Did you miss me? Probably not, but hey, I don’t care. I’ve been busy working on final papers for about three classes and thus, I’ve been a little tied up.
However, the Union find themselves in a situation that they hadn’t been in since last season and that would be a winning streak.
Now, let’s get something out of the way here, I’m happy that the team has won its past two games, I’m happy that our defense has found its footing and has been pretty dominant at keeping the opposing team from getting off some good shots. However, before we all proclaim that the Union have “arrived” I want to ask you all something.
Did you think that the Union as a whole, played well?
If you answered “yes” then I’m curious as to what you saw from the team that warrants such an answer? As I pointed out above, the defense has been sturdy. However, nothing else has been.
Last night’s Chivas USA game, besides the win, was a disaster. Two red cards, our head coach ejected and a distinct lack of offense, now go back to the Columbus game. We win off a penalty shot and pretty much besides that single goal, never really were all that threatening.
If the Union had the kind of performance they had last night against, San Jose, Seattle, New York, or Dallas do you think they win?
In case you’re wondering, those are the four teams we’re playing next. The goals scored for each of those teams are 13, 6, 16 and 8. Out of those 4 teams, only Dallas has a negative goal differential with -2.
The fact of the matter is, is that the team needs to start scoring more goals. Chivas USA failed to take advantage of the fact that for 10 minutes (that includes the added time) they had a two man advantage. Hell, for twenty minutes they had a single man advantage. Out of 21 attempts at goal they managed to get a mere 5 on target. If the Union were playing a higher octane team (which they will this coming weekend) I don’t know if they walk out of there with even a point.
But enough of me being all doom and gloom, I wanted to break down a few players and give my opinions of how they’ve performed over the past two games and my thoughts on them.
Freddy has been playing better since his return, not a world class performance but “good enough” his lone goal against Chivas USA got us the win, but before you think I’m all googly eyed about him like some are, that goal only happened as a result of Michael Farfan’s incredible dribbling skills and Chivas USA’s James Riley inability to stay on his feet and basically giving Adu the ball.
I would argue that Pajoy needs to sit. The guy seems to give up on plays and doesn’t have the speed necessary to outpace defenders, the Columbus and Chivas games have pretty much exposed him as being lackluster. Despite his single goal against Colorado, Pajoy has been virtually invisible. At this point I’d rather start McInerney, Martinez or even Hoffman in the spot. Nowak has made it clear that if a player underperforms on the field, their position is up for grabs. However, Pajoy seems exempt from this and I have to ask, “Why?” Pajoy’s M.O. seems to be wait for a long, high pass, try to push back against the defender, not get the ball and then give up on the play. Pajoy needs to stop doing that crap and actually try and make some runs.
Garfan has been relatively decent in defense, however, the tackle he did against Chivas was stupid. Two footed, diving in. It was absolutely a red card offense and remember folks; I’m saying this about a player on a team that I love. When your team is down a man, and basically you’re just trying to kill the remainder of the clock, you don’t dive into another player like that. Garfan is now out the next game against the Western Conference leading San Jose Earthquakes and he could possibly be suspended longer by the league. A stupid challenge and Gabe Farfan needs to be called out on it. Furthermore, he allowed Chivas to attack down his side consistently and rather than getting pissy about the referee not making some calls or making B.S. calls, maybe Garfan should’ve stepped up his game more instead of acting like an idiot.
The Predator has shown some good ball control and ability to play defense, if he scores that header against Columbus in the 57th minute, he’s my man of the match easily. His red card against Chivas was a little more iffy in my opinion. I would have agreed with a yellow, but a straight red? Seemed excessive.
My man of the match for the past game, that amazing dribble he did to set up Adu for the goal should easily be included in MLS “Goals of the Week” voting despite the goal itself not being a particularly amazing bit of skill.
He’s Big.. He’s Orange… He has shown why the Union put their faith in him at the start of the season. Despite some early season gaffes has become a force to be reckoned with between the pipes.
Gotta admit, the kid has been decent in his starts.
Not a player, but I felt like highlighting him anyway. I’m glad to see him fighting for his team. However, he should have kept himself under control after witnessing Gabe Farfan’s two footed tackle. Sometimes you gotta show your players that you have their backs. That challenge was not that time, Peter. The fact of the matter is, is that the team seems unable to string passes together. The Chivas game was clear proof of that where the Union just could not keep possession. It frankly got embarrassing. Columbus and Chivas aren’t good teams. I would argue that our upcoming schedule will be a much sterner test for our defense. It’s “easy” to keep teams like Columbus and Chivas off the board. But how well will the team cope with a Thierry Henry, a Chris Wondolowski or even a Kenny Cooper? All three of those players we’ll be seeing soon and all three of them have more goals this season individually, then our entire team does combined. I singled out Pajoy earlier in the article for not making runs, but it seems like no one on our team does. Play is generally slowed down rather than trying to make a fast break. This would be acceptable if the team could string good passes together, but they aren’t able to do even that.
To quote Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs “Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy, or are you gonna bite?” What do I mean by that? Our team has no teeth. Our defense is solid, but we CAN’T rely on MacMath and company posting a shutout every time the team steps on the field. Freak goals happen, an occasional break down of play happens, sometimes you even have an amazing bit of skill from a player that gets a goal. At that point our team will be down one or even tied. So far this season we have been unable to score more than a single goal in a game. That type of anemic offense will kill us down the stretch. If our team is able to pull out 1-0 wins the rest of the season then hey, more power to us. However, my experience in watching sports, tells me that your NFL team can’t win every game from a single field goal, nor can they win every game of the season by a single run, or a single two point basket. Great defense will help your team, but if your offense can’t do anything, you won’t win more than a few games. Some of you might say, “Well last season the Union went until their tenth game before they scored more than just one goal” and you are right my friend. However, last season the defense held the opposing teams to seven goals in those ten games. Currently six games into this season, the team has allowed six goals.
Considering how much possession the team has been giving up that is not a good sign. You can have a great defense, but if your midfield and forwards are unable to keep possession, eventually the other team will slip one or two in. I truly hope that the team puts it together both defensively AND offensively because if not, we’re in for a rough stretch of games.