Welcome back to another edition of Three Takeaways, a segment in which I dive in after each Philadelphia Union match, revisit and take a closer look at what went well and what ultimately did not.
On Wednesday, July 10, the Philadelphia Union traveled to Chicago, to take on the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park.
After 90 minutes of back and forth football, Philadelphia burned Chicago’s hopes of a draw, when former Fire player David Accam scored the game-winner in stoppage time. Accam’s goal came just minutes after Chicago’s Bastian Schweinsteiger put one past Andre Blake to make it 3-3.
So, without further delay, I’ll break down the Union’s resounding 4-3 victory in the Windy City.
David Accam’s Return?
When Earnie Stewart managed to get David Accam to come to Chester, many fans were excited to see what the Ghanaian would do for the club. So far, however, fans have seen very little from the Winger, and Accam’s arrival to the Union has been viewed by many fans as a waste of $1.2 million.
Before Wednesday, Accam had no goals for the Union during this Major League Soccer campaign. If previous seasons were any prediction of what was expected of the Ghanaian, Accam should have had at least 7.
However, on Wednesday, Accam had what hopefully will be his breakout game, landing an assist to Corey Burke and the eventual game-winning goal. Outside of that, Accam had a strong game overall, moving the ball around and taking shots that threatened his former team.
If Accam keeps up this type of play, I would personally love to see more of No. 7 on the field for the Blue and Gold.
That said, David Accam is by no means a starter at this point. He is, however, a strong option off the bench, to come on in place of Ilsinho, when the Brazilian starts to get tired around the 60th minute.
And, while Accam’s performance by no mean vindicates him for what he’s failed to do for the Union these last few months, he has partially restored himself in my eyes at least, and will do so even more if he keeps up this type of play.
Give Rosenberry and McKenzie Some Help
Against Philly, Chicago appeared to deploy two types of an attack.
Chicago would either attack from Philly’s right, or attack from the right before pushing the ball towards the middle of the Union’s penalty area and taking shots from there. All three of Chicago’s goals resulted from attacks that began from those areas of the field.
Keegan Rosenberry and Mark McKenzie were left in dangerous situations throughout the game. For McKenzie, the situation was even worse as a younger defender and as the only back on Rosenberry’s side, who plays in a more attacking position.
Despite Chicago’s consistency, Union boss Jim Curtin elected to play the same way for the whole game, instead of shifting the rest of his back line over to the right to help Rosenberry and McKenzie.
Curtin’s failure to do so nearly cost the Union two points in Chicago and would’ve probably left the Union coach in an even more uncomfortable position, as fans and leadership would be left asking why the Fire were able to level the game in the last minute, when Philadelphia should have had the game sealed.
Curtin showed an unhealthy amount of stubbornness at Toyota Park when he opted to stick to the game plan instead of changing the plan so that the Union had the best chance of heading home with a win, and his decisions should be called into question.
Give Burke What He Deserves
I swear, this will (maybe) be the last time I go to bat for Corey Burke. But don’t worry, I’ll keep it short.
Burke scored not once, but twice on Wednesday, making the decision even harder for the Union leadership on whether or not to keep starting struggling forward and last season’s top-scorer, CJ Sapong.
Burke was deserving of a starting role weeks ago, but ultimately the Jamaican didn’t get the start because, as Curtin says, starting Sapong was how they got him ready for the playoffs.
Sapong is, in my opinion, a good substitute who can come in late in the game to make things interesting, but he’s not the starting forward the Union desperately need and deserve.
Burke needs more opportunities to get on the field, to show off what he can do in front of goal, and hopefully reach double digits in the goals column before the end of the Union’s season.
I won’t be writing about the Union’s game against Eintracht Frankfurt or the Open Cup match against Orlando, so stay tuned for a write up of the match against Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy next week.