The first place Philadelphia Union fell Saturday night to the 10th place Chicago Fire in a devastating 2-0 loss not even I predicted. The Union was unable to respond to being down at the half, despite Chicago losing Nicolás Gaitán in 45 + 3’ to a red card, meaning Philly was able to play for an entire half a man up.
I have a lot of criticisms for the Union’s play, but here are my condensed takeaways for… whatever that was.
What was that lineup?
Yes, it’s true, Marco Fabian hasn’t had the greatest showing as the Union’s $2,000,000 No. 10, and yes, he had a decent outing playing as the outside midfielder last Sunday against Houston, but that doesn’t mean he should be a starting forward. The Union just signed Andrew Wooten, an incredibly talented striker. Fafa Picault is a great pairing with Kacper Przybylko historically speaking. Even Sergio Santos would be better equipped to play forward, simply for the reason that he is a forward, plain and simple.
Additionally, Warren Creavalle earned a start next to Alejandro Bedoya Saturday. While Creavalle has started there the past three games and has had good showings each time, Brenden Aaronson spent an entire childhood working his way toward the starting lineup and has clearly earned it.
Union fans should be questioning the decisions made by the front office in regards to the lineup right now, because it currently seems like those decisions are made without rhyme or reason.
Use your advantages
The Union may have gone into the locker room after a difficult half trailing 2-0, however, they should’ve had the confidence of being a man up.
The Union came out looking better than they did in the first half, but it didn’t last long. They weren’t able to mount enough of an attack to put one in the back of the net, and Chicago was still almost able to score throughout the half.
The Union had the manpower to score, but they were just so out of sync that even with 10 men pushing the box they missed even chances that seemed like it would be impossible to not score.
The Union plays D.C. United at home next week, and then another two straight home against Atlanta United and Los Angeles FC, and they’ll need to use their home-field advantage to earn max points, otherwise, Union fans can expect a quick descent in the rankings.
The one compliment
The Union did manage to do one thing right Saturday, they didn’t give up.
Even with just minutes left and down 2-0, the Union still put pressure on the Fire backline. Despite all hope being lost, they still fought for even a chance to score. They wouldn’t have won the game, but even saving a little bit of honor and lowering the goal differential was worth it.
Throughout the whole game, the Union played their hearts out, even if their hearts were off rhythm. They may have been out-played and out-classed, but they kept fighting till the final whistle.
Hopefully, we can see more of that in the future.