Thursday, April 26, 2012

Post Chivas U.S.A. Fallout

Well that was one helluva match on Saturday. We finally scored a goal from the run of play. That was good. But we had two reckless tackles at the end of the match that resulted in reds. That's bad. And oh yeah, Nowak ran onto the field during the ensuing scuffle over Gabe Farfan's red. That was really bad. Sure we go 3 points in a critical road match. But there is still a lot to fix.

First on the list is discipline. Normally I would say offense needs work, because the offense has struggled since I've been following the Union. But discipline, or lack there of, was the name of the game this past weekend. I think most Union fans would agree that there was quite a bit of extracurricular shoving on the part of Chivas U.S.A. And also a few dives here or there. But they had exactly the effect that Chivas wanted. They got the better of us and got us off of our game.

Keon Daniel had a challenge that was completely unnecessary. But at least he appeared to initially be going for the ball. And this is very unlike Daniel, so as frustrating as it might be to lose him for a match, history says that he won't make the same mistake twice, at least not quickly. So despite the annoyance of losing him for a match, I'll give him a pass for this one. But just this one.

Gabe Farfan does not get the same pass. A two footed cleats up tackle. Blatantly unnecessary, especially with the Union already down to 10 men. And Gabe Farfan is a little bit more, shall we say prone to outbursts? I like having a player who can intimidate the opposition, don't get me wrong. But this isn't hockey. It's not 5 minutes in the sin bin and then everything is ok. It's down a man and losing a match. And we were already down a man.

But the impact is greater than just time spent down two men. Losing Nowak for this match is vital. We're facing a Western Conference leading San Jose, and we lost one of the key players on a backline that hasn't allowed a goal in 332 minutes. When you are clicking like that, keeping the same players on the pitch match in and match out is important. And Gabe Farfan threw that away for a stupid tackle. And now we are absent Nowak against the strongest opponent we've faced all season.

So it will be an interesting match this weekend. And the Union have a tough test to face. Chris Wondolowski is tied with Thierry Henry for the most goals scored so far this season. And San Jose will be looking to take 3 points from the Union, especially since they will be missing a key component of their backline. And the Union will most likely bunker down, and just look for chances on the counter. And this works fine against a team like Chivas, but it will be a tough sell against a team like San Jose. Can they win? Sure. Philadelphia is a tough place to play, and the Union defense and goalie are playing as good as anyone in the league. The question is not can the defense keep us in the match, the question is can the offense produce for us this weekend.

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