The Good: There is fight left in the roster
With more than a third of the season gone and the wins coming few and far between, the fans starting to grow frustrated, and the lack of finishing becoming more and more problematic, it would be understandable for the wear and tear to start to show on the players. The good news is that in the midst of the loudest fan unrest to date the players banded together and pulled out an unexpected result against one of the best teams in the league. It was a far cry from the style that John Hackworth has been preaching, but it got the job done.
There was a point in the match against Sporting Kansas City that could have unraveled everything. A Dom Dwyer rocket brought Kansas City level and there was plenty of time for a full collapse to happen. That wasn't going to happen though. An Andrew Wenger feed to Cristian Maidana saw the lead restored and the team held on for all 3 points. Amobi Okugo deserves special recognition for the role he played, organizing the defense and pushing the counter attacking offense into gear. It was a real treat to see him back in his natural position.
The Bad: The Reaction
The win was nice, but was soured a bit by the reaction after the game. Players tweeting about their support for Coach Hackworth and Nick Sakiewicz choosing that exact moment to come out in full support of Hackworth seemed to pit players and front office against the fans. Sheanon Williams' tweet in particular was very pointed saying, "Call for coach Hacks head all you want he's our coach and this team will go to war for him we believe even if u don't."
I'm all for coming together as a team in the face of adversity, but the us against our fans dynamic that is building can't end well. I don't think anyone involved with the team would say that the results this season have been acceptable and would agree that things need to turn around. One win does not signal a turn around though. Williams' tweet I can understand coming from the adrenaline after a big win, but I am less forgiving of Sakiewicz.
The statement put out in support of Hackworth seemed poorly timed. Instead of waiting for another win, why not show your support in the bad times? Sak wasn't saying anything during the franchise long winless streak. He wasn't boasting about the lengths they were going to to bring in reinforcements (again) for Hackworth during that dry spell. Now with a big loss on the record after that mid-week win, it seems little has changed and the front office has tied themselves to Hackworth with no changes on the horizon. Even if a change were to happen now, what does it say about Sak changing his mind after supporting Hackworth?
The Ugly: Where do we stand now?
There are major questions all over the field at this point in the season. At goalkeeper, Zac MacMath has been solid, but Andre Blake was called up again to the Jamaican National Team and after a match that saw the Union torched for five goals, how much longer can Blake be held out? In front of the keeper, the center of defense was horrific against New England. Still, Aaron Wheeler continues to find playing time and Austin Berry has been subpar in his return to action. Without Amobi Okugo in the backline the New England Revolution picked apart the defense.
Speaking of Okugo, what does the Union do in central midfield if Okugo needs to be pushed back to the center back role to fill that hole? Brian Carroll is struggling with injuries, Maurice Edu is fighting for a World Cup ticket, and Michael Lahoud has seen more playing time with Sierra Leone than he has for the Union and it doesn't look to be changing. Zach Pfeffer saw his first playing time of the season, but who else can fill in the giant hole in central midfield?
Up top Wenger has failed to find the net in seven games since his debut, Conor Casey seems to have fallen off the face of the map, Sebastien Le Toux can't break the starting line up and Maidana is headed for a week on the bench after being sent off. Something needs to change, but there aren't a whole lot of options.
That World Cup break can't come soon enough so the team can regroup, heal any injuries, and come out firing the second half of the season.