Blogs > Union Tally

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

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Welcome to the final match of the regular season. Here's a look at John Hackworth's starting lineup for today's match against visiting New York Red Bulls:

  • GK ... MacMath
  • DF ... Gaddis, Okugo, Valdes, Lahoud
  • MF ... Albright, Carroll, M Farfan
  • FW ... Daniel, Cruz, McInerney
  • Bench: GK Konopka; MF Torres, Gomez, Pfeffer; FW Hoppenot, Hoffman, McLaughlin.

A note or two about the lineups:

Albright gets the nod. The season's ending the way it began, with defender Chris Albright getting a start. The veteran back, who hasn't cracked the starting lineup since March 24, got the nod. The lineup card says he'll be in the midfield, but it might be a more defensive role, with Ray Gaddis and Michael Lahoud stretching the field on the wings.
Adu, where are you? Midfielder/forward Freddy Adu did not make the starting XI, or the gameday roster. Adu will finish the season having started only one of the final six games, playing only 58 total minutes
Le Toux --- remember him? The Red Bulls will bring ex-Union player Sebastien Le Toux off the bench, if he plays at all. The MLS Best XI choice in 2010 has gone from starter to sub in NY.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012


(Associated Press)
Keon Daniel is back.

Physically, yeah, he's been here all season. Tactically, he never looked better than in the Union's 1-0 victory over New England.

It was Daniel's free kick in the 73rd minute that Jack McInerney got on the other end of, heading it in for the match's only tally. It extended the Union's reign over the Revolution (4-0-3 all-time) and gave the club its first winning streak in three months.

It also gave the Union plenty of reason to keep playing Daniel, the midfielder who's gotten two straight starts.

"I’ve been working hard to get my confidence back," Daniel said. "I’m a guy that, when confidence is there, it’s high. And when it’s high, it’s hard to play against me."

Daniel was particularly candid Saturday night. (Try this one on for size: “I’m comfortable anywhere because football is football," he said. "Put the ball in a good spot and something good will happen.") He even addressed his desire to stay in Philadelphia, which was a challenge a year ago, when then-coach Peter Nowak said visa issues kept Daniel in his native Trinidad & Tobago. (On that topic, I've gotten confirmation, from a source close to Daniel, that visa issues were not to blame.) Remember all of those 'Free Keon' tweets? Daniel wasn't sure about his status. He hopes his play Saturday shored it up some.

“Of course I’m happy to be here. I love being here," Daniel said. "I call here my home, my second home. I’m just going to keep working hard with the guys and try to help the younger guys with the experience I have. I’ll keep pushing them. Knowing your teammates is a hell of a thing. When you get comfortable with your teammates, it gets easier."

But will Daniel be back next season?

“I hope so. That is not my call. It’s the league and the coaches’ call," Daniel said.

If he has matches like Saturday's, Union boss John Hackworth will have no excuse not to bring back Daniel. Hackworth said Daniel's performance in the match, with featured spot-on free kicks throughout, was the best he's ever seen from Daniel.

“It’s been a while since I’ve had a performance like this," Daniel said. "I’m just getting comfortable. I owe the fans because they had high expectations of me. I haven’t been the best I can and it’s something I have in my mind to give back to these fans – these lovely fans we have – and even this league and my teammates. So I’m just working on it."

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Saturday, October 6, 2012


(Associated Press)
Here's a look at John Hackworth's starting XI tonight against New England Revolution:

GK ... MacMath
DF ... Okugo, Valdes, G Farfan, Gaddis
MF ... Carroll, Lahoud, Gomez
FW ... M Farfan, Daniel, McInerney
Bench ... Konopka, Pfeffer, Torres, Adu, Albright, Hoffman, Hoppenot

Just a couple observations about the Union's lineup:
  • Freeing Keon. Midfielder/forward Keon Daniel, who started Wednesday at Chicago, will make it two in a row after playing only nine minutes in the previous two as a reserve. It'll be interesting to see what kind of look the 6-foot-1 Daniel gives to the offense, which almost assuredly this offseason will look to add an offensive centerpiece with some height.
  • No Williams. Right back Sheanon Williams, who picked up a booking Wednesday at Chicago, will sit with a one-game suspension on yellow-card accumulation. Rookie Ray Gaddis (pictured) will start in his place, making his fourth consecutive start.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Amobi Okugo has played every minute of every match since John Hackworth grabbed the keys to the Union from Peter Nowak.

He hasn't played like he needs a break, either.

Fact is, Okugo has played well, whether it's been in the midfield or in the central defense, for the Union. The third-year player said Tuesday he's relishing his chance to play, and it hasn't mattered where on the pitch his minutes have come.

“Dosn’t matter,” Okugo said, on a phone call from the Philly airport. “I’ve shown that I can play two legitimate positions, especially with Carlos (Valdes) getting called up (to the Colombian national team) from time to time. It’s good to know I can play centerback, and it’s good Coach Hackworth has given me the chance to do that.”

Okugo shouldn't necessarily get cozy at centerback, with Bakary Soumare presumably returning to the pitch for the 2013 campaign at 100 percent. There's a reason the Union went after Soumare. It wasn't necessarily to shore up their defense in 2012, either, with Soumare still nursing a surgically repaired knee.

But like Okugo said --- doesn't matter where he's playing, so long as he's playing.

For more on Okugo and the Union, who are in Chicago Wednesday to face the Fire, pick up Wednesday's Daily Times.

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