Entering the match many Philadelphia Union fans would have simply wanted a result, especially after that dreadful performance on Sunday night. However, throughout it they would not have thought it was going to happen. That was until a few displays of brilliance saw the match turned on its head. With the Union eventually defeating San Jose 2-1 through goals from both Alejandro Bedoya (70th minute) and Kacper Przybylko (78th).
WHAT WE LEARNED
Five things to take from the Union’s 2-1 victory over the Earthquakes:
- Marco Fabian appears to be lacking in match-fitness. Fabian, in his first start since not making the Match-Day 18 for the Los Angeles FC match, appeared to be missing the sharpness that Union fans have come to expect from him. As throughout the match, he would make one strong play, and then follow it up with a poor one. Simply put, the Philadelphia Union will need the Fabian they brought in in January sooner, rather than later.
- Clogging the midfield, by deploying a 4-1-2-1-2, almost seemed to be a tactical masterclass. The Philadelphia Union were able to keep the Earthquakes at bay by clogging the midfield, preventing any through balls that would have given them trouble. The only issue was when they gained possession, the Union were unable to find the pass to break the San Jose back-line.
- The Union have a habit of turning “off.” In the first half, with a nice move by the Earthquakes, Jackson Yueill found the back of the net. In the second half, Magnus Eriksson was unlucky to see his goal ruled out, as in the build-up Danny Hoesen was offside – for both of these goals the Union lose their runners, and they easily score. This is something the Union will need to improve on before the playoffs start.
- VAR plays a part. The Union need to try their best to take the referees and VAR out of their matches, as they were saved by the Video Assistant Referee… twice – once on the offside, and then a second time on the penalty.
- The Union’s best formation is 4-2-3-1, not the 4-1-2-1-2 that they started the match in. Jim Curtin may be out of his depth when changing the formation they play in on such short notice (they played a 4-2-3-1 on Sunday). Playing in the 4-1-2-1-2 the players never seemed comfortable – even late in the match when they were up.