PBPP: Union's Depth Finally Shows
While we have spoken on air
and off about the depth the Philadelphia Union now have after a few recent
acquisitions, we actually saw the evidence
on Saturday vs New England.
Trailing 1-0 to the
Revolution at halftime, and going nowhere offensively, Manager Peter Nowak and
his staff made one change at the break and two others later that not only changed
the game but, in essence, won the game.
His first move was the
insertion of 19-year-old Roger Torres, who replaced Eduardo Coudet. It’s not that Coudet wasn’t getting the
job done, but it seemed like between he and Stefani Miglioranzi, they were
just duplicating each other's efforts. It’s one thing when it’s 11 versus 11, but Philadelphia had a man
advantage after the late first half send-off of defender Cory Gibbs.
What Torres brought to the
game was fresh legs, fresh ideas, and a hunger to get back some playing time
that he recently lost, partially due to injury, partially due to a lack of
Roger sees the game well,
maybe even better because he sat out the first half. From the sideline he could watch the way the Revs played
defensively. He could see where
the seams were, so once he came in it was a matter of executing. When Torres did enter,
Philadelphia played differently and with a lot more creativity.
In the 65th minute
Justin Mapp came in for Kyle Nakazawa, and immediately the team had some flank
play that was missing from the opening kickoff. Mapp’s speed on the ball is incredible, and so was his desire to
have an impact on the game. Taking players on is one of his specialties, and also one of the things
missing from the first half of play.
Shortly after the Mapp
substitution, Nowak made one more move, replacing defensive midfielder Stefani
Miglioranzi with 18-year-old forward Jack McInerney. This wasn’t as big of a gamble since you
were playing 11 against 10, but you were still taking out an experienced player
and replacing him with a rookie forward.
So while the Torres
substitution immediately changed the tempo of the game, the moves to bring in
Mapp, then McInerney combined to also change the dynamics and the tactics.
Mapp, with his speed and
moves on the ball, was able to break down the Revs' tiring defense, and Mapp was
able to assist on a nice goal from McInerney.
Later in stoppage time, with
the Union pressing for all three points, Mapp was able to get his left foot on a
pass from Sebastien Le Toux and one-time it past New England’s Bobby
It was a sweet comeback for
the Union. The 2-1 road win vs New
England was just their second win away from home this season. The victory also snapped a
six-game winless streak.
Now, can they take this and
build some momentum? Following the
friendly on Wednesday vs Chivas Guadalajara, the Union will take on a Kansas
City Wizards team that is coming off of a 2-0 win vs the LA Galaxy, and two
straight wins overall. We’ll take
a closer look at that game later this week.