Player ratings

Player ratings & analysis: Montreal Impact 5-1 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Let’s start this off with a video that sums up Saturday’s match in three seconds.

Ok, got the ugly stuff out of the way, onward to the very ugly.

There is a lot to pull apart here because: 1) The Union doomed themselves as much with their passivity as with their notable individual mistakes, 2) Jim Curtin got his lineup wrong while Mauro Biello got his lineup and tactics nearly perfect, 3) Montreal didn’t actually create many good chances outside of the (gulp) five that went in (and those are heavily intertwined with the mistakes), and 4) The Union were inches away from making it a 3-2 match and leaving us with a far different narrative.

Passivity

After the match, Jim Curtin said, “The first 15 minutes, we talked about it, getting through that, because we knew they would have a lot of emotion coming off of a home loss last week to New York City. So, I thought we got through the first 15-20 minutes fine.”

The Union rarely got close to Montreal in their defensive half between the 15th and 51st minutes.

The Union rarely got close to Montreal in their defensive half between the 15th and 51st minutes.

The Union actually got through the first 18 minutes fine, playing with a controlled aggression that looked to keep Montreal away from the goal without stretching the team shape. It was a good road strategy, and even as the home side probed the left channel, they never got near goal. The nagging issue, however, was that Philly was playing crab soccer with the ball: A lot of sideways and nothing going forward. Roland Alberg, who needed to pop up in spaces that Tranquillo Barnetta vacated, did not.

And after the first 15 minutes, the Union became far more passive defensively. They sat deeper, put less pressure on the Montreal holding midfielders, and struggled to decipher the movement of Ignacio Piatti and Harry Shipp, who both rotated into and out of the left channel. On the other side, Ray Gaddis lived a nightmare trying to figure out how to handle Michael Salazar and Didier Drogba.

Whether this passivity was planned, bad execution, or pure lethargy is difficult to tell, but it torpedoed any chance of the Union forcing the Impact to push extra men forward and expose their makeshift back line.

Quiet, I’m trying to mark… someone
The Union were far more effective pressuring the ball in Montreal's half between the 52nd and 80th minutes.

The Union were far more effective pressuring the ball in Montreal’s half between the 52nd and 80th minutes.

It’s tempting to blame individual players when something goes clearly and demonstrably wrong. But real soccer isn’t a video game, and particularly when the back four have two new members (Yaro in the center and Gaddis on the left), bad marking is often the consequence of bad communication, and not the cause of problems itself.

On the opening goal, there is clear individual blame to go around: Tranquillo Barnetta doesn’t follow Ambroise Oyongo’s run, Joshua Yaro is slow to react to the run, and Richie Marquez misses a slide that he really should connect on.

But the bigger issue may be communication, not effort. Barnetta thinks Yaro will step to Oyongo, but Yaro has stepped up to mark Harry Shipp (a defensible decision, for sure). Nobody talks, and Oyongo is free to curl his cross into a dangerous area.

It’s easy to say, “Those guys should know what to do and do it.” And that is true to some extent. But any player, and defenders in particular, will tell you that any team is only as good as its communication.

And one worrying sign for Joshua Yaro is that the Union have looked far less coordinated with him in back than they have with Ken Tribbett. This may simply be a question of positioning, but it seems as though Yaro has had communication issues during his past two starts.

Leaving Yaro aside, there were problems from the word go on the left side of defense. Richie Marquez and Ray Gaddis couldn’t figure out who picked up Didier Drogba when he checked deep to the ball, and Michael Salazar was playing Gaddis like a fiddle by coming inside then drifting wide again, leaving Gaddis to mark Drogba when he needed to stay even with the back line and let Marquez step into the central zone.

Gaddis was clearly rattled and was at sea for most of the second half (even as the Union played surprisingly well as a unit from the entrance of Herbers and Restrepo until the fourth Montreal goal). In the video below, you can see Gaddis take a poor angle to the ball and leave a clear lane to the center. Notably, Barnetta could fill that lane, but neither player talks and Michael Salazar easily creates a good chance.

(For a few more examples of bad or non-existent communication, see the player ratings below.)

But of course, the most obvious example of poor communication came on Drogba’s third tally. Piatti peeled into the middle and picked out Drogba as the big striker ran unopposed toward goal. Replays showed that Ray Gaddis had been tight to the Ivorian but dropped off to shadow Salazar on the wing. Marquez couldn’t react to this decision and voila, Drogba scores one of the easiest goals of his MLS career.

However, it’s important to look at the entire buildup to that goal. Prior to Piatti finding total freedom in the center, Philly was pressing very well, with Brian Carroll and Sapong forcing the ball deep and Pontius reading play and stepping to Hassoun Camara. At this point, Barnetta is a step slow to close down Calum Mallace, and the midfielder is able to poke the ball to safety. Then Piatti deftly turns Rosenberry (who probably wishes he had fouled there) and the spotlight finds Drogba, and, unfortunately, Gaddis.

The point is that this was very close to being an example of good defense, and the breakdown point probably comes when Barnetta gives Mallace an extra second to control a difficult ball. This ends up isolating Piatti on Rosenberry and then Gaddis on Drogba. Blaming Gaddis is easy, but the bigger issues are coordinating pressure and communicating in back.

Offense comes from defense… which comes from offense

The theory of counterpressing is that you can disrupt the opposition offense by pressuring them as soon as you lose the ball, thus preventing smooth transitions and denying steady buildups. Many coaches will call this creating offense from defense. But there’s a catch.

One of the unspoken assumptions of the counterpress is that the team executing it must be able to move the ball out of the back so they can execute the counterpress in dangerous areas. In other words, if you lose the ball near your own goal, you don’t counterpress, you scramble. If you lose the ball far from goal, you have players behind the ball who can organize a coordinated press. Below, you can see an instance in the second half where the Union lost the ball after a lengthy spell of possession in the Montreal half. Even though Drogba’s neat skill starts a breakout, there are only two players forward, and they are not well-positioned.

When the Union were using two holding midfielders, they struggled at times to free up Tranquillo Barnetta, who was the only mid further forward. Initially, Roland Alberg’s presence solved that dilemma, but recently Alberg has not been showing up in the zones Barnetta clears, nor has he been checking back hard enough to create space for his Swiss teammate.

Part of the problem may be that Alberg is exceptionally good at finding space, but he’s isn’t that good at making it (or, more accurately, he isn’t trying hard enough to make it). When the Union can break defensive lines and drive at goal through Barnetta or Ilsinho, Alberg has a wonderful ability to pop up in a free area of the box, or just outside it. But when the Union can’t break lines, Alberg still tries to float into holes. The problem: Nobody can find him.

(Ironically, of course, Alberg forced the only turnover Philly created off a counterpress in the first half (below)).

Though the scoreline suggests the Union were steamrolled for ninety minutes, they actually played fairly well once Jim Curtin yanked Alberg and Sebastien Le Toux and introduced the streaking Fabian Herbers and pure winger Walter Restrepo. Herbers plays with the desire to please of a true rookie, and he’s always moving into and out of pockets of space.

Notice anything missing? Very few short connecting/build-up passes for Barnetta.

Notice anything missing? Very few short connecting/build-up passes for Barnetta.

In the hybrid trequartista/sitting striker role he has played recently, Herbers attracts the attention of holding midfielders which keeps them from keying on Barnetta.

To be clear, Alberg is not the sole reason the Union have been unable to establish consistent possession in the opposition half. On Saturday, Ray Gaddis indulged many of his worst tendencies with poor crosses and loose passing. Sebastien Le Toux was also largely anonymous.

And it’s worth highlighting: Tranquillo Barnetta was far from his best. Whether it was losing Oyongo on the first goal, a soft check into Rosenberry on the second, settling for long passes when he would be expected to drive play forward (see below), or staying too deep to nip counterattacks in the bud (see player ratings), Barnetta was not the driving force he has been at other points in the season. Jim Curtin still believes that everybody must play well for the Union to succeed, but the not-so-secret truth is that if Barnetta plays poorly, strong showings from the other ten players on the field may not make up the difference.

Below, you can see Barnetta’s soft check when Rosenberry played what was admittedly an ill-advised pass that let Montreal double their lead.

Scored on by stars, beaten by themselves

Jim Curtin said post-game: “Tonight we were beat by stars: Drogba, Piatti were unstoppable tonight.”

It’s true that Drogba and Piatti were the most influential players on the ball, but the Union did the real damage to themselves by failing to challenge Montreal down the center of the pitch. Partly, this is because Mallace and Patrice Bernier were very good, and Mauro Biello wisely pulled Mallace for Marco Donadel when the former was tiring. But for long stretches of the match, The Union did nothing to worry the Montreal mids. When Bernier had the ball, Mallace felt comfortable geting forward almost immediately, and his interplay with Shipp and Piatti allowed the latter to pick and choose his spots and isolate on Keegan Rosenberry. The Union’s rookie right back is a stellar defender, but he was hesitant to track Piatti deep into midfield, and twice the result was an Impact goal (the already-discussed third, and the fourth, below).

Positive takeaways?

As hard as it is to believe, the Union played quite well for a 20-25 minute spell in the second half. Herbers offered a new outlet that helped the team establish extended possessions, and his quick pressure on the ball meant Drogba wasn’t able to anticipate his midfielders having time and didn’t run away from Marquez (see below).

When the entire Union shape stepped as one, they didn’t allow Montreal time to cycle the ball, and the home side generated few good chances.

Furthermore, the Union were finally able to break Montreal’s lines with the first pass out of the back. When you talk about making a defense move, it can be another way of talking about the types of passes you want to make. Jim Curtin talked in preseason about making fewer straight-line passes, but when a defense is moving side to side it opens up those straighter (and easier to make) passes. Below, you can see how Marquez finds Chris Pontius behind Patrice Bernier, and this forces the Impact defense to collapse centrally and open the wing; the Union end up inches away from a 3-2 scoreline.

Overall, there is no excusing a 5-1 defeat. But there is value in looking at exactly what the Union did well compared to what they did wrong, rather than focusing on the clear individual errors that can crowd out subtler problems of organization, movement, and communication.

The Union got trounced on Saturday: Dominated to such an extent that Montreal’s third and fourth choice centerbacks were rarely troubled. Tranquillo Barnetta was poor, Roland Alberg and Sebastien Le Toux anonymous, and the less said about Ray Gaddis’ performance the better.

But the team has eight days to diagnose the issues, hopefully tweak the midfield setup, and (hopefully) come out ready to earn points against a Real Salt Lake side that is also struggling to build on a strong first half of the season.

Player ratings

Andre Blake – 6

Should he have saved any of those? Nah. So stranded he should’ve had a volleyball with him in goal.

Keegan Rosenberry – 3

Get a point back for that fantastic slide tackle, but the rookie wasn’t sure how far to follow Piatti into midfield and the Argentinian kept making the Union pay.

Richie Marquez – 4

Marquez takes a lot of the back line leadership responsibilities on his shoulders, so he was fairly livid at both himself and the group when things began crumbling. That said, beyond the first goal, Marquez was just one of the guys who looked disjointed and confused as Montreal turned capitalized on mistakes further up the pitch to catch the Union defense in bad situations.

Joshua Yaro – 3

Since I’m not down there on the field, I don’t know this for sure but it certainly seems as though the Union backline doesn’t communicate as well with Yaro back there. The rookie will have to assert himself more going forward to keep that starting role. Below, you can see that Yaro doesn’t check for Piatti as he retreats, and either he doesn’t hear the calls or nobody lets him know the All-Star is there.

Ray Gaddis – 1

Man, just a rough one for Ray.

Brian Carroll – 4

Probably the best of the bunch in midfield.

Tranquillo Barnetta – 2

Philly won’t collect many points when Barnetta is this off the pace. Are we sure he isn’t hurt? If he is, he’ll have an extra week to recover because he is suspended for the upcoming home game against Salt Lake due to yellow card accumulation.

Roland Alberg – 3

Only one misplaced pass, but that might be because he didn’t make many passes, and when he did they were sideways or backwards.

Sebastien Le Toux – 3

Non-factor.

Chris Pontius – 6

He could have helped Gaddis with Salazar, but he really shouldn’t have to.

CJ Sapong – 3

Non-factor.

Substitutes

Fabian Herbers – 7

By far the most effective player on the night. All over the opposition half, pressed well, earned a key pass and a secondary assist. Missed a good chance to bring the team within one goal, though (see above).

Walter Restrepo – 6

Did everything you want a winger to do in the second half. Ran at defenders, tried to put the ball into the box, and let the Union establish possession in the opposition half. Needs to be more defensively aware (see below).

Leo Fernandes – 6

Plenty involved, but too little too late.

Geiger counter – 5

It really would be nice if Ismail Elfath did a better job of hiding his joy whenever he talks to Didier Drogba.

39 Comments

  1. MikeRSoccer says:

    I really disagree with Kevin re Gaddis. Ray was the most experienced member of he back line and even though he hasn’t played much this season, he has more minutes played than the rest of that back line combined. Despite this, it looked as though he would have struggled to tie his own shoes on Saturday night. Unless he agrees to a serious salary reduction, he needs to be waived in December.
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    LeToux gets a lot of flak, and rightfully so, but let’s remember that he has less minutes than Ilsinho, but has been far more productive on the stat sheet and is paid 25% less. IMO, unless Ilsinho can really step his game up, he’s not worth keeping on a 400k salary.
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    Please, for the sake of my sanity, go and sign Dillon Powers.

    • The Little Fish says:

      Disagree regarding Ilsinho and LeToux. Our offense flows much better when Illsinho is on the pitch. He can make the quick tic-tac passes that LeToux can only dream about. And Illsinho holds the ball far more effectively than Seba. We’ve got the cash so keep Illsinho in the starting 11 and allow Seba to come off the bench as an energy sub.

      • I would be interested in seeing a report on Ilsinho’s direct contributions to goals and assists. He may help our “flow” but I just don’t think the data is there in terms of key passes and tertiary key plays.

      • Le Toux has been the king of empty stats for a long time. All you need to do is watch and see the lack of touch or ideas from him.

        I wouldn’t care if Illsinho had 0 Gs 0 As. It’s clear what he does for us on the field when he is playing.

        The problem anytime LT is playing on the right wing is that the right wing becomes a black hole devoid of any form of association soccer within it’s event horizon.

      • Jim Presti says:

        There was a perfect example against MTL where Le Toux was given a decent pass just outside the 18 and his touch pushed the ball too far inside and allowed the defense to recover. Le Toux is all hustle, very little skill.

      • Sadly I remember exactly the play you describe.

      • I didn’t support Seba’s play, just called Ilsinho’s into question considering his huge paycheck and very little weight loss.

    • Adam Cann says:

      I’m just going to throw this out there – if you remove crosses and set pieces, Le Toux is the Union’s best chance creator and it’s not even close. 27 non-cross, non set piece key passes (which is 2 per 90mins). Nobody else over the 2p90 threshold. So he’s doing something, and he’s doing it fairly consistently.

      • Jim Presti says:

        I am incredibly surprised by that. But I also wonder if that’s symptomatic of the other players on the field is well? Is he seen as less of a threat when Pontius, Sapong, Barnetta, & Alberg are making runs into the box and are straggling outside of the 18.

  2. Major issue with Herbers not gwettin g that goal to make the game much closer. He should at least have made contact with the ball.
    .
    You forgot Marquez. He should have cleared that ball on the first goal.

    • @Guido – Added Marquez. Thanks for pointing that out!

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Now that you’ve added him, I think it’s too high. With the exception of the game last year where he got the straight red, I think this was his worst game with the team. In addition to the first goal, if he doesn’t slide on the second goal, he might be able to at least take up part of the net so Drogba has less room to shoot (although someone has to be picking Drogba up). And on the third goal, Drogba took it straight between him and Gaddis.

  3. I dodnt know why, with the 3rd game in 11 days at hand, On the Drogba 3rd goal clip, What are they doing pressing in the attacking zone with 3 players and the ball located centrally? This is nonsense. Press only when it may be to your advantage. The union is playing with one concept only and at one speed. The Rosenberry pass into the middle that led to a goal was so fundamentally incorrect, it was laughable. Somene must teach him never to pass diagonally into the middle while not facing forward. See the clip and see how he could have just passed it back. The boy needs a teacher, not a tactician. The 4th goal shows no urgency in marking. Half the team is man to man, half is zonal, no wonder there is so much space. Just zone and counter if you are getting tired. In the Herbers press clip. Even Drogba stupidly turns into the defender instead of just laying it off, since his back is to the goal. Sometimes they try to press when plain defending will work just fine.It looks like they have been told to close down right away, but sometimes that is exactly what you should not do. Ah well, they are not a good team but better than last year.

  4. Jim Presti says:

    Half the problem with this team in the last 4-5 matches is a complete commitment to launching the ball up top in the hope that Sapong will win any and all headers or that Pontius will race into the corner in-behind the RB. Zero creativity, zero balls played on the deck. Symptomatic of Barnetta in the 8 with no outlet, so he recycles play to the CBs who launch it deep, and Alberg in the 10 doing a sub-par job of making himself available to the Midfield and the fullbacks.

  5. Alicat215 says:

    Adam, agree with what most of you said….and I value what you write. Having said that……..I need you to look at the Rosenberry tackle again. It was a great recovery slide, but it should have been dealt with before that. Look at how much of the ball Piatti shows him there, he has to jump that. He let him dangle that ball out in front of him because he was scared or nervous……and didn’t want to bite. Again, look how close Piatti has the ball to Rosenberry. It was a great recovery tackle….but should have never got to that point.

    • Alicat215 says:

      If I’m able to show that much of the ball, and the opposition does nothing…….I start to drool.

    • Adam Cann says:

      @Alicat – That’s a very fair point, though I think Rosenberry is on his back foot when that ball is out, so by the time he pokes, he might get nothing but crisp Canadian air.

      Also, if I’m a defender on a dude playing at the level Piatti has been at for the past few months, I’m content keeping him from getting a shot on goal. Dude is flying so high that I’d probably be pretty conservative in general, and especially so in the box.

      • Alicat215 says:

        Not in the box brother! 25, 30 out sure….not in the box! Thanks for the reply! I agree he was worried about swinging air……..Piatti is legit!

    • The Chief says:

      How about an interpretation where he didn’t bite on what Piatti was tempting him with. Though I have little skill, even I try to lure opposing defenders into thinking they have a sure fire steal and then attempt a pre planned maneuver on them. He made a fine tackle and planned it perfectly: please move on. Sorry not trying to be a jerk, it’s just that’s the least of our concerns man

      • Alicat215 says:

        It speaks to a larger issue, conceding 5 goals is a back four problem man! Again, one hell of a recovery by Keegan. And of course Piatti was trying to bait him……but there is baiting and then there is also showing way too much of the ball….meaning, I’m oozing confidence and you are scared to come at me so I’m going to dangle this thing in front of you almost to the level of disrespect. Keegan has been awesome this year, but one thing he needs to improve on is his 1v1 defending……to get nastier. I’m not the only on who has said it on this site. He drops and gives dudes a lot of space. 1v1 defending has to be taken personally…….with the attitude ” who the f$&k are you coming at me like that? Don’t f$&k with me dude!” Ask any flank back…….you are on an island.

      • Yeah, it gets lonely on the outside sometimes, especially when your CBs are having an off night, or you’re playing in a rec league and that’s where your “captain” is trying to hide the people who have no business being on the field. But I digress. I was always taught to attack when I had defenders set behind me, and contain when they needed recovery time. I’d have been at Piatti on that play (and almost certainly embarrassed too). Keegan surely isn’t a polished product yet, but he’s shown flashes all year (look at the last montreal game). His 1v1 defending was on point that day.

      • Alicat215 says:

        That’s not smart of your “captain” bro! That’s funny though……I played RB in college…..try to stick to the middle of the park approaching middle age……don’t want to get exposed on the island! Mind writes checks body can’t cash anymore….but I was taught the same….contain and subtlety close space…..but that shit stops at the 18. I too at my age would have probably whiffed on Piatti!

  6. The Little Fish says:

    With Barnetta out next week and Illsinho nicked up I worry that we’ll look like the Union from the past- totally unable to string together short passes. I hope I’m wrong. Once I saw LeToux AND Ray-Ray in the starting lineup I was VERY concerned. Sure enough our offense sputtered! Earnie needs to have a talk with Roland Alberg about consistency and effort. I’m not sure why but he looked terrible on Saturday night. We need that dude! Especially without The Calm.

    • Alberg has been disinterested since his plane landed. Look at the way he whines when he doesn’t get a final pass or a foul. He signed up to stand on the 18 and take shots. He rarely tracks back, only serves as an outlet for his own benefit, and immediately relies on fouling when losing the ball. He’s got talent but his commitment is back with his gf in Holland.

      • Dr. Union says:

        I don’t agree totally with this Alberg use to track back before he kept getting carded for stupid fouls. Now is this his fault yes, but I think he started staying higher as a result of not wanting to pick up cards. He does however get lost in games and I think he needs to do better work to get on the ball. If he gets on the ball early in games he is much more valuable to the team. While Pontius is doing great on the left I would be interested to see if we could get Alberg out wide on the left or right feed him the ball early to beat one or two players then I think he would get more into the game. If you move him out wide I put Ilsinho in the center and Pontius on the other side. I think its worth a shot in at least one game to see what Alberg does out wide when we can get him the ball early. If he continued to stay high you can shift Carroll to cover that side and drop Ilsinho and Pontius back on D. But having Alberg wide and high likely gives the 2 CB occupying Sapong something else to think about especially since we know Alberg can score.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Think about the probable defensive consequences of that shift, remembering at all times that Curtin characterizes himself, accurately, as a defense-first coach.
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        Is Alberg going to be sufficiently effective with the flank midfielder’s defensive responsibilities in front of Fabinho?
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        Second, consider the same question for Ilsinho moving to #10. Call it the Maidana Question, if you want. But it needs an answer.
        .
        excellent point about accumulating cards. My compliments to your little grey cells, as Poirot would say.

      • Thoughts about leaving everything else as it is and trying Herbers in place of Alberg at #10 below Sapong?

  7. Zizouisgod says:

    WIL-SONNNNN!!!!

    Thanks for writing this. This game looks so easy from the couch that we forget how complex it can be and how several different factors can affect the outcome of each play. The convenient narrative is to always focus on the result and deliver analysis based upon said result only, but really, you have to view it holistically.

  8. Dr. Union says:

    Can not believe you gave Marquez a 4. In my book he gets a 2 at best if he backed off any further anytime Drogba or Piatti had the ball he would’ve been in the net with Blake. His communication and play on the night was atrocious.

    • Alicat215 says:

      Hahahaha!

    • Adam Cann says:

      @DrUnion – I guess my POV is that he – and Yaro – were backing off because that’s what a CB has to do when midfielders are time/space to pick their head up. Tribbett talked about it in his PSP interview as one of the triggers a CB looks for. And when Drogba/Piatti get the ball, you have to give them a yard, because otherwise they’ll destroy you. Sure, Drogba flubbed the fk he earned off Gaddis, but you really can’t afford to play tight and risk giving him more chances from that range.

      As far as communication goes, you may be right. I’m always hesitant to directly blame communication because it’s so hard to tell if one guy didn’t talk, if the other guy didn’t listen, or if something else entirely went down. I point out that the line seems less organized with Yaro and suggest that communication could be an issue, but until I have some hard evidence for that, I tend to be careful saying it’s definitely the cause of a problem.

      • Consistency helps along a back line as well. I’ve got to think that not knowing which CB is playing every game is a factor. Tribbett and Yaro have different tendencies, strengths, and it helps a backline (especially a young one), to not have to adapt to the change.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        fully understand, and agree, not coach with sense voluntarily “messes with” a functioning defense, but Yaro has to play against the real speed merchants, like Oduro, like Accam, like Darin Mattocks, Like the other guy who is with Vancouver.
        .
        Consider Anderson. He is an intelligent player with excellent technical skill on the ball. he is not quick, and above all he is not fast. In the American version of the game, he is VULNERABLE. Love the brains, the veteran guile, the strength, the poise. He would be superb as a stopper back in the old sweeper stopper defensive scheme. But as a center back in a flat back four, he has a ten-inch hole in his belt armor below his waterline.
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        Sometimes, you simply must have the speed.
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        Why else does Paunovic in Chicago, or any other coach, put up with the way David Accam and Kennedy Igbononukwe (sorry, that’s spelled wrong for certain)refuse to play defense? More importantly why do their exhausted teammates put up with it?

      • Adam I can understand dropping off a little bit based on positioning and the time and space the midfielders have. As I see it though as Piatti and Drogba received the ball the dropping off continued opening up anywhere from 3 to 10 yards in between players. And any players with Piatti and Drogba’s skills are going to exploit that. Give a cushion sure, drop off to not get beat over the top sure, drop off to position yourself better for the entry pass from midfield fine, drop off for help from a recovery run. However in my mind you don’t drop off at 20 or 18 yards out when the ST receives the ball giving Drogba 5 yards it just doesn’t make sense. It happened all night to everyone on the backline, but Marquez was the most glaringly obvious on this day. I agree with the comment I saw above may be his worst game in a Union Jersey.

  9. So, this is the first non open cup game I missed all season. Last year when I missed a game, I’d throw on MLS Live and slog through whatever turd the Union left on the pitch that day, look for a bright spot and resign myself to more of the same, all while hoping for change. I was looking forward to not having to do this again. But alas, this is how we learn.

  10. Yes, nearly 3-2, but the U wouldn’t’ve earned the point in a draw. Did adrenaline give way to fatigue 18 munutes in? Communication requires alertness and effort. When you generate obly 1 shot on goal in a half, you’re putting it all on your defense. A tired backline that had played in this formation once before? Curtin’s comments don’t comfort – RSL is a must-win. No Calm. Alberg & Ilsinho must be in top form. Who scores? The roller coaster twists again!

  11. Old Soccer Coach says:

    In re: evaluating the effectiveness of communication, it is easy at Bethlehem Steel games. You can hear the players yelling to each other, even with 67 year old ears pronounced deaf by the wife!

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