Preseason Match Recap: Philadelphia Union 1 – 2 Tampa Bay Rowdies In game three of the Suncoast invitational

The Union took a loss in game three of the Suncoast invitational, falling 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Rowdies. This match was an exercise used to weed out who the bench players would be for the start of the season. The starters are pretty much determined. It was quite clear of that by the starting 11 the Union rolled out. Let’s take a look back at this match, and what it means moving into the regular season.

1st Half:

The backups were in the 11 to play the USL side Tampa Bay Rowdies. Aside from Andre Blake, who had been out of the last two matches because of a green card issue, the Union’s backups were given the opportunity to show what they could do. Let’s just say, a lot of them were less than inspiring.

The offense was pretty inept with Jay Simpson up top. Epps, Najem and Herbers were doing their best to get the ball up the field, but whenever it went to Simpson, he wouldn’t look or move towards goal. The three behind him tried to get the offense going but had trouble keeping the ball. The midfield pair of Derrick Jones and Warren Creavalle did little to help the offense and they were also disjointed from the defense. They showed that they are huge drop off from Bedoya and Medunjanin. The defense was the worst of it all.

The back four of Real, Marquez, Yaro and Gaddis looked awful. Real showed the best of the four which should be concerning since he’s the most inexperienced of the four. Gaddis had trouble tracking back to stop attacks, and looked lost moving forward. The center back pairing of Marquez and Yaro showed they had digressed from their 2016 heyday. Yaro had trouble keeping up with Tampa Bay’s lone striker. Marquez had a huge issue with spacing, and was lost on the two goals conceded.

At the half the Union were down by two and getting outplayed by the USL side. It’s clear that the Union have a huge drop off from their first team to their second team. This continued to show in the second half.

2nd half:

Mark McKenzie came on for Josh Yaro, and Corey Burke for Jay Simpson. The rest of the team stayed and not much different happened. The Union did better moving forward with Burke, and Najem linking up well. But did little to control possession. At the 60th minute the starting backups came out and made way for the backup starters.

The Union brought out what is their starting 11 for March third minus Fabinho, who was out injured. Ayuk the lone none starter playing at left back (he didn’t do too bad to be honest). The first team was leaps and bounds better. More connected throughout their possession and created chances. This was in large part because of Haris Medunjanin’s play. He controlled the pitch, helping to create attacks. He scored the Union’s lone goal from a free kick.

There are some major takeaways from this last preseason match of 2018.

Takeaways:

 

After the starting 11 there’s a huge drop off in talent:

The Union’s starting 11 is great. They can play to the Union’s style of play. A hold up striker, speedy wingers and a magician central midfielder define this team. When they aren’t on the field what type of identity does this team have? They look completely inept. The backups can get better, but the showing against Tampa Bay leaves a lot to be desired. The evident of missing a true playmaking number 10 was also evident.

The Union really need Borek Dockal:

Dockal was shown on the Union’s bench last night but is still not officially a member of the team. The Union desperately need him. With Ilsinho out, the inexperienced Adam Najem and Anthony Fontana will carry the load at the offensive playmaking position. Dockal would give this side another aspect to make them contenders in the east. Without him they will have to rest this massive position on the shoulder of their inexperienced youngsters. Look for Anthony Fontana to be the starter March third, even with Dockal on the team.

Box Score:

Philadelphia Union:

Andre Blake; Raymon Gaddis (Keegan Rosenberry 59’), Josh Yaro (Mark McKenzie 46’) (Jack Elliott 59’), Richie Marquez (Auston Trusty 59’), Matt Real (Eric Ayuk 59’); Derrick Jones (Haris Medunjanin 59’), Warren Creavalle (Alejandro Bedoya 59’); Fabian Herbers (Fafa Picault 59’), Adam Najem (Anthony Fontana 59’), Marcus Epps (David Accam 59’); Jay Simpson (Cory Burke 46’) (CJ Sapong 59’)

Tampa Bay Rowdies: 

Cody Mizell; David Najem (Kyle Curinga 90’+2’), Neill Collins (Hunter Gorskie 71’), Ivan Magalhaes, Zac Portillos (Max Lachowecki 89’); Jack Blake (Lance Rozeboom 76’), Michael Nanchoff (Alex Morrell 80’), Junior Flemmings (Georgi Hristov 46’), Joe Cole (Martin Vingaard 62’), Sebastian Guenzatti; Jochen Graf (Leo Fernandes 68’)

GOALS:

TB – Jochen Graf (Jack Blake) 19’
TB – Michael Nanchoff (David Najem) 35’
PHI – Haris Medunjanin (unassisted) 84’

On to the Regular Season:

The Union now head back to Philadelphia to prepare for their season, and home, opener. The team will get into their normal training schedule as they prepare to take on New England Revolution net Saturday, March 3rd at 7PM.

Us here at Philly Sports Network will be finishing our starting 11 preview, and opponents preview this coming week. We will also be well represented at the home opener. Matt McClain will be up in the press box, and Tim Lovenguth will be amongst the fans. Both will bring some top-notch coverage of the season opener versus New England Revolution!

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Peace out Union fans!

Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

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