An open question since the Philadelphia Union first took the field in March has been whether the 2018 edition of the blue and gold are in fact a good team.
Fafa Picault showed once again in Seattle in the dead of the night that we should stop asking that question.
“It means we still don’t suck and we’re a good team and we’re proving that this year,” the pacy winger said of the 1-0 win in front of 39,536 fans at CenturyLink Field. “We’re good on the road, we fight. Obviously games like this aren’t that pretty, we didn’t get a lot of calls our way but it gives us confidence to go forward and get ready for the next game.”
When goals weren’t falling and the results weren’t going the Union’s way — remember when they picked up only eight points in their first nine matches? — much was made about the chances they were creating and the so-called floodgates that were poised to open any day.
My reaction at the time was that good teams don’t talk about chance creation, bad bounces or poor officiating; they just go out and win whether they are playing their best soccer, have 10 or 11 men on the field, or have the calls or breaks going their way.
A scoreless draw would have been a really positive result for the Union on Wednesday playing a tough midweek game all the way in Seattle against a team that hadn’t lost since June. Stealing three points after going down a man late and your best playmaker back home in Philadelphia?
That’s what good teams do.
If you were frustrated with Fafa’s overall performance last night at any point in the game, you weren’t alone. It was far from a flawless game for Picault or many of his teammates.
But three points is what matters most as the season inches closer to a crescendo with the U a point off not only making the playoffs, but hosting a playoff match by the Delaware River.
Picault grew up in Manhattan, but he sounded every bit like a Philly guy last night after the match.
“Yeah, we don’t care about other teams,” he said. “We don’t care about what they’re doing – nine, 10, 15 – I don’t even care. It’s important that we do our job every time we play. Every game is new, every day is new, so we have to come out and do our job. That’s the most important thing. It wasn’t the prettiest game, but we came out and got the job done and now we go back to Philly.”
Their time back home in Philly will be short with an afternoon match against Sporting Kansas City and a chance to further solidify a playoff spot on Sunday before heading to Houston in search of silverware and a Champions League berth.
That we’re still talking about two trophies that the Union can still win with a little over a week left in September just proves Fafa’s point.
This is what it’s like to root for a good team.