The fourth game of the season has come and gone and the Union have followed up their opening pair of draws with a pair of losses. A first half goal from Adailton was too much to overcome as the Union failed to score a goal. Now I know that it is growing easier and easier to slip into the all too familiar negative outlook that has shrouded all things Union for 2 years, but let's look at both sides of the game first.
This isn't the first time I'm using this argument, but it hopefully will be the last. It is early in the season and there is still no reason to panic yet. The game made for some rough viewing, I will admit that, however it can't get much worse for the Union. Every team deals with suspensions and injuries throughout the season and the Union are dealing with those issues right away.
Joining the injured Andre Blake, CJ Sapong, Cristian Maidana, Sheanon Williams, Eric Bird, Conor Casey and the suspended Zach Pfeffer, Fred will be forced to sit out due to his ejection this week. It is a continuation of bad luck that has seen the referees in charge of Union games be incompetent when the breaks could have gone the Union's way, and then be on their game when the breaks went against the Union. It can't keep going like this forever, and the luck is bound to turn sooner or later.
We can also focus on the few good things we did see last week. First, Fernando Aristegiueta continues to prove he was a great pick up. If you will be attending a home game in the near future, take the time to watch the ginger forward work off the ball. He is the hard working forward fans have been longing for. His hold up play is strong and he never tires making dangerous runs, tracking opponents all over the field, and somehow finding the strength to continue to fight for crosses and passes no matter how late it is in the game. The goals are going to come, but it is a matter of when, not if.
A quick shoutout to Michael Lahoud. He hasn't been around the first team very often the last year or so, but I think he put in a strong shift in central midfield. It wasn't a Team of the Week type of performance, but he didn't look out of place and when needed would be an acceptable stand in this season.
Every time we think it can't get any better...
This week it was a veteran replacement that saw red that bordered on idiotic. The defense all turned in subpar performances, even the usually steady Ray Gaddis looked to be off of his game. The playmakers that were supposed to help serve Fernando have been injured (Maidana), in terrible form (Wenger and LeToux), or suspended (Pfeffer). Even players that could form a two striker partnership with him have been unavailable.
To add to the concerns on the field, the decision making by Jim Curtin has yet to instill any sense of hope. From his decision that the team was better off without Maidana on the field to start the first game, to bringing off Nogueira with his first substitute, there have been head scratching decisions and they seem to becoming more frequent and commonplace. Have other coaches figured him out? Does he lack the ability to make changes to his team's approach? Either way, something needs to change and without any real depth in the team there are limited (if that) options to make those changes.
You can expect to see the Union at the bottom of any MLS Power Ranking you read this week and without any sign of injured players returning and both Pfeffer and Fred suspended the first win of the season looks bleak for this week at Sporting Kansas City. After that it's a home and home against New York City which is a toss up at best without knowing quite what to expect before the teams' first official meetings. The Chicago Fire were the best chance at earning a win early in the season and at this point the first win will need to be considered an upset.
It could be a long season...prepare.