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

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Back at it: Notes from Tuesday's training

The Philadelphia Union returned to training Tuesday morning after two days off following Saturday’s disappointing 1-0 loss in the swelter of Houston. Manager Jim Curtin wrapped up a few news items after the session.

- First, the long-awaited reaction to Josh Yaro’s second yellow card in the 87th minute Saturday for a take down on Mauro Manotas that looked for all the world like a well-sold dive. 

Curtin was predictably decisive on his viewing of the event, which put the Union down to 10 men and paved the way for Cristian Maidana’s game-winning free kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
“No, it’s not a second yellow,” Curtin said. “The ref made a mistake. The kid (Manotas) did a good job baiting him into a play. Josh got one-vs-one in a situation off of a kind of one-touch through ball. Obviously as a center back, you don’t want to get isolated. But at the same time, it doesn’t take a genius to look at the tape and see it’s not a second yellow card.”
Curtin pointed out how far behind the play referee Edvin Jurisevic was, as you can see in the video. He’s not in frame when Manotas hits the deck, and he’s coming from the center of the field after a long ball to the wing, so he’s screened by Yaro from seeing what contact, if any, transpires between the bodies.

The rookie Yaro was diplomatic about the decision, which represented his first two career MLS yellow cards.

“It’s the referee’s decision,” Yaro said. “I personally didn’t feel that it was a foul. But then again, I’m not the one in charge of the game. He’s in charge of the game. It’s his decision, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I just have to live with it and move on.”

Curtin confirmed that there’s no appeal process for a yellow card, meaning Yaro will be suspended for Saturday’s visit from D.C. United. Manotas could theoretically be given a fine as supplemental discipline for simulation if the MLS Disciplinary Committee reviews it, but that does the Union no good.

- On the injury front, neither Sebastien Le Toux (concussion) nor Fabian Herbers (hamstring) trained with the team Tuesday. Le Toux passed an early phase of his concussion protocol testing, with more on tap Wednesday if he continues to progress. “Sebastien is pushing for this weekend,” Curtin said, but any setback would likely write him off for D.C. Next week is probably more likely. Herbers tested his hamstring, and Curtin said the rookie confirmed to him that he had no pain, reinforcing the original diagnosis of a minor problem. Curtin added, “it looks like he’ll be available for the weekend.”

- With those maladies lingering, Curtin is even more grateful to have CJ Sapong back. Curtin thought the 27-minute shift by forward Saturday in his first action in a month was overwhelmingly positive, including a team-high three shots. The focus this week is rediscovering his touch in front of goal. Curtin:
“I thought he gave a good 30 minutes. I think you saw his impact 20 seconds into coming onto the field: He wins a 50-50 ball for us and draws a foul. You can tell he’s excited to be back. The sharpness in front of goal is probably what takes the longest to get back. You see that by the end of today in training, it was good. You saw the hard-working CJ fighting for balls, holding balls up for us and he was just missing a few in front of goal. It literally took to the last kick of practice for him to get a good finish and a goal, so hopefully that’s good for his confidence going forward.”
- The Union’s numbers in training were swelled by summer guests, which included a handful of Academy players and a few from developmental partner Reading United. One that Curtin recognized by name is Connor Maloney, the diminutive Penn State winger who played with Reading last summer but does not appear to be there this summer. Maloney, a Harrisburg native and Bishop McDevitt grad, played on the 2012 Union Academy team that won the Generation Adidas Cup. He's also been included in U.S. Under-23 camps. Curtin coached that team and spoke highly of Maloney, a senior at Penn State. “A kid I’m familiar with from the academy days,” Curtin said. “Good winger/forward that again played on the (Keegan) Rosenberry teams that I coached growing up. Nice to see how he’s progressed, and he had a nice day. Good player, tiny guy who kind of nips at everyone’s heels and creates chances.”

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