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Match Preview: Home v Columbus Crew

August 29, 2012 1 comment

So, I’m assuming that at some point in this match, Union would REALLY like to score a goal.  They didn’t seem quite able to achieve that goal against Real Salt Lake, even though RSL played a CCL match just 2 days before.  RSL had no extra energy after the 15th minute or so, and Union STILL weren’t able to put one in goal.  But I think I know the problem…

It’s because Hackworth is deploying 5 midfielders, yet calling his formation a 4-3-3!  Danny Cruz is sort of a hybrid midfield-attack player, but he’s not a striker.  And, neither is Gabe Gomez.  Or Keon Daniel.  Or Freddy Adu, but Freddy is not defensively responsible, so it’s better to keep him at the top of the formation so he doesn’t hurt the team in defense of a wing.  The point is that to play a formation with 3 forwards, you need to put 3 forwards on the field.  I know Chandler Hoffman is inexperienced, and they like Antoine Hoppenot off of the bench, and they don’t like Jorge Perlazza or Josue Martinez, but 2 of the 4 of those guys have to be starting alongside Jack McInerney or this team may not score 5 goals the rest of the season.  They’ve scored 2 goals in the 4 August matches so far, and one of those was an own-goal.  1 goal scored in 4 matches.  There are 11 matches left in the season.  That would put them at 3 goals from here on out.  Fan-freakin-tastic.

I like when a forward will change up his play and drop towards the midfield to open up a defense in a different way.  Dropping deep, however, can’t be the ONLY tactic employed by a forward.  It happens because those guys are actually midfielders.  They fall back on their instincts.  Most of the RSL match, I felt like I was watching a 4-4-2 morph into a 4-5-1.  Jack likely has to make conversation with the other team’s centerbacks so he doesn’t get lonely.  Having forwards not drop deep, when they time runs well, stretches the defense vertically and doesn’t allow the opponent to compress Union into trying to play Spanish-style “tiki-taka” soccer.

My fear in this is that Union will resort to more aerial passes over the top, which they don’t often complete.  They result in easy turnovers and continued possession for the opponent, making it even more difficult for the struggling Union to score.  They end up chasing the game, and by the time they create a chance, they panic and shoot errantly.  I’m getting upset just typing this stuff.  The solution for Union is:  Put 3 in Columbus’ net tonight and shut me up.

Nick Y., the other .5 of Unholy Union

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Match Preview v RSL (I know, it’s been a while…)

August 23, 2012 2 comments

So, after the debacle and circus of confusion that was the end of Sunday’s match versus DC United, Union are left with a match against a Real Salt Lake squad coming into town off of a short week.  RSL defeated Tauro FC of Panama 2-0 on Tuesday in CONCACAF Champions League play.  Union are coming off of a 1-1 draw due to the marshmallow-nerves of Dwayne De Rosario.  Kidding aside, Union, though better-rested, will be without Sheanon Williams because Mark Geiger felt the need to red card a Union player because he had already shown 2 DC United players the gate.  Ray Gaddis will likely get the start in Williams’ absense.  Hopefully that Geiger character is nowhere to be found in Chester.  Well, he can come to Chester, I just don’t want him as the match official.  He can go visit the playground at the school where I was one of the volunteers who helped put it together.  Maybe that trip will help him realize that there are more important things in life than his normal, everyday life of ruining MLS matches.  But I digress…

The match previews that I haven’t been writing could read all about the same.  Technically, I really could have been just mailing it in this whole time by copy-and-pasting such phrases as “Union need more out of Freddy Adu” and “They can’t depend on Brian Carroll to stop every single opposition attack” or “Where the hell exactly is Jorge Perlazza and why did they trade for him, again?”.  They’re a frustrating lot to watch.  They get about 80-90% of a possession right, then fail miserably to complete it.  They’ll break into a great run towards goal, only to slow play down, relegating themselves to passing around the semi-circle in a hopeless probing manner.  They’re efforts are most likely to end up on the foot of Carroll, or a defender who figures at least a shot attempt is better than playing keep-away.

RSL are a good MLS team, and have been for many years.  This is a match I expect Union will not be able to salvage a draw against.  The only thing that could change that is if RSL’s midweek match takes enough out of the team that either fatigue, or the second-stringers, weeken them enough to allow Union a result.  Either way, at least this match is on a Friday instead of a Sunday, so I don’t have to go to work the next day.

Nick Y., the other .5 of Unholy Union (@UnholyUnionNDY)