'Grandpa' Fred plays Union hero with deja vu goal

'Grandpa' Fred plays Union hero with deja vu goal
July 16, 2014, 11:15 pm
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Fred, who hadn't scored in nearly four years, notched the game-winning goal Wednesday at PPL Park. (USA Today Images)

CHESTER, Pa. -- On Oct. 16th, 2010, Fred led the Union past the New York Red Bulls with a first-half goal. He celebrated by racing to the corner spot and acknowledging the home fans.

Three years and nine months later, the veteran did it again in a 3-1 Union win.

“It was a long time that I didn’t play here,” said Fred, a Union original who rejoined the team in the offseason. “So when you see the people screaming your name, I’m so happy.”

In the 51st minute of Wednesday’s match against the Red Bulls at PPL Park, after being subbed in for injured Cristian Maidana, Fred, now 34, made the most of his opportunity. Flanked out on the right side, Sheanon Williams crossed a low ball into the box to Conor Casey, who deflected it. The pass trickled to streaking Fred for the game-winning goal.

“I think it was a little lucky,” Fred said. “I saw the ball come right by my foot. I said, 'Hey, Conor, leave it.' I saw the ball coming and I had to finish.

“I didn’t expect it when Chaco got injured, and I’m so sorry for him. I think everyone has to be ready to play and help the team, and like I said, I’m so happy.”

The man they call “Grandpa Fred” was overwhelmed by the moment.

“I was blessed,” he said. “And I got so emotional after the goal and cried a little bit. It’s like when you play your first game, so I’m happy now.”

The goal was déjà vu for Fred’s Union teammates, who remember his score in 2010. They remember it because he never let them forget.

“He’s been talking about that goal in 2010 for the longest time,” Williams said. “It’s nice to give him some new material that he can talk about in practice. Hopefully he’ll forget about the 2010 and score some more this year.

“He doesn’t score often, but when he does, he definitely lets you know about it.”

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