The Philadelphia Union lost another Reserve League game, falling to the Columbus Crew's reserve squad 2-1. However, the Union played better than they have in the past, managing to create many scoring opportunities in the first half before becoming mediocre in the second half.
For the first time in the history of the Brotherly Game, a correspondent was present at a Reserve League game to take notes. Below is what Kevin Ryan took away from the reserve match:
- Big difference between first and second half for the offense. Danny Mwanga held the ball well all first half. Sainey Touray and Morgan Langley were both able to find space on the sidelines because of Mwanga, who was distributing the ball nicely. Mwanga started the lone Union goal by feeding Touray, who then found Jack McInerney. The striker beat two defenders on his own, then the keeper for his goal.
- Mixed opinion on Kyle Nakazawa. He played tough and physical in the middle, but became invisible in the second half when moved wide left, and when Zach Pfeffer inserted into middle.
- The width disappeared totally in the second half. No one was able to hold the ball for distribution and it looked like Touray and Nakazawa kept getting sucked into the middle. A majority of the chances came in 1st half, but there was no real challenge to the Crew keeper in the second half. The Crew,generated counter attacks off of the Union's inept offense
- Amobi Okugo is an absolute beast. He broke up counters all game long and distributed the ball out of the back. I believe he would be starting on the first team if not for Brian Carroll.
- The defense held well against the constant pressure from Crew counters. Only two incredibly struck balls put the Crew on the score board. The visiting team could not get inside the 18 without being pressured by multiple defenders.
- Joe Tait should be good depth for the first team. He is tenacious in one vs ones and almost unbeatable in the air. Juan Diego Gonzalez was pretty much quiet and steady, and held his own all game long. I still don't understand the plans for JDG given his salary. Ryan Richter and (Shane or Brett) Campbell did not have many chances to get forward. The Crew counters all game long forced them to stay at home quite a bit. Richter got exposed w some one v one defense which tells me he is playing in an un natural position for him.
- The three academy players did not get many chances once on the field. The Crew really limited offense for the Union and these guys did not have a chance to show much.
- Zack Steffen and Thorne Holder made many good saves. Only the two well placed Crew strikes from outside of 20 yards beat them. Josh Gardner's strike in second half was totally unstoppable all the way into the right upper 90.
Philadelphia Union - Thorne Holder (Zack Steffen 46); Ryan Richter, Juan Diego Gonzalez, Joe Tait, Campbell; Morgan Langley (Thomas Shiiba), Kyle Nakazawa, Amobi Okugo, Sainey Touray; Danny Mwanga (Darius Madison 58), Jack McInerney (Zach Pfeffer 58)