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Match report: Union 1-2 Columbus Crew

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Eddie Gaven scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time Wednesday as the Columbus Crew saw off the Union 2–1 at PPL Park despite playing down a man for the final 21 minutes.

Following a dour first half in which the sides exchanged set piece goals from Carlos Valdes and Josh Williams, the match turned chippy in the second half, with the sides clashing on a number of occasions. Most notably, Williams, the goal-scorer, was ejected after he threw Antoine Hoppenot to the ground, reducing the Crew to 10 men. It would not matter, however, as the Union continued to struggle in front of goal and were made to pay for their inefficiency.

With numbers pressed forward, the Union were susceptible at the back and when Federico Higuain was given time at the top of the box, alarm bells were ringing. Higuain’s through ball found substitute Justin Meram behind the scrambling Union defense, and Zac MacMath’s best efforts could do little more than deflect the ball to the far post where Eddie Gaven pounced to pass the ball into the empty net.

First Half

Despite the Union’s offensive struggles against Real Salt Lake, interim manager John Hackworth made only one change to the side that sputtered to a 0–0 draw Friday, with Sheanon Williams returning to the starting lineup in place of Ray Gaddis.

For Columbus, the recent signings of strikers Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta have reinvigorated the Crew’s attack, spurring the Union’s opponent to eight points from their last four matches. Fortunately for the Crew, their newfound goalscoring duo has covered up for an inconsistent back line that has leaked goals only slightly more slowly than they can be scored, conceding seven goals over that four-match stretch.

With both sides in need of a victory, the match was tentative out of the gates. The early stages failed to find any rhythm with both defenses repelling a series of poorly constructed attacks. ­The Union were the first to carve out a chance in the 11th minute, but like the ten minutes prior, Danny Cruz’s drive into Matt Lampson’s chest came from sloppy build-up play.

An injury to Columbus’ Jairo Arrieta further slowed the match. It was not until the 19th minute that the Union strung together their first composed attack when Sheanon Williams’ well-weighted cross eluded Danny Cruz before Michael Farfan’s driving run into the box was interrupted.

The Union were running with Gabriel Gomez as the attacking fulcrum, and the Panamanian struggled to keep up with the pace of the match, staying high up the pitch and forcing Jack McInerney to drop into midfield to look for work. Where the Union midfielders had failed to launch meaningful attacks in the opening quarter of an hour, McInerney succeeded, dropping into his own half to receive the ball before releasing Michael Farfan. Cutting onto his right foot outside of the box, Farfan was felled by Chris Birchall, who went into referee Yader Reyes’ notebook.

Carlos Valdes’s ensuing free kick took a heavy deflection off the wall, and Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson could not scramble across to his far post, conceding a 1-0 lead to the Union.

Neither team took the impetus following the goal though, and the match settled back into a contest devoid of chemistry. With both sides lacking ideas, it was another set piece that brought Columbus back into the game. When Sheanon Williams’ shirt tug on Dilly Duka gave Columbus the chance to bring their big bodies forward, Federico Higuain hooked the free kick into the Union box. It then skimmed off the head of Josh Williams, who eluded the attention of Amobi Okugo, before nestling in the back of Zac MacMath’s net.

The Union nearly answered back quickly when Chad Marshall’s clearance of a Williams long throw-in fell to Michael Farfan, but the Union playmaker’s shot was blocked. The ball caromed off a Columbus defender, rebounded off the feet of a surprised Okugo, but fell agonizingly wide of Lampson’s goal.

With halftime imminent, the Union had one final chance to break the deadlock when Valdes and Lampson collided as the pair rose to meet a Gomez cross. Both players stayed down, leaving the goal unprotected, but the Union failed to get a shot on target in the resulting melee.

Second Half

Despite the first half’s lack of quality, the Union knew they had the better of the chances and came out in the second half looking to convert and put themselves back in the lead.

Cruz won an early corner kick, but Gomez continued to struggle with his set piece delivery, wasting the chance. With momentum on their side, the Union looked to push forward. McInerney found himself alone against the entirety of the Columbus back line and did well to hold the ball up, waiting for reinforcements to arrive and then passing to Gomez. With Cruz streaking in from the right flank, Gomez played his pass behind the onrushing winger, which forced him to change his run and produced a weak shot on the cutback.

The Union were forced to shuffle their defense in the 54th minute when Carlos Valdes departed with a thigh injury. Ray Gaddis pushed Sheanon Williams into the center of the Union defense, and Gaddis was quickly on the front foot, using his pace to press forward in the attack.

But the Union still lacked cohesion in the final third, with McInerney, Gaddis and Gomez all getting their signals crossed. Antoine Hoppenot soon entered the match in place of Cruz to give the Union another goal-scoring threat.

In the 62nd minute, the Union nearly found the go-ahead goal. Following a poor delivery from Gomez, Okugo tracked down the loose ball. Spinning towards the endline, he drove the ball across the frame, but Lampson got down quickly to smother the chance before the Union attackers could prod it home.

McInerney was the next to have a chance for the Union, but after Okugo threaded his pass through the Crew defense, McInerney could not pick the ball out of his feet.

In the 69th minute, the match changed abruptly when Josh Williams, the Crew goal-scorer, was sent to the locker room following an altercation with Antoine Hoppenot. Cameras caught the off-the-ball incident in which Williams’ two-handed shove felled Hoppenot, who then clashed with Danny O’Rourke.

Up a man, the Union streamed forward. Gaddis nearly picked out Michael Farfan with a low driven cross, but the Crew defense remained solid. Though the Union were coming in waves, they continued to curl hopeful crosses into the area, where Chad Marshall was dominant in the air, clearing the danger time and again.

With 10 minutes to play and the man advantage beginning to show, Michael Farfan nearly grabbed a second for the Union after smart build-up play from Gaddis and Freddy Adu, who entered the match for McInerney in the 77th. When the loose ball found him at the top of the box, Farfan pushed his shot to the far post, but could not beat Lampson, who palmed the effort away.

It was all hands on deck as the Union continued to attack the Crew’s box. When Okugo clashed with the Columbus defense, the ball fell to a wide open Gabriel Farfan. Unfortunately for the Union, Farfan’s shot was deflected and landed at the feet of Sheanon Williams, who had strayed into an offsides position.

Adu was again at the heart of a Union chance in the 83rd when he was played into the left corner by Gabriel Farfan. Spotting the run of Gomez into the box, Adu’s smart cutback teed up the Panamanian midfielder, but Gomez could not wrap his foot around the shot and missed the target badly.

Columbus continued to frustrate the Union with their ability to cut down the shooting lanes. Marshall cut off Michael Farfan’s attempted flick on goal before both Farfan and Brian Carroll had shots knocked down in the final minutes of regulation.

When Sheanon Williams’ long throw was deflected through the box, Gabriel Farfan had another shooting opportunity, though it was again blocked. Moments later, the Union pushed another high ball into the box, and Williams threw himself into an aerial challenge with Lampson. While the Columbus keeper got his fists to the ball, he could only deflect it as far as Gomez, but the midfielder could not improve on his early miss, hacking his chance high and wide.

The Union were pushing all their numbers forward in search of a winner, and Federico Higuain nearly made them pay early into stoppage time. Sliding past Gaddis, the Argentine had a clean look at the Union goal, but MacMath knocked down his first shot. Higuain gathered the rebound but crumpled to the ground in disgust after his second effort skimmed over the bar.

On the other end, Michael Lahoud nearly proved the unlikely hero, but after Adu played in Hoppenot, Lahoud blazed his shot over the bar on the cutback.

The Crew then stole the match deep into the five minutes of stoppage time, finding the breakthrough against the run of play. Lampson’s clearance played backwards off Okugo’s head, and Higuain was given too much time to possess the ball before slipping Justin Meram past Gaddis. Meram eluded the rookie defender’s sliding challenge, but his shot was deflected by MacMath. It rebounded to Eddie Gaven, who arrived at the back post to bury the ball into the empty net, settling the match.

The Union will have until Saturday to think about the disappointing loss before squaring off against New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium at 7:30 pm.






Attempts on goal



Shots on target



Shots off target















Total passes



Passing accuracy



Yellow cards



Red cards



Philadelphia Union
Zac MacMath; Sheanon Williams, Amobi Okugo, Carlos Valdes (Raymon Gaddis ’54), Gabriel Farfan; Danny Cruz (Antoine Hoppenot ’61), Brian Carroll, Michael Lahoud, Michael Farfan, Gabriel Gomez; Jack McInerney (Freddy Adu ’77)

Unused substitutes: Chase Harrison, Josue Martinez, Chandler Hoffman, Keon Daniel

Columbus Crew
Matt Lampson; Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Danny O’Rourke, Josh Williams; Eddie Gaven, Milovan Mirosevic, Chris Birchall (Cole Grossman ’84), Dilly Duka (Justin Meram ’66); Federico Higuain, Jairo Arrieta (Julius James ’72)

Unused substitutes: Emilio Renteria, Nemanja Vukovic, Tony Tchani, Scott Angevine

Scoring Summary
29 – PHI: Valdes
41 – CLB: Williams (Higuain)
90 – CLB: Gaven (Meram)

Discipline Summary
28 – CLB: Birchall (caution)
69 – CLB: Williams (ejection)
69 – PHI: Hoppenot (caution)

Yader Reyes

Attendance: 16,568.


  1. DarthLos117 says:

    We are an untalented team of shit talking over embellishing divers and floppers…just sad that certain players who represent our city resort to such hijinks. 2013 tryout starts now….valdes, m. farfan, okugo stay…everybody else can go.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Have to agree. I would add Gaddis to our list of keepers. The rest of our club, to be bluntly honest, are not professional football players.

      • Really? Sheanon Williams is not a professional? Brian Carroll, not a pro? Sure, the Union just lost a heartbreaker, but the sky-is-falling mentality from so many commenters is mindboggling. There are absolutely a bunch of keepers on this team — just not enough to make the Union a playoff team right now. You can’t expect the league’s youngest team to win now with so few quality veterans around whom the team is based, and the primary blame there lies with the people already fired. This was obvious in March (when I projected the Union to finish 7th), and it’s obvious now. No, they’re not a good team, but the perspective is worth keeping.

      • DarthLos117 says:

        Williams should stay.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Shaenon, I overlooked. I would keep him, for sure. Carroll…no. Age has caught up to him. He does have value, defensively, but the other components, needed out of a central midfielder, are not there. Amobi has him bested on all fronts. I really don’t see the quality, that you speak of, in the club. Mine is less a sky-is-falling, rather more of a realistic assessment of the club. Far too many ‘one day they MIGHT be good’ players rostered at this point. While it is extremely important to surplus youth, it is hard to take comforts in that, when many of said youth are greatly deficient in the basic fundamentals of football (i.e: settling, passing, basic positioning, keeping your body over the ball so it does not leave the stadium, ball control, first touch…the list is infinite). These safe paid professionals, not ten year olds. We should be far beyond coddling and excuse making. Young talent needs to be developed wisely. We have the youth. I am questioning if we have the talent!

      • The Black Hand says:

        …are professional…Not safe professionals…damn the autocorrect feature of the intraweb machines.

  2. James "4-3-3" Forever says:

    ^ Nice to see the bridge jumping has started …
    Also, that Hiquain fellow is kinda good. HE is the kind of DP the Union (and the MLS) needs. 27, plucked from a decent team in a decent league. NOT 36, NOT looking for an early retirement party, NOT hyped solely because of his reputation and what he did years ago.

  3. memememememe says:

    gaddis is a practice player at best… he is not a very good 1 on 1 defender and he struggles with the ball.

    • How do you pick on gaddis when players like lahoud and gabe and basically the rest of the team are giving up the ball left and right. how about noticing that gaddis played in the best crosses of the game. hes smart and sends in those dangerous low crosses. not sure if you noticed but our team is short and not going to win headers against an oaf like chad marshall.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        +1. Ray’s crosses were far and away the most useful and dangerous. Also re: marshall, i think oaf is underselling just how good he is. were it not for an unfortunate knee injury, he’d be playing in Europe and a fixture on the USMNT. dude is class.

    • The Black Hand says:

      I thought that Gaddis was our best player, in his short time on the pitch. He worked his ass off and created many chances with his intensity. I was very displeased to see Jack Mac chide Gaddis for letting a play die on the wing, when McInerney should have been the one to get on the ball. Awful match from Jack Mac. He should hardly be the one laying gruff.

  4. Philly Cheese says:

    Focusing on the positive first…..60% possession and 83% passing accuracy is good. Anything else come to mind? Finishing chances was horrible. Union need to put players who know how to put shops on frame. I would rather have a moderate speed shot on frame rather than Gomez and Lahoud sky balls. Hoffman has got to be given opportunity. Send Gomez to International call up early and put Chandler in the 11 Saturday.

    • Philly Cheese says:

      Sorry….stilll in shock from last night……shots……not shops……..chances “were” horrible….not. “was” horrible…..I will do better at proofreading instead of wild sending of words. I am going to blame the play last night for my mistakes…:)

      • TheUnionCharmer says:

        way to check yourself, Cheese. I’m on the prowl for poor grammar and spelling today. the people who write in anger today will feel my wrath.

  5. James "4-3-3" Forever says:

    Also, I am going to get out ahead of the curve and going to call to NOT hire Hackworth. I love that he can handle his players, I love his eye for development – I think most people know I am the #1 proponent of building through youth and playing young. But … results are created on the field. And tactically, Hackworth isn’t much better than Nowak.
    Gameday wise – Gomez – Carrol AND Lahoud? Are you joking? And keeping them in when you are up one man and NEED to win!?! Brought back the worst shades of Bob Bradley.
    Training wise – While I admire his adherence to consistency, unlike Nowak, I still haven’t seen enough. We have no concept of movement or passing. Too often we look like these guys just started practicing together yesterday.

    • Nate Emeritz says:

      Comparison to USMNT performances under BBradley is apt: disjointed, less than 100% effort, sloppy execution. The Union could use some new players, but Hackworth has not made the most of what he has.
      Okugo is not encouraging any European interest by getting beat on a set piece (can’t blame his field position) that easily.

      • James Korman says:

        We suck on set pieces. Embarrassingly bad. Nobody wants any part of defending. To me it looked like Gabe and Amobi blew it on the first goal…..again! Where the heck is Soumare. He’s health enough to start 2 weeks ago but “we need to be conservative with him?”

        Our set piece D is killing us…Get Soumare in there STAT…!!!

    • The game has improved too much in the MLS to be competitive with such a young inexperienced team…
      To continue past posts, I noticed offensively that they played a 4-2-3-1 with Marfan-Gomez-Cruz behind Jack. I thought player movement went well and repeatedly opened holes in Columbus. Ball movement and execution on the other hand were horrible. Huge exception to Okugo (only let down was the late goal). Gomez fed some nice balls at CAM but couldn’t finish worth crap. Marfan had a horrific game for him. Cruz’s touch looks like he only started playing soccer in highschool. For the second game in a row Jack looked absolutely gassed in the 2nd half (why was he still on?). Yes Hoppenot is fast and feisty but that alone produces ugly soccer (Hack seems 100% sold on him and ugly soccer). Lahoud’s completion rate was actually really good (not convinced however on how well he sees the field)… Union are now 6-6-1 when Adu plays over 45 minutes and 1-7-3 when he plays 45 minutes or less; that debate is so old however that I would be happy to see Adu go to make room for a different marquee player that will actually play. Or as you suggested let’s get a new coach.

      • Wow. That Adu stat is shocking. Not sure if there is a true correlation or if it is just coincidence.

      • True, but I have more faith in that stat then all the soccer critics that dismiss him as horrible… Remember how often USMNT fans trashed Jozy Altidore, Herc Gomez was cut from MLS, it took several seasons for Wondo scoring at a high rate to become accepted as a good player… unless there is a definitive stat like goals scored that says a player is good, then these soccer “experts” are not so expert at recognizing good players… just saying

  6. That lineup choice definitely raised some eyebrows. Hackworth is probably trying to determine whether or not there’s a place for him with the Union. It doesn’t seem to be at defensive midfield. If it’s not as an attacker, then it’s probably nowhere. That’s something he’d want to know. All Diego Gutierrez’s guys will likely be evaluated this way, and Gomez is the most important, as he has the highest salary and profile. Pajoy and Perlaza are gone, and Lopez will probably follow them. Martinez might be the only one left next year.

    • Agreed, that’s how I’m reading this too. Diego’s boys are on the choppoing block…all expensive mediocre internationals (Valdez of course being the exception).

      • James Korman says:

        Exactly how long until we have to sell Carlos Valdes to a larger club for a few million bucks? He’s by far our best player and with his All-Star exposure how long before he’s gone too. Who knows this could already be in the works with Soumare waiting in the wings….By the way: THAT WOULD TOTALLY SUCK and I’d freak out.

  7. Philly Cheese says:

    Team loss…..not just one player, but could Garfan look over his shoulder and mark up open Gaven instead of standing watching the ball in the box please?

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      All 4 defenders made a mistake on that play. okugo’s misplaced header set Higuain away. williams failed to close him down. Gaddis reacted to slowly to Meram and Garfan got caught ball watching. Whole backline should share in that one.

      • Ha…you could write a novel about the Union’s misplaced headers. No one on this team is capable of making an accurate, headed pass. Not being able to do something so basic at the professional level makes me shudder.

    • Nate Emeritz says:

      Garfan made the same mistake of ball-watching earlier (43′, 3:00 in highlights above) but didn’t get punished for it because Gaven shanked the sitter.

  8. I’m impressed to see that these comments have been focused on the analysis of the play on the pitch and not our free fall in the standings. The loss meant nothing, if anything, we need to position ourselves better in the SuperDraft.

    Michael Farfan is young and has the look of a future stud. I assume Gabe has relative skill, but being played so poorly out of position, has been left little chance to show it. P. Lopez was a grave mistake by the Nowak regime. Cruz gives us nothing that Hop doesn’t, Lahoud’s work rate doesnt make up for his lack of technical ability and Jack Mac has found a dry patch a bit too quickly for comfort.

    Hold on to Sheanon, Marfan, Adu (there’s no doubt he’s the best we have off a deadball), Valdes and Okugo. The rest need to fight for a spot week in and week out.

    • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

      One of the random soccer people I follow on twitter mentioned a few days ago that there are a lot of good LB prospects in this years draft. That bodes well for us.

    • With all due respect, Cruz is a much more technical player than Hoppenot. I think they have the same work rate, but Hoppenot is…not so great with the ball at his feet. He’s a real asset when he can get behind defenders, but he’s not going to beat a defender one-on-one.

  9. we need a good goalie and a good striker. this is how the line up should be…

    new good goalie, williams, soumare, valdes, garfan; caroll, okugo, marfan, cruz; new good striker, mcinerney.

    • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

      Was waiting for someone to actually bring up MacMath, I swear at this point people have it out for him. If you want to blame anyone for the first goal, how about Okugo for getting completely bossed around? He was totalyl bent over man.
      For some reason MacMath has arrived on some peoples shit list.

      • The Black Hand says:

        MacMath does himself little favor to shed unwanted criticism. Yes, Okugo got beat. A lame jersey tug is hardly going to deter a sizable attacker. Amobi made up for the gaff, a little, through strong play on both sides of the ball. (Exception being the game winner. Our entire defense imploded on itself.) Back to young Zac…His positioning and reaction, on the first goal, were embarrassing and should not be accepted from a high school keeper, let alone a paid athlete. The only thing he did was study the ball with his eyes, watching intently as it came to rest in the back of his goal. He has shown very little, if any, real improvement over the course of the season. He has given up far too many stoppable goals, to instill any confidence for the future. I’m not saying that he is a lost cause, but I do feel that finding a professional goalkeeper is paramount.

    • Striker?
      How could you deny our amazing strkeforce of Carlos Valdes and Brian Carroll.

  10. Still hurting from that nut kick last night. Few random thoughts from last night’s game:

    We NEED size. Both up front and in the back. This is nothing new, but looking at our attack compared to the CLB back line, there must have been a 6″-8″ average height difference.

    Thought Gomez looked good for the first time in months. Obviously mishit that one free kick and one shot, but I thought he gaves us some good things in holding the ball and passing to create opportunities.

    I thought Cruz looked no-so-great. Looked legitimately afraid to try to take anyone on with the dribble. Sloppy in distribution. Frequently a step slow.

    For all of the criticism of Lahoud, I thought he played relatively well and intercepted a couple of passes that could looked dangerous. Neither of his misses (both one-time volleys) were off by much.

    Carroll looked strong doing D-Mid things, but downright awful in distribution and moving the play forward. IMO missed at least two clear chances to make the “right pass” to create scoring opportunities.

    Nobody is harping on the ref this game. Did he miss a clear hand ball in the box in the first half? (haven’t seen the replays) Another PK the U didn’t get?

    Higuain is good. Amazing, a player not afraid to take on people with the dribble. Is that illegal in MLS or only in PHL?

  11. I kind of thought Adu wasn’t horrible last night. Whenever he got touches on the ball he looked for the dangerous pass as opposed to dribbling the ball like an idiot.

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      bingo. if he played like that every night, things would be good.

    • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

      Hopefully/Maybe but limiting his minutes Hackworth is teaching him the value of making every possession count. Maybe he got too lazy over 90 minutes and would try stupid shit because of it.

    • The Black Hand says:

      I thought that Adu looked, very, good last night. It is just so frustrating to get glimpses of a very talented player, poking through a thick cloud of lazy, uninspiring play. I really do want to like Fred. When he plays smart, he is one of our team’s greatest assets. Hopefully, the benching will draw out the Freddy Adu that we have been told about for so many years…or further frustrations.

  12. First off, Higuain is an amazing player, what I would give to have him on our team… but I digress.
    “Union are now 6-6-1 when Adu plays over 45 minutes and 1-7-3 when he plays 45 minutes or less” – This is an amazing stat to me. And if anyone has watched these last 2 games, as well as the game in NY that he didn’t come to, and STILL think that the Union are better with him not playing are insane. Well no I take that back, but it’s just not a sentiment that I understand.
    I was still sticking up for Hackworth recently, but come on. The game on Friday was one of our worst offensive outputs this year and he keeps essentially the same lineup. Something has to change… the lineup, and potentially the coach.
    Lahoud is a great energy guy, and is great at cleaning up, but I think Cruz fills that same role, only he is much more offensive.
    Carroll is a very solid, steady player, and is great to have on the team. However on this team, this year, we really should sit him and let some of the younger guys, in different formations play. Let’s see what we have.
    I honestly read the comment above this about Gomez having a good game, an almost committed myself, bc we can’t have been watching the same game. Read the review of the game, his name is there on at least 7 bad plays! He is SO slow, he clogs up the game. His passing was awful last night, leaving the ball behind onrushing attackers on several occasions. His supposed BEST trait of dead ball situations was the WORST part of his game last night. I really don’t know if he hit one good one. He should not see the field unless absolutely necessary, his dead legs do not work with a young and fast team.
    What a bad game to leave a bad taste in your mouth. Lets all look forward instead of at this failed season, and put our guys out there that will help us in the years to come.
    Preferred Lineup – 4-3-1-2 (4-1-3-2)

  13. MikeRSoccer says:

    Questions have to be asked of Hackworth after this game. He deployed a poor lineup on Friday that was unsuccessful and resembled Nowaks horrific 4-2-2-2 and yet he came right back to it on Wednesday. He waited far too long to make subs and the fact that Soumare was not on the bench is embarrassing. The recent run of form by the team and Hackworths tactical decisions make me worry about giving him the full time job.

    Adu should be our CAM. Period. Michael Farfan has been given way to much credit at the CAM position. I believe that Marfan is the most talented attacker we have, but he is a RW or RM. His highlight real is cutting into the box from the RW position and we should let him play there. Califf should never have been traded for Lahoud. Lahoud should never have started and the fact that he continues to get starts raises serious questions about Hackworths competence. It should scare everyone that Hackworth was ok with deploying Gomez, Lahoud and Carroll on the same field, in the same position and not sub one of them out until the game was practically over. This was a winnable game that was lost by poor tactical decisions by Hackworth.

  14. Has Hoffman shown anything in the reserve games to indicate he is deserving of minutes (I haven’t seen any reserve matches)? Looked lost in his last start for the big club.

    Has Martinez been deported? Is he still alive?

  15. Peter Taylor says:

    I understand all of te calls for lineup changes, and I totally agree, but who else can Hackworth play? Other than starting Adu every game (which a month ago I thought was a terrible idea but now I’m not sure) there is little Hack can do to improve the offense. I think Hoppenot by now has shown his true colors: decent finisher, makes good runs of the ball, not great ball control, is abused by basically any defender because of the differences in size. I also think he is a diver and while is constantly picking fights when play is stopped, Hop never seems to actually play physically when play is actually happening. Now I’m not saying they should get rid of him yet, but I don’t think he is a viable option to start. Martinez has shown that he is an ineffective player. That leaves, as our only other forward, Hoffman, who has shown some good traits but is still adapting to MLS.

    But there are worse problems. The U don’t have a playing identity. Other than Marfan, their midfield (including and especially Gomez) wants to play long ball to three forwards who all typically register under 6 feet, and their forwards need to play with the ball on the ground because of their physical limitations. It seems Hack hasn’t recognized this and continues to play a mismatch of technically skilled players and long ball players. I have no problem with either system as long as there is winning. Just PICK ONE.

  16. While Marfan was not at his best last night, I think he was still clearly the best player on the field for the Union. People may trash Hoppenot, but he has drawn two opposing red cards this season. That’s putting your team in a position to win. (On the other hand, Union opponents have seen a total of 4 red cards in August and the U still went winless on the month.) While I think MacMath is our best choice in goal, I’d like to see him come off his line more often. Look how many of our plays were stopped by the keeper grabbing the ball at the edge of the box before we could run up to it. We rarely see that out of Zac. I thought that between the penalty boxes, this was one of the best games the U played all season. Unfortunately, that’s not where the game is won or lost.

    • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

      Really? If anything Zac coming off his line was what caused him so many troubles for a while. Of course, deciding when to stay/go is the hardest part and plenty of establish star GKs still make the wrong choice sometimes.
      But early on, coming out was a strength of Zac I thought, until he made a few bad choices and started to get scared.

  17. I blame the loss last night preominantly on two people; granted, it’s not like everybody else did everything right, and there’s always plenty of blame to go around, but the lion’s share, in my view, belongs to:

    1) Gomez — Just a terrible, terrible game. Couldn’t run the offense, and made spectacular hash of every opportunity he was given (amply described in the game report above).

    2) Hackworth — Fielding a starting XI with Gomez, Lahoud, and Carroll in the midfield was absolutely incompetent. We all know that Carroll, as good as he is on defense, is a pure defensive middie and will never add anything to the offense. At all. We have all seen Lahoud play for this team enough times to know that he is really a pure defensive and ball-possession guy, and is never going to add to the offense. At all. And Gomez, who theoretically has offensive skills, has only rarely put them to use for the U. this season. So who exactly was going to run the offense?? Who was going to create opportunities?? Small wonder Jack Mac kept checking back to the ball. He knew the only people who would be getting it to him were Valdes and Okugo.

    As for who else to play… Other options have not worked terribly, but for God’s sake, you want some offense, put some offensive guys in the damn midfield! Put Freddie at CAM, or put Garfan there (and let Gaddis be LB), or put Cruz there, and put Marfan there, not up top. Maybe it won’t work and we just need someone else. But if you field an entire midfield of D-middies, you’ll be lucky to get one goal per game.

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