I’m not even sure where to start in all honesty. I am baffled at what this team is at the moment. This is supposed to be a recap article, which it will be. However, I am also going to rant about the abundance of issues facing the boys in blue. The Union fail to win against Inter Miami
The Union fail to win against Inter Miami
The Philadelphia Union drew to the worst team in the league yesterday 1-1. Inter Miami had the better of possession and chances throughout the match. It took some last minute brilliance from homegrown Quinn Sullivan to get the Union just one point. I tweeted out before the match that even a good performance wouldn’t be enough to keep me bought in to the idea of this team being able to win a title. I needed dominance both on the scoresheet and in the general flow of the game. Neither came to fruition.
Miami took the lead in the 71st minute off of some very poor defensive positioning by the entire back line. Followed some poor goalkeeping from backup Matt Freese. I feel for Freese in the games he has played. Has he been Blake? No of course not! But he has been put in some very difficult positions for a kid with little first team experience. You would think the back line would have a little more pride in defending the homegrown keeper. Alas, clean sheets are seemingly at a premium for the Union with their last being over a month ago.
Sloppy play with players out of position
The play overall was sloppy and stale. There was no real pacey threat in the starting 11. Nobody really took risks in the attacking third. Gazdag was getting lost in the game at times, but to his credit he at least tried to create when he had the chance. The midfield was quite terrible as well with Bedoya and Flach struggling and Montiero playing out of position again which seems to be a theme for Jim Curtain recently. From what I’ve gathered playing and coaching for the better part of my life is that players should play in the positions they are best at. Apparently Jim knows something we don’t because three, yes three, players played out of their natural positions tonight in a MUST WIN GAME!
Gazdag played striker where he rarely ever was because he was trying to pick up the ball deep since nobody else could seem to create from that area.
Montiero played the attacking mid role where he always gets lost which happened again tonight. I really think it’s due to his want to be involved deep but not having the ability to do things like Neymar or Messi do. This leads to him dropping out of position to get the ball, trying to do too much and in turn giving the ball away far too often.
The third player out of position is Flach. I get it, Jim and a lot of other people love El Brujo. I’ll concede he was one of the Union’s better players tonight (even though that isn’t saying much). However, Flach can do everything Martinez can but without the baggage, and with the assumed arrival of Venezuelen midfielder Bueno, there will be even more of a log jam in the center of the park.
A struggling captain
One part of that log jam that should be removed is Ale Bedoya. Now I love Bedoya and everything he has done for this club. Unfortunately, it seems that he’s past his prime. He labors through games yet Jim keeps him on the pitch like he’s getting up and back with ease. Hopefully Bueno can take some minutes off of Ale or at the very least Jim should play Jamiro where Ale is and keep Flach on the left with El Brujo at the 6 if need be.
The attacking issues surrounding this team
The main issue I see though is the total lack of creativity and the ability to break teams down outside of firing crosses in. Crossing the ball is great don’t get me wrong, but it is all we do. There is almost never a move where Philly passes 10+ times with a splitting through ball in between the center backs that a forward can run onto and usher into the net. Even the goal today, as brilliant as it was from Quinn and Gazdag (now playing the 10), was still a cross albeit a much higher percentage cross than we had seen in the previous 84 minutes.
The Union leveled the match in the 84th minute after a fantastic one two between Gazdag and Quinn Sullivan at the top left corner of the 18 yard box. Gazdag back heeled the ball for Quinn to run on to where he then played a phenomenal ball across to a waiting Kacper Przybyłko. A lot of people were praising Kacper for the goal despite him being, in my estimation at least, the worst player on the pitch. I want to talk about why I hated this goal.
Everything leading up to it was great, but the finish was so unconvincing. If you watch it he miss-hits the shot and it BARELY gets over the line. A confident forward makes sure that ball hits the back of the net without any questions to be asked. Now onto the positives that came out of tonight.
What was good and what’s next?
There were a total of four things I liked about this game and they all came from the bench. Sergio Santos came in and his pace, which would have been great from the start of the match, made an immediate impact. He made the back line uncomfortable with his through runs something the other forwards were not able to during all the previous minutes of the match. Sergio was subbed on in the 62nd minute. The rest of the subs came in the 76th minute or later.
Sullivan, McGlynn, and Ilsinho came on and it was as if a switch was flipped. Not on the whole team though, but when these players as well as Sergio got on the ball things started to happen. Ilsinho would take people on, Quinn would make dynamic pass and move type plays, and McGlynn would try and make that killer pass to Sergio who was making dynamic runs.
What this game showed me was that Jim needs to change things and quickly. Teams are figuring out how to stifle the diamond system and there just simply isn’t enough excitement and courage in the lineups he is putting out.
Quinn should be playing more, Sergio needs to start every match especially when Davo gets here because then we have 2 pacey options, and Ilsinho and McGlynn need serious minutes. I honestly couldn’t care less about the results this season anymore. It is clear this squad isn’t good enough to win anything right now, so play the kids and at least entertain us with fearless play and the idea that the future is still bright in Chester, because right now the shadow of that bridge is looming large over our Union.
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Mandatory Credit: PHILADELPHIA UNION, ANDREW ZWARYCH