While the game was pretty entertaining for those of us watching at home, the Philadelphia Union struggled at times on Thursday night implementing the style of play they hoped to play in their first ever regular season meeting with Inter Miami.
Despite escaping with a 2-1 win and six points out of six to start the MLS is Back Tournament, head coach Jim Curtin wasn’t in the mood to take a victory lap in a post-game presser where he mostly talked about what went wrong.
“For the grit, for the intensity, for the focus I give my guys an A plus, but for the soccer we all need to do better and I think we all recognize that in the locker room right now,” he said. “We would pass when we should dribble, we dribbled when we should have passed. It was just a little bit off.”
What wasn’t off was the 63rd minute goal that end up being the decisive play of the match.
The sequence started inches from the Union’s end line where Ilsinho collected the ball and fired a hard pass up field in the direction of Jamiro Monteiro and Brenden Aaronson. Monteiro drew the defender and let the ball run to Aaronson who took the space as Monteiro sprinted forward into the attack. Aaronson then played the ball across the field, where Monteiro again made the expert decision to trickily let the ball run through him to Pryzbylko, who cut hard to his right to draw the charging defender and switched the ball to his left foot to take what ended up being a perfectly placed shot.
“We did have bursts of looking like ourselves and that goal is an example of how the Union wants to play,” Curtin said. “That’s the type of goal that we see as you know ‘us.’ It was quick, simple passes always forward and central so a really good break by us a good goal for sure. We needed more of that on the night.”
Kacper’s goal from the sky cam pic.twitter.com/Vvbgtqx147— Brotherly Game (@BrotherlyGame) July 15, 2020
The goal was the first for Przybylko in this Covid-19 suspended season, but wasn’t the first time he put a ball played into by Aaronson into the back of the net Thursday. Aaronson played a lovely through ball to Przybylko after a quick turn collecting a pass from Jose Martinez and Pryzbylko with room to run fired it home but was ruled to be offsides. VAR wasn’t even called upon to check it.
“I don’t think it was really offside,” Przybylko said.
Aaronson was also involved in the first goal of the game when he danced along the end line in the box and played a ball across that found the foot of Kai Wagner after taking a deflection. Wagner fired a shot that took another deflection on its way toward Luis Robles, who was unable to keep the ball out just six minutes in.
Incredibly, that was Aaronson’s first assist of the season despite being heavily involved in all but one of the team’s six goals — the Jakob Glesnes free kick blast against LAFC. Aaronson also scored a goal in the LAFC game.
“Going forward right there was a great play and an unbelievable little step by (Monteiro and he did it again on Kacper’s goal,” Aaronson said. “He let the ball go again, which was really unselfish so I give him a lot of credit.”
Let’s start a band and call them Miro and the Two Dummiespic.twitter.com/RbMd4sliJX— Brotherly Game (@BrotherlyGame) July 15, 2020
The partnership between Aaronson and Monteiro continuing to blossom is key for the team moving forward.
“We have a really good connection like that; I think that he sees a lot of balls that not many midfielders can see and just having the intelligence just to leave that ball right there and see me running with it I think that’s the kind of player he is,” Aaronson said. “He’s so tricky so slithery, he’s so good in those kinds of situations and it’s really a pleasure playing with them.”
After leading the team in goals with 15 last season, Kacper’s goal could serve as a catalyst for more as the team heads into Monday’s Group A finale against Orlando City and on to the knockout rounds.
“It’s just the quality of the whole team,” Pryzbylko said of the goal. “I’m so proud that we won our second game.”