After a difficult, 4-0 loss to the Montreal Impact last week, the Philadelphia Union bounced back to defeat D.C. United 5-1. While I couldn’t come up with enough lessons for every goal, here’s one takeaway for every two goals scored in total.
Continuing the press
One of the best things that the Union did during the game was that they never stopped attacking and trying to put the ball in the back of the net.
Even with just a minute left in regulation, Fafa Picault still put the ball in the back of the net with the help of Ilsinho and Jamiro Monteiro. At the end of the first half as well, Marco Fabián scored at 45 + 2’. Even while up a man after Júnior Moreno was ejected, the Union’s drive throughout the whole match is both commendable and impressive.
The (few) negatives
Despite everything that seemed just perfect, there were a few setbacks that the Union can look after.
First, D.C. had a few too many chances where they very nearly eluded the entire Union defense on a counter-attack and put a ball past Andre Blake. While they ended up only scoring once, and not off a counter, the Union does have to be mindful of that in the future. As Jim Curtin said a few weeks back, the MLS is a league of copycats, and if teams can see the counter as a weak point in the Union’s defense, they will most certainly try to use it against them.
Secondly, shooting. The Union is not the most accurate team in the MLS, and they tend to take wild shots that don’t have a chance at even going close to the net. This was amplified Saturday when Kacper Przyblyko didn’t even get a shot on goal during his PK attempt which would’ve put the Union up 2-0 in the first half. Control and patience is something that the Union has to learn, or more shots will go to waste.
Coming back from defeat
Possibly the biggest storyline before the match was how the Union could bounce back from a disappointing 4-0 loss at Montreal, and if they could stay atop the East with Atlanta United in close pursuit.
On Sunday, the Union proved that they are still a contender for that first-round bye (and Champions League berth), even if it doesn’t always look pretty. One of the differences between a bad team and good one is who can respond after a tough loss, and the Union showed that despite many doubts (including my own) they are still a force to be reckoned with.