The Philadelphia Union had a chance to thrill the home crowd and end a five year playoff drought with an emphatic win, and instead came up very short. With two weeks off, the rested team looked as though they had forgotten how to play together. There was no excuse to be found, and the fans have been angry. So angry they voted this performance as the worst of the season - worse than the 2-0 loss in the opener to FC Dallas and worse than the 3-0 loss to the worst team in the league, the Chicago Fire. It was that bad. Here are the results including the ratings from the usual suspects at Philly Soccer Page, Whoscored and Philly Voice.
Let's start with the good news which was a decent outing by Andre Blake who made two terrific saves that kept the Union close. The fact that he only had two saves limits his effectiveness, but it was good enough for the fans. The experts meanwhile were unanimously impressed with the performance of Ken Tribbett, who bounced back with a solid game. He won four aerial duels, made four tackles, six interceptions and five clearances and he earns the overall player MVP for the game.
The voters were mixed on who had the worst performance. Fabinho's lazy blunder that led to the first goal (and unlucky one from Blake's perspective at that) put him near the bottom, but it was Fabian Herbers who took the overall LVP award. Herbers took just the one awful shot and only touched the ball 33 times throughout the game, turning it over four times. Philly Voice rated Alejandro Bedoya's performance an F due to a handful of first half turnovers and an inability to impact the team going forward. I think he deserves a better grade simply for the great ball he sent to Tranquillo Barnetta towards the end of the game. A slightly better header could have easily tied the score. The fans continue to be tired of the CJ Sapong show, rating him just a 3.3 for the match. Sapong's fortunes have fallen along with the Union's during the second half of the season, and he now is probably the weakest striker in the Eastern Conference - if not all of MLS. Something needs to be done to address the fall from grace.
The Union lucked out and effectively made the playoffs despite the performance. The fans have lost hope in the team but the reality is anything can happen if the team can find their groove and the bounces go their way. Oddly, it may be the Union's greatest season yet. Or it may be one where a terrific start only set the team up for a typical Philadelphia sports crash landing.