every week, that they can’t believe we’ve done it. But we have: We’ve done it. It is cynical. It’s gross. We’re not impersonating Barcelona; we’re not playing beautiful stuff. But we’ve got a very limited squad right now. We’ve gotten nine points from these three games when most people expected we’d get zero.”
The Union will want to keep an eye on that Dax McCarty fellow.
Kerith Gabriel reports that Roger Torres has begun light ball work.
Union Dues has a list of 15 internationally-based players who might fit in with the Union.
That teaser clip of the Sons of Ben documentary we mentioned earlier this week is now available for viewing again.
Any doubts that the Union are officially part of the Philadelphia-area landscape can be put aside by this report of a theft at a Macy’s in the suburbs which reads, “Suspect was a male, 30-40 years of age, 6-foot tall and weighing 225 pounds. He was wearing a black Philadelphia Union baseball hat and a grey fleece jacket.” Be on the lookout for anyone matching that description at Sunday’s game.
Penn Live.com talks to Harrisburg City Islanders goalkeeper Nick Noble.
Reading United is having a Meet and Great at GNA Restaurant tonight from 6pm ahead of Saturday’s season opener against New Jersey Rangers at Albright College. Season ticket prices are very reasonably priced and available here.
Ocean City Nor’easters have added three players from Bradley University to their roster, Zimbabwean defender Tapiwa Machingauta, New Zealand-born defender Alexei Davies-Campbell and forward Scott Davis. Season tickets are again very reasonably priced and available here.
Coming off the bench, it was two goals from Sebastien Le Toux (including a header!) to put the Vancouver Whitecaps over FC Edmonton for a 3–1 win (5–1 aggregate) and into the Canadian Cup final. They’ll face Toronto, who defeated Montreal Impact 2–0 (2–0 aggregate) despite being down to ten men.
The Evening Standard is reporting that New York Red Bulls have offered Emmanuel Adebayor a deal that will match his £175,000-a-week paycheck. That’s $282,865 a week.
Meanwhile, Twitter is filled with rumors that Alessandro Nesta, who is leaving AC Milan, is headed to New York.
DC is having a bit of an injury crisis.
Minnesota lawmakers have removed a guarantee in the new stadium deal that would give the Vikings an exclusive five-year window to bring in an MLS team.
The first game of the WPSL Elite League kicks off tonight with ASA Chesapeake Charge hosting Boston Breakers.
Paul Riley’s Women’s Professional Supergroup will be holding a clinic for girls U-14 – U-16 May 14-16 at United Sports in Downingtown. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information.
The USWNT U-17s play Panama today in the CONCACAF u-17 World Cup qualifiers (CONCACAF.com, 3:30pm).
The USMNT World Cup qualifier in Guatemala on June 12 may not be televised.
Vineland’s Jill Loyden will be joining fellow New Jerseyian Carli Lloyd at the USWNT training camp being held in Princeton, from May 10-25.
Barcelona have rejected the claim made by Royston Drenthe that Lionel Messi racially abused him.
Atletico Madrid defeated Atletico Bilabo 3–0 on Wednesday to win the Europa League.