What the Union need to do tomorrow

Photo credit: Marjorie Elzey

A two goal deficit isn’t impossible to overcome. But against Club América it’s a tall order, as the Mexico City team currently has the fewest goals allowed (3) after eight games of Liga MX play. So the Union’s CONCACAF Champions League campaign may well end here in Chester. That’s okay. They’ve already outperformed expectations; getting their first international win away in Costa Rica, forcing Atlanta United to fire Gabriel Heinze, and earning a ticket to the Semi-Final Round when no other MLS team could. That’s an achievement, a worthy chapter in the history books regardless of what comes next.

However the Union are in a slump. They haven’t won in nearly a month, and continue to slip lower and lower into the standings. Which could, in part, be explained by international duty fracturing the roster, and a shifted prioritization ahead of tomorrow’s game. All of that is excusable, but what isn’t is the way the Union have done it.

Offense has been tepid. International call ups aren’t to blame there, as the only “attacking” starter away with his national team in the last month has been Dániel Gazdag, and head coach  Jim Curtin has yet to find the right way to deploy the Hungarian. You can’t miss what you never had. On the other hand defense has been far from flawless, however it’s hard to lay much blame there when the Union have only lost by multiple goals three times this season. The result is a team that due to defensive organization and skill is able to keep games from getting away from them, but is unable to take control of a game even when facing otherwise toothless opposition like Inter Miami or Chicago.

What does that mean tomorrow when the opposition has the best goal differential in a better league? Well, it means the Union won’t be able to play like they have at any point previously in 2021. Defensive discipline is a laudable quality, but this round of the tournament is already half-played and the Union need to start the second half on their front foot. They’re going to have to attack, they’re going to have to shoot, and if they want to win this thing they’re going to have to score. Then they’re going to have to do it at least three more times because it’s hard to imagine a team like Club América not getting at least one of their own when the Union is putting their focus on offense.

It’s a risk, and one with a slim chance of success. But it’s the only chance the Union have at success. But let’s not forget that we’ve already discussed all the ways that this CONCACAF Champions League campaign has already been a success. The Union don’t need to win tomorrow to get value out of the game. Showing that this team can field a threatening offense, showing that this team can give it’s strikers the service they need and has wide players that can pose a threat of their own, that’s something the Union have needed all season.

And this is the game to do it in. Because if they don’t, if they stay true to form and try and keep Club América from scoring, they may succeed in that limited objective. But it would be a Pyrrhic victory, they’d be out of the tournament still losing on aggregate. So the Union must attack! They must take chances, even if it means giving Club América a few of their own. It may not change the result, but it will give the team (and the fans) a reason to believe they can do the same against the lesser opposition they’ll be seeing in what remains of the MLS season and the playoffs that lie beyond it.


  1. Unleash the kids!

  2. Two more wins and we’re playing Pulisic & Chelsea in the Club World Cup!
    LET’S DO THIS!!!!!

  3. Need to have the best counter attack kids on the field and should have been practicing counter attacking all week!!

  4. 2-0 is the target. aggressive attack is a sure fire way to lose this tie. if we win the game 1-0 i’d be happy because that’s a lot closer to 2-0 than any result with club america scoring. the idea of us scoring four is hilarious, so im ok playing defensive for the majority of the game and trying to force extra time. lets go!

  5. el Pachyderm says:

    Here’s what I hope. I hope Union score first and for a period of time, the outcome is in doubt. From this place we can sit back and say… “well- they made a run at it.” Maybe they score again and the tie IS ON and it’s pandemonium for a bit. Maybe America bags a gol and its simply too much to overcome. Whatever.
    I’ve watched this team WILT in big games by giving up the first gol and reliving past inadequacies like a 21 year old college kid watching the girl of his dreams walk out of the bar with a differnet guy…. that walk home sucks.
    Give us a reason to get hard inside that building. Give America something to think about. That’s it. That’s my wish. Let’s go.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      Yep, score a goal in the first 15-30 minutes and that’s all we can ask for. It would get the building moving and cause 60 minutes of tension for America depending on how good our attack looks afterward. Even if we lose 4-1 on aggregate chasing the game late, just get that early goal as a statement of intent.

  6. OneManWolfpack says:

    If you go down… go down fighting. Bat outta hell tonight. Get nuts. LFG!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *