Welcome back to another edition of Three Takeaways, a segment where I take a closer look at the Philadelphia Union’s previous match, and point out what I think they did well and what they ultimately missed out on. Time to dive in.
One glance at Wednesday’s score, and one might think the Union are preparing themselves for a late playoff run. That is, of course, an optimistic take from last night’s match.
I take a closer look at both the positives, as well as the negatives from last night’s match.
Ilsinho needs to stay at right-wing.
After Bruce Arena called up Chris Pontius to the United States Mens’ National Team, Union manager Jim Curtin has entrusted Ilsinho and youngster, Marcus Epps to fill the void. Both got their opportunities and both did OK. But it wasn’t until last night, on the night of the Gold Cup Final that Ilsinho showed his true worth in the position.
Ilsinho created several prominent scoring, both centering the ball into the box on multiple occasions, and even scoring the eventual match winner. Of course, the Union will get Pontius back this weekend, but after the Brazilian’s performance last night, it’s safe to say Ilsinho will make Curtin’s decision that much more difficult.
It is expected that Union No. 1, Andre Blake will return to Major League Soccer play in 10 or more days, due to the injury he sustained to his hand in last night’s Gold Cup Final.
This is, of course, a massive blow for Curtin, the team, the fans, as well as the entire organization as a whole. But after McCarthy’s recent displays of heroism, I am more than confident in McCarthy. And I don’t think I am the only one.
Stick to the Game Plan
Alejandro Bedoya was right: this match could have easily been 4-0 in favor to the Boys-in-Blue.
From the get-go, the Union put the Crew under a load of pressure, high up the field. Under constant assault, the Crew backline made a series of poor decisions and uncanny mistakes. Obviously it’s hard to sustain 90 minutes of high-pressure, but if the Union had kept them under, it could very well have been a drudging at Talen Energy Stadium.
After last night’s drama, I think there are several members of the Union who need to do some soul-searching. Ahem, Roland Alberg. Alberg took three or more 20+ yard shots that more often than not ended with either the ball going the other way, or at the top of The River End.
Curtin’s team needs to learn to rely on each other more to increase the quality of play.
Joe Lister is a contributor for UnionFanTV. Check back soon for the next edition of Three Takeaways. Be sure to also check out the next U in Preview for a comprehensive preview of Saturday’s match against New England.