The Union traveled to Canada to take on the Montreal Impact on Saturday and ended up being absolutely shut down. After the final whistle blew and the scoreboard showed 4-0 for the bad guys, I, like most Philadelphia Union fans, had a lot of thoughts running through my head. Here’s a summation of my frustrations.
Complete defensive collapse
Andre Blake had a poor showing Saturday night alone. Out of Montreal’s six shots on goal, four found the back of the net. At least two of those he could’ve easily stopped. Blake’s defense did a poor job, but he also wasn’t there to bail them out when they needed it, leading to those four goals.
However, the Union defense had one of the worst outings of the season. When the Union started the game with a high press, they looked strong and formidable. But when Montreal did it back to them, the entire team, especially the defense, wasn’t able to react. And when Montreal counter-attacked, they were caught off guard, giving up goals as the game slipped further out of their grasp.
Using the possession time
The Union controlled the ball for 64% of the match but still had about the same number of shots as Montreal, and half the number of SOG the Impact earned. The reason being is that every time that Montreal touched the ball, they did something with it. They pushed the Union back and broke up their attack while forming their own.
When the Union had the ball, they sat back and looked for an opening instead of creating one. No opening came for the Union, and they also never did anything to try and wear down the Montreal defense to create chances for later in the game. Instead, they sat back and slowly allowed themselves to lose the game.
Missing keys, and missing confidence
The Union were missing several key pieces to their roster that could’ve had a huge impact on the score. Kai Wager was out due to suspension, Jamiro Montiero was out to a sprained ankle, which could lead to him missing next week against DC United as well.
While it’s easy to use these injuries as an excuse, the Union shouldn’t. What happened to that “next man up” ideology? Earlier in the season, the Union could be without several starters and still dominate. But the Union aren’t the same team anymore. They don’t have the same confidence, except for one in the belief they are not at all invincible. And until that mindset comes back, Union fans are in for the long haul.