Union / Union match reports

Turning over the ashes of the D.C. debacle

It’s fitting that the threat of a tornado provided the only momentary sense of excitement during a woefully listless match. But even the tornado didn’t pan out. Rather than leave D.C. with the expected 3 points, the Union can only head back up I-95 with a deep sense of embarrassment, particularly given how they did their best to spot United on both goals.

On the first (22nd minute), they were once again exposed on the flank — something they don’t seem keen on fixing any time soon — with Andy Najar slotting a ball into the box that a falling Danny Califf played directly to Danny Allsopp. The United striker was even more thankful in the second half when a Kyle Nakazawa mugging and a porous, indifferent Union defense resulted in a feed to the top of the box- this time directly from teammate Branko Boskovic- that he finished with precision.

The first goal especially was a gift, considering the poor quality of the match in the first 45. As the Union had some semblance of an attack after the half, the second goal only served to further highlight their self-inflicted woes. Califf perhaps not testing out his studs enough or two Union players running back in tandem while Allsop was unmarked on his second tally — You decide which is more vexing.

But then again, we almost gave away one in the opening seconds. Seitz’ call for calm upon grabbing the low shot apparently didn’t have much of an effect given what would transpire.

Le Toux nearly got on the end of the ensuing deep ball. Sadly, being a hair shy would be the theme of the day for him once again. A slight tug by defender Julius James seemed to warrant a pk in the 85th minute- Le Toux was bracing himself back against the charging defender, so only a slight tug was needed to bring him down- but the referee saw it differently. While Le Toux is no Moreno, he couldn’t expect any help from the referee on a day when he couldn’t receive much from his teammates.

Nowak…would do well to heed the words of praise heaped on Jacobson by that second tier England manager who recently went through town.

What’s particularly troubling is Andrew Jacobson’s continued absence from the lineup when his ability to carry through mid, cross the ball, and unleash from distance with accuracy are sorely needed. With Torres sidelined, Moreno hamstrung early on, and Coudet not at his best, Jacobsen would have been a great insertion.

Alas, Nowak went with Nakazawa, who can be a danger on free kicks and from range, but can also turn the ball over and wallow in the rain soaked pitch. Nowak, however, would do well to heed the words of praise heaped on Jacobson by that second tier England manager who recently went through town.

A rush by Fred in the 7th fed Le Toux who put a shot high on the keeper following a shifty move at the top of the area. The next attack seemed to speak more to where the game was going, however; Moreno, sent nicely through into the box by Mwanga flopped to ground while the official could only turn his back. Whether he was hamstrung or it was a blatant dive- he would leave at the 16th for Justin Mapp- it didn’t portend better things either way.

The attack definitely improved in the second, which is to say the Union showed a pulse…

In the 15th the Union central defense knocked down a deep lob right to an attacker for a shot on goal. The defense followed by displaying another oft-repeated mistake- once again it was apparent how much we concede the outside portions of the field in our third.

The rain falling heavily, a Jordan Harvey take from distance in the 39th provided a sudden spark of life, though his take needed a lot more dip in it. At the 42nd, a forward leapt into a Justin Mapp corner for perhaps the Union’s best chance of the day, though it was a shame it was sent directly to the keeper.

The attack definitely improved in the second, which is to say the Union showed a pulse, with Michael Orozco Fiscal jumping forward. In the 53rd he fed up to Le Toux, who exchanged with Mwanga at the top of the box. The ensuing slanting feed through the area just failed to hit Fiscal as he smartly continued his run.

On the subsequent rush, Le Toux nodded another decent ball from Mapp through the area. But another defensive lapse in the 56th saw Santino Quaranta nearly beat Seitz with a curving shot to the opposite post. Orozco Fiscal lost his footing on the United rush, allowing Quaranta to receive and fire unimpeded.

In the 62nd the Union once again showed their ability to create turnovers in the attacking third- one of their better traits. But the ensuing cross was gobbled up by the keeper. Following the debacle that was the second goal (63rd minute), Mapp forced Bill Hamid to push the ball behind the touchline with a diving save.

In the 81st, United was harrying the Union’s back four, seemingly set to go up 3-nil, but for poor crossing and a diving header by Califf that relieved the pressure.

Nakazama’s selection nearly paid off brilliantly in the 84th, albeit by accident; his deflected free kick dipped down on goal to be pushed away wide at the last second. Given the course of play, we could have used a few more fortuitous deflections in this match. Or maybe some help from the wind.

(Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz)

One Comment

  1. Your point about Jacobson is spot on. He is a guy that plays with a little fire, something that was lacking yesterday. And he may have one of the better long range shots on the team. Mapp tried a few but they were never a threat.

    The lack of Shea Selinas looms large over this team. I think when he went down with his injure, this current problem of lack of width and shape really began. The fullbacks need to fill that void on the flanks.

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