March to March 9: Scouting the Philadelphia Union
Philadelphia’s Conor Casey and Sebastian Le Toux will pose serious goal-scoring threats to the United backline this afternoon. Acquired from the Colorado Rapids on Dec. 14, 2012 in Stage-2 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft, Casey left the Rapids as the all-time leading scorer with 50 goals. The veteran forward scored 13 goals during the Rapids 2010 campaign that saw Colorado capture an MLS Cup. Casey’s equalizing goal sent the game to overtime, and he was named MLS Cup MVP. The previous year, the dynamic striker was named an MLS Best XI forward and to the 2009 All-Star team as a starter after setting the Rapids’ single-season scoring record with 16 goals. Casey also featured for the US Men's National Team (USMNT), getting his first cap in 2005. In 2009, the forward netted his first two senior national team goals, scoring twice against Honduras and drawing the foul that set up Landon Donovan’s game winning free kick that put the USMNT through to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Returning Philadelphia forward Sebastian Le Toux holds some records of his own as well. Leading the Union in goals and assists in both 2009 and 2010, Le Toux registered a combined 45 goals and assists between the two regular seasons— only United captain Dwayne De Rosario recorded more (46). In 2011 Le Toux played every single minute (3,060) of every single game (34) for Philly, scoring eight goals and recording 11 assists. In 2010, the forward was named to the MLS Best XI, was the Union’s first ever All-Star and was awarded the MLS Fair Play award, a feat he repeated in 2011 having never been issued a single yellow card. The fan-favorite was traded to Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2012 and transferred to the New York Red Bulls before new Head Coach John Hackworth, brought him back to Philadelphia on Dec. 6, 2012.
D.C. – Philly Connections
A College Reunion: D.C. United’s 2013 SuperDraft selection Taylor Kemp, recently acquired forward Casey Townsend and homegrown defender Ethan White might recognize the guy between the pipes for the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. The Black-and-Red’s Trio of Terps will become a quadruplet, adding the Union’s goalkeeper Zac MacMath to list of former University of Maryland Terrapins on one field at the Pro Soccer Classic. And there’s more. These four did not simply attend the same university— they started and played almost every single game of the 2010 season together at UMD. MacMath, Kemp and Townsend started all 23 games of Maryland’s season; while White started all 20 games he was featured in, missing three due to injury.
The 4 from ’04: Three people who made huge on-the-field contributions to D.C. United’s 2004 MLS Cup will contribute to this afternoon’s game as well—but not in black and red uniforms. Philadelphia Union midfielder Freddy Adu subbed into the 2004 Cup in the 65th minute for United at age 15. Adu made history, becoming the youngest player on a professional championship team. Ben Olsen and Union midfielder Brian Carroll played in the midfield together during the 2004 season, starting and playing all 90 minutes of the Cup final. Olsen started all 25 games he featured in, logging 2,046 minutes that season. Carroll appeared in 30 matches, starting 26 for the Black-and-Red in 2004. D.C. United assistant coach Josh Wolff also featured in the 2004 MLS Cup. The then- Kansas City Wizards forward scored his first ever playoff goal, netting a penalty kick in the Cup final against his future team. Wolff would go on to play for 1860 Munich, the Chicago Fire, and D.C. United from 2011 to 2012, before being named a United assistant coach.
Philadelphia, on average one of the youngest teams in MLS, boasts plenty of young talent on the rise in 2013. The youngest of the standouts, Jack McInerney, was the 7th overall pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, and already has 12 career goals to his name. Last season, the 20-year-old forward found the net eight times, registered three assists and logged over 1,600 minutes. Twenty-one-year-old Zac MacMath had a sophomore campaign to remember. As the 5th overall pick in the 2011 SuperDraft, the University of Maryland standout only played eight games in his inaugural season, starting seven of them. Last year, however, MacMath started all 32 games in which he featured. Finishing 7th in MLS in saves, MacMath tied four other goalkeepers, including United’s Bill Hamid, for the most shutouts on the year (8). Antoine Hoppenot, 22, signed with the Union in Feb. of 2012, after being selected in the MLS Supplemental Draft. The former Princeton Tiger made 25 appearances for the Union, earning three starts, and tallied four goals and one assist during the 2012 season. Another young talent, Gabriel Farfan earned a place on Philadelphia after pre-season training camp in 2011. The 24-year-old midfielder played 23 games in 2012, starting 22. Farfan assisted on one goal and logged 1,960 minutes. Gabriel’s twin brother, Michael Farfan, was the 23rd overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft and logged over 2,800 minutes last season. The former Tar Heel featured in 32 games, starting all but one and earned an MLS All-Star nod.