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Disney Pro Classic: Union 0-4 Crew

It could have been worse… right?

A young, supposedly hungry Philadelphia Union team was beaten, bruised, and battered by a Columbus Crew side that eased four goals past a disorganized defense. It’s telling that the Union’s best two chances came from a player who spent the rest of the game winning a game of hide and seek with himself.

Lineups

Philadelphia presented a 4-3-3 formation with Eric Schoenle and Greg Jordan in the middle, allowing Shaun Francis and Don Andling to run the wings. Michael Lahoud anchored the midfield behind Stephen Okai and Leo Fernandes. Chandler Hoffman and Jimmy McLaughlin as wide men behind Antoine Hoppenot. Hoffman immediately began slipping into the center while McLaughlin stayed high and wide, offering a nominal outlet for the midfield.

The Crew countered with Matt Lampson in goal, Drew Beckie, Eric Gehrig, Kevan George, and Chard Barson across the back, with Ethan Finlay and Konrad Warzycha out wide to support Danny O’Rourke, Tony Tchani and Justin Meram through the center. Rookie Ryan Finley spearheaded the attack.

Early indicators

The teams did not disguise their intentions. Columbus played through Tchani in the midifield, probing and looking to tease apart Philadelphia’s young central pairing. The Union sought to move the ball quickly up the pitch, with Hoppenot reprising his role as agitator. There were almost early returns for Philly when Fernandes spun a cross into the box. Hoppenot again got good position in the sixth minute, but  a lack of support left the Union with nothing but a corner kick.

Off the corner, Okai found Hoffman at the top of the box, only for his first time shot to fly well over the bar.

Unfortunately, that was the last time the Union could claim to threaten the Columbus goal until San Roger Torres appeared late in the second half.

Columbus takes control

In the 13th minute, Greg Jordan had to scramble back and dispossess Ryan Finley as he snuck in on goal. Michael Lahoud almost gave the ball away at the top of the box as the Union cleared their lines.

While the Union made defensive adjustments to clog the middle and force Tchani off the ball, they appeared to lose any offensive shape. Leo Fernandes was the most influential player for Philly, but his options were limited and his appearances much too sparse.

In the 18th minute, Fernandes attempted a slide rule pass to the right, and the ensuing loose ball fell to Hoffman who, again, confused a rectangular cloud for the goal.

Hoffman and McLaughlin exerted little influence on the game, and soon the Crew’s backs were pushing forward into free space. As a result, the undisciplined Lahoud committed wide with alarming regularity and Columbus discovered they could once again attack down the center.

Finley finishes

They wasted no time. In the 28th minute, Jordan and Schoenle left a huge gap between them and Ryan Finley waltzed through on goal, rounding Chase Harrison and slotting home with his left foot.

The Union immediately became more direct and less effective. With Hoffman less visible than Freddy Adu jerseys at the team store, Don Andling had the entire left side to himself. He ran it with regularity, with no support and no clear end product in mind.

Finlay finishes

On the other hand, Columbus was finding time and space in the final third. Warzycha snuck down to the endline on the left, creating just enough space to slip a low cross into the six yard box. Ethan Finlay beat Greg Jordan across the frame to tap in from close range.

The half couldn’t end quickly enough for the Union, and Antoine Hoppenot picked up a caution for a late tackle on Lampson.

Second half

For the Union, the second half effectively ended five minutes after it began. In the 51st minute, substitute Eddie Gaven drove toward the box before laying off for Ethan Finlay. The second year man lashed a gorgeous drive past the diving Chase Harrison.

Night, night

A minute later Gaven was at it again, storming down the left and leaving Schoenle in his wake. His pass deflected wide to Finlay, who lobbed the ball onto the head of substitute Aaron Schoenfeld. The 6’4″ striker hardly had to leave the ground as he caressed the ball into the net.

Lahoud, Okai and Hoppenot exited for Alex Mendoza, Jordi Vidal, and new trialist Georgi Hristov.

The Crew replaced everyone but Gaven.

San Roger

For the final half hour, the match was a training ground exercise for Columbus. Federico Higuain showed his 2012 season was no fluke, as he combined effectively with Arrieta to undo any semblance of a formation or pride the Union hoped to retain.

Roger Torres, entering late in the match, was the only bright spot for Philadelphia. His urgency and desire made him appear to move at a different pace than the rest of the team. He put Hoffman in but the resulting shot went wide. Moments later, Torres earned a free kick from 35 yards out, though his fine cross was as lonely as PPL Park will be come playoff time if this match was at all indicative of the Union’s level of play.

Luckily, a match dominated by players not expected to be in the starting eleven should not be diagnostic. The Union have plenty to learn from an almost universally poor display. The most worrying aspect of the match for the coaching staff will be how rarely the team appeared calm on the ball and the almost pathological fear they showed for playing a possession game in the final third.

SCORING SUMMARY
CLB – Finley (Meram) 28′
CLB – Finlay (Warzycha) 39′
CLB – Finlay (Gaven) 50′
CLB – Schoenfeld (Finlay) 53′

DISCIPLINE SUMMARY
PHI – Hoppenot (Caution) 44′

LINEUPS

Columbus Crew: Matt Lampson (Andy Gruenebaum, 61); Drew Beckie*(Josh Williams, 61), Eric Gehrig (Chad Marshall, 61), Kevan George (Gláuber, 61), Chad Barson (Tyson Wahl, 61); Ethan Finlay (Dominic Oduro, 61), Danny O’Rourke (Kyle Hyland**, 46; Agustín Viana, 61), Tony Tchani (Matías Sánchez, 61), Justin Meram (Ben Speas, 33; Federico Higuaín, 61); Konrad Warzycha**(Eddie Gaven, 46), Ryan Finley (Aaron Schoenfeld, 33; Jairo Arrieta, 61)

Phiadelphia Union: Chase Harrison (Chris Konopka, 65): Shaun Francis** (Damani Richards**, 46), Eric Schoenle*, Don Anding*, Greg Jordan; Michael Lahoud (Georgi Hristov**, 65), Leo Fernandes*(Roger Torres, 73), Stephen Okai*(Alex Mendoza, 65), Antoine Hoppenot (Jordi Vidal**, 65); Chandler Hoffman, Jimmy McLaughlin

*Draft pick **Trialist

26 Comments

  1. That game.
    Wasn’t.
    Pretty.

    At all.

  2. We’re supposed to be getting our starters game fit not our reserve team. Don’t get it. Oh well.

    • As horrificly ugly this game was and the blatant theft of a couple hours of my life this game wasn’t all that bad.
      Most of our starters played a couple of days ago. so not playing them is no big deal, I mean at this point in his career Connor Casey is either fit or he isn’t.
      I think this game was to give the million jillion trialists, draftees, juggling team members, and various other anonymous hopefuls their shot before getting down to working your starters. What is the point of bringing in a million scratch offs to your training camp if you aren’t going to scratch them at least once.
      I suspect in the next few days the axe is gonna fall…hard.

    • They have 2 games back-to-back Friday and Saturday, so the starters will have plenty of time to get in shape, although I too would’ve rather seen them play this game and today’s line-up start on Friday.

  3. I’m embarassed to admit I watched that game.

  4. Is Hristov the Bulgarian striker?

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    It was Columbus’s 5th preseason game… if I read it correctly… and they played against the Union’s 2nd team. If they didn’t score a few I would have been surprised.

    I do agree that the first team sucked in the first game though, so I hope the next time we see them, they are much more put together. Also, I hope a few of these 2nd team players, Torres and Fernandes for starters, get to see some serious time with the first team.

    All that said… a win would be nice. HA!

  6. Hoffman didn’t impress me last year and doesn’t seem to have made much progress in the off-season. Seems like a nice guy and my wife thinks he’s cute, but that isn’t a reason to keep him on the roster.

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      It is crazy that you watched that game and that was your take away. He’s not ready to start. duh. but not on the roster? thats foolish. he was being played out of position in a game where his midfield couldnt keep or move the ball. he’s a striker who works in the box and needs service. until they A. put him in that position and B. give him any service to speak of, he can’t be evaluated properly.

  7. The score doesn’t really matter. I’m sure Hack wasn’t pleased, but for this group it was more about evaluating the individuals. Unfortunately we didn’t learn that much. Torres is making a bid for starting XI and we all know that Hoppenot will be in the 18. The biggest news from this game: Leo Fernandes put in another good shift, he is legit (Maybe like the lanky center mid we all wish that Keon was). Also, we have to find a way to get rid of Lahoud. If we can’t dump his contract give him the choice of parting ways amicably or spending the next 6/7 months in Harrisburg.

    • Concerning Lahoud: We already have Captain Carrol and Amobi. Add the fact that Okai and Mendoza are more composed on the ball and I just don’t see where he fits. Plays hard, nice guy, just not good enough.

    • Lahoud: very fast but has no touch. Exactly what the scouting report said when we acquired him. Wasn’t happy with his play last year, hope he rides pine or plays with the JV this year.
      But, I have to say he really is a nice guy off the pitch- first hand experiences.

  8. Quite a few harsh, dramatic judgments, don’t you think? This isn’t even close to the starting XI we’ll be seeing in March… this was a mess of rookies and reserves, most of which never having played with each other before. Don’t really care about this result, but I’ll take away a positive and a negative… on the upside, Hack isn’t going to be able to ignore the quality of Roger Torres for much longer. By all accounts he’s the fittest he’s ever been, so there’s no excuse for him to not be in the starting XI in lieu of Daniel and especially Cruz. On the downside… why aren’t we using the preseason to get our A-team match fit? I feel like this franchise grossly mishandles the preseason every time.

    • Ang I would only counter with this, they play 3 games in 4 days, and hack said going into this game that the guys who played Saturday were not going to play Wednesday, and I also thnk farfan may have either been in NY or on his way back to Florida when they played this game.

      • Agreed.

        Maybe it’s no so great that all of us can see the preseason matches as everyone is making wild assumptions & projections based upon these two results.

        If we’re seeing the same things in a couple of weeks, then we can start panicking.

      • Should have read “…not so great”.

  9. I think the plan of getting to to look at all the trialists and bench players is a good one. As for the game it was pretty disgusting. It is hard to judge anyone’s performance completely as there was no cohesive success but from what I noticed, Jimmy McLaughlin is not even close to ready, Greg Jordan makes technical mistakes unfit of a professional, Lahoud is all energy no skill, and Don Anding is at best a long term project of a draft pick.

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      Re: Jordan. He is NOT a centerback. Okugo made a few big times blunders when he was transitioned to centerback. Against Orlando City, Jordan looked very composed, both on the ball and with his defense.

      • I agree. I was impressed with Jordan in the OC game, especially. It’s possible that he made “technical mistakes” (?) but I don’t recall any.

  10. Unfortunately, it seems that Torres is still on the outside looking in. Twice now he has been grouped with non starters. This to me is a pretty severe indictment of Hackworth et al. So what if he can’t give 100% for 90 minutes? Give me his 100% at the top of the first half and the second, and then yank him. He can do so much more, offensively, than the other options. Corners, free kicks, his audacious over the top balls that often don’t work but which occasionally do… The insistence of this coaching staff to reward players who just run (e.g. Cruz, Lahoud) is infuriating. There’s got to be a balance.

  11. Do not take much of anything from this game…that’s all I got.

  12. Disney Pro Classic: Union 0-4 Crew

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