Analysis / Union

Two for Tuesday

Photo by Paul Rudderow

Marco Fabian had himself a night in the nation’s capital on Sunday.

Working his way back to fitness and finding some rhythm with his teammates, everything finally clicked for the celebrated and much-anticipated Mexican national.

He was the highest rated player on the field in this match, as well as the highest rated player in the entire league for the weekend (Kai Kamara’s hat-trick-plus-own-goal earned him a solid 9.0). His two goals, assist, and savvy yellow card were the kind of performance Union fans have been hoping for since his arrival. A perfect 10 score has happened on Whoscored.com before, but is a true rarity. Fabian barely put a foot wrong.

DC went down a man and the Union added some defensive help in Warren Creavalle in the midfield, but a big reason for Fabian’s success was his positioning.

Former PSP legend Adam Cann brought this up in his “Big Play Breakdown” last week and it’s worth reviewing.

The summary: Fabian spent too much time trying to find the ball, running back toward his defense and becoming redundant to the midfielders around him. Cann’s advice was that he needed to stay higher, forcing opponents to look over their shoulders to find him, and allow the two horizontal tips of his diamond midfield to do the shuttling. This simple change would create pockets of space and allow Fabian to be the creator he is.

Against United, he did just that.

On the left is Fabian’s heat map against Montreal, on the right against DC. The Union’s #10 stayed more central over the weekend and much higher up the pitch. The result? A bounty of good things happened.

It’s almost like Adam knew what he was talking about… hand scratching chin emoji

Sticking to sports

Alejandro Bedoya’s stat line from the Union’s 5-1 demolition of DC United was certainly good, including three shots, two key passes, 88.1% passing accuracy, and the third-highest rating on the team. His opening goal was of top class and set the tone for the evening.

What he did after the goal will be remembered for much longer than his tally however. In celebrating, the Union captain grabbed an on-field microphone and yelled, “Hey Congress, do something now! End gun violence, let’s go!” It was an impassioned plea in response to a deadly weekend in America, where 138 people died as a result of gunshot wounds and another 313 were injured (data from gunviolencearchive.com, “Last 72 hours” as of 2:30pm on 8/5/2019).

Bedoya’s statement was more or less unplanned, the outgrowth of a group chat between him and his childhood friends. Noting his national platform, this group urged him to use his profile to make a statement. When he did, it was captured live by the FS1 national broadcast, and then shared by fans, the league, and the team’s social media channels.

After the match, Bedoya was immediately backed by head coach Jim Curtin who sided with him in his post-game remarks. That list of supporters grew quickly to include several former teammates and players. Then, he was backed by the Major League Soccer Player’s Association, and finally by the league itself. He will not be fined.

Fans of the league are speaking volumes about what is important to them via their channels on social media. The journalists and commentators that cover the league are doing so in their mediums as well, and there is a resounding chorus in the halls of American soccer in support of Bedoya’s statement. He won Player of the Week as a result of it.

Whether it be Megan Rapinoe’s unwavering pride in 2019, Colin Kapernick’s silent protest in 2016, Robbie Rogers’s ability to simply take the field 2013, or anything before or after, Bedoya’s passion will be remembered in American sports lore for a long time to come.

What he and those like him are advocating for is the literal interpretation of the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment, which starts with the phrase “well regulated.”

View this post on Instagram

STATEMENT MADE! ✊ A great team effort to get the win and 3 points. In regards to my statement during my goal celebration, it’s a shame it’s seen as a political one. For me, my comments were simply humane. Sharing a sentiment that I consider most Americans can agree on. As in, we need to act like the UNITED States of America and come together to work on solutions to put an end to the gross rate of gun violence in our great country. It should be a bipartisan effort to discuss all methods of making it harder to access certain types of weaponry while still allowing law abiding citizens the right to defend themselves. No civilian should need weapons of war or a magazine with 100 rounds. Leave those for a gun range facility. My call towards Congress is that we can’t just simply sit idly by and continue to watch and hear about these tragedies without even trying to continue to implement new laws while also helping those with mental illness. And before you tell me to “stick to sports,” I will let you know that I am a human being that also has emotions and is affected by things happening in our society before I am just an athlete! We are ONE country and I have faith we can limit these tragedies substantially from happening in the future. God bless. 🙏

A post shared by Alejandro Bedoya 🇨🇴🇺🇸 (@alebedoya) on

 

 

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