The Philadelphia Union have played a number of unremarkable and lackluster games throughout their history, and Saturday evening’s uninspiring loss to Columbus Crew is right among the worst of those. A punchless Union attack and an unfortunate own goal doomed the Union to a 1-0 loss for their second loss in a row since the Gold Cup break.
Playing under the threat of a severe thunderstorm that never materialized, the Philadelphia Union controlled possession for the early going, but that seemed to be all they controlled. The Union struggled with everything from making and completing dangerous passes to generating chances at goal. In fact it was so bad that the Union generated zero shots on target for the match. All the scoring opportunities tonight came from the Columbus Crew. And by the second half, the Union lost their edge in possession as well.
Columbus Crew also did not generate many chances, but the ones they did John McCarthy was equal to the task. In the opening minutes a long-distance Wil Trapp pass led to an Ola Kamara volley that John McCarthy had to put a good save on.
McCarthy continued to play well throughout the match. Dogged for some poor performances during the 2015 season, McCarthy has put in some good performances for the Union while Andre Blake is away Gold Cup’ing with Jamaica. He continued to make saves and keep the Union in contention for a point from a 0-0 draw despite the Union continuing to do nothing on offense throughout the match.
But despite McCarthy’s strong saves, the Union lost the match by getting in their own way. What seemed like it was bound to be a harmless 56th minute cross in the direction of Kamara, Justin Meram’s ball deflected off the backheel of Josh Yaro and put on a line into the net past a helpless McCarthy. It is unclear if Yaro got confused for a moment, his secret striker instincts took over, or if he just had a momentary brainfart, but the result was a cheeky-looking backheel that would make even Lionel Messi blush. Or at least would, if Yaro was scoring on the right net.
Unable to generate anything further, the match stayed 1-0 and the Union walked away from Mapfre Stadium defeated and pointless for the second straight match. Possible good news for the Union is they’ll be given the opportunity to redeem themselves Wednesday night when the Crew come to Chester for the tail-end of this home-and-home series. The possible bad news is this dreadful match may permeate its way into Talen Energy Stadium and I don’t think anyone wants a repeat of tonight’s performance.