Saturday, July 10, 2010

Union fall to San Jose at PPL Park

By John McMullen

Chester, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - Arturo Alvarez's goal in stoppage time lifted San Jose over Philadelphia, 2-1, in front of 17,158 at PPL Park on Saturday.

The Union (3-8-2) outplayed the Earthquakes badly throughout the game but San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch was brilliant, turning away chance after chance by Philadelphia's two top scoring threats, Frenchman Sebastien Le Toux and rookie Danny Mwanga, in the second half.

San Jose, which snapped a five-game winless streak, had few scoring opportunities of its own until Alvarez, who entered the game as a substitution in the 74th minute, took off with the ball after a poor corner kick by the Union and went the distance of the field, beating Philadelphia's embattled goalkeeper Chris Seitz in the first minute of stoppage time.

"I don’t really know what it is, I think we need to go back and look at film," Seitz said. "I do not know if people are turning off or what it is. Obviously in the 90th minute we’re not a team at home that’s going to push for a tie. We’re a team out there that’s going to push for a winner and with that it’s about taking chances and if you push guys forward you're going to leave guys open in the back and it’s a risk that we’re going to take at home and try to get a win. With that being said, we need to have cover and be organized enough to cut that out and not allow things that happened today."

The loss was the Union's first ever as the home team and at PPL Park. Busch faced 10 shots, stopping six while Seitz, who came into the game with a miserable 1.92 goals-against average, faced only three in the entire game and allowed two to find the back of the net.

"That’s soccer, sometimes you dominate a game like that (and still lose)," Seitz said. "We could have played another half hour and I don’t know if we would have scored again. For us it’s a little bit of focus and it’s a little bit of luck and for us the luck wasn’t on our side."

The Union drew first blood in the 14th minute when Mwanga found Fred behind the defense with a beautiful header pass and the Brazilian midfielder beat Busch long side for his second goal of the season.

The teams traded scoring chances from there for the rest of the half until the waning moments when San Jose finally broke through to deadlock things in the 45th minute.

The Union's Andrew Jacobson nearly made it a two-goal edge in the 16th minute but his rocket found the right post and harmlessly skidded across the goal mouth.

The Earthquakes, meanwhile, didn't get their first real scoring opportunity until the 36th minute when Chris Wondolowski misfired high from inside the area on the right side.

About a minute later Fred just missed on his second goal for the Union when his volley off a Jordan Harvey cross went wide.

In the 42nd minute San Jose's Bobby Convey came with inches of tying it but his laser from distance banged off the crossbar. But, just as Philadelphia was seconds away from heading to the locker room with an advantage. Wondolowski ran down a pass and found a wide-open Cornell Glen across the middle for an easy goal.

The second half was all Union with Mwanga and Le Toux both failing on two solid scoring chances. Mwanga was held on both of his opportunities but the whistles were silent. Le Toux, meanwhile, was stoned twice, including from point blank range in the 87th minute.

Philadelphia had one final chance to deadlock things in stoppage time when Le Toux was taken down right outside of the box but Roger Torres' free kick went into the wall and the final whistle blew.

"From the flow of the game and team commitment we can’t say bad words about this team," manager Peter Nowak said. "The game is not about how many shots we have on goal or if it was a handball or if it was a foul. At the end of the day, the results stand regardless. We have to anticipate things that may hurt us. We lost a game we were supposed to win." 

State of the UNION:

* Philadelphia midfielder Kyle Nakazawa missed the game with a sprained right knee while forward Alejandro Moreno was able to go despite a right knee contusion. Moreno, however, did have to leave in the 55th minute and was replaced by Torres.

*Mwanga, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's MLS SuperDraft draft out of Oregon State, started his MLS career slowly but has come on like gangbusters. The rookie forward has five goals and two assists in just five starts and is the leading scorer among all MLS freshman.

*MF Shea Salinas played the previous two seasons with San Jose. Salinas entered the game in the 65th minute as a replacement for Jacobson.

*Fred left in the 82nd minute in favor of Jack McInerney.

*The Union host Celtic FC in a friendly match on Wednesday kicking off at 8 p.m. in PPL Park. That match will be the first in a series of international games for Philly, which will also meet English Premier League heavyweight Manchester United on July 21 at Lincoln Financial Field.

*The Union's first-ever match at PPL Park, a 3-1 over Seattle on June 27, drew a sellout of 18,755 fans.

Scoring Summary:
PHI -- Fred 2 (Danny Mwanga 2) 14
SJ -- Cornell Glen 1 (Chris Wondolowski 1) 45
SJ -- Arturo Alvarez 3 (Bobby Convey 8) 90

Misconduct Summary:
PHI -- Fred (caution; Reckless Foul) 52
SJ -- Chris Wondolowski (caution; Reckless Foul) 69
SJ -- Ramiro Corrales (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 93+

San Jose Earthquakes -- Jon Busch, Jason Hernandez, Bobby Burling, Ike Opara, Ramiro Corrales, Sam Cronin, Brandon McDonald (Brad Ring 88), Joey Gjertsen, Bobby Convey, Cornell Glen (Ryan Johnson 67), Chris Wondolowski (Arturo Alvarez 74).
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Leitch, Javier Robles, Omar Jasseh, Joe Cannon.

Philadelphia Union -- Chris Seitz, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Danny Califf, Jordan Harvey, Cristian Arrieta, Fred (Jack McInerney 81), Stefani Miglioranzi, Sebastien Le Toux, Andrew Jacobson (Shea Salinas 64), Alejandro Moreno (Roger Torres 55), Danny Mwanga.
Substitutes Not Used: Nick Zimmerman, Amobi Okugo, Toni Stahl, Brad Knighton.

Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: Brian Poeschel; Craig Lowry
4th Official: David Gantar
Attendance: 17,158
Time of Game: 1:51

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