If there was ever a win that didn’t feel like one, it was the Philadelphia Union’s against the Columbus Crew SC. After an own goal from Columbus’ Eloy Room, Philadelphia failed to score for the rest of the game and won 1-0.
They weren’t pretty, but they weren’t ugly. Let’s take a look at what we learned from Philadelphia’s play on Saturday.
Surprise! The Union is human
Currently undisputed as the best team in Major League Soccer, Saturday’s game showed that the Union is far from perfect. While it's hard to say that the Union wasn’t the better team in Subaru Park on Saturday, they only earned what could barely be called a victory.
There’s no need to summarize why the Union didn’t necessarily deserve their win. Had Eloy Room completed a move that he and thousands of other keepers have done without thought, the Union ties Columbus. Philadelphia was saved by what is possibly the worst goal I’ve ever seen.
The Union missed three “big chances” against Columbus, according to FotMob. They finished with nearly 2 xG but just seemed to lack the finishing. Jim Curtin was most certainly correct when he said that the Union is good, but not great.
That said, Curtin was also right when he said that Philadelphia has more in them than what they had showcased. Their mistakes highlight their strengths, and their strengths show that they have enough talent and chemistry to put the puzzle together and run circles around the rest of the league.
No flag to plant
When we spoke to Thomas Costello from Massive Report, he mentioned that this game was a “plant your flag” game for the Crew. In the same way, it was that type of game for the Union.
This had the chance to be the Union’s first “no asterisk” game. They weren’t playing a team that was born last week, was going to finish at the bottom of the table, or was coming off of CCL play. Columbus was a genuine playoff contender with the strength to beat the Union. The Union did not plant its flag.
The Union still deserve all the accolades that they’ve gotten from the media. But they still don’t have that game that they can hold up and say that it was a difficult opponent that they beat.
Uhre is only one
call goal away
Mikael Uhre’s first goal in a Union uniform continues to evade him. While he’s only played just over two hours of MLS soccer, palms aren’t far from sweating when it comes to his success. But Uhre is so close.
If he showcased nothing else on Saturday, he showed effort. It was clear that he was frustrated by his inability to find the net, despite good chances. It is frustrating to watch him miss chances, but even those show potential.
Yes, it’s getting time for Uhre to transfer his runs into goals (see the 56th minute), but he will get there soon enough. And that might be Philadelphia’s biggest piece of the puzzle.