Home > Match Review > Perspective on the DC United (2) vs Philadelphia Union (0) game on 8/22

Perspective on the DC United (2) vs Philadelphia Union (0) game on 8/22

What can be said that hasn’t been already said by the announcers, coach, players, fans, opponent’s fans, etc?  We blew.

 It is one thing to watch an expansion team be formidable in ball control and possession, and be threatening with a man like Le Toux near the front and still not be able to win games, but it’s another to do it consistently by the stupid mistakes we have been seeing since Day 1.  Yes, this is a broken record for this team.  Between Stahl’s karate kick double yellow, Myrie’s flying superman tackle, Califf’s backhand elbow, Knighton’s clipping, Orozco-Fiscal’s audition for handball,  and the accordion that is called our center defense, it’s tough.  The things we keep harping upon make it seem at least one of two things: 1) Union give us terrible soccer and aren’t good (which their record would support), or 2) The fan base is the fickle, expected Philadelphia fan base national news looks down upon for their strong criticism.  If you agree with either of these statements, you’re wrong.

The Union have brought great soccer all season.  Even when down a man, they have brought their A-game.  Mid-way through the season it was almost as if they didn’t know how to play with a full squad.  But terrible red card decisions aside – that is why yesterday’s game was so hard to take.

 The Union looked scattered.  They started out strong, with a couple breaks to create chances like always.  They were slowly finding paths through DC United’s D, but that was short lived and all for naught when Califf attempted a risky clear that 1) would have avoided a corner kick and 2) a ballerina couldn’t make the turn any better and stay on her feet to kick the ball.  His risk attempt, which he should have kicked out to the endline, made him fall on his ass and inadvertently give the ball to Allsopp on DC inside the penalty spot, with no defenders.  It was an easy goal against us or anyone for that matter.

From that point on, because of the Union’s need for 3 points in the standings, and the fact it’s DC (worst team in the league standings) we started to panic.  Moreno got hurt (I think when being shouldered down and strained/pulled his hamstring) which caused an early 1st half substitution taking away tactical depth for the 2nd half.  Fred appeared to have a Charlie horse, but thankfully stayed in the game, but to what effect it had on his performance we do not know.  Granted he almost did nothing of note throughout the game, it could very well have hampered his abilities.

 The panic didn’t subside when the rains came, nor after the break.  This was the most disorganized I have seen the Union all season, which as many fans would say “They are an expansion team, they will be disorganized and not communicate and have flaws. Give them a break.”  To that I must say “You are wrong.”  For an expansion team that have played 20 games plus friendlies, they looked like a pick up soccer team: friends who never played together at all.  They have played 20 times better than Sunday at their worst, and to have the communication problems and sloppiness as they did is inexcusable at this stage of the season for any team.  If they never had it before yesterday, that is one thing.  But to have it, and lose it and not pick up the pieces, there is cause for criticism.  This lack of communication and inexperience by non-rookie, at least 3 years in MLS players cause Allsopp to not be defended once more and given a feed again a few yards inside the penalty box and hit it low home.  This then brought frustration to the Union players and you can tell, especially with Le Toux seeming to be all over the field trying to make up for much of the lack of emphasis on defending.

 As fans of the Union, many Philadelphia fans included, are very patient.  We understand this is an expansion team, and we knew from the beginning that playoffs may not be in the foreseeable future.  The added fact that we have a team that is great at ball control and possession is wonderful, and a scorer like Le Toux, a rookie like Mwanga and McInerny, and the original persona that was brought to the team by Califf (which almost seems like it disappeared when he cut his hair) it brought joy to us.  We have the skill, we have the team who cares about the fans (and are also down to earth), we have a great field (no gun fights on it yet), and we have to coach who is serious about the game for us.  It’s just tough not to bitch about the ins and outs of mistakes that lead to goals, and every game having that one moment that changed the way we could have played the game.

– Dan K

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