Thursday, July 15, 2010

Union top Celtic FC in friendly matchup

-courtesy of the Philadelphia Union

CHESTER, Pa. - The Philadelphia Union rode a first-half goal from Sebastien Le Toux and a shutout for backup goalkeepers Brad Knighton and Brian Perk on Wednesday to a 1-0 win over legendary Scottish side Celtic FC at PPL Park.

"Overall I thought we played very well in the first half, moved the ball well, had a balanced attack, good mobility, and created a number of chances," said Union coach John Hackworth. "We got a goal and limited the opportunities we allowed Celtic to have, which is good. I think we controlled the tempo and the rhythm of the game, and that was good."

The international friendly was the first in a stretch that will include a tilt against Manchester United later this month for the Union, who got the game-winner from their French phenom in the 23rd minute.

Debutant Eduardo Coudet, who has been on trial with the club, took the ball at the top of the box and slid a masterful pass to Le Toux at the penalty spot. Onside, Le Toux dribbled around Celtic goalkeeper and former MLS SuperDraft pick Dominic Cervi before placing the ball in the far corner.

The goal was a result of a strong opening for the Union, who nearly scored off the foot of rookie Danny Mwanga in the sixth minute, and threatened again when the 18 year-old hammered a half-volley into Cervi's chest off a corner kick just a minute later.

Celtic responded after Le Toux's goal and controlled the match for the remainder of the half, but they mustered little after the break against the Union's subs and were unable to put the ball past a very steady Perk. Amobi Okugo and Toni Stahl got solid looks for the Union coaching staff, and Jack McInerney impressed with creativity off the bench and lifted a shot from distance just over the crossbar in the second half.

Celtic did have a spurt of chances in the dying minutes of the match, but weren't able to put the ball past a very steady Perk. The young keeper saved two shots from in close, making himself one of the match's stars with the late show.

"We understand that it's a preseason game for them," added Hackworth. "They're just brand new into their preseason. For us, we're in good form and we used it to test some of our younger players. We don't take too much stock in it and say hey, we beat Celtic and we're one of the top clubs. We used it and we got a result, we got a shutout, and that's really important for us in this locker room, and now we move on.

The Union return to action at 3:30pm on Saturday at home against Toronto FC.  The game will be broadcast live on 6abc.

Scoring Summary

PHI - Sebastien Le Toux (Eduardo Coudet) 23'

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