Philadelphia 4, New England 4: Revs Collapse Like Cartoon Soufflé

New England took a 3-0 lead on Philadelphia after 25 minutes last night at PPL Park—and a 4-1 lead into the halftime break. But as they demonstrated in coughing up a two-goal second-half advantage over New York last month, no lead is safe with the 2011 Revolution.

After the Union’s Freddy Adu scored his first MLS goal since 2007 to make it 4-2 in the 54th minute, you started to get a certain feeling….

Sure enough, Sebastien Le Toux buried a penalty in the 80th minute and then, two minutes into stoppage time, struck a fantastic equalizer to make it 4-4.

This game was a crazy-quilt of highlights and errors.

In addition to his goal, Adu completed 93% of his passes (according to Opta Sports), new Revs signing and potential Name Hall of Famer Moncef Zerka opened his MLS account with a skillful header, Benny Feilhaber and Roger Torres scored sweet goals from just outside the box, and the Revs’ defense, as ESPN commentator Adrian Healey tweeted, was bagel soft.

Beyond all that—and unfortunately not included in the highlights below—both teams created golden chances to win it deep into stoppage time, after Le Toux’s equalizer, but neither could finish.

Here’s the clip:

It was an incredible fight-back by Philly, but they are still winless in seven games, with a big one coming up on Saturday against playoff contenders Portland. New England, whose playoff hopes are all but gone, return home to host FC Dallas on Saturday night.

Morning Grab-Bag: Quiz Answers, Quote of the Day, and the Bloody Bloody Galaxy-Union Highlights

We’ve got a three-part post to start off this morning.

First up, the answers to Tuesday’s NASL quiz. Thanks for playing. A few readers came up with several correct answers, and Prison Mike came verrrry close on one, but no one was able to ace all five.

Here they are:

1. Name the two players who played in both the NASL and Major League Soccer.

Hint: One is South African by birth who played for the USMNT, and the other is a recent coach of the Mexican national team.

A: Roy Wegerle, Hugo Sanchez.

2. Who was MVP of the final (1984) NASL season?

Hint: He went on to a legendary indoor-soccer career—as much as such thing is possible—with the New York Arrows, among other clubs. Also earned 14 caps for Yugoslavia.

A: Steve Zungul, who went on to score 372 goals in 145 games for the Arrows. Check him out here, and here.

3. Which team won the league in ’84?

Hint: They had a German striker with a wicked left foot, and were located in the Midwest, like the Columbus Crew, which has the same black-and-yellow color schem as this team did.

A: Chicago Sting. Their lethal striker was KarlHeinz Granitza.

4. Who is the NASL’s alltime leading scorer?

Hint: This one’s easy.

A: Giorgio Chinaglia, with an astonishing 193 goals in 213 appearances. He also scored 50 in 43 playoff games. The man’s play was as immense as his ego.

5. Which team suited up George Best, Teofilo Cubillas, and Gerd Muller, yet never won an NASL title?

Hint: They also featured former MLS coach and current Gol TV commentator Ray Hudson—and they might be coming back.

A: Ft. Lauderdale Strikers


From Reuters:

Michel D’Hooghe, Senior FIFA executive committee member and chairman of FIFA’s medical committee, on the rash of brutal tackling the game has seen in the past few years:

“I have made myself a compilation of hard tackles with dramatic consequences over the last two or three years in the most important competitions in the world. I do not dare to present it—it would take away your appetite. It is terrible. This must go out [of the game]. … This is my wish, that all that brutality that sometimes goes close to criminality on the field is thrown out in the interest of our players and of a nice soccer game.”

Los Angeles 1, Philadelphia 0

Beckham follows last week’s game-winning goal with a game-winning assist; Edson Buddle bags his league-leading 16 goal of the season; and Fred gets his melon split open by fellow Brazillian Juninho (not intentionally, we don’t think).

Also: A terrific backheel by MVP-worthy Sebastien Le Toux produces a save-of-the-week candidate from Donovan Ricketts.

Good game last night. Check it out:

It’s Friday: the next four days hold a full slate of MLS action, Euro 2012 qualifiers, and international friendlies—including two U.S. games. Buckle in.

Le Toux Lights Up the Linc

Friend of Backpost and longtime Philly soccer supporter (and player) the Fenistrator attended the expansion Philadelphia Union’s home opener against D.C. United on Saturday night, when Union striker Sebastien Le Toux scored all three goals in Philadelphia’s 3-2 victory. The Fenistrator kindly filed this report on the festivities:

Grills and parking-lot pickup games began around noon for the 6:00pm start, and everyone was in good spirits for the first outdoor professional match in 30 years in the City of Brotherly Love.

After a heroic bout of pre-match tailgating in the Linc parking lot, we made our way toward the stadium, where crowds were backing up at the gates.

Just past the gates, each one of us had to pass through a metal detector—the increased security was due to the presence of Vice President Joe Biden at the game—and when we finally reached our seats, the stadium was largely empty. In fact, when the match began, there were still many empty seats, as people were delayed passing through security, clearing both metal detectors and wands.

We were handed souvenir Union towels, and some small placards with the game date, the teams, and the slogan “I witnessed history!”

The Union’s call to arms is the somewhat extreme “Join or Die!” and if Saturday night’s home opener was any indication, many chose the former: There were, eventually, nearly 35,000 fans inside the cavernous Lincoln Financial Field. It seems the Union will have no trouble selling out the new 18,500-capacity PPL stadium when it opens in Chester in late June.

Pre-game festivities included Honorary Captain Walt Bahr, one of Philly’s famous “Old Pros” from the Lighthouse Field–era Philadelphia Nationals. Bahr played for the USA when it beat England in the 1950 World Cup. Of course many missed this ceremony—as well as the first 20 minutes of the match—due to VP Biden’s presence to escort his granddaughter to the game’s ceremonial first kick. The additional security was a hassle, but it did not damper the crowd’s enthusiasm at all.

Security delays meant empty seats in the first half.

So we—and some 35,000 others—were primed and duly pumped, and then Sebastien Le Toux got the game off to a dream start, redirecting Roger Torres’s cross past DC keeper Troy Perkins in the fourth minute. The Union was up 1-0 and you couldn’t have scripted it any better. A beautiful pass from Alejandro Moreno set up Le Toux for his second of the day just before halftime.

Then two second-half mistakes by the Union got D.C. back into it. First, a Michael Orozco turnover set up Santino Quaranta’s deflected goal, and then our young keeper, Chris Seitz, gifted Jaime Moreno an equalizer in the 70th minute. Seitz was about to punt, and Moreno made like he was going to put a boot in, causing the youngster to spill it at his feet at the top of the box. Moreno made no mistake in tying it up.

That left it to Le Toux to do this in the 80th minute:

…. to clinch the Union’s first ever win, lock up the MLS player of the week award, and send D.C. to a miserable 0-3 start this season. The crowd was into it, and the Sons of Ben supporters were really into it, and the 30-year wait was well worth it.

A good time was had by all, except for the United fans making the two-plus hour drive north.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we all enjoyed our Union experience, but I do have one pet peeve:

Call me a curmudgeon, I don’t care, but being a spectator at a match in the USA is the most frustrating experience if you want to actually watch the game.

Maybe I’ve been to too many games in England, where the main focus is what happens on the field, but can somebody please tell me why so many so-called fans have to drink 30 Lite beers during the match, requiring you to constantly get up and down while they interrupt your sightline of the field??

Of course many around us were too busy having a social chin-wag to be concerned with the action—until the roar of the crowd forced them to look at the pitch.

In England, two 45-minute halves of no beer, no food, no vendors, no big video screens to distract you or allow you to see something you missed…. JUST PURE SPORT! No Multitasking!! [Editor: You’ll be happy when you come to Red Bull Arena for the Union–RBNY tilt on April 24: no concession sales in the seats at RBA.]

I just found a new meaning for “Join or Die”—and I’d like to see it enforced at the Linc!