Saturday, August 13, 2011

Adu makes debut as Union salvage draw with FC Dallas

By John McMullen

CHESTER, PA - There were plenty of storylines at PPL Park Saturday as Western Conference heavyweight FC Dallas and Philadelphia played to a 2-2 draw in front of another sellout of 18,811 on the Delaware Riverfront.

The game marked the debut of the Union's latest and perhaps most noteworthy acquisition in the franchise's short history, Freddy Adu. But, it was Sebastien Le Toux's second penalty kick goal in the 86th minute that salvaged the point for the home side.

Adu signed with Philadelphia (8-5-10, 34 points) on a free transfer from Portugal's Benfica on Friday, and started at midfield for the Union. Of course, the U.S. Men's National team member made his first appearance in Major League Soccer as a 14-year-old  prodigy in 2004, but after three years with D.C. United and a short stint with Real Salt Lake, he  vanished overseas.

Signed by Benfica in 2007, Adu spent most of his time on loan with various clubs on the continent, but resurfaced in the U.S. this summer when former U.S. coach Bob Bradley named him to the CONCACAF Gold Cup roster.

Now, he's in Philadelphia and reunited with his former coach in D.C., Peter Nowak.

Adu was hoping to jumpstart an offense that has now produced just 29 goals all season, six of those from the new departed Carlos Ruiz. He showed flashes before being replaced in the 62nd minute by Danny Mwanga but the Union were unable to solve FC Dallas (12-6-7, 43 points) netminder Kevin Hartman, save for the penalty kicks.

Hartman, like Philadelphia's Faryd Mondragon is one of MLS' best, and helped Dallas stay undefeated all-time (2-0-2) versus the Union.

The Union's backline, which had been so reliable earlier in the season, has shown cracks recently and made a pair of blunders in the first half, costing Nowak's club both times. First, Carlos Valdes misplayed a throw-in, allowing Maicon Santos to beat Mondragon to in the 16th minute.

Philadelphia managed to even things in the 34 minute after Justin Mapp was taken down in the area by Dallas defender Ugo Ihemelu. Le Toux stepped to the spot and buried the penalty kick, short-side for just his second marker of the season, both on penalty kicks.

FC Dallas, however, went back on top of the see-saw during stoppage time in the first half. Gabriel Farfan lost contain on Marvin Chavez, who nearly beat Mondragon. The veteran got a hand on Chavez's shot, redirecting it to the right post and MVP candidate Brek Shea was there to clean up, giving the visitors a 2-1 advantage at intermission.

Adu nearly paid dividends in the 56th minute, connecting with a streaking Veljko Paunovic, who hit the back of the net but the play was waived off and Paunovic was ruled offsides.

George John's second yellow card in the 81st minute proved to be the break Philadelphia needed, however. John was sent off and FC Dallas was a man down when Zach Loyd took down Farfan in the area, setting up Le Toux's second penalty kick of the night. Hartman guessed wrong and the Frenchman struck again as the Union deadlocked things in the 86th.

Mwanga nearly won it in the 90th minute but Hartman got enough of his blast to deflect it over the top. Hartman was also up to the task seconds later, volleying away Keon Daniels' header.


*Flyers star James van Riemsdyk was at the game.

*Former Union goalkeeper Chris Seitz, who had an awful season for Philly last year, is Hartman's backup. When Hartman was dinged late in the game, the Sons of Ben were chanting for Seitz. Meanwhile, another former Philadelphia player, MF Andrew Jacobson, was on the bench for FC Dallas.

*Besides Mwanga for Adu in the 62nd minutes, the Union's other substitutions were Roger Torres for Jack McInerney in the 73rd and Daniel for Mapp in the 79th.

*Philadelphia is back in action next Saturday when they visit Columbus.


*The Union really miss Jordan Harvey, who was sent to Vancouver in July. Harvey was unspectacular but steady and Philadelphia, specifically youngsters Valdes and Sheanon Williams, have been making far more mistakes since his calming influence headed West.

*Adu is a big time player, at least at this level, and his athleticism will really help the Union as they shoot for their first playoff berth down the stretch.

Scoring Summary:
DAL -- Maicon Santos 7 (unassisted) 16
PHI -- Sebastien Le Toux 2 (penalty kick) 33
DAL -- Brek Shea 10 (unassisted) 47+
PHI -- Sebastien Le Toux 3 (penalty kick) 84

FC Dallas -- Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd, George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez, Marvin Chavez (Andrew Jacobson 82), Bruno Guarda (Daniel Cruz 71), Ricardo Villar, Daniel Hernandez (Jackson 67), Brek Shea, Maicon Santos.

Substitutes Not Used: Eric Alexander, Ruben Luna, Bobby Warshaw, Chris Seitz.

Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Gabriel Farfan, Justin Mapp (Keon Daniel 79), Freddy Adu (Danny Mwanga 62), Brian Carroll, Veljko Paunovic, Sebastien Le Toux, Jack McInerney (Roger Torres 73).

Substitutes Not Used: Michael Farfan, Stefani Miglioranzi, Amobi Okugo, Zac MacMath.

Misconduct Summary:

DAL -- George John (caution; Reckless Foul) 24
PHI -- Freddy Adu (caution; Reckless Tackle) 27
DAL -- Maicon Santos (caution; Dissent) 56
PHI -- Jack McInerney (caution; Reckless Tackle) 68
DAL -- George John (ejection; Second Caution) 80

Referee: Geoff Gamble
Referee's Assistants: -Daniel Belleau; Eric Proctor
4th Official: Drew Fischer
Time of Game: 1:56
Weather: Cloudy-and-79-degrees
Attendance: 18,811

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