Union

Players of the week: Borek Dockal and Fafa Picault

Photo by Earl Gardner

The Philadelphia Union beat an undermanned and outgunned Real Salt Lake side on a rainy Saturday night in Chester. It was the team’s first win ever against RSL, and it couldn’t have come at a more fortuitous time: three of the Union’s next four matches are against the league’s elite.

There were plenty of individual accolades to go around for the Doop Hoops: Marcus Epps’s goal and two assists, Andre Blake’s series of impressive saves, or Keegan Rosenberry’s salivating performance on defense and offense. There was so much quality from Saturday that this week’s Player of the Week is actually two players: Borek Dockal and Fafa Picault.

Borek Dockal

In this week’s Match Preview, a question was asked of the Czech midfielder’s contributions thus far:

Who is Borek Dockal? Is he the slow-to-react, late-to-check, even-later-to-pass-with-that-unnecessary-extra-touch disappointment who’s shown up in most of his Union appearances? Or, is he the red-faced, lava-in-his-veins, match-tilting protagonist who almost single-handedly eviscerated the entire D.C. United squad in front of a sunny, Gladiatorial Chester crowd several weeks ago?

Perhaps the question isn’t quite answered yet, and it might take a season or two to know for sure. Perhaps the Snarky Twitter Heroes who’ve been questioning Dockal’s contribution will keep it to themselves for a week or so. Either way, Dockal was all over the field on Saturday, scoring a goal and delivering a timely assist. More than that, his work-rate was elite and commensurate with what Philadelphia sports fans expect from their leaders.

Fafa Picault

Real Salt Lake’s right back on Saturday night was Adam Henley. He was so thoroughly outdone by speed, guile, and unintentional karate skills of Fafa Picault that he was subbed at halftime.

PSP Editor, Dan Walsh, opined recently that one of the issues with the way in which the Union are constructed is that Major League Soccer is not a video game. Fafa Picault did his best to prove Walsh wrong, demonstrating his analog stick moves with a 10-step-over sequence in the second half, making the aforementioned Adam Henley obsolete by his deft turns and commitment to holding down the “sprint” button in the first, and finding space all over the field through which Union runners could follow.

Summary

When Union fans call for squad rotation, this is why. Two guys who started the season out of the team’s XI (one because of his late arrival and the other because of his suspension) are the ones who deliver them to victory, and next week it might be two different ones.

For now, these are the Players of the Week.

4 Comments

  1. Tim Jones says:

    Chris Gibbons’ description of what Fafa Picault did to poor Adam Henley Saturday night in the first half could almost be applied verbatim to what 18-year-old Congo-Kinshasa recent Steel signing Michee Ngalina did to New York Red Bull’s 2 Captain and right back Conor Lade last Wednesday afternoon at Goodman Stadium.
    .
    Lade’s Coach, John Wolyniec, had to change his right back also at half time.
    .
    Michee Ngalina, left flank midfielder/left winger. mich – EE ga – LEEN – ah. The N is silent.

  2. Also worth noting that Epps had a brace, another significant bench contribution and supports the argument for squad rotation.

    • Except Epps didn’t get the brace. 2nd goal disallowed-offside, but Epps played great. The speed is awesome with him and Picault.

      • It would be interesting some game to see Accam up top with Fafa and Epps on the wings – the speed kills lineup. Maybe in the friendly against Frankfort.

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