Photo: Greg Carroccio, courtesy of the Philadelphia Union
US Open Cup
The Union defeated Rochester Rhinos, who were playing their third road game in five days, 3–0 in a game that saw an hour-long halt in play thanks to some rain. Check out PSP’s match report and look for our photo essay later this morning.
The Union now face DC United in the fourth round at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Tuesday at 7:30pm. The Union website notes, “Tickets for Tuesday’s fourth round match are available via the DC United front office at 202-587-5000. All tickets will be $15 each in advance, $20 each at the gate, and seating will be general admission.”
Harrisburg City Islanders pulled off one of the evening’s dramatic upsets when they knocked off New England Revolution 4–3 on penalty kicks. The game was scoreless at the end of regulation time. New England, playing a man down for most of the game, scored three goals in the first half of extra time. In the 111th minute, Brian Ombiji’s side-volleyed the City Islanders’ first goal. Six minutes later, Sainey Touray struck again for the home team. Then, in the 120th minute, J.T. Noone scored the equalizer to force the penalty kicks. When Harrisburg keeper Nick Noble stopped Benny Feilhaber’s shot, history had been written. More on the win here and here. Harrisburg travels to face New York Red Bulls next Tuesday.
In addition to New England, six other MLS teams fell to lower division teams on Tuesday. PDL side Michigan Bucks, who became the first amateur team to defeat an MLS club when they defeated New England in 2000, topped 2011 finalists Chicago Fire 3–2, with the winning goal coming in extra time. Dayton Dutch Lions, winless in USL PRO league play, bested Columbus Crew 2–1. USL PRO’s Charlotte Eagles defeated FC Dallas 2–0 on the road, and the San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL prevailed over the Houston Dynamo 1–0. Real Salt Lake, who bought the hosting rights for the third round game from the Minnesota Stars, fell to the visiting NASL club 3–1 in front of 17,212 home fans. Finally, the NASL’s Carolina RailHawks, winless in league play, defeated LA Galaxy 2–1 at home. Former Union midfielder Nick Zimmerman played the full 90 for Carolina, with Kyle Nakazawa doing the same for LA.
The Union showed some things that have been talked about but rarely seen lately: possession, movement, shots, goals—in a word, offense. John Hackworth said, “This is something that we see every day in training. Tonight, it worked from the very first possession we had. I don’t know how many passes we strung together, but we literally built from one side of the field to the other, and that is the kind of soccer we want to play. The guys were in sync with each other, which built a tremendous amount of confidence.”
Josue Martinez, who put in a fine showing, said, “Ever since I came to the United States, that’s what I’ve been looking for, the minutes. Getting 89 minutes gives you the confidence to go forward and hopefully get into the starting XI.”
Hackworth said of the club’s first Open Cup win, “You always want to win a trophy and this club doesn’t have one yet. It’s a goal of ours. Now we have DC and it was a tough game down there last year. We lost in penalty kicks, so we’ll be looking to go back there and get some revenge.
Roger Torres, out since April 9 with a knee injury, tells Chris Vito, “I’m training with the team. I think I can play against Reading, Harrisburg.” The Union have friendlies against Reading United on June 9 and Harrisburg on June 12.
Kerith Gabriel reports the timeline of Zac MacMath’s return is “hazy.”
If you have the sense that the Union have become a bit of a joke around the league, it seems you are, sadly, correct. ESPN’s Adrian Healey tweeted on Tuesday, “My
@MLS All-Star 1st XI: 3 from SJ, 1 each from RSL, HOU, VAN, LA, NY, KC, DC, CHV. No doubt Peter Nowak would trade half away…”
The Union are bottom of the power rankings table at The Oregonian. “Nightmarish season worsens after embarrassing loss to previously winless Toronto. Constant personnel changes – trading away Sebastien Le Toux and Danny Califf, departure of goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, among others – prevents chemistry from developing and have resulted in the second-worst record in the league.”
ProSoccerTalk shows some mercy and keeps the Union at No. 18. “Landing as the slump-buster at Toronto certainly won’t help coach Peter Nowak sell any of his recent personnel moves to fans. His Union has lost four of its last five, and they aren’t far from nudging Toronto off that bottom spot.”
It’s another sport, but is this what Peter Nowak is attempting to create? (H/T to Rolando.)
Corey Hertzog, the Penn State and Reading United forward drafted by New York in 2011, has been loaned to USL PRO side Wilmington Hammerheads.
Kelsey Haycook scored both goals in the Philadelphia Fever’s 3–2 loss to Chesapeake Charge on Sunday. Fever coach Stuart Gore said, “First off, we were slow and lethargic,” adding, “I think we underestimated a good team, we were naïve to their youth and they were a hardworking team who played the right way.”
Citing personal reasons, New England Mutiny head coach Tony Horta has taken a leave of absence. Chris LeGates will serve as interim coach.
The Goalkeeper shares his extensive thoughts on the realities facing the formation of a new professional women’s soccer league. The comments to the post seem to think he’s stating the obvious.
Jeff Carlisle wonders if the new US style will work against Brazil.
The Express-Times has five thoughts on Sunday’s USWNT win over China. No. 1 and No, 2: The women’s games need to be televised and expect to see more national teams at PPL Park, “one of the elite sites for US Soccer.”
Heather Mitts says she will “step away” from soccer after this year’s Olympics. “Feeling the way I feel, it’s kind of weird to say, but…it’s always been my plan to hopefully play in one last Olympics and to step away from the game kind of on my own terms. I do love the game and I’m going to miss it, but I also have other things that I want to do and I just feel like I want to go out at the right time.”
Officials in Poland and Ukraine are trying to reassure visitors that they will come to no harm at the upcoming Euro 2012 because of their race. Meanwhile, Amnesty International says the biggest threat of violence in the Ukraine may be from the police.
The Ukraine is unlikely to recoup the $13.4 billion it has spent preparing for the Euros.
The genius that is Mario Balotelli may be misunderstood but he wants everyone to understand this: if he is racially abused at the Euros, he’s out of there. “I hope that there will not be a problem because I really can’t handle that. I cannot bear racism, it’s unacceptable for me. If it happened again I would straight away leave the pitch and go home. We are in 2012. It can’t happen.” Balotelli, who has been subjected to racist abuse in games on multiple occasions, added, “I will not accept racism at all. It’s unacceptable. If someone throws a banana at me in the street, I will go to jail, because I will kill them.”
The Guardian says Poland and Ukraine have nothing on Russia when it comes to be unsafe.
The Footy Blog has an excellent look at the state of soccer analytics.