Following the late winner against DC United, the Union pulled off a new trick; taking 3 points from Red Bull Arena. Red Bull showed a growing dominance on the game in the first half, but two second half goals saw the Union pull off the win. Vincent Nogueira and CJ Sapong each netted their second goal of the season and on-loan keeper Brian Sylvestre logged his second straight clean sheet.
How long have I been telling you that the Union's problems centered around injuries, bad form, and even worse luck? The Union got CJ Sapong back from his league mandated rehab clinic and Fabinho continuing his dangerous attacking form from the previous week's win. They weren't the only ones a tear though as Conor Casey battled his way to a workman like performance (before his injury of course) and Maidana was the on pulling the strings in the midfield. If you didn't know anything about this team, you wouldn't know that Marquez was a player on the roster let alone the starting center back.
Even as the injuries continue to pile up, the next man up approach is in full effect. Fabinho turned back the years as he filled in for the injured Ray Gaddis, leading the charge in the game securing goal with a marauding run that began with a takeaway and ended with a perfect layoff for the Sapong tap-in. He even won his way into the MLS Team of the Week.
With just these two wins the Union have worked their way back into the playoff picture. That's right, after weeks of being the Three Stooges, there is only 1 point between the Union and Orlando City in 6th place. Most of the teams still have multiple games in hand, however the bulk of the remaining games are against the Eastern Conference with multiple games against those ahead of them. There is still plenty of time to right the ship and the Union are well on their way to relevance once again!
Let's not get all fired up over a flash in the pan. The Union may have won 2 in a row, but many of the issues facing the team are still present and don't look to be improving anytime soon.
Sebastien LeToux and Andrew Wenger are still ice cold in their form and aren't showing any signs of coming out of their funk. The goalkeeper situation is still between an on-loan NASL back up, a ball of potential held up by weaker knees than my grandma, and Humpty-Dumpty.
The best performing outside back at the moment is an aging player whose worst skill set is actually defending, but at least he can push forward and cross the ball! To go along with the backline, the center back pairing is in constant circulation, which is surprising since the Union manager was a center back himself. You would think he would value the benefit of a consistent backline partnership that can grow together.
The last two games have also hinged on huge swings of luck in the Union's favor. DC had to pull an injured player after using all 3 subs, meaning the Union had a man advantage for stoppage time. New York on the other hand hit the post twice in the first half, and was building upon their tight control of the game in the first half. Had there been another 5-10 minutes they would surely have taken the lead. Until the Union can prove they can win without massive amounts of luck, this looks more like a detour on their road to mediocrity and an early offseason, instead of a true turn around.