Sad News was announced Thursday afternoon as the Philadelphia Union and Vincent Nogueira mutually agreed to part ways. Health reasons are the cause of this parting and both sides remain on good terms. This is the first time the Union and a fan favorite player have parted ways. The announcement came as a shock, as Nogueira played seventy plus minutes the night before the announcement in the US Open cup game against Harrisburg. Vince was an amazing player for the Union; he made the midfield click, and when he went down with injury the team suffered. In his two and a half years in Philadelphia he became a fan favorite. The creative 5′ 7 Frenchman’s Union career is over. Now is a time to reminisce say adieu Vincent Nogueira.
Adieu means farewell in French, and to say farewell to the tenacious Frenchman let’s look at some of his most memorable moments. Nogueira had a knack for creating, and being at the right place at the right time. He scored some amazing goals for the Union during his tenure. He produced some of his best goals in the 2015 season, and helped make the Union fun to watch during last years awful campaign.Vince was probably one of, if not the best, Union player last season. That can be shown in his play, and also the goals he scored. Here are some of his top goals of 2015.
After a rough start to the 2015 season the Union sat winless, and expansion team NYCFC came to town for the first time ever. The game was back and forth, and in second half stoppage time the game was tied. A ball was played into the box by Andrew Wenger. The ball was played to Connor Casey but the NYCFC keeper got a hand to it. The ball fell in the box and NYCFC defenders were slow to react. Out of nowhere, a streaking Nogueira came flying into the box. NYCFC defenders tried to get a touch on the ball, but Vince got his foot on it first. He hit it first time and the ball whizzed passed the defenders and the keeper. The Union got their first win of 2015 thanks to the Frenchman’s run and finish. Nog’s scoring continued later in the season.
The Union’s bad results continued, but after beating top team DC United the tides seemed like they were turning. The Union indeed kept their momentum going against New York Red Bulls. Early in the second half they scored a great goal. Nogueira intercepted a Red Bulls build up, and started the break. He played the ball wide to Wenger who moved the ball back inside. He found an open Maidana. Maidana went to shoot. The ball was headed right towards the Red Bulls keeper, and Nogueira was in the box. Then this happened.
Nog’s saw the ball going towards the keeper and moved toward its path. He flicked the ball with the back of his heel just enough to put it past the keeper. Nogueira was a master of dirty running leading to goals. He also had a flair about him. This was evident in a summer match against Columbus.
In this particular game Philly was at full strength, and Columbus was not. this resulted in a 3-0 win for the Union.Philly’s second goal was a unique one to say the least. Nogueira sent a ball out wide to Le Toux. Le Toux tried a shot on goal, but it rolled harmlessly to the keeper. Columbus’ keeper moved to the top of the box, and had a lapse of judgment. He tried to play the ball to one of his defenders, but muffed the roll a bit. It found Chaco Maidana, who played the ball back to Nogueira. Without a second thought Nog’s chipped the ball over every Columbus player and it flew right into the open net! See the beautiful chip here. For all his fancy play he is better known for creating and scoring goals like the one he scored against Portland in 2015.
The Union were already winning 2-0 in the 80th minute when the Union began another attack Zach Pfeffer started a build up for the Union. He played a ball wide for Maidana He moved the ball to the middle to Nogueira. Nog’s one touched it to Maidana, who played a ball into the box back to Nogueira. He hit the ball one time across goal into the bottom left corner of the net. This was the type of play that Nog’s made game in and game out. He made the long runs with perfect passes seem easy. If there was one play that describes Nogueira’s time for the Union it would be this one play.
The embodiment of Vincent Nogueira as a soccer player may be this play against the New York Red Bulls in the US Open Cup last season.
The Union were playing with ten men after a Conor Casey red card. The game was 0-0 in the 55th minute when the Union began a break. After a Red Bull turn over Carroll found Nogueira. Nog’s flew down the middle of the field. he found Le Toux open on the left-wing and played the ball wide. Vince continued his run through the New York defense. Le Toux played Nogueira through on goal. It was a one on one with the keeper. Instead of trying to shoot at a difficult angle, Nog’s picked his head up, and found an open Eric Ayuk on the other side of the box. Nogueira played the ball across and Ayuk finished.
Nogueira’s play was based on of good positioning, play making, quick countering, and smart passing/finishing. He was truly one of the best midfielders the Union have ever had. He brought a good attitude, and smart playing that Union benefited from. He may not have won anything with the Union but he came close to glory in his first year 2014. Nog’s hit the post against Seattle in second half stoppage time of the 2014 US Open Cup Final. If he scored the Union would have won the cup. Even though Philadelphia never won with him, Nogueira will still always be a fan favorite. He gave the fans something to cheer about during some rough years, and helped solidify a midfield that had been discombobulated for years before the Frenchman arrived.
Nogueira’s future is unknown at the moment. He will go home to France to be with family. This was hard on both the Union and Vince. Nog’s felt guilty about leaving the Union during such a good time for the club, but health is more important than football. Whether Vince’s health issues are physical, or mental, playing professional football wont help him stay healthy. Rest and being around the people you love is the best option for Vincent Nogueira. It is a devastating loss for the Union, but they will carry on. It sucks to say goodbye to Vince but it is for the best at this time. All Union fans can do for Vince now is wish him well. Thank You Vincent; go be with your family and friends, get better, and come visit us in Chester when you are better!
Photo credit: Bill Streicher