Philadelphia Union 3, D.C. United 2
I'll have a lot more to say about the details of last night's game when I get through watching the match replay. For now, though, here are a few early thoughts:
- The most important thing I took from last night's game was the cohesiveness of the midfield. With Stefani Miglioranzi and Andrew Jacobson playing behind Fred and Roger Torres, the Union were able to put passes together and set up quality scoring chances. As you'll hear in the audio player below, Miglioranzi is quite happy to stay behind and let Fred and Torres set up the forwards to score. If these four remain the starters, it will be a good foundation going forward.
- Sebastien Le Toux took all three of his goals really well. He scored once with his head, once from his feet in the run of play and once from a set piece. That's an impressively diverse hat trick, especially for a guy who played in the midfield with Seattle.
- The goal that Chris Seitz gave up was ugly. A howler if ever there was one. But Seitz made a couple of good saves at other points during the match. I know this city has a history of going nuts whenever a goalkeeper (okay, goaltender) struggles, but I wouldn't worry about Seitz. Certainly not compared to the team that plays across 11th Street from Lincoln Financial Field.
- Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber spoke with reporters at halftime, and dropped two tidbits of news. The first was that he thinks New York is ready to host a second team.
"I do, and I know the Red Bulls believe so as well," Garber said.
The second came I asked Garber what it might take to get stadium construction talks in D.C. moving again.
"I don't know, and I wish I did," he said. "I've got nothing to say on that one - it's frustrating."
You would think something has to happen some day, right?
- I know a lot of people had trouble getting into the stadium on time because of the security. Union president Tom Veit apologized profusely for that, as you'll hear in the audio player. But I thought the Union did a reasonably good job of getting word out in advance that Vice President Biden would be in attendance. Sometimes you just have to get to stuff early.
If it makes you feel any better, the bag inspections at the press entrance were more stringent than they were for Army-Navy games I've covered at the Linc, which draw even more important people to the Linc.
Of note, the Veit track is a bit edited because I accidentally hit stop on my recorder while Veit was talking. So you'll hear the sound jump a couple times.
- Lincoln Financial Field may be an NFL stadium first, but it looks really nice when there are no gridiron lines on the field. The pitch was definitely a bit ragged last night, but I've seen it far worse for soccer - in particular the 2003 Women's World Cup, though that was held during the middle of the NFL season.
- The only complaint I have about the Linc is that the press box is enclosed. I'm sure it's great during football season (okay, I know it is, because the Army-Navy game is always played in December). But on a warm spring night like this one, it would have been great to hear the fans instead of being stuck behind a glass wall. Oh well.
In the audio player below, you'll hear from D.C. head coach Curt Onalfo, Union assistant coach John Hackworth, Sebastien Le Toux, Fred, Alejandro Moreno, Chris Seitz and Stefani Miglioranzi.
There are also two videos for you to watch: one of postgame press conference highlights and one of the Sons of Ben's pregame festivities. Enjoy.
(And yeah, I know I said it was the first game here in 30 years, and that's not correct as such, but you know what I meant.)