Yesterday (January, 30th 2019) The Philadelphia Union took to the pitch to play a preseason scrimmage. Philly be Red Bulls 3-2.
After almost three months of no Union soccer the team took the field to face their foes New York Red Bulls. The match was an interesting one. The Union played a different formation from the start of a match for the first time in years, and showcased their skill and young players against on of the best teams in their conference. While it was just a preseason scrimmage, the win could help build confidence moving forward.
While there was no stream of the scrimmage, the Union did have a live blog of the action (feel free to check that out here). Here are some takeaways from the scrimmage.
Change of formation
As sporting director Ernst Tanner has mentioned this whole offseason, the Union will play different positions in 2019. This 4-4-2 diamond formation was a breath of fresh air, and helped the Union play to their strengths, which right now is their attacking depth.
Having two strikers, and no true number 10, Philly was able to solidify their defensive shape while pushing the ball up the field with central midfielders. They then could play the ball to the strikers over the top, out wide or through any channels that opened up. While this is not the set formation, it is one that can be utilized moving forward.
starting off hot, but almost coming up short.
Philadelphia scored their first goal 15 minutes into the first half, and their second a minute into the second half. If they can continue to do this as the preseason roles into the regular season, they will be in good shape for most games. While getting things off to a cracking start is great, almost giving things up at the end cannot happen.
The Union gave up two goals in the last six minutes of the scrimmage. While this was not the first team, it is something that was on Jim Curtin’s mind at the end of the match more than scoring three goals. The defense has to hold for this team to be any good in 2019; things will likely get better once Auston Trusty and Mark McKenzie rejoin the Union from their USMNT call-ups.
young players getting minutes
Young Union players shined, but they were not the only young-guns who saw the field. Steel FC players Michee Ngalina and Ben Ofeimu started the second half for the Union, and midfielder Zach Zandi was a substitute. Along with those three, Academy player Cole Turner came on for the Union in the second half. The youngster was asked to play center back as Auston Trusty and Mark McKenzie are away.
The young players played some valuable minutes. Most Notably Ngalina and Ofeimu. Could a first team contract be coming for them in the near future? Only time will tell.
PHI – Corey Burke (Ilsinho) 15′
PHI – Fafa Picault (CJ Sapong) 46′
PHI – Anthony Fontana (David Accam) 72′
NY – Alex Muyl (PEN)84′
NY – Amro Tarek 88′
The Union take the field again this Saturday (February 2nd, 2019) for another scrimmage. This time they’ll take on South Florida University. Steel FC players and academy kids who have been with the first team will likely play with Steel FC as they take on DC United on Saturday (February 2nd, 2019) We’ll have a preview of both scrimmages Saturday morning.
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Peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Kylie Willet (Philadelphia Union)