Union / Union match reports

Match report: D.C. United 2-3 Philadelphia Union

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union scored three times in the first 26 minutes Sunday to knock off D.C. United 3-2 at RFK Stadium.

The Union nudged into the top half of the Eastern Conference table, thanks to a Jack McInerney brace and a goal from Conor Casey. United held possession for two-thirds of the game but never could overcome a Union side that repeatedly hurt D.C. on the counterattack.

“They obviously watched the New York game and said that’s a recipe (to win),” United coach Ben Olsen said after the game. “Sit back, counter, score.”

First half

Philadelphia scored the first goal in the 7th minute when Brian Carroll slid to intercept a pass and put the ball directly in Casey’s path. Casey then sent a slow through ball to McInerney, who had to throttle down to collect it. He then cut back to his left past Brandon McDonald and put a left-footed shot past Bill Hamid into the back of the net.

Barely three minutes later, the Union tallied again to go up 2-0. Sheanon Williams sent Danny Cruz long with a perfectly weighted through ball down the right sideline. Cruz outran Daniel Woolard to collect the ball in stride, then cut back to his left and centered to Casey, who buried a left-footed shot.

Casey’s goal was a sign of the Union hitting their game plan exactly how Union manager John Hackworth planned. Hackworth had identified Woolard as a good one-on-one defender who can be outrun on through balls, Cruz said after the game.

“We literally did the pattern we did to score the goal maybe 50 times in training,” said Cruz, who had one of his better games in a Union uniform.

United answered with a goal from Perry Kitchen six minutes later. After a play stoppage, Dejan Jakovic settled the ball on the left side of the field and centered to Brandon McDonald outside the 18. McDonald then found a wide open Dwayne De Rosario making a backdoor cut toward the right post, with Union left back Ray Gaddis having been sucked into the middle. Keon Daniel collapsed toward De Rosario, and that left Kitchen open to one-time De Rosario’s pass into the net.

Philadelphia scored again in the 26th minute, however. Williams put a long throw-in into the box that Amobi Okugo flicked onward in traffic. The ball landed at McInerney’s feet, and he slotted home the Union’s third score, which proved enough to cement the win.

Not that the match died down. The Union had another good chance in the 31st minute when Cruz led a 3-on-2 counterattack from the right side. Cruz had Casey in the center and McInerney wide open down the left, but Cruz kept the ball one-on-one and lost it out of bounds.

United nearly scored again in the 33rd minute, when a D.C. cross found its way through traffic into the middle of the box. Chris Pontius blasted a point-blank shot on goal that Williams blocked with an all-out slide.

Second half

After halftime, Olsen tried to swing the momentum by inserting midfielder Raphael Augusto for Marcelo Saragosa.

Two minutes in, United scored again. Woolard found himself wide open on the left flank and sent in a pinpoint cross that Lionard Pajoy headed past MacMath to cut the Union’s lead to one.

That would be the game’s last goal, however.

Each team would get more dangerous opportunities, but neither could capitalize.

In the 56th minute, Michael Farfan found Cruz on a run down the left with a perfectly weighted through ball. Hamid came off his line, couldn’t collect the ball, but cut down the angle so Cruz could only shoot just wide left. A minute later, Farfan and Cruz hooked up again with a similar through ball, but Cruz’s centering pass was blocked.

United gave the Union a scare in the 71st minute when De Rosario headed on a Chris Pontius cross toward Pajoy inside the six-yard box. Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath went up for the catch, but Pajoy held his position, leaving MacMath to get both hands on the ball but fail to catch it. The ball then bounced free, but Gaddis cleared the ball off the line for Philadelphia.

Then in the 88th minute, Philadelphia nearly scored when Antoine Hoppenot found Keon Daniel open moving toward goal. Daniel eluded one defender but failed to see a wide open Gabriel Farfan cutting toward goal on the right. Daniel directed a low shot right at Hamid, who blocked it easily.

On the day, United outshot the Union 13 to 12, but four of those United shots came from long distance courtesy of center back Brandon McDonald, with only one on goal. United dominated possession, but the game went precisely how the Union prepared for it in training during the week.

“It was exactly the game plan,” McInerney said after the game.

The Union improved to 3-2-2 with the win and moved into 5th place. United now sits in last place with just four points from seven games.

Lineups
Philadelphia: Zac MacMath, Sheanon Williams, Amobi Okugo, Jeff Parke, Raymon Gaddis, Brian Carroll, Danny Cruz (Gabriel Farfan ’87), Keon Daniel, Michael Farfan (Michael Lahoud ’68), Conor Casey, Jack McInerney (Antoine Hoppenot ’77)

D.C. United: Bill Hamid, Chris Korb, Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard (Carlos Ruiz ’70), Perry Kitchen, Kyle Porter, Marcelo Saragosa (Raphael Augusto ’46, Robbie Russell ’84), Chris Pontius, Dwayne De Rosario, Lionard Pajoy

Scoring summary

7: PHI- McInerney (assisted by Casey)
11: PHI- Casey (Cruz)
17: DC – Kitchen (De Rosario, McDonald)
26: PHI – McInerney (Okugo, Williams)
47: DC – Pajoy (Woolard)

Discipline summary
66: DC – Jakovic (foul)
92: PHI – Casey (time wasting)

Match Stats

D.C. United

Philadelphia Union

13

Attempts on Goal

12

5

Shots on Target

4

3

Shots off Target

4

5

Blocked Shots

4

4

Corner Kicks

5

10

Fouls

17

24

Open Play Crosses

7

5

Offsides

1

1

First Yellow Cards

1

0

Second Yellow Cards

0

0

Red Cards

0

66

Duels Won

48

57%

Duels Won %

42%

498

Total Pass

255

81%

Passing Accuracy %

73%

66.2%

Possession

33.8%

 

122 Comments

    • UPDATED NOTE TO READERS:

    The time stamps on these comments are incorrect. We had to manually reenter them after a host change resulted in the comments (and posts) being lost. (If you see an error, just email me, and I’ll fix it. Thanks.)

  1. Wilkerson McLaser says:

    So many plotlines in this game. Where to begin? I guess with the good stuff: in his form, JackMac deserves a Gold Cup callup, full stop. Casey is the right strike partner. And, overall, I feel good about our offense this year (weird, right?).

    So I guess it’s a headscratcher at just out inept our midfield has been. We have a wealth of attacking talent sitting on the bench (Kleberson, Garfan, Le Toux), and we start Keon and sub in Lahoud for Marfan?

    Our defense seems to be doing mostly well, as is our offense, but the linking play in the middle has been woeful. I like Keon (and Lahoud), but I’m not sure he’s starting material. These are fresh legs to defend a lead or help park a bus, but they are doing too much to cede midfield possession.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Lahoud was a good sub. Hack was in “protect” mode. The omission of Kleberson is interesting. Did we just swap one expensive (non-playing) player for another. I don’t see Keon having more to offer than Kleberson…in any aspect of the game, really. Not sure of the motives, but it worked out today.

      • Wilkerson McLaser says:

        If you’re trying to shield Gaddis — who was fine today but, really, if he needs shielding then why aren’t we starting Garfan? — why not put in Kleberson for Marfan and move Keon out right? Even Le Toux seems like a better bet.
        .
        I’m just getting a little concerned about the complete lack of possession or link-up play in the midfield.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Huge lack of fine play out of our middle. It will be our achilles, and MacMath will be the other one. ft. I like Keon but would put Kleberson in his position, without question. I liked Cruz’ play, today, but think that Marfan should be the starter, out on the right. I would probably give Garfan a run on the left (Midfield). Both of the Farfans have skill. I think that the two of them, centered by Kleb, could get our midfield going a little.

        I thought that Ray Gaddis played well. He seems to be getting more comfortable at LB. I wouldn’t pull the plug on him, unless it’s for an established LB. With Garfan being the current replacement, I would stick with Ray, if only for his upside.

      • Wilkerson McLaser says:

        Sure, if we’re playing Garfan (which I agree we should). But Garfan has been a more reliable LB than Gaddis, so it seems a waste to let him rot on the bench. I get wanting to give Gaddis PT, but Garfan seems a more complete player at this point.
        .
        Agreed on Cruz. He showed some real chops today (though he still lacks good touch), but he continues to seem more like a 65th min injection of energy or a halftime sub for width.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I think that Gaddis will continue to progress at the LB. With a little more time, I think that he will be a better LB than Garfan.
        I would like to see more of Gabe in the midfield. We are desperate for creative play, yet our creative players watch matches from the bench. I don’t get it.

        Cruz’ selection is strictly out of the managers favoritism. He showed better today but, on the whole, he has been a disappointment. The best position for Cruz is sitting.

      • I agree with you, I don’t hate Cruz as some people do, but believe he should come off the bench(have the same feelings about Keon and Lahoud) I think Gaddis is doing better and continues to show progress, but could still use help, Garfan provides that and some much needed creativity, with both being upsides why is he not playing over there? Still want to see Kleberson in the middle.

      • As I have said time and again the Brothers Farfan are our best true wingers. Keon is a center mid. Loved the hustle from the whole team. Was surprised by both the Kleberson and Le Toux omissions but a win is 3 points.

      • Le Toux can not play effectively in the Midfield. THat experiment has failed on PHI, VAN, and NYRB. He is an average F and terrible MD. It is kinown.

  2. Agree on Cruz. For all the good work he does with his runs, the end product is poor. It’s almost as if the Pajoy-Cruz trade didn’t solve anything. We still end up with a player that does a few nice things but can’t execute.
    .
    Hopefully, Kleberson can start in the middle with Keon on the left and Marfan out right. Cruz would claim his rightful place on the bench. I won’t hold my breath though.

  3. frankswild says:

    you guys better use the picture of them on cop motorcycles for at least one of your headlining pictures this week

  4. Kudos to make for scoring a great goal. I have been hard on him in the past for not making his own luck, not scoring the half chances but the footwork and finish we there on the first one. He is rounding out.

    Cruz looked dangerous much of the game and if he would have had a little better passing on a few of his runs we may have had to make him man of the match but alas this is why he doesn’t play elsewhere.

    Gaddis had a great game. Perfect no but one of his best defensively in my opinion.

    Overall a great win for the union and one to hopefully build off of moving forward. Only real downer was I feel as though macmath should have done better on the first goal. Haven’t studied it but seemed he put up no real opposition.

    • Richie the Limey says:

      Gaddis had a great game?! What?! He was ball-watching, getting pulled all over the place, and regularly beaten by a simple through-ball because of his inability to read the play. Did you not see Lahoud being sent on as a security blanket for him because he was being eaten alive on that wing? Good God, man.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I, too, thought that Gaddis had a good match. I didn’t notice any “security blanket”. I saw Lahoud’s sub strictly as Hackworth looking to protect the lead.

      • Lahoud’s sub was to protect the lead, but I also think it was to provide cover for Gaddis. They did just move Pontius over to the right side of the field to try to get something going against him, so putting Lahoud on definitely helped him. But Gaddis definitely had a good game today.

      • Jim Presti says:

        From what I remember after compiling the stats last night for the monthly infographic, Gaddis had a very solid game defensively.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Looked like, statistically speaking, Gaddis had an excellent game. Look at his numbers, compared to Williams. It would appear that Gaddis (a RB) is actually playing LB, better than Williams is playing RB. Hmm…

      • I was speaking in relativistic terms about gaddis of course as we all do on this blog. We do not support man U, barca, or bayern on this blog so of course great is not meant as balon d’or material.

        All I was getting at was that gaddis is improving. Does he still hang himself out to dry, yes but those times are now beginning to be outweighed by the good stops, good reactions, and better calm he shows on the ball. He is continuing to improve and over the course of this season he may become a very good (MLS) left back.

      • Look at the double Gaddis had on the RIGHT side of the pitch in the second half to destroy a dangerous D.C. counter. Amobi was up for a set piece and D.C. came steaming our way. Ray flew out right and dispossessed one guy before tackling it away from the next. The kid has some F ing chops.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I would call Gaddis improved…abandoning the improving title. He gets hung out to dry, but the same can be said of our entire back line. Ray is making some very nice plays, on both sides of the ball. I think that he is one of the most talented players on the team. The adjustment from RB to LB is not an easy task. I think that, overall, Gaddis has performed admirably. He should get some credit.

      • JediLos117 says:

        While Gaddis did/does have some key interventions, specifically that one yesterday when he basically prevented a goal on the right, he continues to be our weakest defensive link.
        .
        He needs cover (Lahoud and Carroll) and he is regularly targeted by opposing offenses.
        .
        His growth has mirrored MacMath’s…slow and at times painful.

      • The Black Hand says:

        No way. He did have his bumps in the road, but Ray is coming into form at LB. Gaddis came up with some very key plays for us on both sides of the ball. He is beginning to look better than Williams does at RB, while playing at LB. Imagine how he could look at RB. Every member of our back line has gotten beat badly, yet Gaddis is the only one that gets pinned to the cross. Amobi got EXPOSED yesterday, yet not a word. Gaddis deserves credit.
        .
        Any player would get support, when going up against the likes of Zusi, Pontius, etc… An argument could be made that they are targeting Gaddis but, on the whole, I think he is standing up to the test.
        .
        Mirroring MacMath’s? Ray Gaddis has made real strides and shown progress. MacMath has played 50 games at this level and, honestly, he looked better when he first came into then Union lineup. Where is the progress? He makes routine plays look difficult and constantly gets beat by savable balls.

  5. Southside Johnny says:

    Sweet. Batman and Robin, Green Hornet and Kato, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, Casey and Mac…

  6. Mac’s first was gorgeous. Strong run, splits the defenders, sends it far post. I almost feel bad for my earlier opinions on Cruz. Give him some credit in this game.

  7. Good game. Wow. They were actually playing soccer.

    • Yes, they were. And D.C. were truly woeful.

    • Wilkerson McLaser says:

      Really? It feels like whack a mole. We solve (knock on wood) our offensive issues, but now our midfield can’t hold the ball to save their lives.

      • It’s not like that’s a new problem that came from solving our offensive issues though. That’s been a problem for as long as the team’s been around.

  8. Strike partnership looking dangerous. Parke and Okugo need to clean it up a bit in the back. Kleberson for Daniel and garfan for cruz and we could be a dangerous team.

  9. The Black Hand says:

    Good win. Jack Mac is definitely finding his form…and that form is Conor Casey. Midfield is baffling me. Cruz just might have been the best of the bunch. Very strong showing from Ray Gaddis. More of the same from MacMath. Three goals for the Union. Crazy!

    • Cruz was very good this game. But I think Twellman actually made a good statement during the game. He said that Cruz can make the hard things look easy, but the easy things look hard. He really does make good runs, but once the ball is at his feet he seems to get a little lost. All around great game from him today though.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Cruz completed 10 passes in 87 minutes. That is unacceptable for a midfielder. 50% of his touches resulted in a turnover. Also unnacceptable for a midfielder. Instead of making runs through the center of the pitch, he should focus on playing his position, as well as some defense.

      • Ugh, that is bad. I didn’t check the stats but like I said. For all the running he does, once the ball is at his feet he seems lost. I still thought he made some decent plays today, but maybe my eyes just noticed the good over the bad. I still would rather him not start games.

      • Thing is Cruz does the one or two flashy things right. So he will always get into the lineup.
        The irony is that doing one or two flashy things right and not doing the little things is the reason Hackworth said Torres wasn’t on the pitch.

      • Also I don’t know to what god Cruz sacrifices to keep him from getting red cards but I imagine it to have the body of a bumblebee, tail of a dragon and the head of a man

      • Eli not to mention the times where I looked and realized Cruz was making himself available as an outlet on the LEFT side of the field, as in he had drifted so far to the left he was the best pass. I do think the was the best I’ve seen him play, but he is still out of position way to often. If you watch the build up to the first goal Jack had to track back and while watching I said “where is Cruz?” then had to rewind it because I caught him standing at almost the half. He should have been up helping Williams. I’m not saying the goal wouldn’t have happened anyways, but it could have possibly stopped the attack before it started.

      • Jim Presti says:

        Eli is correct. statistically Cruz had the worst game out of the Midfield players. His only saving grace was the assist and his hustle.

      • The Black Hand says:

        The flat stats can be misleading. Now I am not imply, in any way shape or form, that Cruz played very well. I do thing that he had a positive effect on the match, that can not bshown through stats. If you look at stats; Michael Farfan looked to have a decent match, passing-wise. If you look closer, you see that 6 of his passes were played forward. The rest turned play back. I think that Farfan had a very poor match and has shown that way for a long time. The stats would argue otherwise. Statistics are very important, but cannot fully tell the tale of the match.

      • Jim Presti says:

        The stats have shown all along that Marfan has been playing poorly. However, people want to ignore them or dismiss them as a poor game etc.
        .
        I will agree that flat stats can be misleading, but with a large enough sample size – 500+ mins played- it’s very difficult to dismiss them.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I can’t argue with that. If the stats remain consistent over that much time, the proof is in the pudding.

      • The Black Hand says:

        If his ability matched his efforts, Cruz would be world class. Unfortunately, his feet are carved from granite.

      • Cruz’s moment of Glory was the assist to Casey. He completely blew 2 other opportunities with Jack Mac wide open.

        “We literally did the pattern we did to score the goal maybe 50 times in training,” said Cruz

        Right, it took Cruz 50 times in practice to make that happen in a game, albeit, only once.

        I would agree he’s a good 65-70 minute sub when some fresh legs are needed.

      • Agreed.

  10. Wilkerson McLaser says:

    Is really no one else concerned about the gaping hole in our play that we call a midfield? Hello? Bueller?

    • I am concerned. Waiting to see more of Kléberson…

      • Yeah … you’d think after his strong outing last week he’d get a minute or two today. Just sayin’.

      • The Black Hand says:

        It was baffling to me. I know that Hack wanted to protect the lead, but the best way to protect a lead is to have the ball.

    • No, it’s the only thing that concern’s me with this team. I feel like our defense is good, Casey and Jack create chances in spite of the midfield. If we had a midfield that could keep possession, move the ball forward, and not turn the ball over I feel like we would be a playoff team. Right now I don’t feel like we are if the midfield continues to play the way it does. A lot of that I blame on Hackworth for using the same players each game. If it’s not working in the midfield after seven games switch it up.

      • The Black Hand says:

        MacMath is extremely concerning to me.

      • He’s been looking better. There are times this season he looked lost, but that is expected with young keepers. I don’t think he could do anything on either goal today, and he commanded his box pretty well.

        I’m not any more confident in our back ups. Still wish we got a veteran to back him up/ push him. He has no competition at his position.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I feel like he has looked the same since the start of last season…bad.

      • MacMath is improving. Just really, really slowly. He is starting to command the box better, but unfortunately if you look at his stats he is essentially the worst in the league for a keeper starting every game. That should give everyone an even better opinion of our back 4.

      • Wilkerson McLaser says:

        Completely agree. I feel bad about it because Keon and Lahoud aren’t *bad* players by any stretch. In certain tactical situations they may even be in the preferred lineup. But for the most part they do not do enough on possession or attack to stand in the way of the Farfans or Kleberson.

      • Jim Presti says:

        I actually disagree. Based on the data for Possession Differential and Possession Differential factored for 90 mintues of play Lahoud and Daniel actually LEAD the team in possession. Garfan is somewhere in the middle of the pack, and Marfan is somewhere down towards the bottom. Kleberson has such a small sample size of playing time that it’s difficult to make a reasonable judgement. However, projected for 90 minutes of play, Kleberson is also towards the bottom.
        .
        Kleberson’s numbers, with more playing time, will ultimately improve. Garfan has been playing well this past month. Marfan, however, has been playing average to poor [based on stats] in terms of possession/maintaining possession.
        .
        The one upside to Marfan’s play has been on the defensive side of the ball. Surprisingly.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Farfan is playing out of possession. Like Ray, relearning his angles will take time. Center midfielders of the holding and defensive variety (which Carroll, Lahoud, and I would argue Daniel are) should ALWAYS have better possession numbers than wide players.

  11. I have to be a tad negative here, But once again it seems like the adjustments made in the second half were to DC’s advantage. If there were a team the caliber of Kansas City I think they would have come back to at least tie.

  12. agree. I have said before and will say again. Hack may be good at choosing/finding/seeing talent and developing players but his actual game management(subs and starting XI selection)leave a lot to be desired. these are qualities much desired in an assistant coach but not in the manager.

    • True. But I think he is instilling a warrior mentality in the team that Nowak never could. I’ve never seen Keon run the whole field for 90+ like that. The boys want to play for him.

  13. Casey & JacMac are becoming a potent pair up front. Much improved over last year knowing we have players who can finish. If only we had a creative midfielder on the roster to provide them some service…

    I think Twellman’s comments about Cruz were dead on – his runs today were very good, but other than the his cross on the second goal he looked lost in the box, similar to his two touch then shoot in front of the open TFC net.

    Question: Is there anyone out there who could see ZacMac making a save like Hamid’s on Daniel? Other than a few late against Colorado I can’t recall the last time he made an important stop when it mattered.

    • The Black Hand says:

      With exception to Casey and McInerney, our entire club looks clumsy in the box. Cruz played well today but that cannot over shadow the fact that we have seen enough of Danny Cruz, to know that today was a fluke.

      As for MacMath; his shakiness is impossible to ignore. I am not sure how anyone can feel confident, with him in goal. I am having trouble seeing his promise…in any shape or form. When protecting the lead and trying to maintain (the tiniest bit of) possession, it is best not to put your goal kick out of bounds. Every time he put the ball in play with his foot, it went to the other team. His shortcomings are a plenty and they are prevalent in every facet of his game.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        I’m sorry. Cruz made three good runs today. In 87 minutes. 1 resulted in a lovely pass that Casey converted. The other two he misplayed. Outside of that he was a complete non-factor in the midfield. DC had 67% possession and nearly doubled the Union for the amount of passes completed. Having a midfielder whose only interest is running at goal is not helping this team get better right now.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I thought that Cruz kept his defender occupied with his hustling and that holds value. I didn’t see him as glaringly bad as he has shown in the past. His hold-up-and-pass, towards the end of the game was a very smart play, possession-wise. Lopsided possession could be attributed to Daniel and Carroll’s inability to maintain, through the middle. Hackworth’s selection of personnel,in general, is not helping this club get better right now.

      • Jim Presti says:

        Daniel had by far the greatest possession play Sunday. I can pull the exact stats when I get home, but I specifically remember that and was incredibly surprised.

      • The Black Hand says:

        …and I completely agree that Danny Cruz holds no value in a starting XI. He should be coming off the bench situationally.

    • Wilkerson McLaser says:

      Frankly, Hamid’s ‘save’ was as much Keon blowing it as Hamid’s admittedly olympian goaltending. That still pisses me off. Of course, Robbie Keane did the same thing last night. Twice.

      • Agree that Keon could have done better with the shot, but reverse the situation – an average MLS midfielder one on one with Zac. Sadly, I’m fully expecting the ball in the back of the net 10 times out of 10, especially since Zac has been beaten near post a few times already this season.

        A side note on Keane, yes he whiffed on two, but his assist on Donovan’s goal, drawing in Nielsen, was beautiful. He currently fills the ‘aging European DP that I love to watch’ spot for me.

      • The Black Hand says:

        MacMath presents himself ‘small’, giving the shooter a better look at goal. Then he opts for the fall-back-kick-save, making himself even smaller. Bad habit. If he stood tall a bit longer, making the goal smaller, it would force the shooter’s hand more.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Keon’s shot selection was poor, but it was a fine save. Not so much the actual save (which was nice) but the fact that Hamid kept himself large, limiting Keon’s ability to zero in. That said, a quality player would have scored with ease. A little chip would have done the trick, much like Hoppenot’s chance against Toronto. It happens.

    • Hamid’s save on Keon was world class. Period.

  14. A good win and 3 points on the road, and yet I’m still kinda disappointed. Maybe I need therapy? A few thoughts:

    First, why do we bother having creative midfield options like Torres or Kleberson on the team if they aren’t going to play? I would hope that the recent play of the midfield (particularly the appearance of Goofus Keon today) would open the door for the two of them and Garfan as well, but I have seen nothing to indicate that that will be the case.

    On Danny Cruz. I, like many of you, am of the opinion that he lacks the quality to start at this level. Today, he did have one of his better performances. Against a poor DC United defense, Cruz was able to make good use of his pace/hustle/grit skillset and make a number of very good runs. BUT, apart from the buildup and assist on the Casey goal, the end product was dismal. At this point, it can’t be anything but the coach’s favoritism that is keeping him in the team.

    On Zac MacMath. First, as PSP tweeted, spilling that ball is unacceptable, that’s just not good enough, and I’m sure he knows it. Now, on Pajoy’s goal…that’s not on Zac, of course not…BUT big time goalkeepers make big time saves…he’s going to have to start coming up with some of those. Hey, if I’m wrong, let me have it, but in my opinion, despite Zac’s youth, sooner or later he needs to start showing that he’s anything but a replacement-level keeper in this league. Does that mean he should have done better on the goal? No. I’m just saying that for him to show that he’s an elite talent, he’s going to have to make that kind of save once in a while.

    On a more positive note, what more can you say about Jack McInerney? Sky is the limit for that dude if he keeps improving, and there’s no reason to think he won’t. Would not be surprised to see the USMNT in his future.

    I need a drink. Bring on the Revs.

    • Ben, you and I are of the same mind on Zac. Couldn’t be faulted on either goal today, but when was the last time he salvaged a win or a draw for the Union with a ‘big’ save? Union lost 2 points a week ago because TFC’s keeper came up big multiple times. A GK who can make saves that turn 1-1 draws into 1-0 wins could be the difference in a playoff spot this season.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I thought that the first shot was savable. Zac’s saving grace might be the fact that he is not tested all that often.

    • I disagree a little here, I went back and watched it, that ball was floated in to the 6 yard box, yes the defense blew it and didn’t cover like they should, but Zach should have come out strong and got that, I’m not as down on Zach as a lot of people are, but I still thing he should have come out.

    • Haha. How about someone (Williams!?) coming out to challenge the crosser so he didn’t have all day to send in a cross?

      And then, how about Okugo not losing track of Pajoy and letting him drift easily behind him and in front of Parke?

      But it’s ok, lets skip those two who are at fault so we can find a reason to lay something at our GKs feet some more.

      • I am not laying it at his feet. lots of GK get layed out to dry by their defense. Break downs happen less we wouldn’t have many goals. I think we are all just looking for him to make a save or two in a game that aren’t routine/can’t miss that types of saves. We want him to be more than OK we want him to improve and I believe we have seen little improvement since his concussion and the fall back, small stature save isnt getting it done.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I would be happy to see Zac progress, to the level of OK. He is not OK. A mediocre goalie comes up with big saves at times. Our Young Zac comes up with saves when the ball is played directly to him. Anywhere farther than that and the ball is in the twine. I’m growing tired of waiting for MacMath to show some promise…I mean any promise.

      • I was screaming at the T.V. when the dude had all day and then some to send in the cross.

      • And James I agree with all those points, I’m not saying the defense did any type of job, and I’m not a Zach hater like a lot of people are, trust me there was plenty of blame to go around, all I’m saying is he stayed stationary on his goal line when he because of the way the cross came in he had time to come get that ball out of the air and he didn’t.

      • The Black Hand says:

        When was last time you have seen MacMath make a real save…that wasn’t kicked directly at him? Is his indecisiveness, when challenging, showing his command of the area? When the ball goes directly through his hands, is that intentional? What are you seeing in MacMath that makes you feel confident? The worst part of our defensive errors is; knowing that MacMath is not going to make the stop. I don’t see Zac’s bright side, i guess.

    • Agreed on the second goal. He probably didn’t have much of a chance. But he didn’t give himself a chance. By the time Pajoy made contact with the ball, Zac was IN THE GOAL. Just stand up, son. Make yourself a target, and you’ll be a target. Ask Hoppenot and Daniel how this works.

  15. I think the Union won in spite of Hackworth. Jack Mac and Casey took their chances well against a very poor DC back line. Hackworth got conservative way too early (again). Bringing in Lahoud signaled that the Union were ok with conceding possession. Apparently, there’s a designated player on the bench who can cover defensive duties AND pass the ball around.
    .
    For Cruz’s one nice assist, he sure did botch a couple of good chances. He does a good job of making runs but struggles with the final pass. It was an ok game for him, nonetheless.
    .
    Overall, a good result, and hopefully the team can steal three more road points up at New England.

  16. Man, reading comments on here never fails to depress even when this team wins and has showed some positives 🙁

    • JediLos117 says:

      +1

    • You are correct. Here’s a positive: doesn’t matter how bad DC’s defenders are, it’s amazing the way JM totally pwned them. A complete fucking Luis Suarez on that shit, amirite?

    • Southside Johnny says:

      Doesn’t seem much like a fan site on Monday mornings, does it?

    • Remember what Mike Schmidt said, and I paraphrase: “Only in Philadelphia do you get the thrill of victory, and the agony of reading about it the next morning.”

      The game was not the foulfest that I was worried about, but how is it that Pajoy and Ruiz, neither of whom were successful here, continue to bring their best games against the Union? Good early part of the game, but if you review the series between these teams, there is a really nasty pattern of the late goal hurting the Union. Here, while it wasn’t all that late, it does seem like allowing DC back into the game, instead of “stepping on their throats” as an earlier commentator noted, is a cause for concern.

    • Wilkerson McLaser says:

      I don’t think so. We’re an impatient bunch, sure, but most of our criticisms seem to be about out hapless midfield deployment. Our offense is as strong as its ever been and the defense was serviceable, if overwhelmed at times.
      .
      The concern is that we won against bottom feeders, but only barely so. I most of us feared the worst after we gave up that second goal after the half and JackMac was pulled (I like Hoppenot but I still don’t get that substitution when it was Casey that was gassed). Our midfield consistently failed to control the middle and provide regular link-up play and the substitutions only aggravated that tendency.
      .
      All that said, I think we’re all in awe of JackMac’s rise to league-leader. It’s worth noting that DC’s defense is actually not bad — they’re often quite good (though much less so today). I think credit goes as much to our strikeforce for punching holes through their backline consistently DESPITE a woeful midfield performance. So: at once hopeful and concerning data points.

  17. Is anyone else worried that marfan is riding his form of last season into the XI. I like him but have been a bit dissapointed with his play this season overall. I feel that a complete mix-up in the midfield may be in order. I have had patience with carrol but how bad was he the last couple games. Its almost as if not having a defensive midfielder would be better.

    how about klebberson, torres, lahoud and hoppenot just to let them all see the game from the bench and realize there are not any guarantees.

  18. Southside Johnny says:

    So to continue in a “cup half full” approach, I think that if we ever get consistent, solid, creative midfield performance on both sides of the ball, this could be one hell of a soccer team. Forwards and backs alike have suffered from this lack. Wait… I’ll settle for consistent and solid.

  19. Good Things: Playing only one holding midfielder. I really think that the 4 -1 -3 -2 is our best formation by far. Having two of the best fucking forwards in the league. Casey wins everything and Mac finishes everything. Growing into their roles. Yes we aren’t a finished product, but we have a formation and players (whether they are the ones that should be on the pitch or not) are being played where they should. I.E. Marfan on the wing Keon in the center. Our backline is young, excluding Parke, but has the potential to be one of the best in the league. 3 points!

  20. Jim Presti says:

    If we were playing against any other team in the league, PHI would have walked out with a tie or a loss. Great play from Mac and Casey. Gaddis also played pretty well. Daniel is becoming more and more comfortable in the Middle. Cruz does some great things for the team and then does some very, very stupid things. Marfan had an average game and contributed in small doses. Carroll and the back four did well to curb De Ro and Ruiz, but failed to protect the wings. 24 crosse – 2 of which became assists – is unacceptable. MacMath looked shaky as always.

  21. Wilkerson McLaser says:

    Sorry, but I thought Keon was particularly ordinary yesterday. Not bad, but didn’t do enough to hold the ball and control midfield rhythm. Some wince-inducing turnovers, too, in which Carroll had to cover for him. He’s fine as a squad player, but he lacks the touch or offensive bite to be 90-minute box-to-box, much less a CAM. Would have preferred to see Kleberson in there or Marfan (Garfan out right).
    .
    Wouldn’t mind seeing Torres play a little, although I might buy the argument that he’d be knocked off the ball a little too easily by DC’s midfield.

    • I also did not find and have not found keon to be all that dazzling.
      Thing with torres is if he can’t play with the big boys then he can’t play in mls. I believe that waiting for another liga mx team to come to town to play torres again is a waste of everyones time. I like torres and feel we either should give him minutes or give him to another team. As it is hes not really depth for anyone we start now as his size and skills are strikingly different than marfan, cruz, carroll or keon.
      klebberson on the other hand should play and I can find no real reason not to.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Keon’s game is pretty no-frills. He has his blunders but, for the most part, plays a pretty intelligent game. He holds up play, allowing for development. That all said, I have no idea why Keon got the nod over Kleberson. He should be our 10.
      I’m not sure that Marfan has any business playing CAM. He disappears…A LOT.

      • Wilkerson McLaser says:

        Keon has a way of disappearing, too. And even when he doesn’t, half the time he’s losing the ball or spraying it wildly. I actually think he’s a good utility to player to have overall, but he doesn’t have skillset of Kleberson (based on a little of one game) or the creativity/upside of Marfan.
        .
        One more thing about Marfan — yes, he does disappear. But he’s also young and that consistency is part of fulfilling that upside. For our purposes, he is better on the wing, but he has the tools to take the CAM role we played him there consistently (if, say, Kleberson turned out to be a dud).

      • The Black Hand says:

        I agree. Keon’s game is in no way complete. But…I think that he is superior to Farfan, at the center. Keon has produced some very fine play, at times.
        .
        As for Farfan, Yes…he is young . But…he is supposed to be a playmaker. So far, the lion share of what I see from him is; forced low-percentage passes and the occasional flashy footwork. On the whole, very little positive play has come from #21. He needs to step up!!
        .
        Kleberson should be the 10. I can’t see why Hack would opt for Daniel or Marfan (or anyone else) over the brazilian.

      • I think that Mike has his best chances to make plays out wide. He eats dude’s lunches out there one v one. Even when he was the CAM he drifted wide. And OK we all want to see Kleberson run the show. I love that Brazilian flair baby.

    • Jim Presti says:

      IMO Kleberson should have started over Daniel. That said, Daniel did have the strongest possession numbers yesterday [see above postings]. I can pull them later after work. Keon isn’t flashy, but he does what he needs to. Torres’ career in PHI is over. Regrettably.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I completely agree and am looking forward to your report. Thanks, in advance.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Could not disagree with you both more. Keon is playing ATTACKING CENTER MIDFIELD. If he was a box-to-box or defensive midfielder, his no-flare possession based game would be acceptable. He’s an attacking midfielder who doesn’t attack. How is that good for this team?

      • The Black Hand says:

        Not saying that Keon should be our CAM. Kleberson should fill that roll. I am saying Keon has produced the best out of Hack’s chosen CAM’s. It’s not as if he has done nothing, as far as generating attacking play.

      • Jeez, tough crowd. How many solid performances does a guy have to put in before he stops getting his chops busted. Black Hand is right in saying that of the CAMs thus far, Keon takes the cake.
        .
        At the same time, I think everyone agrees that Kleberson is probably the best option for the central midfield (or at least deserves some time there).
        .
        With that being said, there is still more than a place for Keon in the starting eleven. If Kleberson is at the CAM, Keon slots out left, simple as that. There are none better on this roster at LM than he. Not to mention the very consistent service he offers on deadballs, his great possession play (100% backed by the stats that Mr. Presti posts), great defensive play, great passing %, etc.
        .
        How many games must he outshine the brothers Farfan for him to actually get a little recognition. Eli, this isn’t directed towards you, it’s simply a reply to your comment. There are far too many factually incorrect comments in this thread to let go. So much about Keon giving up too much possession and disappearing. How on earth does he have one of the highest, if not the highest passing numbers for this game if he was actually as invisible as Marfan or Cruz? Someone explain that to me or give me some of whatever you all have had to smoke, please.

      • Jim Presti says:

        C-Dawg. Those weren’t passing percentages. They were possession differentials. Passing percentages will be posted with total data sometime next week. Daniel is up near the top of the Mid players though.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Keon is doing what Carroll does. Plays some defense, bangs some bodies and completes a bunch of short passes. There has been no one on this team who has impressed at CAM, Keon included. His high possession stats are nice, but his lack of a threat in the final third is my concern. I would advocate for him moving to the left mid slot, so we have at least one left-footed player on the left side of the pitch. That allows Kleberson to try his hand at the CAM and Michael Farfan to head back to the right side where he has been the most effective. I believe that it is no coincidence that Farfan has struggled since being swapped to the other side of the pitch. RB to LB is an adjustment, so to is RM to LM.

      • Jim, thanks for clarifying. I look forward to the infographic for this month.
        .
        Eli, so we are essentially in agreement then that a mid (not counting the DMid spot) of Daniel – Kleberson – Marfan(or Garfan) is the most ideal situation. I could live with that. However, I don’t buy the high passing and possession being due to him playing the safe pass. If you look at his passing chart from OPTA for last game, hardly any are backwards, mostly horizontal which I consider acceptable because it buys time to get players forward. There were also quite a few times this week where Keon was presented with an awful pass in traffic from both Carroll and Marfan where he somehow managed to keep possession. As seen on last month’s infographic (thanks again Jim, btw!) that Keon did just fine in possession on the left, so I doubt that his positive effect would change when put out wide.
        .
        I do agree that it must be a bit of an adjustment for Marfan to play on the left, but let’s keep in mind that neither Farfan should be on the left. They are much better on the right, as they are both pretty right-footed, and if one of them is better on the left it is Gabe due to time spent on the left. Still unacceptable to start either of them on the left.

  22. My two cents for what it is worth. I think Gaddis had his best game so far and is continuing to progress nicely( will fully admit I was in favor of the idea from the beginning) but he is still not there yet and needs Garfan over there to help him out in the midfield. I like Cruz( who I think also had his best game in a Union short), Keon, and lahoud are good serviceable players( not crap as some people have said) but they are great subs to have on the bench not starters. Kleberson needs to start. As does Marfan on the right. I’m tired of our midfield, it leaves our defense out to dry to many times and hasn’t bothered being involved in the offense, so essentially there are four players in the middle of the park just taking up space. Yes the midfield has left the defense out to dry, but the defense needs to stop having brain farts. I’m not as down on Macmath as others but he should have come out on the second goal, yes his defense and midfield shit the bed, but he should have come out.

  23. Jim Presti says:

    As promised, here are the possession stats from Sunday. I was in the office and the data was on my laptop:
    Player Possession Dif. # of Events Minutes Played
    Gaddis 4 28 90
    Parke 9 13 90
    Okugo 7 27 90
    Williams -10 50 90

    Carroll 1 43 90
    Marfan 4 40 68
    Lahoud 3 11 22
    Daniel 22 60 90
    Cruz -8 32 87
    Garfan 3 3 3

    Casey -10 57 90
    McInerney 3 19 77
    Hoppenot -1 7 13
    Range: 22 [Daniel] – -10 [Casey & Williams]
    Mean: 2.07

    • Great stat to track, Jim. Before seeing this comment, I emailed your partner in crime about this. Hope to see more of this in the monthly stat roundup.

      • Jim Presti says:

        Yeah. We’re thinking about doing a larger infographic. One for the month of April, and another for the Season, like a “running total.” Any other stats you guys can think up or suggestions to better the graphic, shoot us an email.

  24. Jim Presti says:

    Here is the running total for the season.
    .
    Possession per 90 and total minutes played
    .
    Lahoud: 17.419 ~ 310
    Okugo: 12.857 ~ 630
    Parke: 12.571 ~ 630
    Carroll: 9.714 ~ 630
    Daniel: 7.992 ~ 518
    Garfan: 4.576 ~ 177
    Gaddis: 0.581 ~619
    McInerney: -0.505 ~ 534
    Cruz: -1.193 ~ 377
    Williams: -4.000 ~ 630
    Marfan: -4.521 ~ 418
    Le Toux: -4.576 ~ 413
    Hoppenot: -9.557 ~ 113
    Casey: -13.646 ~ 277
    .
    Kleberson, Torres, and Albright were left out due to small sample size.

  25. Pingback: Analysis & player ratings: DCU 2-3 Union

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