On Sunday night, many of the Philadelphia Union supporters who had stayed up to catch their team’s match would not have expected much from this affair. In fact, if you’d ask them, they probably would have expected their side to lose.
Instead, they were rewarded with arguably the best match of the 2020 MLS Season, as the Union left Banc of California Stadium with a point following a 3-3 tie.
However, what can be taken from the tie? Below are a few things that we took note of:
The Union proved that they can deploy a high press. The Union’s first goal – a curling effort from Sergio Santos – came directly off of this press.
Jose “El Brujo” Martinez covers a lot of ground – but seems to do so with little control. El Brujo might still be finding his feet in MLS, but his continued movement, caused LAFC a lot of trouble. Once he’s able acclimate to the league, the Union will have found an incredible replacement for Haris Medunjanin.
Andre Blake’s play continues to puzzle. While Blake was nearly perfect on the night, he continues to flap at hanging crosses, and allows rebounds on shots that should be pushed past the post (or held onto). His role in the lead-up to LAFC’s third goal can not be discounted as well.
The Union signed both Matej Oravec and El Brujo to address what Haris Medunjanin did not provide, defensive play. LAFC is easily the best attacking side in MLS, but continuously conceding efforts where the sides newest recruits are setup to patrol is disheartening; however, I do see this improving, as Jim Curtin’s expertise is in the defensive end.
For the second match running, Curtin makes a questionable substitution, as Sergio Santos was substituted off instead of Kacper Przybylko. Przybylko continues to not provide his side anything going forward. While Santos wasn’t particularly outstanding either – his strike was – he should have stayed on the field as he wasn’t as “gassed” as Przybylko (he was seen in the second half with his hands on his knees at one point).