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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Saturday, June 23, 2012


(Greg Carroccio / Philadelphia Union)
The Union pulled off something that, outside of their locker room, not too many people would've predicted.

How about a 4-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City ... to snap a seven-game winless streak ... for a team that, entering the night, had scored only eight goals all season?

"This was big, wasn't it?" rookie Antoine Hoppenot asked, rhetorically.

Yeah, it kinda was. The Union had been written off this season, left for dead after an abysmal start to the season was part of the reason Peter Nowak got canned. So to break out with four goals against the Eastern Conference's second-place team, against a goalkeeper (Jimmy Neilsen) many had penciled in as a favorite to start the MLS All-Star Game, this one was out of left field.

Is 'stunning' the right word? If you ask Freddy Adu, it is.

"It is. With our team, we haven't had a lot success this season," Adu said. "This game was huge for us. This was very important for us."

Here's a quick rundown of the accomplishments from Saturday night's win: John Hackworth picked up his first victory as manager, Hoppenot scored his first career goal in MLS, Jack McInerney (who had a brace) scored his first goals in 322 days, and Zac MacMath posted his fourth shutout.

That's a lot to happen in one night.

“Everybody brought it today," Adu said.

And that's what it might take for the Union to dig out of their hole in the East.

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A few notes and quotes from the locker room:
  • Roger Torres, who was set to sub on in the 90th minute, never got his chance. He had to go back to the bench because he had forgotten his shin guards. "I would've been in trouble," he said.
  • Zac MacMath, who took a knock to the head in the 89th, said he's OK. Having missed action with concussions this season, and playing without a helmet, MacMath drew widespread concern. "He hit me in the back of the head a little bit," MacMath said. "I'm not sure if he meant to do it or not, but just a little knock. Nothing serious."
  • Ray Gaddis is a fan of bowties. He was rocking the unique look while fielding interviews from his locker. “Back home, if you don't have a good suit, that's bad. It's expected of you," the rookie right back said. "It's an expectation of your mom, too. I come from a church-going family, so I'm used to wearing suits and getting it all together. Chris (Konopka) has his variety of bowties, so it's always good to see what he brings to the table.”
  • John Hackworth broke some news in the postgame presser. Here's the lowdown: "First announcement is I heard that if we score more than three goals, Great Clips is going to give free haircuts to everybody at PPL tonight," Hackworth said. "I guess we all get free haircuts." Better get in line: 18,207 attended the match.
  • Peter Vermes is a man of few words. "They deserve the three points," the SKC coach said. "We didn't play well and they did." And that was the extent of his press conference.

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