Home > Match Review > Post-game Reaction: Union vs Earthquakes

Post-game Reaction: Union vs Earthquakes

First things first:  The straight-red to Jordan Harvey was easily the most egregious mistake a referee has made this season.  There was an atmosphere that the match was getting chippy, with several yellow cards given, and even in that climate, what Harvey did should only have been a free kick.  It didn’t even merit a yellow, let alone a red.  I’ve said my piece.

The match itself was confusing on several fronts.  Why was it that Union played more fluidly and posessed more confidently with one fewer man on the field than their opponent?  And, why can they not notch a goal with a decidedly more offensive lineup on the pitch?  Union are winning a lot of games with him, but is Carlos Ruiz a good thing for this club?

The second half was textbook soccer.  The ball was moved interchangeably between the fullbacks and the wide midfielders, and the forwards did well to keep the team’s progressive possession going forward.  They really deserved a goal from the run of play, but given the personnel deficit, the three points was deserved no matter how earned.  Michael Farfan had a great debut for the first team, working seemlessly with Keon Daniel along the left flank, both playing with speed and confidence.  Stefani Miglioranzi did good defensive work in tandem with Amobi Okugo to keep San Jose’s attack looking severely disjointed.  The other side of Union’s possession’s merits is that they were also able to keep their opponents from establishing any rythym.

I was elated to see on Facebook that Roger Torres was in the starting midfield with Okugo, Daniel, and Sebastien Le Toux.  I had a moment like Adam Sandler in Airheads (this is a soggy dream come true!).  That was about as impressive as the formation got; it struggled to create any threatening offense.  I think Okugo led the team in shots, which would be fine if he wasn’t a defensive midfielder.  I know Danny Mwanga is very talented, but even Okugo mentioned in his post-match interview that he was being told by friends and family that “you can’t score if you don’t shoot.”  We need to put Okugo’s friends and family in touch with Mr. Mwanga.  And Seba.  And Choochito (I want that to mean Little Chooch, like he’s not good enough to have a big boy nickname yet).

That Little Fish guy is a somewhat fascinating case.  Many have already cast him off as slow and lazy.  I think he still has no clue how to play with this group of players.  I think more time is needed to bring the rest of the starters up to speed on the way Fishy thinks, and what he believes he does best to make this team better.  The play that stands out to me was where Mwanga was in a shooting position so Fishy positioned himself on the offsides line to anticipate pouncing on a potential rebound.  Instead, Mwanga passed it to Ruiz, who made himself covered by aligning himself with the defender instead of shielding him off.  See above:  you can’t score if you don’t shoot.  Get it straightened out, fellas.

San Jose has struggled this season.  Much of the pregame talk centered around their manager changing nearly half of his starters for this match, in an effort to spur his team to better form.  As we saw, that didn’t happen.  This leads me to my last question:  Are teams just not playing well early in the season, or does Union’s defense MAKE them play that poorly?  The match against RBNY was similar in that they looked disjointed here, yet they went to DC not long after and looked like the best team in the league.  Many conclude that Union’s record is a product of their weak early schedule, but I’m beginning to think the credit may lie more with the Union’s defense not allowing teams to become offensively comfortable.

  1. May 2, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    You may be right, but any team struggles to play against six defenders, certainly something to think about

  2. May 4, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    Union deployed 2 CDM’s last year also, which made a 6-defender formation, and teams certainly didn’t struggle to score goals then. It has a lot to do with the formation they deploy, surely, but the personnel in the 2011 edition makes it work. I give the players more credit for this than the formation itself. But this, as we know too well, is at the expense of competent offense.

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