Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Union tops Everton F.C. on late Hernandez goal

By John McMullen

CHESTER (The Phanatic Magazine) - Halfway through the regular season, the first place Philadelphia Union took a break from MLS play to top English Premier League side Everton 1-0 in the first of two international friendlies this week.

Christian Hernandez, the Union’s U-17/18 Academy Player of the Year,  finally solved Toffees goalkeeper Jan Mucha, the starter for Slovakia in the 2010 World Cup and backup for U.S. National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard with Everton, in the 88th minute to send a sellout crowd of 18,582 at a steamy PPL Park home happy.

Philadelphia, which gave veteran stars Faryd Mondragon, Danny Califf, Sebastien Le Toux and Carlos Ruiz the night off, dictated the pace for much of the night against Liverpool-based Everton, which was preparing for the upcoming EPL season that begins in late August.

The Toffees, a seventh place finisher a year ago, may not have the cachet of a Manchester United but they have competed in the top division in English football for a record 108 seasons and have won the League Championship nine times. So any way you slice it, the Union have to feel good about outplaying a
team from the vaunted EPL.

The 17-year-old Hernandez's marker came after a frenzied sequence stemming from a Jack Pfeffer shot that was denied. Everton failed to clear the box and a scramble ensued before Hernandez, who entered the game in the 71st minute, registered his first goal with the big club.

Philadelphia recorded 18 shots in the game to just seven for Everton. Four of the Union's attempts were on net while the Toffees were unable to test rookie goalkeeper Zac MacMath, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 MLD SuperDraft that has had to sit behind Mondragon, an All-Star, all season.

Third-string 'keeper Thorne Holder stymied Everton's only shot on target, a Ross Barkley shot that was deflected on goal by Apostalas Vellios in the 74th minute.

Roger Torres blasted six shots for Philly and Danny Mwanga had three and nearly found the net on a few occasions, including a blast from 10 yards out that went just wide in the 72nd minute.

Philadelphia, which earned five out of a possible nine points on its recent three-game road trip concluding with last Sunday's emphatic 3-0 whitewash at New England to put themselves atop the Eastern table, will next face Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday before getting back to work in MLS by hosting Colorado on July 29.

The Union's 31 points have already equaled their total from all of last season and the club is now 3-0 in international matches at PPL Park, adding this win to a pair of triumphs over Celtic F.C. and Chivas de Guadalajara last season.

Everton, meanwhile, will finish its short United States tour by visiting D.C. United on Saturday.

Scoring summary:

PHI - Christian Hernandez (Unassisted) 87'

Misconduct Summary:

EVE -- John Heitinga (caution; Reckless Tackle) 83 PHI -- Christian Hernandez (caution; Shirt Removal) 88 EVE -- John Heitinga (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 83 PHI -- Roger Torres (caution; Reckless Foul) 93+

Philadelphia Union -- Zac MacMath (Thorne Holder 46); Sheanon Williams (Ryan Richter 46), Carlos Valdes (Juan Diego Gonzalez 46), Stefani Miglioranzi, Gabriel Farfan (Zach Pfeffer 63); Justin Mapp (Michael Farfan 46), Amobi Okugo, Roger Torres, Keon Daniel (Christian Hernandez 70); Jack McInerney (Jimmy McLaughlin 78), Danny Mwanga

Substitutes Not Used: None

Everton Football Club -- Jan Mucha, Phil Neville, Leighton Baines, John Heitinga, Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Ross Barkley 64), Magaye Gueye (Jack Rodwell 46), Mikel Arteta (Sylvain Distin 46), Jermaine Beckford (Apostolos Vellios 46), Cahill Tim (Conor McAleny 78)

Substitutes Not Used: Adam Davies, Eric Dier, Ibou Touray, J. Johns

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee's Assistants: Adam Wienckowski
4th Official: Eric Boria

Weather: Cloudy, 99 degrees

Attendance: 18,582

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