How are you this morning? Yeah, me too.
The weekend’s results were promising in the lead-up to Sunday night’s demoralizing loss to New England were certainly encouraging with both Kansas City and New York falling on the road to present the Union with a prime opportunity to move to the top of the Eastern Conference table. In the week before the game there was further encouragement from the two major Union storylines in the press: the good form of the Union defense and how Sunday’s game would have a “playoff feel.” Looking back over last week’s roundups, there are at least nine articles that highlight some combination of the two themes. Good times, those, good times.
And then, in the span of 15 second half minutes, Philadelphia rolled over and died, allowing four goals in the process.
The decision by referee Allen Chapman to disallow Conor Casey’s go-ahead goal was clearly incorrect and proved to be the turning point of the game. But that doesn’t change the fact that New England sliced through the Union midfield to attack the Union defense with all too depressing speed and ease. If they had finished a couple of sitters that they missed, the already terrible scoreline would have been even worse.
John Hackworth said after Sunday’s pounding, “It’s hard. I think there are some plays that are made early in that second half and we felt like we did all the right things coming out of the locker room at halftime. We had the momentum, get the equalizer and feel like we got the go-ahead goal, twice. For whatever reason, the officials felt otherwise. It is incredibly hard to take that part of it because it changes so much. You have to give New England credit because they were really good. Kelyn (Rowe) has two fantastic goals. They kept going after it. Obviously momentum dramatically shifted after that. Strange, strange night. We are just left wondering how, at this level, some of that can happen.”
It is true, Kelwyn Rowe did have two fantastic goals. What was particularly fantastic about them to Union fans — and by fantastic I mean absurd, nonsensical, unbelievable, unthinkable, strange, peculiar, odd, weird, bizarre, outlandish, grotesque — was the space and time with which he had to take the shots that led to them. Rowe said after the game, “I was definitely surprised (by the space in the middle). I saw that they dropped off a lot in the first half. Juan (Agudelo) took a lot of their backs away and I was able to find the gaps in behind and create 10 yards of space for myself.” Mercy.
Rowe continued, “We got them running a little bit. That killed them off and opened them up a little bit toward the end of the second half. That’s when the floodgates opened.”
The brief postgame quotes from the Union that are currently available focus on the need to move on and regroup:
- Hackworth: “A loss is a loss. At the end of the day, that’s not what we came up here to do. We have to keep it in perspective. We’ll do what we do after every game. Win, loss or draw; we’ll go back, look at the video, try to make a lot of corrections and get a game plan ready for next week.”
- Danny Cruz: “We don’t have a choice but to come back tomorrow and prepare for [the next match]…we’re better then what we were tonight and we get to prove that at home next week, hopefully.”
- Brian Carroll: “We have to stay together and get a good game plan together. Sometimes, results like this are a big wake up call and you can react one of two ways: you can let it get you down or you can stay strong and stay together and fight harder and do well for the rest of the season, and we have to find a way to do the latter part.”
All of which is true. The troubling part is how quickly and easily the Union rolled over against New England. That they will have to find a way forward without Amobi Okugo and possibly Keon Daniel when they host Montreal — who hammered Houston 5-0 on Saturday — just makes things harder.
At Union Tally, Matthew De George lays out why Sunday’s loss could be “a turning point for the worse in the Union’s season.” He concludes, “Look at the Union schedule. They’ve got a hot Montreal team next and then a trip to San Jose. It’s very likely that they could come into the Houston game Sept. 14 still short of 40 points. And if that happens, then the playoffs will have passed them by.”
So, from defensive praise and “playoff feel” to intimations of doom in less than a week. It’s a funny game sometimes.
Match recap and postgame quote sheet from PSP. More recaps and reaction from Philadelphia Union.com, Philly Soccer News, Union Tally, Zolo Times, Brotherly Game, New England Revolution.com, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, Boston.com, Boston.com/Corner Kicks, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, New England Soccer News, The Bent Musket, MLSsoccer.com, SBI, ProSoccerTalk, Goal.com, Sports Mole, The Canadian Press, The Sports Network, UPI, and The AP.
The soccer blogger at Boston.com says, “Luck played a role in this game. At least one of Philadelphia’s shots that found the back of the net should have counted. Conor Casey’s shot probably should have counted. At the time that that goal was scored, Philadelphia had all the momentum. If Casey’s goal counts, the Revolution probably don’t go on to win, especially by five goals to one. Luck plays a role in every game. Make no mistake, between minutes 50 and 60, the soccer gods were on the Revolution’s side.”
At Goal.com, Kyle McCarthy writes, “Credit the Union for a good response after the interval to equalize, but the utter disintegration in the wake of the second disallowed goal (Sebastien Le Toux was correctly ruled offside on the first point of contention, according to the replays) applied a rather rough finish to the evening and underscored the need to focus on improvement, not the referees, in the wake of this defeat.”
At ProSoccerTalk, Steve Davis writes, “No matter how frustrating a situation becomes, a good team simply does not lose its cool. Philadelphia certainly did Sunday night outside Boston, where John Hackworth’s team collapsed under the frustration of watching two goals disallowed against New England.”
Before Sunday’s game, Dave Zeitlin had a story at MLSsoccer.com on the possibility of Fabinho taking over for Ray Gaddis at left back.
Zeitlin had another article at The 700 Level on the Keon Daniel enigma.
Montreal will be without head coach Marco Schallibaum when the Impact face the Union at PPL Park on Saturday. On Friday, the league announced that Schallibaum, who has been ejected from three games this season, would serve an additional one-game ban following his ejection from Montreal’s game against DC United on Aug. 17 for “repeated misbehavior.”
Major League Lacrosse had its championship game at PPL Park on Sunday. According to Twitter, they really did a number on the pitch.
Incidentally, the @MLL_Lacrosse finals have destroyed the PPL turf in front of lax goals and at center midfield
— Steve Holroyd (@Section107RowA) August 25, 2013
On Sept. 8, PPL Park will be the site of the opening of the Beyond Soccer event — “a full-day event focused on the unique role the world’s most popular sport can play in driving social change” — part of the larger Beyond Sport Summit & Awards taking place in Philadelphia. Nick Sakiewicz says, “At the core of our values is that soccer is a catalyst for social responsibility. We are excited to welcome like-minded people from around the world to our world-class facility to share best practices in this area.”
The Harrisburg City Islanders’ postseason came to an early end with a 3-1 home loss to the Charlotte Eagles on Saturday. To say it was the kind of match in which the referee played an all too important role would be something of an understatement. Still, the City Islanders had their chances, chances that unfortunately were not finished.
Looking back on the season, Harrisburg head coach Bill Becher said, “We started strong. We scored the most goals in the league. We were exciting. We were dangerous. And I think we had higher aspirations than where we finished. I thought we legitimately had a chance to win it all and were good enough, but unfortunately we’ll have to wait another year.”
Charlotte goes on to face the Richmond Kickers, who defeated the Dayton Dutch Lions 1-0 on the road in their quarterfinal meeting, in the semifinals on Saturday.
The good news to come out of the quarterfinal loss is that the team raised some $7,200 to help pay for the medical expenses of former City Islander Jason Hotchkin, who was wounded in a shooting in West Chester last weekend. More on the fundraising effort from fox43.com.
Ocean City honored the Nor’easters on Friday by presenting them with a ceremonial piece of the boardwalk.
PhillyBurbs.com has five high school girls’ soccer players to watch.
It was a bad weekend for road teams in the Eastern Conference this weekend. Montreal (41 points) moved into first place with a 5-0 hammering of visiting Houston (36 points), who drop to sixth place. New York (39 points) is in second place after losing 3-2 to Chivas USA on the road. In third place is Kansas City (39 points), who lost 1-0 to seventh place Chicago (34 points). The Union (38 points) remain in fourth place after losing 5-1 to now fifth place New England (36 points). Eighth place Columbus (29 points) was thumped 4-0 away by Real Salt Lake. Ninth place Toronto (21 points) was the only Eastern Conference teams on the road to see some joy, drawing 1-1 on the road with last place DC (14 points) on a 60th equalizer from local lad Bobby Convey.
Some 67,385 people were on hand to see the Seattle Sounders defeat the Portland Timbers 1-0 in Clint Dempsey’s home debut.
Vancouver’s Kenny Miller has retired from the Scottish national team in order to focus on the Whitecaps playoff run.
The tentative $300 million deal that was reached last week between DC politicians and DC United for a new stadium — with the city paying for the cost of the land and the team’s owners for the stadium — has its critics at Slate and Think Progress.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Orlando City Lions officials, and officials from Orlando and Orange County, are mum on proposals that taxpayers receive partial ownership for the club in exchange for ponying up public money to pay for the construction of a new stadium.
Next Sunday’s championship final will feature the Western New York Flash hosting the Portland Thorns. In Saturday’s semifinal games, the Flash defeated Sky Blue FC 2-0 while FC Kansas City went from winning 2-0 at the half to losing 3-2 in extra time. Delran’s Carli Llloyd tallied both of Western New York’s goals.
Sunil Gulati tells the Soccer Wire there will be no expansion in the league in 2014. “On expansion, I don’t say slow and steady – I think I’d probably say steady and slow. Let’s get this stabilized. Let’s get all the wrinkles out of this system and then we can talk about growth.”
At the Inquirer, Kate Harman talks to Havertown native and former Philadelphia Independence midfielder Sinead Farrelly. Now with FC Kansas City, Farrelly credits former Independence coach Paul Riley with helping her land with her current team after a difficult time following the demise of the WPS.
At the New York Times, Jack Bell looks at the possible scenarios that could result from the ongoing discussions between the New York Red Bulls and Sky Blue FC.
Jurgen Klinsmann says a summer of positive results means he will have some tough decisions ahead for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
The pool became deeper. We have more flexibility. I think we have more players now that understand what the demands are, and actually fulfilled their roles very positively and are ready to match those demands. It’s been great to see how players came along over the last two years and make the decisions for us even more difficult. That’s a good thing. The tricky part now is how to unite the rosters from the Gold Cup and the games from May and June. There are going to be very tough decisions. There are players in every single position that are not far away from each other. Players all have their strengths and weaknesses, and if they are not called in for the games against Costa Rica it doesn’t mean that any of those guys are out of the picture by any means.
Roma have reportedly rejected an $9 million offer from Sunderland for Michael Bradley.
Michael Orozco-Fiscal scored this weekend in Peubla’s 2-1 loss to Cruz Azul.
Sepp Blatter expects that FIFA’s executive committee will soon vote to switch the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from summer to winter. “It was wrong to say, `Now we have to play in summer,’ because in summer you cannot play there. Therefore the ExCo now shall take the decision – and they will take it – that in summer you can’t play in Qatar.” FIFA: Where the result of an election is a foregone conclusion.