For Pete's Sake

Too much fear from the Union costs them on the big stage

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration…

— Frank Herbert, “Dune”

On Tuesday night, Philadelphia Union came out afraid, and they paid the price.

Lionel Messi and Inter Miami obliterated them on Tuesday night, 4-1, sending them out of Leagues Cup in the semifinals.

On one of the biggest stages in club history, the Union turtled, and now they must regroup.

Wrong from the start

You could sense it, a bit, from manager Jim Curtin’s lineup. Five in the back. Three defensive players in midfield. A striker, Chris Donovan, known primarily for his dirty running.

It was a group that screamed one message: “We are terrified.”

The theory behind the lineup, seemingly, was that this group would be able to frustrate the high-powered visitors, leaving them vulnerable in transition for a winner.

That all flew out the window in the first three minutes, when a fairly simple long ball from a defender caused uncharacteristic errors from Damion Lowe (missing the interception), Jack Elliott (struggling to mark Josef Martinez), and Andre Blake (not reacting well enough to stop the shot).

The group wasn’t built to be brave. It wasn’t built to play from behind. But that’s what it would have to do.

The tactics of the two teams inverted. Miami was content to play in its own half, allowing the Union to possess without purpose or point. Philly had a chance or two, including one early from Daniel Gazdag that could have changed the whole game. But it always seemed like the visitors were in control.

Then, in the 20th minute, Josef Martinez played the ball to Messi in midfield, bypassing a slow-to-recover Jose Martinez. As Messi ran at the defense, both Elliott and Jakob Glesnes backed off, and backed off, unwilling to step to the GOAT. He punished them with a world-class hit from 35 yards — yes, Blake should do better, but the combination of power and precision on that shot, from that distance, was remarkable — to put the Union down two goals.

(There is a longer and more nuanced tactical conversation to be had about the continued reliance on the 3-5-2 setup, which doesn’t seem like the Union’s best formation. Does it really do the team much good to have their best center back and reigning Defender of the Year, Glesnes, drifting around on the right?)

Miami’s third goal, a total backbreaker at the stroke of halftime, was just as embarrassing. Multiple Union defenders are so focused on midfield that they completely lose track of Jordi Alba running at the backline. Lowe is so afraid of… something… that he’s a good ten yards behind the other defenders, keeping Alba well onside.

This is not the sort of sound defensive structure that wins championships.

“I think we’ve been scared a little bit of the names that Miami had,” a dejected Daniel Gazdag said after the game.

“Maybe we showed them too much respect,” Curtin said.

That might be the understatement of the year.

A pattern emerges

In the abstract, this loss isn’t a big deal.

Leagues Cup is a plastic tournament, with no history or tradition beyond the desire of Apple to make money. The Union are still in position to claim a major prize, a slot in next year’s Concacaf Champions Cup, if they can win Saturday’s third-place game. They also remain a dominant force in MLS, more than capable of claiming a championship at the end of the season.

But, at this point, there have to be seeds of doubt.

The Union’s record in late-round knockout games is abysmal.

Some of those results have excuses — they were underdogs in the 2014 and 2015 Open Cup finals and the 2021 Champions League semifinal, and the 2021 Eastern Conference final needs to be thrown in the garbage. Last year’s MLS Cup was a heartbreaking and not entirely deserved loss.

But others… well, they’ve just collapsed, or they’ve been sent out to fail. The 2018 U.S. Open Cup final. The 2020 playoffs. The 2021* and 2023 Champions League semifinals. Now, this.

*Yes, the Union were heavy underdogs to Club America. But they had a home game for the second leg, needing two goals to get a result. Nonetheless, the Union rolled out their typically defensive 4-4-2, leaving Gazdag on the bench. Curtin didn’t make a single substitution until 15 minutes remained.)

The common thread here is fear.

There is a fine line between being realistic — understanding the relative strengths of your team and the opponent, and plotting a winning strategy — and being afraid.

Look, Jim Curtin is an excellent MLS coach, and he has done tremendous work to build the Union into a team where this kind of result is a genuine shock.

But everything about Curtin’s approach in big games, starting from his common refrain that every player needs to play well for us to have a chance, screams that he is afraid of the bigger teams in MLS and Concacaf.

His players aren’t set up to succeed, internalize that message, and underperform.

At this point, it’s a real pattern — and it’s a real problem for a team that has dreams of MLS Cup.

Moving forward

The Union have a chance to pick themselves up quickly. Monterrey comes to town for what should be a fairly low-juice third-place game. Because the Liga MX side have already qualified for the Champions Cup, Philly should be well-positioned to claim a seed for themselves.

But has the damage to this season’s campaign already been done? The Leagues Cup knockout rounds have piled five full matches on top of already tired legs; Curtin admitted after the game that he felt fatigue played a factor in the Union’s performance.

The loss also shatters the illusion of Subaru Park as an impenetrable fortress. The full-strength Union hadn’t lost a home game there in ages before last night. But the full-to-bursting crowd of 19,778 saw a team that wasn’t up for the fight. Will the group be able to recapture their aura when the playoffs start?

Look, maybe there was reason to be afraid. Lionel Messi is the best soccer player in the world, and this Miami side — armed with smart acquisitions around their superstar and one of the best coaches in MLS — is very, very good.

But the Union, at their best, are brave. They do not fear.

On Tuesday night, they were anything but.


  1. Curtin with a disasterclass. Him and Cherundolo really showing recently that these young American coaches still have a while to go when it comes to taking that next step.

  2. Great piece, Peter. I’ve been thinking this morning about that pattern. Perhaps the defensive posture at the start was a result of Curtin — when faced with fear — falling back on the primal instincts of being a center back. As the old cliche goes, attackers want to win, defenders don’t want to lose. He’s generally a good enough coach not to go there. The fear got the better of him yesterday.

    What gets me, too, is that the Union could have absolutely won that game had they gone after it from the whistle. We should have been asking the questions last night, not fighting back from an 0-2 hole after 20 minutes.

    I’m also worried that the team has been overextended and will struggle for the remainder of the season. The attack has been pretty toothless all year. I’m not sure Baribo is going to be the answer. I fear Uhre is going to end up being yet another in a long line of busts for the Union up top.

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    Great points. From 127 last night I must’ve said 10 times – Glenses cannot be the guy up on the right trying to make things happen. This is not the right formation.

    • Yeah what’s up with that? I feel like wanting 3ATB is reasonable but I don’t know where this “push up one of the CBs to be a ring wing back” is coming from. Is this a common 3ATB wrinkle I am not aware of, or is it Curtin being too cute?

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Too cute. Over thought it. As Peter wrote, he was scared. The Union should’ve played a 4-4-2. Uhre and Donovan up top. McGlynn, Bueno, Gazdag, Martinez, as your diamond. Clog the middle. Once they moved to that in the second half, and I realize Miami was essentially bunkering in being up 3, they created more. It also would’ve helped if we could’ve finished any one of the multiple chances.

      • Problem with both Uhre and Donovan up top is that then there would be zero strikers ready to come off the bench to attack a tired Miami team had the game gone a bit differently.

      • Then you bring in Quinn and wing it the final 15 minutes. Who for the record has a history of scoring big goals, and finding his shot quickly.
        If we’re chasing a goal and Quinn is the solution in the 70th minute I can live with that.
        What I can’t live with is a college level striker being the guy who earned that spot last night. What I can’t live with is Leon Flach being valued over Jack McGlynn when you are already employing 2 CDM type players.
        It was a failure. Period. He played scared and I can’t stand behind it.
        Man needs to hold up his hand and say that one –like many of the others… is on him.

  4. I feel cheated.
    I tuned in to watch the Union versus Messi. I did not get that. Messi was barely involved outside the goal (which was oh so preventable). But what I’m really upset about is that I didn’t see the Union.
    The real Union didn’t sub in until 60+ minutes. That’s when it finally started to look like them. But that was too damn late.
    If I’d dropped $900 a ticket, I’d be livid.

    • Btw, Peter. I sensed fear the moment I saw the lineup. So did Twellman. Jim Curtin told every camera they shoved at him that “we aren’t afraid”, but then his lineup proved otherwise. And the team internalized that.

  5. I think part of the issue is lack of options up front. Carranza’s hurt. Baribo doesn’t seem to have arrived yet. Uhre hasn’t really produced in months. The choice of Donovan to start did not surprise me and I’m not convinced it wasn’t the best option possible last night.
    That being said, the lack of available strikers can explain why they have relied on the 3-5-1-1 or 3-5-2 lately. And the 3-5-2 (or 3-5-1-1) is a lot less defensive oriented than the 4-4-2. In the 3-5 formations, the outside backs are contributing much less to the defense and the 3 center backs are going forward much more than in the 4-4-2. So there is a lot less defense and that showed last night with Miami’s counter attack.
    One thing I haven’t seen suggested which might have made sense would have been to go with the Christmas Tree formation. A 4-3-2-1 with Harriel, Glesnes, Elliot, Wagner, Bueno, Martinez, Flach, Gazdag, McGlynn, and Donovan might have worked better (and couldn’t have been worse).

    • Jim overthought his lineup. Going with the 3-6-1 was not ideal. IMO, going 3-5-2 may have worked had he just rolled with the same lineup as Friday. Just put Gazdag up top with Uhre due to Carranza’s untimely injury. That way the Union at least have a viable holdup option up top, and two complementary players.
      Plus like you pointed out McGlynn in midfield to spray passes around.
      Hell, 4-4-2 with Flach at the 6, Martinez and Bueno in the wide spots and McGlynn in the middle would have been better.
      I like Harriel, however, M’Baizo would have been a better option last night. He adds more going forward which helps keep a fullback at home for Miami.
      It’s so disappointing because Curtin always speaks to the “fine margins” in MLS between the teams…. and then he goes against all logic.
      It’s also frustrating because the Union were at home, and they almost always come out and punch the big teams in the mouth and try to play on their own terms. Playing Red Bull, DC, Montreal at home? Yeah those teams are going to sit back and play ugly. Teams like LAFC, Miami? They’re going to actually play. That plays into the Union’s hands!!!

    • I can reason my way to starting Donovan, but I can’t reason my way to starting him solo up top. So far as I’m aware he’s never played that role for the Union, and he was clearly not on the same page as his teammates on the offensive side of the ball. That’s not his fault, since he’s always had someone to play off, and has usually been coming in to close out games. But it means it was never likely to work. And it meant the press was non-existent.
      All that is to say that I think Donovan/Gazdag, Donovan/Sullivan, or Donovan/Uhre could have all been reasonable choices for Curtin to start with. But don’t think Donovan alone was fair to the player or ever had a chance of helping the Union put their best foot forward.

  6. As and aside, what’s been up with the other team coming out after halftime the last few games? The Dead Bull didn’t come out of the locker room until the 15 minutes were over and then tried to setup markers to do drills. The Last Placers last night didn’t come out for at least 3 minutes after halftime should have been over. Shouldn’t the refs be issuing cards to the coaching staff for these shenanigans?

  7. This article is spot on.
    I thought they could win. I knew it would be difficult. I was perfectly prepared to lose to Messi’s Merry Pranksters in this Electric Kool Aid Acid Test of a league and tourney. You get beat by Messi, Alba, Busquets, Josef and Tata Martino… fine. You capitulate in your starting line up and then run around like 5th graders in your last recess of elementary school? NO FUCKING WAY.

    I’m angry today. This is the default with this franchise so often.
    From the coined phrase which I should have trademarked all those years ago… which they richly deserved and yet continue to richly deserve…
    …So Union.

    • Dude, the exact words I said at the final whistle…so fuckin Union…but instead of losing mid season meaningless games at the death in 2014-15, meaningless because the team was horrible obviously, they graduated to losing at the death of the most meaningful games…..I understand this competition is a money grab, but it was still another wasted opportunity for a trophy…it’s just in their DNA lose at the end and never finish the deal

      • It’s the Curse of Nick S!! Every MLS teams he’s been involved with don’t win the big one. Red Bulls? Tampa Bay?, and now Philly….

    • Gruncle Bob says:

      A+ for the Tom Wolfe reference. Thank you!

  8. I notice another pattern. Many of these losses revolve around opposing teams bringing big players off the bench at key moments. Dempsey and Martins against Seattle in the Open Cup, a certain Welsh Golfer last year etc. We have always been a team that needs all of our starters to be healthy and play their best to win games. Tired legs and the occasional player having a bad game don’t stop organized teams with bench options. We knew going into the season there would be a ton of games. I am hoping Jim rests the boys and prepares them for the playoffs.

  9. My great hope was that last night was a wake up call. It was obvious to everyone what was the likely outcome as soon as we saw the lineup. This team has been built to press and play an aggressive high line for 90 minutes. They need to do that game in and game out to be successful.
    As for last night, Miami was going to score. That was a foregone conclusion. The problem was that Jim wanted to prevent that. He should have accepted that and tried to outscore them. I would have felt much better losing 6-3 than watching what happened last night.
    Be brave. Take chances. Get on the ball and pressure the hell out of the opposition defenders and midfielders. Be the Union, not some bad version of a frustrating Mourinho park-the-bus team.

    • Spot on.

      My son was livid when he saw the line up. He drew the ire of some fans when he started ranting about Curtin needing to go. This was 90% on the manager. Curtin chokes in big games plain as that. Miami does not have a solid defense so go at them!!

      Our scant consolation was leaving on the 4th goal and beating the traffic, something we never normally do.

  10. Nailed it, Peter. Excellent column.

    Players know when they are put out there with a flawed plan. From my seats in 107, it was clear that many of the players were asking Curtin questions and giving him their strong feedback. Yet, he remained passive in his demeanor and actions.

    Every manager gets things wrong at times, but the better ones notice it quicker and admit to themselves that it needs to change. Sometimes, it’s just a tweak in formation or tactics while other times, it’s more personnel related.

    Last night, it was both and Jim waited until the Union were down three goals going into the locker room at HT before he did anything. He could have acted much earlier and more decisively, but he remained frozen until our fate was already decided. That’s not what I want from the leader of my club.

    • santo bevacqua says:

      no he did not nailed it, see my post…you would have changed rhe plan after the first goal or after messis rip, that does not make sense.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        LOL, you saw how the original plan played out in the first 45 min. If that made sense and worked for you, then there’s nothing else to discuss.

  11. Union were exposed eight ways from Sunday. They are who we thought they were. Utterly exposed. Sell the team, Sugarman to people who will spend spend spend like LAFC and IMFC. Bring a world class coach here. This was a devastating result. The U have their own Andonovsky. You can’t Moneyball your way to trophies. Not in soccer.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      Ok it sucked but “devastating result”? This was a first run tournament that prompted a media circus. No reason we should even care about it.

      • One’s opinion on the severity of the result likely correlates with how much money he/she individually spent to watch that shit show.

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        That, Ingtar, is an excellent point. Hoping Paul spent less than most.

      • Deez, I didn’t pay a cent because I’m long-term unemployed and bankrupt, relying on LIHEAP utility crisis grants and the occasional GoFundMe donation. Doesn’t matter if you didn’t pay .01 or $1,000, you have a right to be pissed at this underachieving team and its front office.

    • BTW, Andonovski just resigned as USWNT coach. Press conference tomorrow AM to make it official. Too bad Curtin won’t fall on his virtual sword. This is the kind of game that in teams not owned by Jay Sugarman that get managers sacked.

  12. Imagine spending $900 for your coach to capitulate and tortoise up and nutsack in fear. I’d be LIVID.

  13. Great Article, agree completely. We set up to stop what they do best and not to attack where they were weak. We expected Miami to score, we hoped to outscore them. Not with that lineup. We played right in to their hands…

  14. A peripheral topic. I was “lucky” enough to score 3 seats in the RE pre-sale and took my 2 kids. Now, Ive been an SOB since 2010 and regularly attend games with the family including previous times of us sitting in RE. I fully knew folks would be well lubricated and it was going to be a more PG13 experience. I myself have been noted to curse regularly around wife and friends. However, was disgusted by the literally endless stream of profanities in both casual yelling as well as chants. I had thought there was a push to move past YSA, but clearly not last night. There was F Messi, F the ref, F the linesman and F the dude who tried to take a seat wearing a Messi jersey (they made him take it off). The only reprieve was when there were chants and songs without cursing. F$#k was being used like Smurfs say smurf, and it was not just a few drunk dudes. There just has to be another answer than “if you dont like it dont sit there.” Not anything close to a puritan, but f#*k…

  15. santo bevacqua says:

    I disagree with this premise, if you would ask each player if they were scared you would get of course not. They were awed by the publicity, but scared i beg to differ, neither was Curtin. The game was over planned maybe and not treated as a normal one, eg he instructed to mark Busquettrs closely not to service messi. The game was a disappointment for sure ask Blake if he was scared or played poorly he will tell you he sucked.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      Perhaps “Fear” is a strong word. But in other games, Blake saves two out of three of those. Last night he didn’t make a save. Other games, Elliot challenges the ball. He didn’t. Curtin sticks by his 4-4-2 against nearly everyone, here he roles out something the team has never played and confuses them. Why?
      Fear — or overawed — it is the same. The moment was too much.

    • I don’t think it was “fear” either. I think Curtain’s gameplan had them playing in a very different way than they were used to at home, and it probably made the players more tentative. They were attacking and fighting for balls, but rather sitting back in a shell. Anyone asked to suddenly play a new style first needs time and experience with it to do it well. I can see the logic behind the shell, but in hindsight, making the team play it was clearly a mistake.

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        The Fear I saw was in Curtin — he felt like they were not good enough at what they’ve been doing to win, so he changed. That in turn makes the players uncomfortable and apprehensive.

  16. Peter, good assessment. The fear was obvious to everyone. Predators smell and capitalize upon it, and it makes you choke in turn.
    . . .
    You know who knows that and finally learned from it? Messi. I attended the 2016 Copa America Centenario Final and was behind the goal when Messi fired his PK over and wide to lose to Chile on PKs. He was already suffering from a jinx perplex over never winning trophies for Aegentina. The late.Maradona and others in Argentina were pressuring him to deliver.
    . . .
    Messi choked, they lost, and he went into a mental meltdown after the match, claiming immediate retirement from international soccer because he was cursed for it.
    . . .
    Instead, it later resulted in an epiphany mindset change, and he finally won both the Copa America and WC.
    . . .
    The.Union needs to learn that from Messi too.
    . . .
    For example, he’s now older and our players are younger. They call Messi the GOAT, but he never took the Pepsi challenge to play in the EPL to truly establish that. Give Messi respect, but don’t overdo it and be confident without arrogance. That’s what winners do.

  17. Spot on in the assessment, Peter. The line-up and formation seemed custom built to play to Miami’s strengths. Sag off, give them plenty of time and space, and (as you pointed out), leave your best defender stranded in no-man’s land for half the game. It’s basically what Atlanta United did, and we got basically the same result. Of course, the Union compounded their woes with individual errors, but it shouldn’t have been a surprise that they were set up to fail.
    The most frustrating part of that display was that, at their best, the things that would have made the Union competitive in this game are the things that the Union are GOOD at. Energetic pressing, clogging the middle of the pitch, playing on the counter. Dallas gave Miami all they could handle playing basically that way, and the Union are better than Dallas at that model. That’s what the 4-4-2 diamond was made for, and it was the formation that made this squad the best defensive team in MLS. We saw shades of how things might have gone in the second half. Game script makes it difficult to assess with total accuracy, but even a modest amount of pressing once we changed shape resulted in time-after-time of Miami misplacing passes, giving it straight back to the Union in midfield, or hoofing it long for Glesnes and Elliott to clean up.
    There’s been a lot of talk online about why this loss generated such an outpouring of frustration from fans, when really the Leagues Cup means rather little. That’s a fair thing to point out. But, as someone mentioned above, the squad and game plan they rolled out for the first 45 minutes was unrecognizable to anyone who has followed the Union in the last 5 years. This was a game where it felt like it would have been totally fine to go down swinging. There’s no shame in losing to the GOAT, especially now that Tata Martino has them humming along in really good form. But there is shame in having to wonder what might have been if you’d sent out the right team and told them to go toe-to-toe and battle it out.

  18. Union were “Messimerized” …..Blake who is normally the backbone of the defense was just not himself. It happens every once in a blue moon. The Union put 4 shots on goal. The Miami goaltender made 2 very good saves on Gazdags strike and Donovans header. Glesnes mishit and Donovan missed an open net. The game could have easily been 4-4. The backline looked confused and timid. Curtin played it too safe in the first half and spent too much effort worrying about the Busquets Messi connection and choosing to play with only 1 striker and too many defensive Mids. I agree with earlier posts that McGlynn should have started and Flach should have not played unless we were protecting a lead. “Apple Maggots” and Garber “Money Grabbers ” Messi will have no positive effect on making the MLS a more respectable league. Apple is paying Messi and his old boys club millions of dollars in profit sharing that will not go on Miamis books. Garber and Apple make me sick and are destroying the MLS fan base and pandering to a cult of wealthy Messi and future Icon followers from Europe who will
    replace Messi when he retires to the next Apple chosen team whoever they are. The average ticket price of + 500.00 is making the MLS a league of ultra wealthy soccer snobs.

  19. Andy Muenz says:

    Since Curtin took over as coach, the Union have been to the semifinals in 8 separate tournaments. That’s more than any other team in the league (excluding the Canadian Championship where the MLS teams entered the tournament in the semifinals until 2019). Granted they haven’t finished the job.
    And yes, Curtin, bears some responsibility in many of those (COVID game excepted) for not winning the championship. But look at teams like Colorado, San Jose, and Vancouver who have been to 1 semifinal each, or DC United who last made a semifinal during the Hackworth era.
    So would you rather root for a team that gets the opportunity to go deep in tournaments or one that is almost never there?
    (For the record, Seattle is second with 7 semifinals and New Jersey is third with 6, so at least the Union are clearly better than them.)

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Are the Union progressing under Curtin or have they plateaued?

      From my perspective, it’s the latter as we have seen a clear trend of a manager who trusts few players, has a core group of +/- 14 players, opts for conservative play and has an inability to recognize when a different approach is needed.

      Players evolve and improve all of the time while they age. Same with managers. Granted, I can give Jim a pass when his job status was tenuous to opt for the more conservative approach. However, he just signed an extension that gave him a longer contract length and more job security than he has had in the past.

      Most people in that situation would be more willing to be bold and take a risk…why not, you have one of the lowest payrolls in the league? No one is gonna kill you for losing to Miami. And yet, he reverted to his default mode of being conservative and safe with such a flawed plan than his own team was baffled by it.

      So save those stats that you have espoused as your proxy for Curtin and realize that unless he’s willing to look in the mirror and change, we’ll all be signing up for more of a history of being the nearly team…the jobbers in the pro wrestling equivalent of MLS.

      • I dont fault Curtin for not buying success like Miami and LAFC. We’ve been building it with youth development. That’s gotten him to nearly a winner, but buying it also matters as Miami and LAFC show. We could buy less given what we’ve built, but Sugarman has to make that commitment.
        . . .
        Curtin should be faulted for confidence crises when trophies are within his grasp. He pulls his punches by being too conservative. That also hurts team morale. He basically conceded that they gave Miami too much respect.
        . . .
        He’s a Philly guy and needs to find that Rocky spirit when it’s finally there before him. We like underdogs here. Go for it. I won’t fault him for trying, just when he pulls his punches.
        . . .
        I hope him and the team nut up for Saturday and give their best against Monterrey. No trouser crapping. Do their best to beat this premium Mexican team with a CCP slot to grab.

  20. They sucked last night! Panic, fear,over matched? One or all of these things happen to teams all the time. All of these things happened to the U during the course of the game. Simply did not get enough out of our players. The Messi factor is making the ticket cost soar! I paid a fraction of the people sitting next to us. I feel for Miami. When he’s gone the stadium and team will be back to their current state. You don’t build a following on wins alone. On Merica when the wins dry up…so do the fans.

  21. Curtin has demonstrated again and again that he cannot win the big games. Maybe it’s time to move on to someone who can?

    • Moving on to someone else just means that you are moving on to someone else. No guarantee that the someone else can even get the team to the big games, much less win them.

      • May be true, but alternately the definition of insanity possibly applying here if nothing changes. This of course supposes that this loss and the other big game losses ate the coaches fault. I think this one at least was

  22. I’d respect curtin if he made the two halftime subs at the 30’ mark. I’m curious if he even considered it.

  23. I agree with everything that everyone has said here. I was embarrassed to have my grandchildren, who are Union supporters, watch that match in person. I wanted to make a couple of points here to wrap up this discussion:
    1) Curtin’s lineup and change of formation. Independently of whether the tactics were good, bad or indifferent (and they were bad, in my opinion), Curtin sent the message that the Union could not beat Miami playing the way they usually play. This is obviously a terrible message. I hope that Curtin will own up to this mistake and take some responsibility for this debacle;
    2) No Carranza. The Union are a different team with Carranza in the lineup. He may not be Messi, but no one else on this team is as big a threat on the counter. And his holdup play and willingness to defend are exemplary, too. Get well soon, Julian!
    3) When the Union play well, they pass crisply and confidently, mostly moving forward. I have only seen that fleetingly this year. The first half in the first game against Queretaro is the only time during the LC I can remember the Union emulating the dynamo that they were last year. I recognize that that most teams cannot play that way all the time, but the best teams have the ability to play that way when they need to, and I did not see any of that in the Miami match.
    4) Prediction. Cincinnati will not win the Supporters Shield. I watched their match vs. Columbus last night on Crapple. Cincinnati started both Alvas Powell and Ray Gaddis. They only thing that surprised me was that Columbus did not continually attack Powell, who the Union correctly recognized could not play at MLS level.

  24. MLS is paying clubs to surrender points to Miami.

Leave a Reply

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