Union

Union hire analyst Janusz Michallik to replace recently-fired Peter Pappas

Union hire analyst Janusz Michallik to replace recently-fired Peter Pappas

The Union have found a replacement for recently-fired analyst Peter Pappas

Replacing Pappas will be former U.S. Men's National Team player Janusz Michallik. 

Michallik, 50, will call the July 23 and July 31 matches alongside play-by-play man JP Dellacamera. The match on July 23 against the Montreal Impact will be on TCN and the July 23 match against Real Salt Lake will be on CSN. Michallik is an ESPN soccer analyst and was an ESPN Radio analyst during the 2014 World Cup. 

He began his pro career in Poland before moving to the United States when he was 16. While playing for the U.S. National Team from 1991-94, he earned 44 caps and won a CONCACAF Gold Cup in 1991 and a US Cup in 1992. 

Union fall but play well in playoff-like test vs. Red Bulls

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Union fall but play well in playoff-like test vs. Red Bulls

CHESTER, Pa. -- The Union received a much-needed taste of the postseason in a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on Sunday at Talen Energy Stadium. Despite the loss, the club liked what it saw.
 

“This was a playoff game tonight,” said Union manager Jim Curtin. “We talked about how our playoffs start tonight, and it’s going to feel the same exact way in New York City. It’s going to be very difficult to go there, and we have a playoff game right after that. It’s that time of year.”


Sunday was a playoff-style test against one of the league’s best teams, and the Union nearly passed. Controlling 66% of possession, the club dominated the first half but failed to find that finishing touch, eventually giving up a penalty kick to Kaku for the loss.

“We wanted to test ourselves against a top team in our league, a team that’s fighting for the Supporters Shield. I thought we were up for it, I thought we played some good soccer but just wasn’t our night in the end.”
 

With one match remaining, the Union could finish as high as third and as low as sixth, with the top two seeds filled by New York Red Bulls and Atlanta United. With 50 points, the Union are trailing No. 3 New York City FC by three but are tied with D.C. United and two points up on the Columbus Crew.
 

To put it simply. if the Union win next Sunday, they would claim the No. 3 seed and guarantee the club's first first-round home playoff game.


“We’re going to New York to beat New York City FC,” said Union captain Alejandro Bedoya. “We want a home playoff game really bad. It’s all up for grabs, anything can happen. Everything left to play for.”

But while home field is the goal, there was some hesitation. Curtin mentioned that the field was in bad shape, which was supported more forcefully by both Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin.

“I prefer to play away because it’s unbelievable that we play on this kind of field,” Medunjanin said. “It’s unbelievable. We’re a team that already achieved the playoffs, we play good soccer and to play on this kind of field is a shame.”
 

Bedoya felt the same.
 

“The field is terrible,” he said. “It pisses me off hearing there are high school games being played here after today. It’s a disaster. We’re a professional team getting ready for the playoffs and the field is in terrible shape and they’re just going to mess it up even more.”
 

Still, despite Talen Energy Field’s conditions, Curtin doesn’t want to settle on making the playoffs. He wants a home game.
 

“Obviously you want to host a game," he said. "You want to go to New York City and get a win and move up and keep a position where we have that home playoff game. We do control our own destiny, which is a good feeling to have."

Playoff-clinching Union pass on celebration because 'they're not satisfied'

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Playoff-clinching Union pass on celebration because 'they're not satisfied'

BOX SCORE

CHESTER, Pa. — Celebratory beers sat mostly untouched in the Union locker room.

Following a 5-1 playoff-clinching win over Minnesota United on Saturday night at Talen Energy Stadium (see observations), the players had reason to celebrate. Instead, they were jovial but subdued. With two matches remaining and first-round home-field advantage in play, the reason was made clear. 

“They’re not satisfied,” said Union manager Jim Curtin, whose club can finish as high as third in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. “We have a very humble and hungry locker room.”

It’s just the third time the Union have clinched a playoff berth, and nearly a decade since they did so with confidence. Curtin’s club limped into the postseason in 2016 riding a bevy of losses, only to be dismantled by Toronto FC when it got there. 

“We had just backed in, we weren’t in good form going into that game against Toronto,” Union captain Alejandro Bedoya. “This feels a lot better.”

It also feels different. 

“You learn the most about your group in the hard moments,” said Curtin, who transformed his struggling club into an Eastern Conference player. “Not only did they pass, but they did so with style.”

With the win on Saturday, the Union, who already demolished a franchise record with 15 wins, surpassed the 2011 team for the franchise-high point total with 50. But what seemed like a true departure from past Union teams, is with a chance to take the easy road with a victory against a non-playoff team at home — they took it with authority. 

“I’ve been here for a while, I’ve seen it all,” Union goalkeeper Andre Blake said. “I’ve seen this team grow a lot. We’ve learned to close games out, we’ve learned to dominate when we need to. Tough times can make you or break you and it’s been making us.” 

Led by Fafa Picault’s two, the Union scored four first-half goals and toyed with Minnesota throughout. At times it felt more like an early-round U.S. Open Cup match than a late-season MLS tilt. Credit goes to the Union for living up to the moment and seizing opportunity. 

“We don’t suck,” Picault said. “We’re doing what we’ve been doing. We’ve been through the hard times together and the good ones. It’s important we continue to do that. We’re not going to get overly confident and overhype the situation.”

The Union are now staring down New York City FC at the No. 3 spot in the East. With the win on Saturday, the Union jumped over the Columbus Crew (48 points) to claim the fourth spot. The Union face NYCFC on the road in the season finale. 

“We want to climb the table as high as we can,” Picault said. “We’re trying to get third or fourth place. The job is not done, but tonight we’re happy with what we’ve done on the field and we want to keep that going into the next two games.”