Another game, another loss for the Philadelphia Union. And it was a disappointing loss too. Yet another game where attacks weren't finished, men weren't marked, defensive breakdowns were rampant. And the Union allowed the first goal again. And they counter-attacked down on the scoreboard, had quality chances, and couldn't close.
So what can we take from this game? Let's look at the positives fist. Gomez has a rifle of a leg, and if someone can get on the end of his free kicks, we will have a potent offensive weapon on our hands. Twice late, Gomez whipped a free kick on target, and no could head it on target. But they were signs of good things to come, and if the Union can harness the power of a Gomez free kick, it could be a deadly force to score.
The Union attack as a whole had good moments. Everything about the attacks leading up to the final shot had a good look to it. The Union moved the ball around the field, and had decent passes. The problem was when it came time to close the deal. Much as last year, the Union are plagued with finishing problems. Whatever spark the Union need, they need to find a way to finish, they need to find it now. They've lost 55% of their offensive production when they lost Le Toux. But he's gone now. As much as we all miss him he is gone. And now we need to move on, and we need someone to score. Pajoy looks sure with ball, but can't finish. Mwanga needs to find his form from rookie year. But the offensive woes are nothing compared to the defensive woes.
The defense again played without captain Danny Califf. And Sheannon Williams was called up by the U.S. national team for Olympic qualifying. And we were left with a trio of defenders who have no chemistry, and a goalie who can't control them. They were porous, the only goal they allowed was a cross free of defensive pressure to an open man. And they let a dangerous ball through with time running out that was misplayed by the Fire. If the ball had been placed a little better, it would have been a 2-0 result for the Union.
So the Union are in much the same place they were before this game. Hungry for their first win. Showing flashes of offensive creativity and power, but not being able to finish. And goaltending and defensive play that makes offensive finishing a necessity. When will they find this finishing ability? Or defensive cohesion? And will MacMath be able to improve his play? With Vancouver coming to town next weekend, the time is now. Because if Le Toux returns with the White Caps, scores, and beats us at home, Nowak will have a lot of angry fans to answer to.
And I'll be one of them.