No one expected perfection coming out of a three-week international break, but the Philadelphia Union taking an early lead (on a lovely goal from Captain Bedoya) and then giving it right back and settling for a point was not the return fans at Subaru Park were hoping for Saturday night.
Alejandro Bedoya had himself a night, scoring the opener with a curling left-footed strike in the 17th minute and Julian Carranza did well to capitalize on a blunder in the box from FC Cincinnati but overall there weren’t enough bright moments to earn the Union all three points over a vastly improved FC Cincinnati side.
The homecoming of head coach Pat Noonan and Ray Gaddis along with Haris Medunjanin meant there wouldn’t be any surprises for the visitors but the rust was also there for a Union team that is now mired in a string of draws. They lead the league in draws with eight and have now dropped points in seven of their last eight games.
The Eastern Conference title and more are still very much in the picture and you really can’t be too critical of a team with only one loss 15 games into the season, but Bedoya himself even said that his goal didn’t matter much in the end because they didn’t win.
Bedoya’s play and a couple key Andre Blake saves kept FC Cincinnati from snatching a win but there wasn’t enough consistency across the lineup. Daniel Gazdag did well to get into positions to win the game but twice hit his attempts right at the keeper. Defensively, the phrase “blocked by Glesnes” is starting to become a companion piece to “Saves by Dre” to explain why the Union defense is so stingy and Jack Elliott continues to rarely miss a beat.
Game-planning by Noonan limited Kai Wagner down the left, who had to defend Gaddis of all people a lot on the night, and Nathan Harriel won’t be satisfied with his performance. Nor will Jose Martinez. Mikael Uhre, meanwhile, was somewhat of an enigma on the night in need of more and better service. The Danish striker remains a sleeping giant for now ready to take the league over by storm (watch out when it all clicks). While Jim Curtin gave Chris Donovan his MLS debut and Cory Burke did well to set up one of those Gazdag chances, the bench didn’t have a lot to say on the game in the end either.
Heading into the biggest game of the season to this point aiming for a sweep of NYCFC on Sunday, all is not right but all is not necessarily wrong either. The Union are a bit of a team in limbo, a one-loss team that’s conceded only 11 times in 15 games at that. Even a slight momentum shift in the positive could very well set this extremely talented team right back on the path toward winning a trophy or two in the end.
Weigh in on the individual performances Saturday night in our Community Player Ratings Poll.