There were very few MLS matches played by the Philadelphia Union in the month of July, with an international friendly and a US Open Cup match. In the month of July the Union went 2-0-3. The two wins include a rout against the Portland Timbers and a win at Red Bull Arena in penalty kicks against the New York Red Bulls to advance to the semifinal game for the US Open Cup. The Union dropped two losses to Toronto FC and DC United for the MLS Season and were routed by newly promoted Bournemouth. The Union have held the 7th position in the MLS Eastern Conference for a few months now, and are regularly 2 points out of a playoff spot. One big story this month was the departure of Sheanon Williams to the Houston Dynamo for allocation money. Another key event in July was the Union signing Swiss star Tranquillo Barnetta. The Swiss star has over 75 caps for Switzerland and made 44 appearances for Schalke 04 in the German Bundesliga. Fans hope that the signing of Barnetta will help boost the offense as the wings have been weaker throughout the season due to lack of depth.
There were a few standouts this month:
Vincent Nogueira: Nogueira scored twice in the game against Portland and converted a penalty kick in the PK win against the Redbulls. Noguiera has continued to impress this season and has proven to be a critical piece for the Union as the Union are winless when he is not playing. Recently, Nogueira has been injured and will miss a few weeks, which has many concerned for how the Union will do in the critical games the Union will play over the course of the next few weeks.
Cristian Maidana: Maidana proved to be the playmaker of the Union as he assisted 4 of the Unions 8 goals in July. June was a difficult month for Maidana due to having to cover for Zach Pfeffer, as Pfeffer would be out of position, and he was able to bounce back well.
With the mixed results this month, there were some slackers on the Union as well:
Brian Sylvestre: The Union goalkeeper problem continues as Sylvestre has begun to fit the Union standard goalkeeper. Good for a few games and then struggles to make a good impression. This was evident in the 3-2 loss to DC United as the Union dropped 3 points after being up 2-0 in the first 5 minutes. There were other defensive breakdowns that contributed to the loss, but I would expect to see Andre Blake in goal starting in August.
Ethan White: Its amazing. Ethan White has been back in the Union line up for 2 games, after a yellow card accumulati for Maurice Edu and an injury to Richie Marquez, and he has already reverted back to his ways of poor defending with a side of lacking effort. Ethan White and Fabinho were both caught sleeping during the Nick DeLeon game tying goal as he rebounded a shot, beating both of them. White also left his man open in the first DC United goal. White's poor defending was a key to the 3-2 loss.
What is hurting the Union?
The lack of depth has killed the Union all season and it continues to effect them. When a CB is injured and you have to resort to Ethan White, there is a problem. The addition of Tranquillo Barnetta helps with the offensive depth problems, but selling Sheanon Williams killed the Union's depth in the full back position. Should Ray Gaddis or Fabio Alves get hurt, rookie Raymond Lee would have to fill in.