As the Union's grip on a playoff spot comes down to the final two performances, the perspective taking in Union land is at a fever pitch. Despite the fall from the top of the Eastern Conference, the rhetoric suggests that this was a rebuilding year and a playoff run would have been a bonus just eight months ago. There's good reason for this line of thinking, but it ignores the fact that little has been done to stem the ebbing tide. The defense has been allowing goals at a consistently high pace over the last 20 matches, yet the team continues to play the same proactive defense that fails to protect the young back line. CJ Sapong continues his slump and loses confidence, and the only adjustment is to occasionally push him out to the wing. The steadfast belief in a system that hasn't been working since June is a frustrating aspect to the season that should not be ignored.
The ratings this week reflected the poor performance of the defense, with the exception of Andre Blake, and the frustrating performance Sapong who failed to attempt a shot. As usual the ratings of the crowd are joined by the Philly Soccer Page ratings, the algorithm at Whoscored and Philly Voice.
Outside of Fabinho, whose assist earned him a reprieve, the Union defense was rated poorly. But Sapong continues to draw the ire of the voters, with his fifth last place vote in his last seven games. He was voted overall the lowest in aggregate as well.
On the positive side Andre Blake won his team leading twelfth fan vote for his highlight reel saves that kept the game a contest. But Chris Pontius won his team leading tenth overall award for his stunning equalizer in the second half.
The Union need to win at least one game in their final two let fans exhale and look forward to a playoff match. Given both games are at home, that should be achievable. If the Union do make the playoffs,then this late season swoon will become a distant memory and we'll look back at this season as a successful first campaign for Earnie Stewart. How's that for some perspective?