Its been too long, lets just talk about the week that was for the Philadelphia Union.
The Good: Views of number 6
Roland Alberg is my moon and my stars and I will love him until the world explodes. Vincent Nogueira left us for his native France. Not blaming Nogs at all, but that really had a chance to derail this season. Tranquillo Barnetta dropped back and Dutch Drake (patent pending) stepped up. The Open Cup game was won by Roland - he was the only bright spot in a New York City FC game that really wasn't as close as the score portrays and he turned Sean Johnson into a mild annoyance. If his performance last night is a sign of things to come, number six is going to be a pain in the 18 yard box.
The bad: Tighten up
Andre 3000 had a rough night. David Accam blasted through Ken Tribbett and most of the Union back four practically all night. The defense of late looks nervous early and really gave up way too many goals against less than stellar teams. The offense has been wonderful, and that's why the Union are still top of the Eastern Conference. This is a pretty young backline still, and being able to close games out and adapt to different fields and play styles is still a work in progress. I don't think they need to adjust anything at the back in terms of bringing in new players, but this team can do much better. Chicago's third goal especially speaks to the growing pains of Josh Yaro, who actually played a good half despite a nasty deflection in front of Andre Blake that the Union keeper was less than thrilled about. This isn't a panic switch hitting moment, but last week was not a stretch of games the Union want to repeat defensively.
The Ugly: About that striker...
Fabian Herbers is frustrating. He is capable of finding the net. He can beat defenders and win penalties. He's also probably in over his head in the number two position on the depth chart. From all accounts, the German youngster seems like a lovely guy and I think he could eventually fill in the role that he is being asked to play. That time is not now. Given CJ Sapong's absence, the Union would be very smart to bring in a bona fide backup forward from an MLS team with too many of them. Herbers should really be sent back to Bethlehem Steel FC for the rest of the year when this is sorted out so he can learn to create play off of hold up runs. Until then it's a bit worrying that he basically disappeared against Chicago last night.
Philly plays host to a probably jetlagged Vancouver Whitecaps team this weekend. Hopefully they'll continue the run of form at home and create some more space at the top of the East. Until then, let me know who you thought was good, bad or ugly last week and we'll talk again soon.