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Philadelphia Union Spin Zone: Game Days 6, 7, and 8

A lot has happened since our last Spin Zone. Within the course of 8 days the Union accumulated a win, a loss, and a draw. With a little bit of everything, here's how to be positive, or negative about the current state of the Philadelphia Union.

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After all of the talk of winless streaks and points dropped in the last 15 minutes of games, the Union came out and flipped the script on New York City. With goals in the last 15 minutes of both match ups against the expansion team, the Union were able to earn an extra 3 points turning a draw into a win and a loss into a draw. To bring the story full circle though, New England would make sure to win on Sunday with a goal in the last 15 minutes.

The Optimist

The sky isn't falling. The 5 game winless streak that opened the season is over and the team can finally push on and to have to worry about that pressure. Two late game goals relieved the pressure and the Union were able to take advantage of the expansion side, just as they are supposed to.

A concern of the opening 5 games was that only Fernando seemed to be able to score, but the three games last week saw goals by Vincent Noguiera, CJ Sapong, Cristian Maidana, and kind of Eric Ayuk, kind of Zach Pfeffer. Fernando wasn't 100% and his teammates stepped up and offered some assistance in the goal scoring category.

There's no need to fret about the ending of the New England game. Yeah the team ran out of steam late and gave up another lead, but what do you expect from a team that is struggling with so many injury concerns and was trying to finish out their 3rd game in 8 days. This can be expected and the good news is there is only one more stretch like that this season. The team has had some success and will get a good rest this week and be ready to go again on Saturday.

The Pessimist

Beating up on expansion teams is cute and all, but at the end of the week we are right back to where we started. There were major concerns about closing out games, depth, and being able to finish. All of those issues showed themselves in the second half against New England.

Teal Bunbury torched the Union after coming into the game, registering an assist followed by a goal of his own. The goals highlighted the poor play from the outside backs this season as both Ray Gaddis and Sheanon Williams have had rough starts to the 2015 season. The second goal also was a glimpse into the issue of John McCarthy. While he may be a great story, the MLS game is just a bit over his head at this point. NYCFC players made him look silly on more than one occasion as he came off his line, was too slow to make a play on the ball, and the attacker rounded the young keeper. Luckily there was always a defender available to deny the opportunity from turning into a goal. Not so against New England. McCarthy stepped out on the cross, but Bunbury ended up coming across both the defender and keeper and finishing two yards to McCarthy's near post. Not good reading of the game.

The real issue and reason to fear the way the season is going is the fact that Jim Curtin continues to be outcoached. Against SKC earlier in the season Vermes' halftime subs turned the tide in the game, against NYCFC the change in Jason Kreis' starting lineups put the Union under more pressure and left Ayuk less threatening. Then came the New England game where Old Man Brian Carroll was brought into the game to try and sit on a lead with 27 minutes left. Way too early to start to bunker and the Revs sub from the same time turned out to be the difference and take the game from a Union win to a loss.

To make the situation worse, Curtin admitted that Maidana and Sapong were both only about 60 minutes healthy and it was known neither could go the full 90 minutes when they were included in the starting line up. This just seems like pure stupidity. Knowing these players will tie up 2 of 3 substitutions available handcuffs how the team can react to the game. Late in the game as the Union had to chase the game they didn't have either of these players able to help the comeback and had already made subs to go defensive. If the season is going to get any better Curtin needs to put his team in the best possible position to win and handicapping them with players in the starting XI with limited fitness is not the way to do that.