Union match reports

Match report: Club America 2-0 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Paul Rudderow

An outplayed Philadelphia Union side surrendered an early goal off a deflection and a disputed penalty in the second half, falling 2-0 to Club America in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League semifinals.

For one of the biggest matches in club history, Jim Curtin broke no new ground with his team selection, relying on the starting XI that has played most of the season so far. About the only selection of interest was Sergio Santos getting the nod up top alongside Kacper Przybylko, leaving Cory Burke on the bench to start. Teenagers Jack McGlynn and Quinn Sullivan made the 18; new loanee Matheus Davo did not.

Kickoff at the Estadio Azteca came late at night — 10 p.m. back in Philadelphia. Instead of the roar of nearly a hundred thousand fans, only 18,000 or so were in attendance on a rainy and cool night in the Mexican capital.

Just under 90 seconds into the match, the Union missed a golden chance when Santos slipped in Daniel Gazdag. His pass found an open Przybylko in front of Guillermo Ochoa’s goal, but the striker’s attempted backheel went wide of the net.

It didn’t take long, though, for Club America to seize control. Andre Blake kept the match level in the tenth minute, parrying a fierce header from an unmarked Richard Sanchez away from goal.

Sanchez would get on the scoresheet not too long after. Jack Elliott conceded a free kick just outside the penalty area, and the hosts lined up for a free kick. The first attempt was directly into the wall, but the rebound fell to Sanchez, who struck it first time. The shot took a deflection off the back of Gazdag, wrong-footing Blake and winding up in the back of the net.

There’s always something strange in Concacaf, and that came for Olivier Mbaizo in the 23rd minute. Battling with Mauro Lainez for a loose ball, an errant hand hit Mbaizo in the face, sending the Cameroonian to the turf in pain. The contact seemed relatively minor, but replays showed one of Mbaizo’s teeth leaving his mouth in slow motion. No foul was called on the play.

Mbaizo tried to give it a go, but after about ten minutes he was understandably unable to continue. Alvas Powell came in for his second Union appearance, returning from an injury he picked up on Gold Cup duty with Jamaica.

The rest of the first half was one-way traffic for Club America. Time and again the hosts bypassed the Union midfield, attacking down the flanks and forcing the back line into scrambling defense. The Union came much closer to an own goal than a goal of their own.

But the second half got off to a better start, with Philly seeing more of the ball and winning a few free kicks in the attacking half. Jakob Glesnes lined up to hit one of his patented long-distance howitzers, but the shot never troubled Ochoa.

Curtin swapped Cory Burke into the match in the 64th minute — somewhat surprisingly, for Gazdag rather than for one of the strikers. The move switched the Union to a three-striker set rarely seen, with Kacper Przybylko filling the No. 10 role.

Blake came up big on Roger Martinez in the 66th minute, after the speedy striker roasted Elliott at midfield and got behind the defense. The recovering Union did well to narrow Martinez’s angle, and Blake managed to get in front of his powerful shot.

America made it a two-goal lead on a penalty awarded in the 76th minute. Recovering from his own poor turnover, Jose Martinez slid in front of Sanchez in the Union box, with the America player falling to the pitch right afterward. Although referee Walter Lopez did not call a foul on the pitch, VAR Drew Fischer summoned Lopez to the monitor. Replays showed that Martinez’s trailing foot made contact — maybe slight — with Sanchez, and Lopez awarded America a penalty.

Defender Emanuel Aguilera stepped to the spot and sent Blake the wrong way, finishing with authority and doubling the advantage for Las Aguilas.

Curtin threw on Ilsinho for Kacper Przybylko moments later, seeking a valuable away goal.

In stoppage time, the Union sought a penalty kick of their own when Emanuel Aguilera knocked down Cory Burke in the box. The referee — and the VAR — determined that the challenge was shoulder to shoulder.

The second leg of this match is more than a month away, as Club America travels to Chester on Wednesday, September 15. In the interim, the Union return to MLS play on Wednesday, August 18, when they host NYC FC. The midweek kickoff from Subaru Park is at 7:30 p.m.

Three Points
  • Not good enough. The game plan was clear: soak up pressure, create a few half-chances, and maybe convert one of them. But — after a second-minute attempt by Przybylko — the Union barely had a sniff of goal, and Club America dominated the match.
  • A mistake punished. To beat a powerhouse side like America, you have to cut out silly mistakes. The Union made too many on the night, and the most costly came from Martinez.
  • Still in it. All that said, the tie isn’t over. The Union will have a home game in a month’s time to try to find two goals. They will be heavy underdogs — chasing two goals isn’t their style, and America are a better team. But never say never.
Lineups

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake; Olivier Mbaizo (Alvas Powell 34′), Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner; Jose Martinez, Alejandro Bedoya, Leon Flach, Daniel Gazdag (Cory Burke 64′); Sergio Santos, Kacper Przybylko (Ilsinho 84′)
Subs: Matt Freese, Stuart Findlay, Quinn Sullivan, Jack McGlynn

Club America

Guillermo Ochoa; Jorge Sanchez, Sebastian Caceres, Emanuel Aguilera, Salvador Reyes; Pedro Aquino, Alvaro Fidalgo (Fernando Madrigal 90+5′), Richard Sanchez, Sebastian Cordova (Henry Martin 68′), Mauro Lainez, Roger Martinez (Luis Fuentes 90′)
Subs: Oscar Jimenez, Jordan Silva, Nicolas Benedetti, Karel Campos

Scoring Summary

AME: Richard Sanchez — 17′
AME: Emanuel Aguilera — 80′ (PK)

Disciplinary Summary

PHI: Jose Martinez — 34′ (foul)

73 Comments

  1. Jeremy Lane says:

    Hats off to América, they were great. Real technical quality on the ball from all the outfield players. The Union could have done some things differently, and were definitely unlucky, but CA is just an excellent team, and playing at altitude brings inherent advantages.

    Overall, a real disappointment to give up the second goal, especially because it was the result of an individual error. The Union can actually play with these guys, so a one goal deficit at home would be more reasonable. Overcoming two like this will be tough.

    But so fun to see the boys play a meaningful match against such high quality opposition!

  2. CONCACAF Clowns says:

    That “penalty” doesn’t get called anywhere after going to VAR. The player would walk away with a yellow for embellishment. That’s actually embarrassing to see. It doesn’t surprise me. I really ate my words at half time when I said “Ref is actually calling a fair game”, and then he proceeded to let Club America absolutely play with him the entire second half with their time wasting tactics anytime the Union got a dead ball situation.

    Embarrassing for CONCACAF. Embarassing for the Walter Lopez, even coming away from the VAR his Fourth Official shook his head at him like “that’s not a foul right”, he turned away from him looking like even he hated what was about to happen, and called the penalty. lol

    A joke. Welcome to CONCACAF.

    Also. Burke non-call at the end. That’s not shoulder to shoulder. You can’t turn your back to your goal side, extend your arm out against a player, and call it shoulder to shoulder. Not a 50-50 ball. If the other one was a penalty, then this was a CLEAR penalty.

  3. I mean to be honest, the Union have zero DPs. They have zero U22 “young money” players. Going away to the most difficult place to play in North America to go against a team that spends tens of millions of dollars more than the Union… yeah. There was only ever going to be one result.
    .
    That said, the Union weren’t awful, and an early goal at home in the second leg changes everything. Let’s hope we recapture our form between now and then.

  4. Ah sure let’s just have three strikers and no playmaker for thirty minutes in our biggest game ever. Midfield? What midfield?

    At least coach seemed to realize that 2-1 is way better than 1-0 and went for the away goal. Ilsinho plays video games and does podcasts, he is not the answer and not nearly fit enough to change a game against this caliber opponent. it’s just disappointing that the kids haven’t been developed faster to appear in this game

    • Correction, Curtin doesn’t seem to understand away goals LOL come on dude.: “I’m proud of the team for their effort,” Curtin said. “But obviously when you don’t win you’re not satisfied, keeping it at one zero would’ve been key, that would have been almost a perfect result. But obviously, we have a little more work to do.” 1-0 is not almost a perfect result….2-1 or 3-2 is significantly better

  5. Gruncle Bob says:

    We were jobbed. How does conca find a dogshit official from a minnow country who apparently hasn’t worked an important match in years?

    No foul at all on Elliot before the free kick that produced the goal. Dogshit.

    Not a penalty on Brujo. The moron was in position and got it right the first time, but overturned himself after listening to the var official. Dogshit.

    How is fucking contact that knocks out a tooth not reviewed? Dogshit.

    Burke was fouled in the box, clear and obvious. He played the ball with his head and then was hit from behind by a defender that got no part of the ball. Dogshit.

    Should have been 0-0.

    • Micah Bertin says:

      +3

    • VAR Official is real culprit. He decides what the referee looks at.

      Var Official tonight: MLS ref Drew Fischer.

      Guess who the Referee is for Union-NYC on Wednesday? Yep, Drew Fischer.

      You can’t make this shit up. MLS team gets jobbed by MLS ref in international competition.

      Let’s give him a nice Philly welcome on Wednesday.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Don’t forget how Club America kept moving up a yard or two after the ref marked the line on every free kick and continually threw the ball away in dead ball situations without seeing yellow. And of course there should have been another minute of stoppage time added while he waited for VAR and for the America player who sat on the ground during stoppage time.

  6. I think the coach let the team and the fans down. Starting lineup, fine go with that. The three strikers up top, Ilsinho, leaving on a heavy legged Bedoya, these things aren’t being positive or going for it. They are tired gimmicks that barely worked when they did against inferior teams. Missing Monteiro this teams needs another player that can retain the ball and create. Disappointed.
    .
    Hats off to the players. There were mistakes, but that happens and they gave it their all. I can only hope coach decides to be brave in the home leg. Really he has no other choice.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      I just finished writing my comment below but I’ll stress it again: Mbaizo’s injury was an obstacle and I recognize that challenge for Curtin. But with that being said, the subs were unacceptable. Coaches are judged on the subs they make. Taking off Gazdag made no sense. Even worse, Flach and Bedoya getting 90 while chasing an away goal. Flach is fantastic defensively but offers little to nothing going forward, and Bedoya was clearly gassed. And if he was so worried about being safe, why bring on still-recovering-from-groin-injury Ilsinho? It was truly baffling. He can’t defend, Sullivan is faster and 10x more capable of applying pressure and springing a counterattack.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Bedoya wasn’t gassed at the end so much as just not fast enough to keep up with the rest of the players all game.
        .
        Gazdag did look gassed by not being up to chasing a couple of balls that he might have gotten too. To me, taking off Gazdag wasn’t the bad call, it was taking off Kacper rather than Bedoya. Kacper may not have been doing much, but he is capable of turning things around with one touch moreso than Bedoya can.

      • Dave Greene says:

        Two issues – 1. Cannot press even when dropping deep. Sullivan will give you 10-15 minutes of work. 2. Cannot keep the ball- McGlynn solves that. Play them for 10 -15 mins and we have the best chance to score.
        Flach good defensively but awful going forward, Ale he is not taking him out. Must be in his contract.
        We needed an away goal and he took a conservative approach knowing these two young players would give us a spark. Happens every game. No chance now in the return leg. Its a shame.

      • Honestly I don’t think Bedoya should be starting any longer. I chose “gassed”, to be polite as I’m usually quick to kill Bedoya.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Even if Monteiro was not on the trading block, he wasn’t playing last night. He was suspended for yellow card accumulation in the first four matches.

      • Andy, with respect, what about your statement changes anything about mine? BTW, I read your post before the match where you stated the exact same thing.

      • If Monteiro wasn’t looking to leave, we wouldn’t be looking for someone else to be able to maintain possession and create. His missing would be a one off for this game and the Union would have had the same issues (unless you’re thinking that there’s someone else on the current roster capable of doing that…I don’t). (Also, I didn’t post about the Monteiro suspension until after the game had started, so I thought I’d reiterate here since a lot of people probably didn’t see it.)
        .
        I do agree about Bedoya. He definitely needs a rest. He gives it his all but his all isn’t what it once was.

      • Sorry Andy, I thought today’s post was directed at my original here, and I just didn’t think it was relevant as Miro would be missing either way, so reason be damned. Meh, it sucks no matter what. Be well Andy.
        .
        I must have read yesterday’s at the half. My point was supposed to be I read it before I wrote here.

  7. In Tanner We Trust says:

    Call me salty, but I give no credit to CA. We shot ourselves in the foot and the ref certainly didn’t help. Blake did enough to keep a clean sheet and the midfield failed to hold possession. Glad Bedoya gave 100% but JC really hurt us with his subs. I get that Mbaizo had to go but the fact that we were out of subs so quickly in a format that allows 5 is pathetic. Why Gazdag for Burke? I know we as fans have limited info but can anyone think of a realistic reason that move makes sense? And Ilsinho for Przybylko? So confusing! We should have seen Sullivan instead of Ilsinho and arguably McGlynn for Bedoya, while I recognize hindsight is 20/20. Now, onto the mistakes. Did Gazdag pull a Ronaldo and shy away from the shot? I don’t think so, but maybe you guys have a stronger opinion. And Martinez’s foul wasn’t my problem with him, it was the stupid decision to take someone on 1v1 in his own half. He’s beaten defenders with that move before but you never try that in your own half like that. All in all, we had everything going against us, including ourselves, and we still only lost 2-0. Hope isn’t lost, but we darn sure better see Sullivan in leg 2. Hold Curtin accountable for bad tactics and hold the players accountable for stupid defensive mistakes, as Elliott and especially Glesnes looked shaky as well. That being said, credit to Santos. He did a lot of dirty running without being rewarded with much service. And Wagner was the best player on the field, in my opinion. I really hope he gets at least a 7 in the ratings because they knew they couldn’t attack that side. Every time they tried, they failed. Rant over, glass half full I suppose. Off to bed.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      What was worse for Martinez was that it wasn’t the first time he lost the ball in a dangerous position. I’m beginning to wonder if he isn’t as much of a liability as an asset.

      • Liability…. think about the 3 game suspension early this year… and all the yellow cards this season. The MLS refs simply know who he is now. Just a disappointment, costing the squad.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        The way I see it, there are 4 ways to attack our defense when the opposing team has possession. 1) Wagner down the left, bad idea. 2) Mbaizo down the right, Powell last night of course, and after serious early struggles Powell really found the game. 3) Dribbling and passing thru the middle, threatening Martinez. He was good all night for the most part in this area. 4) Balls over the top attacking the CBs. I thought THAT was their weakness last night. Martinez made some atrocious decisions but we take for granted how reliable he is at the 6. MLS is not a world class league but we do have some excellent #10s. Pozuelo, Zelaryan, etc. And Martinez is essential to slowing them down. We didn’t do too well in that area when he was suspended. Overall he’s still an asset, we can’t be prisoners of the moment.

      • Martinez is a class above all Union players not named Blake or Monteiro.

        He is not playing at last year’s level and it hurts bc the system so heavily relies on a dominant #6.

        This debate is maddening

      • Martinez is a class above the rest of the team when he is on his game. When he’s not, he’s putting the team down a man 15 minutes in against NYCFC or he is trying to dribble through the middle in traffic against someone good enough to take it away from him.
        .
        I am happy he’s gone 5 MLS games without a yellow so is no longer one yellow away from suspension, but he is in danger of being suspended for a CCL final if the Union do come back.

    • Totally agree. Well said (wrote).

  8. Martinez’ lack of discipline is hurting the team. Two flying tackles, one for a yellow and one for a penalty. 1 goal, which was a fluke, we might overcome at home. He made it infinitely harder by giving them another. And Santos, just shut up and focus….These two things are what stuck out in my mind.

    • It’s why Herr Tanner signed BUENO!!! Martinez is simply out of control, costing the squad, ultimately. Flach would be better in that role, currently.

    • I completely agree that Martinez hurts the team every time he is on the field. I like that hard work he puts in but there are too many times he commits fouls that are unnecessary. Dragging a back leg while making a tackle in the box is a rookie mistake. The Union cannot afford giving away soft PKs as their offense is non-existent right now.

      • AMEN

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        Sigh… the recency bias is brutal in this thread. How quickly people forget your resumé after a few mistakes. On his yellow card challenge, he made a bad decision but he was forced to cover for Powell who made a terrible mistake on that play. If he doesn’t make that (admittedly bad) attempt, America may have scored. And on the penalty, I don’t think he should’ve committed to sliding, but if he is going to slide, charging in with 2 legs probably would’ve gotten himself sent off and out of leg 2. He’s had 2 maybe 3 bad games all year people want him out. Everybody calm down.

      • I think the big issue is his decision making when he has the ball. Too often he tries to take attackers on one on one. It’s fine when it works, although all it does is gain space sometimes. When it doesn’t we see situations like last night.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        I 100% agree, it’s his decision making that drives me crazy at times. But there are “fans” saying sell him and Gazdag. I really should ignore the opinions of clueless people, but admittedly it’s gotten to me. We’re all frustrated at a missed opportunity last night but I wish we could take a breath and relax, myself included.

      • Selling Martinez might be a good idea depending on how Bueno works out.

  9. Sorry but Bedoya was gassed from the start. The mile high environment obviously affecting several players.

    Time for the Captain to take a step back, become the 60 minute specialist we all know (except Curtin) he will be now that he is old.

    And Mbizo injury was unfortunate, but not a factor. AMERICA is just a better coached team.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      Not a factor? No offense to Powell but it was a huge factor. Mbaizo was battling and motivated the whole time he was in and causing problems down that right side. And with Wagner locked in the way he was, I could America committing too much to stopping the right side of attack in the 2nd half, giving Wagner the space to pick them apart. They dared us to go thru the right, and Powell to his credit provided chances. But Mbaizo being there for 90 minutes gives us a MUCH better chance.

      • Not to mention the lack of a call on the play, given all of the ticky-tack crap he’d been calling.

    • Horrible take. Better coached team? How about the Union have 4 players that would even make the Club America top 22. Their payroll is 4-5x ours. And 1 of the goals was a lucky bounce. If VAR gets is right on the Cory foul in the 89th min, it’s a 2-1 loss, and we’re in a great spot for the 2nd leg.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        I think Curtin deserves some blame but let’s not act like he’s what killed us. I swear some of these fans think we should beat Bayern Munich 10-0. Well said, man. We’re against a wood chipper with our payroll. We lost, it is what it is.

      • Just not seeing it.

        Bedoya is gassed every game, and a mile in the air, worse.

        And as far as Mbizio injury, Powell played well… as a veteran should. But to say that injury had an affect on the outcome is ridiculous. He’s a decent back, but missing him was not the cause of the loss.

  10. Mile high environment was definitely a factor in the squad performance… but age still the determining factor.

    Ilsinho? Bedoya?

    Of all games,, THIS was where Curtin could have used the Kiddie Corp… and he did not.

    Think about that……

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      Why would a coach not trust his veterans in the team’s biggest match of all time? He’s trying to gut out a first leg result (of which 2-0 isn’t all that bad).

      • Because they have looked stale for a month now, and every time the kids come in there is an instant spark?

      • Chris Gibbons says:

        Totally true. The team were a deflection and a questionable penalty away from taking a point in the Azteca, bunkering exactly the way everyone expected them to and nearly finding a few goals themselves. There isn’t a coach in the world that’s going to throw a bunch of teenagers into a first leg situation like that, even if the team wasn’t their best leading up to it.

      • Chris I don’t understand why Curtin can’t give the kids a chance in the second half. He calls them over, tells them that nobody is expecting a result and everyone from the guy selling cerveza to the announcers think they are going to lose. So go out there, play your game, have some fun and maybe stick a thumb in old Mexico’s eye.
        .
        I’m sorry but there’s a way to handle it. There’s a way to make it work. This was an opportunity lost.

      • Chris Gibbons says:

        Think about it this way: he plays a lineup like the one he did on Sunday against the Revs and the game goes exactly the same way it did last night. This morning, he gets killed on these pages for the opposite of what he’s getting killed here for – not using the experience on his roster to try and see out the first leg.

        I’m angry about the result, but don’t think it has anything to do with the lineup choice.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        Yeah coaches are judged on their results, regardless of whether it’s fair or not. Personally, I don’t think “the kids” were the answer, I think Sullivan was. His usage of subs was poor but had a few breaks gone our way we get it to 1-1 instead, he’s lauded as a genius for trusting his first team. So I see both sides but let’s not pretend McGlynn and Paxten were guaranteed to save us last night.

      • Chris he wouldn’t get killed from me. I don’t think the vets are working. Jim’s throw every forward and the kitchen up top, has maybe worked once? Maybe. It fails against MLS competition and to think it would work against a Liga MX side is borderline lunacy. It was timid and basic at best.
        .
        If they ask their players to be brave then the coach has to be too. I’m not saying Sullivan or McGlynn start, but they have tools that could have been used in the second half when possession and being more thoughtful in attack was required. Jim’s subs were not the answers to those questions.
        .
        Tanner, I’m not even saying the kids would get the team a goal. They would give it a better shot though. It’s the more positive choice. The Union fought with one hand behind their back last night. One person made that choice.

      • I’m sitting here fervently fighting and I’m not even trying to kill them. The players gave a lot. There were difficult circumstances. I just think they didn’t take their best punch and hope they do next time. I hope Curtin has growth from this.

    • I don’t think the altitude was a big issue. Union seemed to have more energy at the end when it would take its toll than they did the rest of the game.

  11. The hit in mbazio was anything but unintentional or light. The club America player looked right at him before he did it and knocked his tooth out and maybe gave him a concussion. It was a completely dirty and dangerous play and should have been a yellow at least. Not sure why this has been down played so much.

    • Totally. Came right after Mbaizo put him on his stomach (could have been called a foul) battling for a ball at the end line. It was direct payback. Literally a punch in the mouth.

  12. Club America had quicker feet on the ball.
    .
    The difference was striking at the beginning, striking.
    .
    To the Union’s credit they began to speed up, and CA began to tire..
    .
    Everything discussed above pertaining to play on the pitch flows from the difference in the quickness of ball manipulation..

  13. el Pachyderm says:

    Im not even sure Club America put their best foot forward last night. Didn’t need to. Still a bummer to see so many missed opportunities come down to misplaced passes and wrong siding the teammate or overcooking a teammate who’s behind. These are the necessary ingredients for ultimate victory.
    .
    I figured America was two gols better. Needed the away gol. Had to have it because I don’t think they shut out America in Chester which means they’ll need 4 at home and that’s not realistic. Maybe but not realistic.
    .
    Man if they coulda converted that first chance in the opening minutes.
    .
    Valiant last night. But ultimately we got what I figured we’d get.

  14. Is anyone surprised that Martinez fouled in the box? Curtin loves this guy and he fouls all the time and gives the ball away all the time. I’m tired of seeing him on there field. Curtin’s no possession game killed the U last night. We get away with it in the MLS because the league is poor with playing high quality possession. Hopefully Curtin learned that keeping possession Is critical against premier teams. Should have brought in the academy kids. They are killing it and playing at a high level.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      Some real contradictions here. The first goal was a deflection off an unwarranted free kick given up. The second goal came from Martinez, who you’re upset with, trying to maintain possession instead of getting rid of it. Club America is a great team, and I don’t think people realize how hard it is to control the game in that environment. I was upset with the subs usage but the game plan itself was strong. Could have very easily gotten a needed result.

  15. I can not believe how much the team hustled at the high altitude, especially Flach. Was impressed and enjoyed the game a lot, except for some of the referee’s decisions.
    .
    Think Elliott had the best opportunity to score with his header off the corner.
    .
    Kasper should have been replaced with Sullivan when Burke came in.
    .
    Had a great time at Brauhaus Schmitz. Was great to see how many Union fans took over that establishment! If you did not want to go inside you could see the game outside.

  16. Chris Gibbons says:

    Frustrating match, but Club America is the biggest club in this corner of the world, playing in one of the most difficult stadiums anywhere in the world.

    The Union could have been better in every facet, and leaned heavily on their veterans – as any other well-coached team might have. The Burke sub was for strength and hold-up, in a match where America were winning on both metrics.

    Martinez was trying to move the ball forward and made a mistake. He was one of the few players who did more than lump it up though, and the Union needed more of that – even though it didn’t work that time.

    Chester will be rocking in September for this match. Don’t count this team out yet.

    • Given how the stadium has generally been about half full and these were not directly included in the season ticket package, I’m worried it will be rocking with Club America fans. (My wife has already warned me to behave myself if it is.)

      • Chris Gibbons says:

        Oh, I fully expect a loud stadium that’s much closer to 50/50 than pro-Union.

      • Of course CA fans will show up, but one help against CA fans taking over SP is that the Mexican diaspora in the area generally come from other parts of Mexico, not Mexico City. In fact, CA is their big rival in Liga MX regarding their ‘home’ teams there. Of course, travel from other areas could make up the difference though.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      Yep, no reason to give up. We’re not known for beating bunkers but as someone said elsewhere, get an early goal and it’s game on.

  17. Not having our best player was just too much to overcome. We were outplayed by a superior team, and yet they still had to get their two goals in somewhat flukish fashion. Unfortunately the 2-0 loss is lights out, because there absolutely no way we’re beating this team 2-0 at home. 3-1 is the best I could possibly conceive of, if everyone plays really well and we catch some breaks, and even then América advances.

  18. Atomic Spartan says:

    I was expecting worse. Considering travel, altitude, opponent, a lower level of experience throughout our club and the history of this tournament’s refs, I was expecting MUCH worse. Could U have done better? Of course. And I could have won the lottery and be living in Switzerland right now and the odds of either event would’ve been about the same.
    .
    It was a milestone in U development. A learning opportunity. Proud the boys did as well as they did. Now let’s see if JC and the boys really did learn anything.

  19. I’m finding it hard to fault Curtin’s and the team’s strategies. Martinez’s foul, however, caused the second goal that now puts the Union on life support. He’s been an ongoing conversation.
    . . .
    CA is obviously a formidable opponent and Azteca is a hard place to play with the smoggy and shallow air even with reduced crowd capacity due to COVID. CA dominated possession but it wasn’t a match our team wanted to be running around too much.
    . . .
    A deflection and penalty kick got CA a 2-0 win. They scored no clean goals even with conceddd possession. They are beatable in September. The obvious problem is that we need to win 2-0 and take it on a shootout or we’re done. Asking for 3 against CA is obviously highly unlikely, and if it’s 3-1 they’ll advance on away goals.
    . . .
    Therefore, what’s the best way to get a 2-0 result against CA at home to take it on a shootout? We need two, and we can’t concede a goal. To me, that’s the huddle discussion.

    • Ilsinho never sees the field. Bedoya doesn’t start. The kids don’t need to start if Davos and Bueno have integrated themselves by then. The Union need to play their game and say screw America. Being timid last night is understandable. Despite that, there were opportunities out there that weren’t taken. The Union didn’t play anywhere close to their best game and arguably not their best eleven.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I think we have to see what Ilsinho does between now and then, given that he is just coming off injury. If he’s in 2019 form then let him play. Otherwise, I agree with you.

  20. Just watched the game on replay cuz I was in able to watch live. Stayed away from this site till I watched it. I really thought the line up and tactics were good. That game in THAT stadium was the veterans game to get a result in. Yeah the ref was questionable, yeah M’baizo got fouled,lost a tooth and most likely got concussed for his trouble. But the youth may not have been the answer. The home leg on familiar turf seems like the spot if your going to use the young guys.
    It sucked to lose with a deflated ball and PK!! But we get them on our own pitch and the SOB’S!!
    If Kasper gets a hair more on that flick in the opening few minutes it’s a different game! The boys in Blue have some work to do but I’m still happy with the way they showed up! Come on the U!!

  21. Union Were Overmatched and played too Cautiously

    Curtin took the play defense first and try to get out of there with a 1-0 loss approach. I don’t recall the percentage of possession but it sure seemed like Club America had the ball 75 % of the time and a lot of it inside the Philly half of the field.

    The Union had very few completed short or midrange passes. The once dangerious midfield looked tentative and happy to back pass most of the time and occaionally bomb one over the top.

    Most of the chances were generated by long passes over the top by Glesnes or Elliot. It certainly reminded me of the bad old days.

    There is nothing dangerous about this midfield and no cohesive of attack through the midfield.

    Flach is useless going forward. Bedoyoa gives 100% but he has lost a couple of steps. Gazdag is the most promising player through the midfield but he has no support.

    I just cant stand the Diamond bullshit. Id rather see us play more dynamic soccer with Aaronson and the other young guys I just hope they survive the season.

    Earnst you did not improve us offensively. Aaronson Sr is gone, Montiero is on his way out and the starters in the
    midfield are not cutting it.

    You have to be sitting on some cash. Do something.

  22. A few people have mentioned looking ahead to Davo getting on the field. Expectations may be too high, given his goal:minutes ratio. I’m assuming he is a depth addition, not an expected starter.
    .
    Having said that, here’s to hoping he proves me wrong.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      High hopes, low expectations. The best way to get through life lol. I hope he becomes a great goal scorer but we’ll see.

    • Getting on the field is too high an expectation? Providing something different, in a “second striker” role as has been posited by Union representatives, is asking too much? If it’s asking too much, which of the starting strikers is “sacred cow” worthy? As far as I can tell, not a one of the three comes a cannon’s shot close to that. If asking a player to play his position, is asking too much then what are we doing here? I don’t get this take at all.

      • Haha, probably not clear enough on my part.
        .
        All I’m saying is that I don’t think we should expect to see him rise to be a starter that displaces one of the other three strikers given his very low goal to minutes played ratio.
        .
        Again, I hope he exceeds my expectations. I’m rooting for him and every other player on the roster.

      • We Dont need no Stinkin Forwards !

        A new forward is not going to solve the Unions problems.

        Bedoya has lost 2 steps and should no longer start.

        Flach has 0 offensive skills.

        Ilsinio is not the answer.

        Martinez is not supposed to be involved that much going forward and Flach could could move to the back of the Diamond.

        That leaves Gazdag as the loan starting attacking midefielder. He desperately needs support to succeed.

        Plan A

        Put the young Union guys on the wings of the Diamond.

        Plan B

        Trade or sell Martinez to a team that has an extra quality verstalie attacking midielder and really needs the defensive help.

        There has to be a team that needs Martinez and is willing to loan us what we need.

        Use your connections and creativity Earnst. Open up the pocket book ownership.
        The Union can still go improve this year but you must make a move real soon.

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