5 Takeaways from Philadelphia Union’s 0-0 Draw against NYRB

Union, MLS
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

After 5 consecutive losses, Union’s 0-0 draw against New York Red Bulls temporarily stopped the bleeding and earned them their first point in the standings since June 1st. It wasn’t the most convincing of performances, but given the blue and gold’s awful form as of late and the number of players they’re still missing due to international duty and injury, there’s a few small victories Union should try and build on moving forward, and a few areas of concern.

Here are my 5 takeaways from Union’s scoreless draw against a conference rival on Saturday night.

1) Union might have another promising goalkeeper in Andrew Rick

Over the years, numerous goalkeepers once stuck behind Andre Blake have gone on to have promising careers elsewhere in Major League Soccer once moving on from riding the bench in Chester, PA. Zac MacMath, John McCarthy, Carlos Coronel, and most recently Matt Freese have at one point all spent time as Andre Blake’s understudy, but now regularly start for other teams around MLS, complimenting not only the scouting ability but the development of young goalkeepers by Union’s Goalkeeping department as well.

Image Credit: Philadelphia Union

18 Year old Andrew Rick seems to be another one with real potential as an MLS keeper after his Man of The Match performance and the first clean sheet of his career on Saturday night, making 5 saves in the 0-0 draw against NYRB.

2) Defense finds its footing, the attack goes missing

For the first time in 6 games, the Philadelphia Union played a game of soccer without conceding a goal. Before Saturday’s clean sheet against Red Bulls, Union had conceded 18 goals in the 6 games leading up to the weekend, an average of 3 goals per game. Jim Curtin went to a back 3 with the return of Damion Lowe to the lineup, which offered some stability in front of young goal keeper Andrew Rick.

While the more defensive formation did result in a clean sheet for Union, something that’s priority number 1 for Jim Curtin and the success of his team, it also resulted in Union failing to score a goal of their own for the 4th time this season. Their problems this season haven’t been a lack of goalscoring, so they need to figure out how to find a balance between keeping clean sheets and scoring enough goals.

3) Players return, players leave

The return of Union center back Damion Lowe proved to be helpful in Union’s 0-0 draw on Saturday night, and adds an important 3rd center back option to a struggling Union defense moving forward this Summer. Ale Bedoya and Tai Baribo were also available once again after missing minimal time with injuries, and midfielder Jose Martinez should be set to rejoin the squad this week. We’re probably not quite there yet when it comes to Andre Blake, but his return is getting closer and closer every day. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back on the pitch in the next few weeks.

Image Credit: Philadelphia Union

But just as important players return for this Union team, 2 others are off to play with the United States in the Paris Summer Olympic Games and will miss considerable amount of time with their home club. Jack McGlynn and Nate Harriel have both become consistent starters for this Union team, and Jack McGlynn has been one of the more influential players in Union’s midfield and attack.

4) A struggling team unprepared

Once again, the decision to “run it back” for a second consecutive season, without adding players to make the team better or adding substantial depth to deal with this exact period of time, has turned out to be a very bad decision on ownership and the front office’s part. In a 0-0 game at home against a conference rival, Jim Curtin had very little tools in his box to try and change the game and turn things into a win at home for the first time since March 30th. When a 37 year old Ale Bedoya and RB Olivier Mbaizo are the substitutions from Jim Curtin after the 79th minute in a 0-0 game, what does that say about the tools at his disposal? The things a last minute win against your rivals could do for this team…

5) Son’s meeting with the Owners

After Saturday night’s frenzy, The Sons of Ben posted that Union Ownership has reached out to the supporters group to set up a meeting.

Unfortunately, It doesn’t seem that the Keystone State Ultras, the independent supporters group that hoisted an anti-ownership banner in the River End on Saturday night, has been invited to this meeting.

I have no idea what the meeting will entail, and I’m almost positive media won’t be given access of any sort, but if I had to guess – I’d say that the Sons of Ben are either going to be given a strong slap on the wrist as a warning not to overstep The Man’s boundaries going forward – something that comes with bigger ramifications – or they’ll be given a plan of action by ownership that will be an attempt to calm frustrated fans. How those potential plans sit with Union fans moving forward, we’ll just have to wait and see. But if they don’t like it, or it’s not a plan of action on how to bring a trophy to Philadelphia at all, Mr Sugarman best be ready for more fan protests come July 17th, Union’s next match at Subaru Park.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union