13 April 2010

Open for Biz-nass

I had the joy on Saturday of attending the first MLS game played in our cordial City of Brotherly Love. Needless to say, though I will continue, the occasion was extravagant and the liver's ability to contest with an untidy variety of adult beverages received a stern examination. When the final whistle was blown at That Place Where Jeffery Lurie Prints His Money, the Odyssey itself was rendered no more epic than a canoe journey across the Delaware River compared to the fury unleashed by the Union's very first Frenchman. (Actually, given the the natural acidity of the water, that canoe trip would be kinda epic). The Union won a dramatic 3-2 decision in their, to repeat –dramatic pause-- First. EVER. HOME. GAME. (At least until the next first home game in June).

With hindsight, here's what must be a record number of words written about a single Fox Soccer Channel telecast.

Christopher Sullivan, do not want. Hair and wind tangled, Sullivan can hardly cope with the not-gale force winds.

Another pregame interview with Danny Califf. Seems like a nice enough guy, but if he had an S.S.-themed sex tape come out, I'd be the least surprised one here. I shudder to think of the social circles that personal décor could grant entrance to. Just sayin'.

Red Bulls get their first road win in 27 games. That is just adorable. They finally got better than an F for effort.

Katie Witham, I don't care that you stammered or shook your head a lot. I don't.

Le Toux first off the bus. You tube had no response for my desire to hear DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince's "Charlie Mack (1st out of the Limo)". Sad, that.

Outdoor studio an inhospitable environment for FSC's impressively onsite coverage. Mother Nature is owning Sullivan's broadcast professionalism, at the moment.

Alejandro Moreno's experience highlighted, very excited and confident about his game...”manage the game”...????...Oh god, is he our Trent Dilfer?

Interview with D.C.'s Rodney Wallace. Skip.

Interview with his teammate, Santino Quaranta. He looks like what happens when a Menduo kid goes to prison for muling.

Interview from McFaddens with the SoB's HNiC. Congratulations to the founders, quite an achievement today. Biggest victory for fat white guys citywide since I dunno, the Wing Bowl?

Shots of the classless D.C. United fans banished to the rafters, the quicker to hang themselves from. Who says we aren't welcoming?

Califf “stood up like men”...on the D.C. supporters “I hope they're ready to get rocked”

DC United's hometown announcer calling the match. I don't think I'm gonna have happy things to say about this. No, no I won't. Also, as I edit this (hahahahaha), I am watching Jon Champion doing “play by play” for ESPN UK. Note to American commentators: Often, it's quite alright to just STFU and let the game happen. Really, pace yourselves, you're too far behind to try sprinting.

Those old school Philadelphia Fury shirts look pretty sweet. I wonder if Mitchell & Ness is carrying those yet.

Both teams exit the tunnel. It's so on.

From nearby Delaware, Joe Biden's rider for this public appearance was modest and appropriate: a glass of warm milk, and the Late Edition of the Evening Post. He does really push the drama of the National Anthem over the top though.

Walter Barr the honorary captain for the Philadelphia Union tonight. Assisted on USA's goal in their 1-0 victory over England in the 1950 World Cup.


Union: Seitz, Orozco, Califf, Arrieta, Harvey, Miglioranzi, Torres, Jacobson, Fred, Le Toux, Moreno

D.C.: Perkins, Talley, Jakovic, Peña, Wallace, Barklade, Morsink, Castillo, Quaranta, Pontius, Allsopp

Tragedy has Peter Nowak in the press box tonight. Jim Johnson, R.I.P., did some good work up there, too.


1' Jordan Harvey concedes the first ever throw in against the Union! These are our record books, and we'll make them as trivial as we like, thank you very much.

2' Torres picks a pocket and finds space. His accent is Colombian, Torres! Torres!

2' Enough about the pitch dimensions. We're not playing in the Spectrum ferchristsakes. Not that there's anything wrong with that, Kixx!

3' Peña reckless, flagrant tackle on Moreno, an injustice to be rectified in double time.

4' YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Torres' wonderfully curvaceous cross finds Le Toux's head attached to a fantastic run. Creates enough separation to drive a D.C. United bus through on its way back home. The game could not have begun any better for the Union XI. They are obviously keen to impress their new fans in their debut, and oblige their desires with sublime execution. 1-0 Good Guys.

5' Castillo's chance from distance fairly innocuous, but the way the defenders backed off there will be punished later. Must do the closing down with more haste.

6' The Union's Moreno hauled down as a hoofball arrives from a panicked Seitz. No call. That was a foul from where I was. I will differentiate between the two Morenos by just calling D.C.'s “Brownie.” That's fair.

7' Moreno excellently executes a textbook drop toe hold to halt D.C.'s momentum in his defensive end. He could be a luchador in the offseason.

8' Extremely late nip at Fred's heels.

9' ...Allowing Orozco's floating long ball to eventually land at Le Toux's left foot only to be blocked. Moreno and Le Toux's understanding is very good to see.

11' Casual discussion between the commentators on the MLS' mining of South American talent. Which when you think about it, would be reverse American globalization. Or maybe it wouldn't. But that's a big word, so who can really say?

12' Torres with another excellent delivery into the box, this time from a dead ball. No connection on the other line, but the Union's attacking qualities look bright. We all understand him though, Torres! Torres!

15' Peña off, not really touched with any aggressive contact, and doesn't look particularly injured. Julius James replaces.

15' Torres doing a very good job of tracking back and not giving D.C. any room to breathe. He can't go back to Medellin...

17' Califf with some typically physical defending, shivving a United forward in the back with his knee.

17' Le Toux's backheel for Moreno unfortunately results in a brutal tackle from behind. That should be red. Dangerous, no attempt to play the ball. He actually ends up taking out Moreno's knee with his hip, if that indicates how absurdly poor the challenge was.

20' Injury update on Peña, minor hamstring strain. That doesn't sound like gauchoing up to me.

24' Passive sparring between the two sides over the last ten minutes or so. No real threats or inventiveness on display. Le Toux and Moreno having a tea party outside the 18 yard box, but fail to find real sharpness...yet...

25' United's “most encouraging breakout” was really weak and nonthreatening...there is definitely a pattern detectable in D.C. sports.

26' Califf's headers and tackles dictating D.C.'s possibilities on offense, which are quite scarce at the moment. Danny's play is emblematic of the confidence displayed by the Union's shape when United has the ball.

28' Wow, I would like to see that again. It appears Alejandro Moreno has added a flying knee to his repertoire, at the expense of at Jakovic's chin. OH! Snap, he got sandwiched, and the deciding blow was dealt by his own teammate. I hope those two aren't locker buddies or that is going to be awkward. Jakovic's memory of the incident will be slight, though.

30' Camera catches a goober in a full Captain America costume. And people tell me all the time that I am embarrassing? Puh-leeze.

31' Torres does a good job of getting some kicks back without incurring a cautionary card. 'Cos all the chicas scream his name...

35' Another two footer from a United player on Fred, and Wallace is carded for his stupidity. He might have gotten the ball, but at the potential expense of Fred's career.

36' Califf with a clean, hard tackle that flattens the attacker but frees the ball.

37' Fred and Torres continue their South American connection in midfield, frustrating United's defensive efforts.

38' Le Toux does a fantastic job of extinguishing the United attack before it starts with a strong tackle in their defensive half.

40' PINCH ME I MUST BE DREAMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OK here we go. This was sweet. At 39:14, Arrieta clears the corner kick, finding Moreno posted up on his man at the midfield stripe, the ball arriving at 39:17. At 39:19, he sweeps the ball 40 yards diagonally to a streaking Le Toux, whose first touch at 39:21 gives him the room to blow by the three DC United defenders in my standard definition frame. Sometime between those two seconds, the whole crowd realizes what's on, and the noise rises as the fans get on their feet. Le Toux strikes the ball along the ground with supreme poise and composure. Before the second hand can tick again, the ball is past Perkins, but still a foot from the goal line. The celebration has already begun. The feeling you have when you know your team is about to score a goal in soccer is probably my favorite out of any emotion that sport can evoke. My thoughts at the time were probably more like “OMG OMG OMG DO IT DO IT DO IT HE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” then handshakes and tongue kisses all around. 2-0 Good Guys.

41' Just breathtaking.

42' Moreno draws a card from Barklage, who was stranded at a distance too far from his settled position. United are shell shocked and weary.

43' Barklage follows up his weak defensive effort with a weak volley on net, comfortably handled by Seitz. Can't fault Barklage's consistency anyway.

44' Roger Torres releases the attacking play on the back of a great takeaway, and another tackle from behind has him on the ground, unable to even spectate the play following his ingenuity. Roger Torres, The Union's Number Twenty!

45' Miglioranzi goes to ground far too rashly for my liking. More aware or sinister players may have made a meal of that.


The Union have to feel great about what they've done in the first half, appeasing the rabid home support in spectacular fashion. Their dominance has been comprehensive, and as I tried to make our section aware, “NOTHING CAN GO WRONG!”

First day in MLS history with 8 games played. A real rogue's gallery of Philadelphia soccer history paraded on display for some apathetic casual fans attending, hopefully making up most of the 16,000+ that PPL Park won't have room for.

And we're back.


46' “Brownie” is on for United. I'll be kind and just call him low down, filthy, and sneaky.

48' James gets an Adidas logo stuck to his chin after a facial rejection of Jacobson's driven shot a far distance from Perkins' net, but not nearly as far from James' head.

51' Moreno's classy creativity allows the Union to play some really nice passes in the attacking third, ultimately earning a corner but precious little else. Torres' delivery into the box very positive again, though.

53' Jacobson's through pass via Montero's dummy springs a breakaway, but Le Toux's shot can only find Perkins' chest, and Philadelphia will eventually want to kick themselves for a change rather than their opponents for not burying United there.

56' The Sons of Ben applaud Talley's effort for United which lands several rows deep into their dedicated end zone section.

60' Wallace gets exactly what he wants from the show he puts on for the referee at the edge of the box, leaving his feet before making contact with a now yellow carded Arrieta's stationary leg.

61' Pontius' free kick lands in the SoB section, to rapturous reception. The volume from the crowd overall is slowly getting better, but it's clear that the supporters section will be a good influence no matter which end the Union are attacking.

63' UNMITIGATED DISASTER ARRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHHH An unfortunately lazy pass by an otherwise industrious Orozco gifts United a life line back into the match. His deflection ensures that Quaranta's shot eludes Seitz at full stretch. Harvey's positioning to receive that pass also deserves questioning. If he is prepared to meet a pass as opposed to accept one, then he at least finds himself in a better position to do the right thing, which is to kick whatever part of Quaranta's body will fully stop his forward momentum. On repeated viewing, Harvey does not make an attempt to get his body in the way of any part of Quaranta's simple, not so swift run. Have we seen Harvey in this area before? Draw your own conclusions. 2-1 Good Guys.

63' Le Toux should have buried that chance a few minutes ago, although he will redeem himself in about 17 minutes. But 3-0 and it's time to kiss the baby, and now we must suffer a bit before the reckoning.
64' And then, there are two balls on the field for a moment. Oh God, no. Will this ever stop haunting me?

64' Morsink helps himself to a heaping handful of Fred's shirt, pulling him towards the ground with an almost romantic intention. The referee must have also observed this tenderness, which caused him to leave his whistle up his

65' Wallace is an embarrassing diver. Faced with two defenders, he belly flops to the floor and earns a free kick he should be shamed of. Cheaters never prosper.

66' Allsopp earns a yellow card for yet another meaty challenge from United's sour tarts, this time against Califf. That's probably not a smart strategy going forward, considering Califf's temperament without getting hacked.

68' The pace is beginning to pick up, again on the back of poor, apathetic passes by defenders, United's in this case. Moreno's quality opens up the defence again, but the Union can't capitalize on the proceeding corner. Torres' energy and endeavor is celebrated by the crowd as he exits the match, in favor of Shea Salinas, formerly of Earthquake Country.

70' OH NOEZZZZZZZ> Setiz is unsettled by Brown's Avery-like tactics, and ends up dropping the ball outside of the box, and simultaneously right at Brown's feet. Firstly, Chris, I demand you tuck in your shirt. That is emblematic of the problem you've just created for your team. I didn't like the look before, and now it just has to go. Secondly, by the Tuesday after the match, the MLS' officiating director will have stated that this goal should not have counted, as there are rules about attacking players interfering with a goalie attempting to punt the ball from his hands. So the so-so job the official had been doing up to this point just entered into scandalous incompetence. And thirdly, some United players' audacity to taunt the side of the field I was sitting on thankfully didn't end in my ejection for stumbling over the railing to insult their heritage, or something. And oh yeah: “NOTHING CAN GO WRONG!” 2-2.

73' Quaranta adds a yellow card to his tally for the evening, with a poor tackle on Salinas.

74' Le Toux's low cross finds Salinas, who smashed the ball top shelf but off the frame of the goal. I thought he scored for sure in person, but that could have been due to a slight degradation in spacial awareness and depth perception.

76' Jacobson's sweet aerial through ball finds Fred on his galloping horse, before Moreno just can't find a seam for his shot. Since the jerks got their jerky second goal, play has been very open at both ends of the Linc.

78' RED CARD!!!!!!! for Jakovic, who can have little to complain about after hauling down Moreno before he could get in one on one with Perkins. Free kick on the edge of the area, dead center.

80' JUSTICE IS SERVED!!!!!! I was always thankful for the Statue of Liberty, and now I have to applaud the French for the origin of the first hat trick I've ever seen at a soccer game in person. Le Toux stands over the ball, while both teams' players obscure most of his view of the net. He looks right, then left, then right, then finally down as he MAGISTERIALLY rips a low shot to his left and easily past Perkins' right. “IT'S IN THE NET! It's in the net!” Absolutely electric explosion from the now fully awake and elated masses. Le Toux jumps into the arms of his bench, while his head has surely found the clouds. He has written Le Legend in his first game for his home fans, while bearing a name that fits right in with Philadelphia's love of a player's name than can be made to sound like a “Boo.” Letoooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuxxx. He'll give credit to his teammates for his outstanding play today, but the third belongs to him. What an individual effort.

81' At the game, this was an excruciatingly nerve wracking 15 minutes before the final whistle had blown. As previously stated, the experience of the Philadelphia fan from this point in a game is not always great.

85' The Union have been in shameless time-killing mode since taking the lead again. Never play prevent, never. United haven't really sniffed the Union goal since then either, though. The man advantage since the red card has certainly helped.

88' There is a slow roar building through the crowd. Victory is just a few torturous minutes away. I was watching between my fingers while squeezing my head with my scarf. Let it end, dear God just let it end.

90' The applause for Moreno doesn't match his contribution to the game. Fans, myself included, will grow to actively appreciate what he facilitates for his team. Four minutes of stoppage time added. I am going Artur crazy by now.

90' Possibly one last attempt here for United to get forward, but Quaranta's ball in from midfield is cleared and swept away in possession by the Union. Salinas quite happy to work the ball amongst himself in the corner, taking precious seconds off the clock.
90' Into the fourth minute now. United unable to reclaim possession. Tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick.


Le Toux raises his arms in triumph and dominance, as many of his teammates run to the North End Zone to celebrate with the bouncing Sons of Ben. They came, they saw, and they ultimately conquered.

Next up, more reflections on the opener and a healthy skewer of Canada's only American city ahead of Thursday night's clash.


  1. Let's not forget how funny the sight of Danny Califf and Joe Biden standing side by side was.

  2. Good call Ian! I think I noticed that more in person, actually, since they were right in front of our section.