The Philadelphia Union’s draw with the San Jose Earthquakes shows the team still has a lot of growing to do.
You know what does not win you games, and championships? Blowing a lead with less than ten minutes to go in the game and up a man.
While yes, the Philadelphia Union once again controlled much of the first half of the game and parts of the second half their killer instinct lacked late in the game. As is often the case up a man, the team also seemed to control the game, but later they seemed to have the majority of the defensive holes.
The fact is for about a ten to fifteen-minute period in the late second half the San Jose Earthquakes controlled the ebb and the flow of the game. Simon Dawkins was perhaps the most important part of this making two incredible plays in the Philadelphia Union half.
The first saw him dart through but unable to get much of a chance off against Andre Blake, however the second resulted in what was the tying goal which he slotted into the net. He created havoc for a little while, allowing the Earthquakes down a man to tie it up, and really gave them the only point you really look for one the road.
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A point was not enough for the Philadelphia Union. They might not have deserved more than that based on their late defensive lapses, but in a game were the full mastery of Tranquillo Barnetta was on display, and for the most part long time MLS high scorer Chris Wondolowski was mostly irrelevant to the plot the Philadelphia Union should have had all of the spoils with their hard day’s work. So where did it go wrong?
The late defensive let up stems from probably a few things. Jim Curtin refused to make quick changes, especially up a man to cement the win. While ultimately this did not help, it is not his fault the mostly stoic defense this year let up late. It looked like the Philadelphia Union were torn apart for a bit after one incidence.
That was when Wondolowski and Joshua Yaro got in a small spat after the referee refused to call a foul on Wondolowski by Yaro, that Wondolowski thought should have been called. This resulted in a few words between the two, and Yaro seemed to come out the lesser in the battle of words.
Now how does this affect the final goal? Well Wondolowski is one of the elder statesman in the league, much like Brian Carroll he has been around for many years. And this move was one rooted in a veteran mentality. Get under the skin of a rookie player.
Yaro was definitely affected by it, and the often touted relationship between Yaro and Rosenberry as college teammates coming into this season suddenly took a hit later in the game.
Yaro made the bad clearance that landed at Dawkins feet on the late goal. Rosenberry also made some questionable defensive plays getting a beat towards the goal a few times, but ultimately not making as egregious a mistake as the one that ended in a goal.
Going forward we all know that the Philadelphia Union’s young defenders were going to have to grow this season, and while for the most part they have looked good, Yaro especially needs some improvement as a central player. This was not his first clearance went awry, nor will it be his last, but he will be a key player for the future and he needs to lessen the defensive mistakes to keep his spot.
If Ken Tribbett is healthy sooner later than later he will likely return to the field, and Yaro will likely go to the bench, or perhaps to the Bethlehem Steel. But he will continue to grow, and if this season so far is any indication this should mean a strong future for the Philadelphia Union.