An excellent chip from Charles Eloundou sunk the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night, as his 80th-minute goal propelled the Jacksonville Armada to a 1-0 victory. The match served as the preseason opener for both sides.
I think this might be slightly off. pic.twitter.com/7tiik5ufFE— The Brotherly Game (@BrotherlyGame) February 6, 2016
Can you spot what's wrong with this picture? I'll give you a minute.
Correct! Whatever you said was correct! They did manage to spell Philadelphia right, though, and they should be congratulated for that. Now, on to the non-butchered lineup.
STARTING XI: Sapong; Pontius, Barnetta (c), Le Toux; Nogueira, Alberg; Fabinho, Anderson, Marquez, Gaddis; Blake. pic.twitter.com/KY7cYhohYb— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) February 6, 2016
This is more or less the lineup we can expect on March 6th. The only glaring omission is Maurice Edu, who is still recovering from a sports hernia surgery he underwent in October. Recent addition Roland Alberg lined up alongside Vincent Nogueira in his absence, though I think the Dutchman will find himself farther up the field when the season begins.
The first unit looked sharp (well, as sharp as you'd expect in the first game of preseason), with Nogueira and loanee Anderson Conceição especially impressing. Despite the encouraging start, the score sat at 0-0 when the starting eleven made way just past the half-hour mark.
The Second Shift
34' Mass subs for Union, Part I: Diaby (Fabinho), Lurie (Anderson), Daly (Marquez), Richter (Gaddis); Jones (Alberg)...— The U Match Day (@TheUMatchDay) February 6, 2016
Subs continued: Missimo (Pontius), Ilsinho (Barnetta), Samuel (Le Toux); Moussa (Sapong). 9 total. Nogueira and Blake stay on. Still 0-0.— The U Match Day (@TheUMatchDay) February 6, 2016
If you don't recognize many (or any!) of those names, don't worry. You're not going crazy. The Union's second unit was comprised mostly of unsigned draft picks, trialists, and Bethlehem Steel FC signings. In a departure from the military-level top secrecy of years past, the Union have made identifying these players easy. Here, you can find a full match roster from tonight's game.
The four trialists on the roster are Yosef Samuel, Ibrahima Diaby, Ilsinho, and Moussa Maâzou.
Samuel, 18, is a midfielder/forward currently in the Union Academy. He was called into U.S. U-20's January camp, where he served up an assist in a friendly versus a nearby academy. It's worth mentioning that though he is set to graduate from high school this year, he did not sign a national letter of intent to play college ball. Jim Curtin has spoken of his pro potential in the past.
Diaby, 20, is an Ivorian left back. According to transfermarkt, he currently plays for Société Omnisports de l'Armée in the Ivory Coast's Ligue 1.
30-year-old Ilsinho has the most impressive résumé of the four. The Brazilian winger has made more than 100 appearances for Shakhtar Donetsk, the biggest team in Ukraine. He has also made stops at São Paulo and Internacional after starting his career with Palmeiras. Ilsinho made an appearance for the Brazilian national team in 2007. He has been a free agent since the summer of 2015.
Maâzou is a 27-year-old Nigerien striker who is currently under contract with Changchun Yatai of the Chinese Super League. For a list of his former clubs, I'm just going to send you to his Wikipedia page. Brace yourself.
The Young Guys (and Brian Carroll)
HT subs for the Union: John McCarthy for Blake. Brian Carroll for Nogueira.— The U Match Day (@TheUMatchDay) February 7, 2016
62' Second half mass subs, Part I: Washington (Diaby), Tribbett (Lurie), Yaro (Daly), Rosenberry (Richter); Crevalle (Jones). Still no score— The U Match Day (@TheUMatchDay) February 7, 2016
Subs, cont'd: Restrepo (Missimo), Fernandes (Ilsinho), Ayuk (Samuel); Herbers (Moussa). 9 total. Carroll and McCarthy stay on.— The U Match Day (@TheUMatchDay) February 7, 2016
Draft picks Joshua Yaro, Keegan Rosenberry, and Fabian Herbers highlighted the young group Jim Curtin selected to close out the game.
Yaro and Rosenberry justified the widespread praise of their comfort on the ball, as the Georgetown alumni looked very poised in possession. Yaro in particular spread the ball along the back line with ease, and Keegan Rosenberry had a stellar cross that the Armada struggled to clear.
On the other hand, Eric Ayuk had a performance he shouldn't look to replicate. The young winger played as if he didn't have teammates, opting to take on multiple defenders in situations where a simple layoff would have been beneficial.
Former Colorado Rapids striker Charles Eloundou, now on trial with Jacksonville, scored the winner. Standing just inside the 18-yard-box, the Cameroon international hit a perfect first-time chip that sailed over the outstretched arms of John McCarthy.
The world does not need this. pic.twitter.com/cbVkRH0Kqc— The Brotherly Game (@BrotherlyGame) February 6, 2016
For reasons unknown to man, there is a giant inflatable cephalopod that lives in the Jacksonville Armada's stadium. Its name is Squid Vicious! I think that's nice.