The Union’s winless streak continues as they drew Inter Miami 0-0. In their last six league matches, Philly is winless, losing once and drawing in five straight games. This is now a slump with a capital S. With two more matches before an international break, the Union will hope to put this poor run of form behind them.
Union draw Miami 0-0
It was a lifeless performance from the Philadelphia Union, who entered the night in 3rd place in the east. Their opponent Miami entered the match in 13th place. Philly knew they’d have their chances to score and win, it was just a matter of taking them. That’s something that didn’t happen at all on the night.
The Union was without Jose Martinez (out due to suspension) and Julian Carranza (out due to the loan deal with Miami;) they were also still without DP striker Mikael Uhre whose quad tightness hasn’t cleared up yet. This left Philly with some interesting decisions to make in terms of lineup. Curtin went with this starting XI:
Blake; Wagner, Findlay, Glesnes, Mbaizo; Elliot, Flach, Bedoya, Gazdag; Santos, Burke.
The group failed to utilize the Union’s collective press, even though they created a few moments of chaos in the first half. Unfortunately for Philly, they failed to capitalize on the chances they did create yet again. Philadephia did get 20 shots in the match, but only created two big chances missing both; they failed to score even with an expected goals of 1.57. After the match frustrations were high in Subaru Park for fans, players, and the manager alike.
Curtin Takes Blame for Union’s Recent Form
“It’s a struggle right now to get goals… as a leader and the coach I take responsibility for that.”Jim Curtin after Philadelphia Union’s 0-0 Draw with Inter Miami
After the match, Jim Curtin addressed how his team has been playing. He said it flat out, it’s been a struggle to get goals, and he takes responsibility for the team’s shortcomings in the past seven games. The team’s collective effort isn’t matching the expectation that has been set. The goal is to win, Curtin expressed it before the season, and he has a team that when healthy can compete with any team in MLS. The problem is that this team is not at full strength and when they have been there’s been little chemistry.
The Union’s first-choice attack of Uhre-Carranza-Gazdag has played together just four times out of 12 games. Still, those front three account for 11 of the 16 goals, and five of the 10 assists on the season. The problem is chemistry in terms of time together on the field.
These three will get to play together again, and they will need to get that chemistry going for more than just a few matches at a time if this team wants to live up to the potential that has been placed on them. For now, this team is currently failing tactically and in execution.
A Tactical Failure; A Failure to Execute on the Field
“A couple of guys missing tonihgt, but I think we had enough quality on the field to have a better preformance. It’s not a good draw.”Jim Curtin after Philadelphia Union’s 0-0 Draw with Inter Miami
In the draw against Miami, Philadelphia showed they are failing in their tactics, and in their onfield execution. The Union was set up to fail when they played a center back at defensive midfield and expected him to press like a six. Another issue was playing an out of form right back because he was better in possession when the team doesn’t normally play with the majority of possession. Curtin addressed this and took the blame for how the team performed. Aside from those players, the backup strikers proved to be far from clinical in front of goal.
Sergio Santos and Cory Burke started up top and both had issues that led to failed attacking situations. Santos is all speed and fails to find the final pass or shot in the final third. Burke is only good when the game needs a grinder. He cannot combine, or move in transition well at all. Their ineptitude in front of the net cost the Union when it came to fighting for all three points.
On the bright-ish side, homegrown Paxten Aaronson, Quinn Sullivan, and Jack McGlynn all came in to try to win the game. They did well enough as the team shifted to a 4-2-3-1. Aaronson and Sullivan played as wingers and McGlynn as a deep-lying facilitator. The trio did well to keep possession, but none of them could find the finishing touch. This led to a 0-0 draw, which has everyone furious.
“Everyone is Furious”
“It’s the most pissed-off first place team I’ve ever been a part of. Everyone is Furious.”Jim Curtin after Philadelphia Union’s 0-0 Draw with Inter Miami
This quote may go down as quote of the year from Jim Curtin. He said that everyone is furious, and they have a right to be. I think he truly means everyone when he says this; the front office, the coaching staff, the players, and especially the fans are all furious with this run of form. Could this fury be something that the team harnesses and uses to break the run of form? That’s what everyone will hope for.
This stretch that has made everyone so furious has seen the Union drop 13 of their last 18 points in MLS. After going 5-0-1 in their first six matches, the Union has followed that up with a 0-1-6 record. It’s been a tough stretch of top opponents and a congested schedule, but this tale of two teams isn’t good at all. This slump has closed the gap between Philly and the rest of MLS.
The Union ends these midweek matches in first place in the east on 21 points and only sits two points off the top of the supporters’ shield standings. However when you look at the points dropped in the last six, one can only wonder what could have been if this team was able to hold leads or score more than once. This has been the difference between a top-four team in the east and a potentially all-time elite MLS side in terms of form. Philly and Curtin will need to use their current fury to right the ship if they stay atop the eastern conference and compete for the supporters’ shield.
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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union, Andrew Zwarych