Game-Changers Chicago vs Union 4-5-14

MacMath taking a goal kick - but it was his Penalty save that got 1 point for the Union - Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Spor

We "Monday morning coach" every game with our fellow Union faithful. What could have been done better? What were the missed opportunities? Did that sub really need to happen? We bring all the talking points to you each week right here.

Two more points dropped after being in a commanding position. However - you could say it may have been much much worse. Were there some game-changing moments that went against us? Of course. At the same time, if it wasn't for certain events there is a chance we wouldn't have been in a position to pick up any points at all. Then there was that magical moment. Without further "Edu" - those game-changing moments for me were as follows-

1. A Slow, Slow, Slow, SLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWW start.

Well didn't we have an interesting week. The Jack trade was out of the blue, no matter what people say. That meant changes had to happen and Casey and Leo started. However, Chicago were quick out of the block, and the Philadelphia Union never got going. 20 minutes in and we are a goal down. A "slip" by Okugo (although it looked like he was just uncharacteristically slow to get going on the play to me). Wheeler showed his inexperience and was all over the place - leaving a tap-in for MVP Mike Magee. It was a week where there were a lot of questions around Hackworth and co's decision to get rid of the Union's top scorer. Surely we had to make a strong start to the game to show we are better off without Jack? Yeah, that didn't happen. Against what to me seems a poor Chicago team, the Union gave them the start they needed to get the lead, and it could have been worse. The Union never got going at all until....

2. Conor Casey's fantastic run and pass to Maurice Edu.


The first glimpse of anything happening for the Union was Conor's run and pass to Edu. I do wonder if Chicago will fine Hurtado for allowing Casey to outsprint him - but it was great to see. While Edu just missed with his shot, it did finally show some attacking intent by the Union. It may have been enough to get the blood pumping through the Union players hearts finally. Not long after that.....

3. Bakary Soumare fell asleep.

A great free kick was sent in by Leo Fernandes, that Johnson in the Chicago goal managed to claw it clear. A quick throw in by Sebastien Le Toux found Vincent Nogueira, who had a shot from the edge of the box. It took a deflection, and fell to Maurice Edu. Surely someone would have been there to block the shot right? Well wrong. Bakary Soumare stood still, presumably waiting for a whistle. Looking at the replay, i can only guess that he thought the Union would have got a penalty for hand ball on the block of Nogueira's shot. In any case, every youth coach in the world tell's their kids to play to the whistle. That's something Soumare didn't do, and Edu had all the time in the world to send his shot into the corner. 1-1, and things were getting better for the Union. A few minutes later, and another great Fernandes free kick found the corner of the net, and the turnaround is complete. At least until.....

4. Half Time (again).

We have all heard the phrase "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results". Well, this seems to be a phrase that can be attributed to the Union. Time and time again, we get to half-time (or even the 80th minute) a goal up. Sometimes, as with last week - we are a player up. Time and time again, the Union sit back and try and see out the game by defending. When we have done this under Hackworth's reign it ends up costing us on too many occasions. This time it started at half-time, instead of going after more goals against a reeling Chicago team, the Union almost gave up trying to score. The sitting back and protecting the lead started to falter as the half went on. Then it happened - Corben Bone gave up the free kick. The ominous thought of "oh no not again" hits - the free kick is dangerous, and Juan Luis Anongono (who?) is allowed to run free by Ray Gaddis - and loops a perfect header over MacMath and into the net. The Union give up another goal late in the game, and the tactic of sitting back to defend the lead fails yet again. Insanity right? Maybe we need to drink the fantastic Weyerbacher beer "Insanity" to understand why we keep doing the same thing over and over.

If not - maybe drinking it will let us forget the fact it happened again.

Lastly, while it didn't turn out to be a game-changing moment - it probably should have.

5. Aaron Wheeler's Tackle to give away a penalty.


Well i took some artistic license there. I said it was a tackle. It was more like an assault - and how Wheeler avoided a red card i don't know (surely it was denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity at the least). Yet again Wheeler got outpaced (the Union got very lucky earlier in the game when he got wrong side of Quincy Amarikwa). His attempt at a tackle was reckless, and given that the player going through whiffed at a point blank shot earlier, very ill advised. Wheeler did a valiant job in the past few games, but hopefully now the gamble is over, and Berry gets his place back in the lineup. The Union are going up against far better attacks than Chicago in the upcoming weeks - Wheeler will get torn to shreds. He should have cost us 1 point on Saturday, yet Zac MacMath came up with a super double save to stop Magee getting the W for Chicago.

There's been a disturbing trend of game-changing moments during the first 5 games of the year. We are doing the same things over and over, and have dropped 6 points out of a possible 15 (or 12 if you don't count the Columbus loss). If this continues - then a team that has a solid defense, and very good looking midfield may be sitting outside the playoffs yet again. Hopefully this is something that will work itself out over time. If not - then the next big game-changing moment in Union history will hopefully be looking for a manager that will be able to comprehend the definition of insanity.

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