Welcome back to another edition of Three Takeaways, a segment where I dive in after each Philadelphia Union match, revisit and take a closer look at what went well and what ultimately did not.
On Saturday, a shorthanded Union gave up two unanswered goals to spoil a 2-0 lead against expansion side, Atlanta United. It was a draw that ultimately felt like a loss, and left fans with much to talk, rant and carry on about.
So, without further ado, let’s get right to it.
I was proud of both Joshua Yaro and Keegan Rosenberry. First, let’s talk about Yaro.
Overall, he had a quiet, but otherwise solid start to the match. That is, until he got ejected. Yaro’s pull down near the 18 was actually pretty smart. If the Atlanta attacker had touched the ball, it most likely would’ve resulted in the ball finding the back of the net.
Blake was too far back at the point of the foul to get to the ball, or make any type of play at all. Yaro recognized this and took one for the team. He weighed the situation in the heat of the moment and opted to take a straight red for DOGSO (referee speak for Denying an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity) over giving up a goal that would’ve leveled the contest.
Also worth a mention: his foul was committed outside the 18.
In his return to Curtin’s Starting XI, Keegan Rosenberry had himself a pretty solid game.
For awhile now, I’ve been advocating for his return to the starting lineup, and he finally got his opportunity on Saturday. And after last game, I think his chances of staying in it look a lot better.
Rosenberry hardly skipped a beat, nor was he beat by Atlanta forwards on the night; he stuck with his man, something the young defender struggled with early on this season.
Philadelphia’s former third overall SuperDraft pick reminded fans of his ability to storm up the flank and dominate the transition game, instead of opting to play negative passes back to Blake.
Attacking and Defending
I was really happy with the way the Union started the game, pressuring the Atlanta defense and showing glimpses of aggression. Ultimately, it was their sheer hunger that led to two class, first half goals.
Even when the Union were down a man, they were able to counter Atlanta on several occasions. I feel that they could’ve actually kept up the attacking pace, rather than retreat and hunker in for the remainder of the contest.
Sack Jim Curtin
In my very first piece for UnionFanTV, I wrote about why Curtin deserved to keep his job. Needless to say, my mind has been swayed, again.
Again, in the earlier stages of the game, the Union didn’t just hang around with Atlanta, they outclassed the Georgian club. And as they rightfully should. Because no, Jim, we shouldn’t try to compare ourselves to an expansion club.
Alejandro Bedoya’s class bicycle-kick goal, which put the Union 2-0 up just 23 minutes into the contest, should have been the nail in the coffin. But, in keeping with the That’s So Union modus operandi, the Blue-and-Gold didn’t see out the game the way that they really should have.
In 2016, the Union had enough talent to squeak into the playoffs. They had just enough points, too from an early run of a form that they sustained during a first half of the season run.
This year, they’ve added even more tools in their arsenal, and for once, they have considerable depth in positions. Yet, with six matches remaining, they are all but out of playoff contention.
I personally believe the blame falls on the coaching of Jim Curtin.
His teams fail to see out games, time and time again. Whether this season, or last. Curtin’s teams are incapable of winning on the road, because they lack the ambition required to grind out a result. That falls on the manager’s shoulders, who should serve as the source of motivation.
Replace Jim Curtin.
Look out for my next installment of Three Takeaways, where I’ll dissect the Union’s performance in Minnesota.
Joe Lister is a contributor for UnionFanTV. You can find more of his work under the Three Takeaways category.