Union Fall To Stoke City In Mid-Season Friendly

Jonathan Daniel

1st half goals from Michael Kightly and Brek Shea were enough for Stoke City to defeat the Union on a pleasant summer afternoon at PPL Park.

Going with an experimental 1st half line-up that saw many players playing out of their regular positions, the Philadelphia Union went down two goals to Stoke City never to recover as Stoke hung on to win 2-0.

The Philadelphia Union experimented around with their back-ups in the first half. John Hackworth has stated before that he would like to experiment with Aaron Wheeler as a centerback and that is exactly what happened, although the experiment ended up being not that successful.

The Union played deep in an attempt to out-Stoke Stoke, but the Potters would break through early. Michael Kightly got an easy volley at the back-post off a cross and Stoke grabbed a lead they would never relinquish.

New American hero Brek Shea would earn another when Fabinho lost Shea at the back post and Shea sent it in for another easy Stoke City goal. Shea's night would go on to take a turn for the worst though. He suffered what is being described as a "knee ligament injury" after an ugly tackle from Matt Kassel. Shea will undergo an MRI tomorrow and we will know more about his condition then.

The Union started the second half by replacing those that started the first half with most of the Union's regular starters, minus Jack McInerney and Zac MacMath. The second half, despite different players, was a similarly dull and turgid affair. No goals were had, but Sebastien Le Toux did have a brilliant goal called back due to offside. Williams threw it in, Okugo headed it directly to Le Toux who headed it in the goal. It was stunning to watch, but also illegal.

Despite some stronger play from the Union, the scoreline remained the same. Stoke City, despite being in pre-season form, flexed their superiority and easily walked out 2-0 victors. The biggest story of the night though was the aforementioned injury to Shea. Hopefully initial premonitions are correct and the injury is not a serious one.

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