WITH THROTTLING OF TORONTO FC, UNION'S SEASON HAS COME FULL-CIRCLE
|(Times staff / COLIN KERRIGAN)|
But that doesn't nearly do the Union justice, does it?
They're scoring with regularity, playing out-of-their-minds defensively and getting under the skins of their opponents ... as evidenced by their 3-0 throttling Sunday of Toronto FC.
Just about the only thing that should come as a surprise to anyone is that the Union are playing this well so quickly after the firing of their head coach and the dismissal of the scouting director, Diego Gutierrez ... and that they're playing nine matches over a 27-day span, including Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup semifinal against Sporting Kansas City.
"Everyone knows what they need to do to get ready for the next game," said Antoine Hoppenot, who tallied the Union's third goal Sunday. "People are ice bathing, getting in the hot tub so they are getting stretching regimens and the guys know what they need to do. They are professionals so they make sure they are ready for the next game."
The Union -- who also got goals from Freddy Adu, pictured, and Gabriel Gomez -- are making Hackworth look good. They're creating some space between they and last-place Toronto, closing the gap between they and their competition for one of the five playoff spots in the Eastern Conference ... and returning an exciting brand of soccer to PPL Park.
Something that hasn't been there since, say, 2011. Remember those days?
A couple 'how' situations here:
- How does Antoine Hoppenot keep doing what he's doing?
- How did Sheanon Williams make this save, protecting Zac MacMath's clean sheet?
- How cool was it to see Roger Torres make his way onto the pitch? The midfielder, who checked in for Michael Farfan in the 83rd minute, hadn't played in MLS competition since March 24 while recovering from an MCL injury.
U.S. OPEN CUP: The results of the bidding war to host the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final are in ... and it's only half-good for the Union.
They'd host Chivas USA in a final either Aug. 7 or Aug. 8, assuming both win their respective semifinals. But if the Union draw Seattle Sounders FC, they'll have to travel to the West Coast to face the three-time Open Cup champs Aug. 8.
MLS ALL-STAR XI: The starting XI for the MLS All-Star Game, July 25 at PPL Park, was unveiled this weekend ... and the Union don't have anybody who made the cut.
That's not to say the Union won't have anybody representing the host club when the MLS stars face Chelsea FC, but it's in the hands of MLS commissioner Don Garber, who will pick two players next Sunday, July 15, and a vote of players will yield the rest of the roster, which will be announced on matchday.