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

Friday, July 12, 2013

Union 3-1 Chivas: Post-game observations

For the umpteenth time this season, I leave the PPL Park pressbox not quite sure what I’ve actually cobbled together for a game story or fully sure of what happened in the closing minutes. The scoreboard reads 3-1 Philadelphia Union over Chivas USA, and the standings show that the Union are in second place in the Eastern Conference, one point from the summit. So there’s that at least.

Amid the myriad facts that didn’t fit into the game story, allow me a few here.
Leo Fernandes does battle with Chivas' Carlos Alvarez
in the rain during the Union's 3-1 win Friday at PPL Park.
(Times Staff/Robert J. Gurecki)

- First, this quote from Union manager John Hackworth is the best explanation possible of his ejection by referee Jorge Gonzalez. Hackworth admitted postgame that he will not be suspended for the next game despite being dismissed tonight:

“I was upset because I thought there was a penalty. I thought when Sebastien (Le Toux) was on the ground by the near post, I think the player on the ground clearly takes his elbow and knocks the ball. (As an aside, it looked like it was red-carded Josue Soto who did contact the ball at the near post. In any event, him trying to play the ball while on the ground is generally a foul if it happens anywhere else on the pitch.) That’s a handball. It’s in the box. I don’t think I was the only one who felt it was a pk. I tell the fourth official, probably a little too emotional at that point, that I think it’s a hand ball and how did they not see that handball. He, for whatever reason, told me, hey, next warning you’re gone. I hadn’t said anything; I don’t think I used any profanity, I don’t think I said anything too bad. But then Jorge, the referee came over, and I’m in the box and I say ‘how did you miss that handball?’ and I go through the motion of what the player did. And he threw me out. It’s interesting because I haven’t been thrown out in a long time, and usually you have to say something – I can’t say what because there’s probably kids listening up in the club – but you have to say something to get thrown out, and I guess my actions were a little bit too much.”

- Now for the goal. You have to credit Michael Farfan for knowing exactly what he wanted to do and doing it, roofing the ball off a lay-off by Le Toux. For a guy who hasn’t scored yet this season and has had his place in the starting XI questioned time and again, he showed all the poise in the world. And he did it in front of his mother, on hand to watch he and brother Gabriel do battle (Gabe was substituted off in the 77th minute after a largely indifferent shift). The two did swap jerseys afterward.

- Le Toux got an assist on Farfan’s goal and an assist on the game-tying tally, his corner being deflected by Conor Casey into the path of Brian Carroll in the 58th minute. (I still haven’t seen a replay that shows Carroll’s touch, but I’m a trusting guy). The two assists give Le Toux a league-leading nine for the season. He wasn’t that productive from the run of play, struggling to find space as a winger in the modified 4-5-1 that the Union played. But he’s becoming one of the league’s most dangerous providers off set pieces, something you may not expect given his general skill set.

- The Union got two goals from midfielders Friday. Entering the game, they’d had just three (two from Danny Cruz, one from Carroll) all season in MLS play.

- Speaking of midfielders, Leo Fernandes put in a solid shift of work today. He’s in a position that’s more natural for him, tucked off the shoulder of Casey “in the hole”, as they say, in that 4-5-1. He had some really good runs at guys in the area, and he could be very useful in that position if he and Casey can continue to develop a rapport.

- As far as Casey, he scores once, is instrumental in the other goal, and is simply everywhere the Union need him to be in the box. Oh yeah, and the 31-year-old has lugged his body up and down the pitch for each of the team’s last 270 minutes in all sorts of conditions. Impressive for a guy most teams thought was worn out.

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