We lost 3-0 to the reigning MLS champions. Put that way it doesn't sound so bad.
Saturday's game featured two key hallmarks of the Union season thus far:
- Costly mistake that leads to goal
- Poor defensive play
Miscommunication on a backpass to the keeper resulted in an interception and early goal for Real Salt Lake. Goals 2 and 3 for the other side both exposed a defense out of position and on its heels. Make no mistake: the back four aren't cutting it. WIth that said, when I say defense, I mean the entire team. Midfielders don't get back in time, marking is mishandled and the support from players without the ball in transition is not there.
We have to stop making that stupid mistake. Everyone has to play better defensively. Period.
Playing good defense also usually implies a good offense that can hold the ball and attack. Our attack wasn't there against Real Salt Lake. LeToux is clearly needed up top and hopefully he can return soon.
The Union played a solid first half and aside from the backpass debacle they played well. Possession is clearly the game Nowak is trying to teach. The problem: the team doesn't seem to know when to stop possessing and make something happen. Every sequence ended in a turnover by adding in one touch too many. Possession for the sake of possession doesn't really matter if it doesn't create chances.
Now for the positive: I felt that Chris Seitz played an okay game in net. The second goal was real tough. He made a good first stop but allowed for the rebound. I don't know if I'd place the blame on him for that one. The ball hung around for quite a bit and no one could clear or prevent that shot? Or the initial cross for that matter? The third goal was a great ball with a great finish. My issue: no one picked up the goal scorer. No one had position on him and no one even jumped to make an attempt or disrupt that play.
Jordan Harvey had some good runs and crosses. Shea Salinas has speed and showed great ball control. Would like to see more of him.
This wasn't a good game. We gave away another goal and got outplayed. Real Salt Lake took advantage of every good opportunity they had and turned it into a goal. I hope the Union took note because thats how you win.
We finally return home and close out the second of a three act insane road schedule leading up to the PPL Park opening. Hopefully coming home does something for these guys. FC Dallas is a team I think we can beat on the wings of 36,000 fans.
Official Attendance at Rio Tinto: 14,224