Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Philadelphia Union vs. the Houston Dynamo

The Philadelphia Union are playing the Houston Dynamo this weekend. And looking at the schedule a month ago, this game scared me.  A match, on the road against an upper level team meant certain defeat for the Union. Cue the music, lets move on and hope we play Toronto F.C. soon so we have a shot at a win. Then John Hackworth took over. And Jack Mac started scoring. And the Union started clicking.

And now the Union are rolling. 9 goals in their last two matches. And the attacking players who couldn't finish to save their lives just weeks ago now can't seem to miss. This was the Union that Nowak promised us, the Union that we knew was somewhere on the roster. And now the team has a coach that is willing to let it run wild.

And that's what we like to see. The Union are clicking and the are scoring. There is no denying that. And the Dynamo haven't exactly covered themselves in glory in their last few matches.(The same could be said about the Union all season, but let's not worry about that right now.) And up until the playoffs last season, the Union had a fairly solid record against the Dynamo.

So what happens when a high flying team with nothing to lose meets a team who needs a win to get themselves out of a slump? For one thing, a good match. For another, a win for the Union. Yes they will be a little tired from the U.S.O.C. match. But with the offense clicking the way it is, Houston is going to have to outscore the Union to win. And if we take the last 2 matches into account, the Dynamo will need 5 goals to come away with the win.

And I don't see that happening. The Union will continue their streak tonight. They'll continue to dominate their competition. The only worry for the Union will the suspension of Ray Gaddis, but as long as Porfirio Lopez doesn't make an appearance, I think the backline and MacMath will be just fine.

So what will the final score be you ask? Another drubbing by the Union, but no shutout this time. 4-1 Philadelphia Union will take the full 3 points from Houston. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Philadelphia Advances to U.S.O.C. Semifinals

The Philadelphia Union blew past the Harrisburg City Islanders last night. I mean just put on a clinic. Especially in the 1st half. The Union were up 3-nil at the break. Adu, Mcirnerney, and Pajoy had scored, and the Union were rolling. Nothing was going to stop them.

Cue the Harrisburg City Islanders, who came back from 3-0 in their last match to win in PK's. But come on, they can't do that again? Can they?

The City Islanders came out of the break ready to play. They wanted to advance, and they wanted to prove last round wasn't a fluke. So what did they do? They scored 2 goals in rapid succession, and they struck fear into the hearts of fans and players alike.

But did the Union give in? No. They brought the game back under control, scored 2 more goals to put the game out of reach, and cruised past the City Islanders with a final score of 5-2. And with their 5 goals, they have now scored more goals than they did in their first 12 league matches. And they advanced to their first U.S.O.C. semifinal in team history. They'll be playing a Sporting K.C. team in PPL Park. A team they handled easily, 4-0, just this past weekend.

So what does this mean for the Union? Well they finally have a shot at some silverware. But more importantly, they seem to be showing life. They are enjoying themselves. And they are letting fans enjoy the game again for the first time all season. Nowak is gone, Hackworth is in, and this team is flying around the field.

Can they win the U.S.O.C.? Who knows. Will they make a run now to try to get back in the playoff hunt? Who cares!! This team is fun to watch again, and I'm just going to enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I'm Back From Vacation, and a Familiar Face is Gone!!

So I go away for a little while and Peter Nowak is shown the door. Quite frankly, i couldn't be happier. It's about time Nowak left the team. Now I could do a perspective and talk about the Nowak era. Or I could look at John Hackworth and try to guess at how his tenure with the Union will go, and how long he will last as head coach with the Union.

Instead I'll just look at the product we've seen on the field since Nowak departed. And boy do we see a different team. First of all Jack McInerney, where have you been? Now that he is out of Peter Nowak's doghouse, and in John hackworth's good graces, McInerney has exploded in the last two MLS matches. He had numerous chances and did everything but finish against D.C. United. And last weekend against K.C., he finished up the night with a brace.

And we saw Hoppenot contribute in the rout against K.C. as well. And Pajoy netted a P.K. Overall, it was a weekend that let Union fans see that their is still hope for this team. And it also showed that the Union is not the defensive possession team that Nowak wanted them to be. They can be a flashy, offensive club. And they can compete with the best teams in the MLS.

And that's all i really wanted to see. Let the chips fall where they may, but at least compete. And under Nowak, he took away the team's ability to compete. And Hackworth is giving it back. Hackworth is putting his best 11 on the field and letting them do what they do best.

That's all we wanted to see.