Image: Daniel Gajdamowicz
Maybe when Danny Mwanga finishes the season with 12 goals, Jack McInerney leads the league in flick-on assists, and the Union make the playoffs using a new 1-2-2-2-1-2 formation with only Carlos Valdes in the back, we will look back and laugh at the week three standings, when New England and Chivas USA were out in front of the Philadelphia Union.
The match reports are streaming in, and PSP’s Eli Pearlman-Storch has a good one.
Other reports from MLSsoccer.com, Philly Soccer News, the Brotherly Game, Chicago Now (featuring Frank Klopas’ post-game presser), the Chicago Sun-Times, and Sports Illustrated which notes that next week’s Whitecaps-Union matchup should be “quite the scene.”
Highlights from the match reports
- PSP: “Gabriel Farfan replaced Roger Torres to begin the second half, allowing the Union to shift back into a four man backline, with Lopez joining Valdes in the center of the pitch. This did little to stem the tide of Chicago’s dominance however, for despite being down a goal, the Union continued to allow the Fire to dictate the pace of the game.”
- MLSsoccer: None. What a boring match report.
- Philly Soccer News: “Philadelphia, which is defensively challenged due to injuries and call ups, seemed equally handicapped on the other end of the pitch as well. They had just two attempts in the first half.”
- The Brotherly Game: “That disorganization was also throughout the midfield, leading to the wasteful nature of the team during the first half despite head coach Piotr Nowak employing a 3-5-2 to being the game.”
- SI: “After the unusual injury saga this week involving center back Danny Califf resulted in the captain missing the trip, the Union lived dangerously by countering the speed the Fire boast between Dominic Oduro and Patrick Nyarko by going to a three-man back line with various midfielders dipping back to provide cover. The move completely took away any semblance of organization, and it hardly prevented the two Ghanaian attackers from exploiting the space.”
A more philosophical take from the Inquirer, where the Goaltender writes that Le Toux’s absence is not the only reason the Union are struggling. However, the offense’s poor start has created the perception that if Le Toux were still in Philly the team would not be struggling. The article closes with this brilliant nugget: “Right now, the perception of a problem is as bad as the problem itself.”
First of all, I only have a vague sense of what that actually means, and I think it’s wrong. Second, I think this statement does most fans a disservice. Union supporters don’t think Sebastien Le Toux would magically fix their team. After all, they watched a similarly disjointed offense muddle through countless one-goal wins and low scoring ties with Le Toux wearing the navy and gold. What people believe is that Sebastien Le Toux made the Union a better team and that the club’s stated reasons for trading him away ring hollow in light of early season returns. Quite a bit of time has gone by since Le Toux and the Union began their he-said-she-said spat, and it would be nice if the local media would spend some ink trying to figure out what really went down instead of arguing that selling the team’s biggest offensive threat over the last two years has is just one of many reasons why the offense has taken a big step backwards.
The Union did not have the worst performance in MLS on Saturday. That honor goes to
PSP favorite spotlight hound Mark Geiger, defending MLS referee of the year (despite the ridiculously ridiculous “red card” he gave Jordan Harvey for being tackled at PPL last season). Geiger changed the complexion of the match with an early red card to Jeb Brovsky, then he dropped a penalty kick on Montreal for a tackle that clearly involved ball-first contact. You just never know what Geiger is going to do, and that’s the worst thing you can say about a referee.
Around the league, Wondolowski dropped a brace on Toronto’s discombobulated defense at BMO Field. Saer Sene scored 28 seconds into the match and the Revs held on to bounce Portland out of town. Casey Townsend opened his MLS account with a heads up finish at Rio Tinto Stadium. Vancouver and DC United played to a scoreless draw, with Seba Le Toux no doubt saving up his energy to chase the ball all over PPL Park next weekend.
The Dynamo say they will find out what happened between midfielder Colin Clark and a ball boy during Friday’s loss to Seattle. Apparently Clark is accused of using a gay slur and has since apologized on Twitter. UPDATE: Thanks to alert reader nickt. who points us to this (Careful: The slur is clearly audible, so watch/listen with caution and awareness of your surroundings) video of the Clark incident.
And finally, this happened (The entire play leading up to this goal went like this: Goalie punt, Crouch header, header back to Crouch, Crouch one-touch control, supervolley. The ball never hit the ground.)