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Philadelphia Union Weekly Recap

This Week’s Union Recap

I’m going to be honest with you, this week has been crazy with the World Cup, so my Union recap is a bit half-assed. Nevertheless, I did catch the second half of the Union absolutely thrashing the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0 on Saturday. Below are my thoughts on the match.

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As I just mentioned, I turned on the match at halftime with the Union leading 1-0. Living on the West Coast, I have to watch Union matches through ESPN+. There’s benefits and drawbacks to the service but most of the time, it seems like I’m forced to watch the opposition broadcast crew. As I watched the broadcast crew dissect the first half, it seemed like the Union absolutely crushed the Whitecaps in the first half.

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Ilsinho looked to be torching Brek Shea on the right side of the Union midfield and there was tons of space for the Union to attack. The Whitecaps broadcast crew didn’t pull any punches and said the Whitecaps were plain awful. They did highlight that travel from Vancouver to Philly is pretty brutal with no direct flights and the team flying the day before the match. This excuse aside, all the halftime stats showed the Union dominating the match, with the scoreline the only exception.

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I’m always nervous when a team dominates for a half but doesn’t put the opposition away because most players & coaches are able to make adjustments during the break. It seemed like the Whitecaps were able to make some changes as they came out in the second and didn’t look terrible. Both sides had chances in the early part of the second half before the Union scored their second goal in the 71st minute.

The Union’s attacking midfielder Borek Dockal bagged his second goal of the game with some fancy footwork in the box. He beat a few Whitecaps players on the dribble after a nice pass from Ale Bedoya before rifling a left-footed shot into the far post. That was Dockal’s second of the match and he is really starting to validate his designated player price tag for this team.

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The result was cemented a few minutes later after Ilsinho played a through ball to Corey Burke. Burke was on a breakaway when Whitecaps defender Jose Aja grabbed him on the shoulder and took him to the ground. This resulted in a penalty and a red card for Aja because he didn’t make an honest attempt at playing the ball. Right call from the referee.

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Ilsinho blasted home the resulting penalty and the Union added a 4th goal in stoppage time when Vancouver midfielder Yordy Reyna lost his composure and took a cheap shot at Fafa Picault off the ball while Fafa was in the box. The play resulted in Reyna receiving a 2nd yellow card and Vancouver finished the match with 9 men. On replays, the foul looked a bit soft but Reyna knew exactly what he was doing and was clearly frustrated at how the match was going. I think the referee made the right call here as well.

Fafa deposited the resulting penalty to make it 4-0 and seal a victory. The win, coupled with other results, means the Union currently occupy the 6th spot in the Eastern Conference table. That’s the final playoff spot, which is fantastic news.

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The top 4 teams in the East are clearly more talented than the rest of the conference but the Union have the talent to finish as high as 5th in the conference. Making the playoffs is a legit possibility and based on the team’s current run of form, I’d back them to achieve it.

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As positive as this result was, it came against a Western Conference team. Making the playoffs basically comes down to inter-conference play so the Union will need to get results against the East stay in the playoff hunt. That will have to wait until July as the team takes on LAFC in Los Angeles this weekend.

Thanks for reading & I’ll talk to you next week.

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If you like what I wrote here, please consider checking out some of my other stuff. I am currently recording daily videos and podcasts for a show I do with my two brothers called Bros Talking Soccer. And I also have a YouTube channel called The Soccer Tavern where I make videos about the history, culture, and philosophy of the beautiful game.

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