Photo Cred: Jose Nunez of AAT Sports Network.
Real, Torres, Flach, Bedoya, Harriel
Wagner, Elliott, Glesnes
Klich, Benteke, Ku-Dipietro
Samake, O'Brien, Canouse, Durkin
Pines, Williams, Palsson
First Half Summary
As expected with the short week and Youth Nationals away, we had a makeshift lineup for the Union. What I loved to see, however, was the same formation we saw in Colorado. Curtin went with three in the back, but kept Lowe out of the Starting XI. We had a couple of familiar faces back in the squad as well. Jose Martinez and Mikael Uhre were available for Curtin off the bench.
It looked like the Union had the first goal of the game in the 3rd minute. Carranza broke free with the ball on the left side of the pitch, and he found a wide open Torres in the center of the box. Although Joaquin sent it passed Tyler Miller, the sideline official quicky raised his flag for offside. Torres kept himself involved during the first half, but also had a handful of miscues. He had a poor turnover in front of the Union box earlier in the half, which almost gave DC a clear chance at goal. Just before the end of the half, Torres had Miller well off his line. The crowd screamed for Torres to chip one from midfield, but he waited too long and sent his shot well right of net. We are beginning to wonder when Perea earns minutes over Torres, as Joaquin has been far from impressive in his limited time.
Both teams tested the opposing keeper in the first 20 minutes, and Andre Blake of course made another highlight reel save to keep his shutout. He made his best save of the night in the 35th minute. DC had walked the ball straight into the box, and a shot was taken just feet away from Andre. Somehow, the Jamaican superstar kept the ball out. I know some people have been questioning Andre’s penalty kicks of late, but you can’t question the man’s reflexes. He is still an elite keeper, and should be for a few more years.
It was a quiet half overall, and only one minute of stoppage was given. After the game, Jim highlighted the Team's disappointment with the first 45 minutes, which is when they switched from the 3 in the back to the usual 4-4-2 diamond. We also spoke with Kai Wagner after the match, who voiced his frustrations with the Union not switching the ball enough to the left side. This statement was sparked when asked if Kai missed Jack McGlynn in the lineup.
Second Half Summary
The Union did well to start the half with the better opportunities. After Kai Wagner was brought down hard around midfield, Jack Elliott’s free kick sent Tyler Miller retreating for his net. It was clear the ball was going to beat Miller to the goal, but unfortunately Jack’s shot went just right of the post.
Their next great chance came shortly after the 50th minute. Harriel did well to win a throw in and Bedoya was able to send a cross into the box. Matt Real, who earned the start tonight, rose above everyone for the header. He missed a great opportunity, however, and the score remained at 0-0. In a night where chances were few and far between, that was one that Matt needed to finish. To Kai's point, we really missed McGlynn out there.
Jim did not wait to make a substitution. Jose Martinez and Mikael Uhre took the field for Real and Torres in the 57th minute. Although neither had a terrible performance, it was clear that they weren’t doing enough offensively to get the team a goal. In the post-match presser, Jim was hopeful that Jose could have started today, but they felt it was best for him to be a sub.
DC United had a very close chance in the 69th minute. They knocked the ball around in the box and just barely grazed the bottom of the crossbar. The ball remained out, and despite a DC corner, Philly was able to keep Andre out of harms way.
After the CCL Semi, Jim Curtin had some reflection when speaking to the press, in particular about the rotation of the lineup. We saw his words come to fruition in the 72nd minute when Bedoya, who typically plays all match, was replaced by Andres Perea. Perea has been shelfed on the bench for weeks, but he now had about 20 minutes to make something happen. Nathan Harriel was also replaced for Olivier. Nathan had a strong game, but it was clear that Jim was going for the 3 points tonight.
A scary moment came in the 84th minute when Uhre and Canouse both stretched for a ball by the Philly box. The two players forcefully collided and were down for a minute or two. Thankfully, both players were back on their feet soon. As you may recall, Mikael has been dealing with fluid in his knee. After the match, Curtin mentioned that Mikael's knee has been doing well with the treatment, and he should be good to start on Saturday.
Just before this collision, Leon Flach missed a great opportunity at net. He found a ton of space at the edge of the DC box, but his right-footed shot wasn’t even close to the net. With the emergence of players like Bueno, it’s beginning to be very difficult to keep Leon on the field, especially when you need a goal. Although the Bueno red card in Colorado seemed fairly harmless, you could have certainly used more attacking in the final third with Jesus.
Four minutes of stoppage time was awarded. Despite a near goal from Andres Perea, the Union couldn't do enough to find the back of the net. They ended the night with a lackluster 0-0 draw. They do not have time to dwell on the match, however, as they host the Revolution on Saturday.
Mike Barrera (Mbarrera1323)