My thoughts and reflections while watching the Philadelphia Union's home opener Saturday vs. the New England Revolution:
Pregame: Brian Carroll "called out sick." Yesssss!!!!
First minute: Some shaky touches by Ray Gaddis and Jack McInerney. Cristian Maidana also falls over the ball. PPL Park debut nerves?
Second minute: A lot of head tennis in the Revs' box, to no avail for the Union.
Third minute: Sons of Ben in good form.
Fourth minute: Gaddis with some good defending. Fabinho is touching the ball a lot.
Fifth minute: Union get cut open a little bit, but Zach McMath with an easy save.
Sixth minute: Fabinho with a sick backheel along the left touchline.
Seventh minute: Maurice Edu with his first touch. The Revs are making some nice diagonal runs.
Eighth minute: Union play some nice triangles in midfield.
Ninth minute: Another cross from Fabinho, easily cleared. Edu getting more involved.
10th minute: Jack Mac yellow carded. Revs with a free kick.
11th minute: McMath gathers easily. The pitch in Chester, Pa., looks perfect, despite the horrible winter.
12th minute: Austin Berry with a foul.
13th minute: Union defending well in the middle of the park, leading to a Revs giveaway.
14th minute: Fabinho trying to walk off an injury.
15th minute: Gaddis loses the ball in near the Revs' right corner flag.
16th minute: Union with a free kick in a good position.
17th minute: Revs have a break, but it goes over the touchline. Leo Fernandes looking good.
18th minute: Sebastien LeToux wins a free kick in a great position, which leads to a corner.
19th minute: Union shot cleared off the line.
20th minute: Union causing problems in the Revs box again.
21st minute: Edu cracks a shot, which is blocked.
22nd minute: Le Toux and Maidana have swapped sides. Fabinho whips in his fourth cross of the game.
23rd minute: Le Toux gets cracked to the ground, but no foul is called.
24th minute: Bad touch by a Revs player allows McMath to come and collect. Down the other end, Le Toux can't get off a good shot.
25th minute: Good hustle by Gaddis wins a deep throw. Jack Mac with a quick shot, which is saved.
26th minute: Maidana with a good free kick, which comes to nothing.
27th minute: Gaddis is impressing me. I much prefer him to Shaenon Williams opposite Fabinho.
28th minute: Good tackle by Edu creates a chance for Vincent Nogueira. One-way traffic for the Union now.
29th minute: Fernandes fouled and cracked to the ground.
30th minute: Again, Gaddis stands his ground and wins a ball well. Le Toux scores off a pass from Fernandes. 1-0 Union.
31st minute: Replay shows Le Toux may have been offside, but who cares?
32nd minute: Maidana fouled to the ground
33rd minute: Revs are struggling to keep possession.
34th minute: Le Toux with good body control to shield a ball.
35th minute: Nogueira with a good ball into the box, but the Revs keeper collects. Maidana bursts into the box, but nothing comes of it.
36th minute: Revs switch fields for one of the first times in the match.
37th minute: Good combo play from the Union on the left side,
38th minute: McMath with a huge leg save.
39th minute: Maidana wins a corner on the left.
40th minute: Poor corner from Le Toux.
41st minute: Union taking a bit of air out of the ball now. Gaddis comes up to take a throw. Jack Mac with a clever run, but ball doesn't find him.
42nd minute: Fabinho wins a corner. Maidana shot blocked.
43rd minute: Nice calm passing from the Union. Nothing seems hurried.
44th minute: Good tackle by Edu, ball goes out for a goal kick.
45th minute: Jack Mack fouls a Revs player ... so says the ref!
One minute of extra time: Union defend well at the top of their box. Halftime whistle. 1-0 Union.
46th minute: Bengston comes in for Revs, replacing Donny Smith. A few Union throw ins in the Revolution half.
47th minute: Berry brings Nyugen, who was in behind, down. Yellow card.
48th minute: NE free kick served into box. Headed down by Revs and a decent chance. Could have been dangerous.
49th minute: Union attacking in the Revs end. Questionable free kick, but not called.
50th minute: Ball from Revs over the top. Berry gets last second tackle in on Bengston to stop break.
51st minute: Bengston knocks a ball down in the box but the Union clear. Fabinho hurt a bit, stoppage for a minute. Bengston is cut on head.
52nd minute: Teams exchange possession.
53rd minute: Aaron Wheeler comes on for Union. Berry comes out.
54th minute: Questionable foul called on Edu on Nguyen. Edu shows his frustration. Free kick comes to nothing.
55th minute: Berry has a left leg injury, which is why he came out.
56th minute: Union struggling to get a hold of the ball for an extended period of time.
57th minute: Union trying to keep the ball.
58th minute: Gaddis and Maidana show good composure and make a nice defensive switch.
59th minute: Nothing comes of a Union chance, then McMath has to punch away a shot.
60th minute: McMath collects the corner.
61st minute: Union being pressed into their own end.
62nd minute: Crowd booing refereeing decision. Crowd wanted a corner.
63rd minute: Revs playing the ball along the back. Jack Mac blasts a shot over the bar.
64th minute: Union can't keep the ball.
65th minute: Maidana makes a bad pass. Union lack the bite of the first half.
66th minute: Revs are much better organized than in the first half.
67th minute: Wheeler fouls a Revs player.
68th minute: Revs switching the ball more. Union seem to be out of gas.
69th minute: Revs have a dangerous free kick. Union clear the danger.
70th minute: A good breakaway for the Union. Yellow card for the Revs,
71st minute: Poor free kick by Le Toux. Why can't these guys beat the first man?
72nd minute: Union win a corner. Nogueira eventually hits a shot wide.
73rd minute: Revs playing some nice one-touch football. The Union need to come up with some new ideas.
74th minute: The Revs just seem to want it more. A goal could be coming.
75th minute: Edu commits a foul in midfield. Jack Mac being held.
76th minute: Union waste a good run by Le Toux.
77th minute: Union just seem to be inviting the pressure. Union concede a corner.
78th minute: Union break the length of the field, but the ball is fired wide.
79th minute: Revs have a corner, Edu clears it.
80th minute: Antoine Hoppenot about to come in for the Union.
81st minute: Corner for the Union. Jack Mac subbed out.
82nd minute: Maidana about to take corner. Nothing comes of it.
83rd minute: Teams exchange possession.
84th minute: Union are their own worst enemy at this point. They're making bad decisions.
85th minute: Union offside just past the center circle.
86th minute: Gaddis making a nice run, but no one sees him.
87th minute: Wheeler wins a ball in the air. Danny Cruz in for Maidana.
88th minute: Cruz open wide right, but Union make wrong pass again to Hoppenot, who is offside.
89th minute: McMath collects a long throw. One minute plus stoppage time to go.
90th minute: McMath hoofs it downfield. Cruz shields the ball in the corner for a while, but it goes out for a goal kick. Cruz is laid out and receiving treatment. Four minutes of stoppage time.
Extra time: Wheeler with a good clearing header. Players are going down like flies now. Le Toux misses a shot on a breakaway. Union corner. Now, a Union throw. Union still has the ball down in the corner. Final whistle! Union win 1-0.
Summary: A good first half, a pedestrian second half for the Union. Four points from the first two matches is a good return. This team, with its revamped midfield, should make the playoffs.