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Post game analysis – TFC vs Union

May 31, 2011 Leave a comment

I was going to make the title “Making Canada our bitch” but it’s a bit too long of a title.  So generic title you get.

Result – Union 6!!!!! TFC – 2

Where has this team been?  That’s all I have to ask.  Where in God’s name has this team been?  Everything went right, except for Le Toux’s touch.  There’s so much elation I don’t know where to begin…

The 300 pound gorilla in the room …

Carlos Ruiz was benched and sat for this game.  I know plenty of people are rejoicing on this, and are making a statement that because he was not there, this opened up the center channel for our attack.  I would have to reiterate that until recently, with or without Ruiz, we HAD no attack.  And if we did, it wasn’t a very good one anyway.

Clearly with Ruiz going to be gone due to national duties during the Gold Cup, Nowak wanted the team to have confidence to play without him.  What better of a team to do that with than the beaten stepchild of TFC – bottom of the table, most shots against on goal, just…terrible.  And they are canadians.  The one way to work on this is clearly to change the strategy of the bucket defense, and create an attacking soccer mentality in a 4-1-3-2 formation with Carroll being the only defensive midfielder.  This clearly worked as our midfielders were the ones scoring (not even our strikers!).  Why can’t they do that even if Ruiz was there? 

Road Mapp

I’ve been asking all season, before and after his injury – where is Justin Mapp.  He answered with a flash of genius in Dallas, then proved that he is actually awake when playing Chicago, and suddenly he breaks out saying “Shut up bitch” by getting 2 amazing goals from distance.  Key word – from distance.  Most everything about his, and the team’s play was brilliant.

Not only that, someone else who has taken a liking of not shooting when he needs to also scored from distance, Naka-naka-nakazawa.  He started to shoot a bit last week, I’m sure it was in spite of the YSA podcast saying ‘he has a deer in headlights mentality to an open lane shot’ (a collaborative “your welcome” on behalf of Union Dues) and this week he puts a beauty in on goal.  About time is all I have to say.

The Wonder Twins

No real critique, I just wanted to say the wonder twins.  A week after M gets a goal, G comes up with his own in the first 2 minutes of play.  That’s right, 2 minutes.  For those that missed the first few minutes due to grilling or getting a beer, you have poor timing.

Strikers – lack there of

I don’t know about you, but when a team is able to decimate a team (worthy of decimating) by playing attacking soccer, and the first 4 goals scored in open play are with midfielders and not strikers, that’s saying something.  Le Toux, the 400 pound gorilla (bigger than Ruiz) is still loved, and dare I critique him, be it either the pressure of not scoring, the pressure of defense (that I don’t see at all), or just a fluke of a year with the club (work rate aside) he should probably have also sat this game, or at least be subbed out.  With a chance to exclamate our route over TFC he cleared the ball point blank over the post in the final seconds of the 1st half.

On points brought up – there seems as though there is a lot of pressure for him to score.  About last year being a fluke, 11 games in and his only goal is a PK, he can’t (nor hardly ever) get a set piece on frame.  His personal pressure must be so tough that he’s rushing an open sided net goal that he should have just tapped in and makes it soar.

Is he a defensive mark for other teams – well, considering last year he should be.  Considering his first touch this year, he should be more so as represented by the terrible giveaway that lead to TFC’s 2nd goal in the 2nd half.  His workrate and freedom to move around the field the main defense against him as he runs all the way to the backline, and when on an offensive counter has to double time to get up to a playable position for the ball, which by that time in most other games, gets dribbled into a failed attempt, or goes out for a goal kick.   He did however have a brilliant start for the play that lead to the Kyle Nakazawa goal, but all in all he is just amounting himself to be the favorite son of Philly, and that’s that in my view.  All in all, I have no problems with Mwanga not “sharing” a practical open net goal to Le Toux, I have a feeling he would have aired it over the net.

The Defense

I got nothing.  TFC is a terrible team, and anytime there isn’t a primary focus and ‘decent’ analysis by me on the defense the better, which means we controlled the game for the most part.  2 main breaks – beginning of the 2nd half:

What was Mondragon doing?  That was the worst decision he’s made.  Yes he may have been beat if he stayed in goal since the team seemed to feel great about the lead and let that ball get through, but when a goalie goes out that far outside the box, he has to make damn sure he gets the ball.  He really hung himself out to dry there in the end.

2nd goal – giveaway by Le Toux – you really can’t blame the defense on this one.  Le toux just gave it up and that caused everyone to become flatfooted with no time to recover to make a good attempt at their impersonation of the iron curtain.

What to take away from this game

We can score. 
We’re a good enough team to know that the games we should win, against the lower rankings, we can with force. 
We can play attacking soccer.
We can score.  Oh lordy we can score.

-Dan K.

Union @ Toronto FC – Match Preview

May 26, 2011 1 comment

When: Saturday, 12:30 PM
Where: Toronto (hide your fruit)
Why: Cause it’s not a real country anyway

A little afternoon delight for Union fans with the 12:30pm start, as our boys in blue (and gold stripe) head north of the border to take on a Toronto squad that has lost only once at BMO Field.  About BMO Field, the match between TFC and Vancouver Whitecaps had to be postponed Wednesday night because the pitch became unplayable due to rain.  The weather in Toronto is supposed to be rather pleasant for match time on Saturday, but how will the field recover in time?  If nothing else, this gives rise to rampant singing of South Park’s “Blame Canada,” but I digress…

Union are coming off of a relative offensive explosion.  2 goals.  That’s explosive for this team.  I know, it’s sad.  The bigger view is that they went ahead against Chicago, conceded a goal that equalized the match, and recovered to score the game-winner.  They earned 3 points where 1 seemed imminent, based on the shoddy offensive output of the season at that point.  They will try to improve on their road mark, which has seen them only gain 3 points from 4 matches.  Look for Carlos Ruiz (I’ll use his real name instead of a derogatory nickname for this week, he earned it) to play a little harder, as he will soon depart for Gold Cup duty for his native Guatemala.  I’d like to think 2 things about Sebastien Le Toux’s effort from the Chicago match: 1) It’s going to become the norm after his early season slumber, and 2) It will hopefully yield a goal from the run of play.

The injury to Amobi Okugo’s ankle is unfortunate, and will keep him out for 3 weeks, so expect Kyle Nakazawa to start with Brian Carroll, Justin Mapp, and a Farfan brother.  The backline will be the same as it has been except for when Jordan Harvey was a victim of refereeing stupidity.  Toronto appears to be made up of a bunch of guys who are only good enough to make the final of a tournament that only consists of Canadian club teams (wait… you mean that really DID happen?!?  Oh…)  All of this means I expect Toronto to get shut out at home.  Union will reinforce their offense in the 2nd half, and get the winner after the 60th minute, returning to their most-of-the-season trend of binary soccer, and win 1-0.

Nick, the other .5 of Unholy Union

Touch lines – Captain Jack will get you paid tonight

May 26, 2011 2 comments

Welcome to your bribery alleged update of touchlines.  This time we’ll score twice as much.

“Uncle” Jack Warner has been dooped!  His vice president, or assitant, or however this oligarchy works, has brought forward allegations that Jack Warner, president of CONCACAF, had set up a meeting with other CONCACAF members with FIFA presidential candidate Bin Hammam (the guy who is responsible for Qatar in 2022) so that they can publicly bribe for votes behind closed doors for a whopping 40,000 USD.  If you want to secure votes from those who are pocketing over 6 figures from other bribes, make sure it’s more than an accountant’s starting salary.

Word has it (which by this posting is probably news) we have signed the 33 year old Serbian striker.  Next week we are going to be signing his bedside nurse.  She can do double time for Ruiz.

From the birthplace of soccer, Fulham have officially qualified for UEFA Europa league on Fair Play.  I wonder if I can get into the basketball all star game based off all of my “Good Sport” trophies I received when playing CYO.

The Gold Cup is around the corner, and NYRB lose more reasons for people not to come to the stadium.

In all seriousness, Juan Agudelo, Rafael Marquez, Tim Ream, and De Rosario are all called up for their respective National duties.  In looking at this, Nick and I forgot that Canada existed and both said “oh yea, damn canadian”.

Ruiz called up for international duty.  90% of Union fans rejoice.  Why?  Because our leading scorer is going to be gone.  It’s all in the stats.

On July 15th, the Inaugural River Cup will be played by the FO of the Philadelphia Union, and the SoBs of… well… the SoB’s.  Say what you will about the SoB’s, but nothing is finer than seeing a ginger in a kilt try to play soccer.

The trip to Toronto will show us exactly who can’t cross international borders… I’m looking at you Nakazawa.

Real Madrid is officially our “Big friendly at the Linc”.  Some people are happy, others are mad at the prices, where as, i’m laughing my ass off.  Why?  My girlfriend won’t get to see her ‘other’ “favorite” soccer player because she’ll be out of country.  She’s 0 for 2 for ‘soccer heart throbs’.  Schaudenfraud my friends.

YSA Report-Featuring the Co-Bloggers of Unholy Union

Dan K. and Nick Y. joined Murph of The Union Dues.  Thanks are owed to Earl Gardner for hosting the 3 of us, and for all of his production work.  We both look forward to being invited back to the YSA Report again in the near future.

http://theuniondues.com/2011/05/23/ysa-podcast/

Preview: Union vs Chicago Fire

Who:  Union and Fire  What:  MLS soccer league match  Where:  PPL Park, Chester, PA  When: Saturday, May 21 @ 8pm.  Why:  Because the schedule says so.

The only question left is “how,” as in how in the heck will Union finally find a way to score some goals?!?!?!?  They even tried sitting Carlos Ruiz last match, in favor of the normal starting forwards from last season, Danny Mwanga and Sebastien Le Toux, and it STILL didn’t work.  Not only did they not score goals, but they conceded their most goals in a game this season.  Back to old drawing board.

The Chicago Fire have found success playing a 4-1-4-1 in recent matches.  This means that Union will, likely, go back to playing “bunker soccer.”  Coach Nowak will have his normal starting back line, and he’ll have two defensive midfielders cozy up to them.  There will be no such repeat of last match’s relative defensive debacle, if Nowak has anything to say about it (which he does because, you know, he’s the manager and all).  I’d also expect to see Keon Daniel and Justin Mapp starting on the wings this match.  Last match against Dallas was Justin Mapp’s best performance of the season, and that will convince Nowak to start him, in spite of the evidence from the rest of the season that he’s purely not the right kind of player for this team.  And, since I’m already jaded about the starting XI, I’m conceding that my friend and yours, Fat Chooch, will be in at the start.  He’ll be up top with Le Toux, who will look confused by everything Ruiz does, as if Carlos is some guy who just walked onto the field and says he knows how to play.

I see this match being pretty ugly.  I think we’re going to see Union in a defensive shell for the first half-hour.  Chicago will create the better chances, but the back line will do the job they’ve done for the entire season, save for one game.  They’ll likely go scoreless into half-time, which will prompt Nowak to get his “kitchen sink” substitutions ready.  Mwanga, Jack McInerney, and Roger Torres will likely be introduced at various points, in an attempt to actually get shots on net and maybe even a goal.  Unfortunately, until this team proves me wrong with their offense, I expect this match to end in a draw, and I wouldn’t rule out the score being 0-0.

Nick Y., the other .5 of Unholy Union

UNION VS REAL MADRID featuring Sir Falls A Lot

May 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Saturday July 23, 9 PM (after the phillies game)

Where: Lincoln Financial Field

Price:

Categories: Uncategorized

Touchlines – Not really getting you there

May 18, 2011 3 comments

Word has it there are various reasons why SEPTA would not plan to rebuild Lamokin, or look into creating a closer, more viable and convenient station for commuters to PPL Park.  One of the reasons being cited: High crime rate.  I think that’s the point.

Our blog almost crashed due to the traffic the “open letter” created.  I thank you for that.  If only you’d come more frequently, if only we wrote more frequently… speaking of, I should probably be getting to a post game review at some point.

Podcast of the brain trust (aka fan blogs) was in full effect last night.  Boy does that Union Dues guy have a face for radio and a voice for a web-log.

Beckham didn’t show up last week.  Word is he was attending his childrens’ puppies wedding.  Can you say bender like beckham?

Again with washed up players, word has it Henry is trying to convince Robert “This city isn’t pretty enough” Pires to play at Red Bull.  No knowledge of Pires response, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder… and that beholder is blind.

Rumor has it that the Union are in talks with getting a friendly game with the La Liga team Real Madrid – chalk this up to my big mouth, and another player my girlfriend will want to see… not because of skill mind you.  Shall we place bets on whether or not Ronaldo will show up?  And I mean to the game, he’s never checked into a game once.

The Union now have a 33 year old, 2 years retired, serbian striker as a trialist- Veljko Paunović.  It seems Nowak likes the washed up, too old for this team and league forwards.

The Copa Del Rey being run over isn’t the only thing that happened to a trophy recently.  Ajax’ goalie dropped the Dutch league trophy this past weekend.  Never knew someone so bad with their hands could be a goalie.

The women’s world cup is rearing it’s head around the corner.  99% of American’s still don’t know it’s about to happen, but they knew a tree fell in the woods.

What’s receding faster: Justin Mapp’s value to this team, or his hairline?

Philadelphia elections were held yesterday.  I hope everyone in the city got out to vote, for if no one speaks up, Milton Street might say something stupid.

Who am i kidding with that one?  He just looks stupid enough anyway.

May 21st marks the coming of the end of the world as we know it.  What will the world become after May 21st?  Rainbows?  Lollipops?  Obesity?  Everyone gets healthy again?  World peace?  Total annhilation?  Or is it just another reason to drink (and doop).

And in the famous words of Nostradamus – BEAR FIGHT!