The Philadelphia Union earned another 3 points in a surprising 3-0 victory against FC Cincinnati on Wednesday night. While the Union was heavily favored to win before the game, the first half showed the Ohioans came to play, and showed that they can be a solid matchup.
The Union were still able to find the back of the net, whether on purpose or accident, and pushed themselves back up to second place in the Eastern Conference. Most of the game was frustrating on the Union end, but there are a few positives to come out of this one; let’s take a dive into Union vs. FC Cincinnati.
Plenty of chances, not enough goals
Admittedly, it’s easy to reconsider writing this section when the team wins 3-0, but it’s still a valid point that one could make about the first 60 minutes. The Union had plenty of chances in front of goal during the first half, and plenty in the first part of the second half, where they were either unwilling or unable to take a solid shot. In many scenarios, the Union had numbers on the attack against Cincinnati, but they simply took too long to take a shot, or they spent too much time dancing around the defense and ignored possible chances.
Even Anthony Fontana, with his quick shot, took just too long to use his boot near the penalty area. Jamiro Monteiro and Brenden Aaronson both spent too much time tap dancing around swarming defenders to look up for the shot. To their credit, Cincinnati played incredible defense, but the slow shot is something that has always been a weak spot for Philadelphia, and it’s something to watch against Montreal on Sunday.
Bad passes, bad turnovers
The Union actually had pretty good passing accuracy on Wednesday night, with 82% of passes finding the mark. However, there were, of course, some slip ups, and they almost proved costly at least twice.
Early in the match, both Jakob Glesnes and Olivier Mbaizo had sloppy passes/dribbling that gave Cincinnati the ball in their attacking third. The first of which, Glesnes’ mistake, was ultimately saved by Mbaizo, but Cincinnati was much better in taking advantage of Mbaizo’s mistake and could have made something out of it.
This is much less a commentary, as far as this game goes, on the Union’s lack of dribbling or passing skill, rather the lack of preparedness for Cincinnati’s aggressive play. The Union simply didn’t expect Cincinnati to play like they did, and it almost hurt them. But more of that in the next takeaway...
A quick turnaround
… The Union were able to turn the game around. Whether by mistake via Ilsinho’s goal, or by manner or figuring out Cincinnati’s style of play, the Union took control of the game.
The Union never had full control of the match, but by the end, they were the dominant team after dancing to Cincy’s tune for most of the match. I’m more prone to believe that the 1-0 lead gave the Union some hope and fire, given that Cincinnati was still able to play a very aggressive game against the Union through the whole match. However, the turn of events is still important, and it shows that if need be, the Philadelphia Union can be a second half team.