Sunday, August 2, 2015

MLS Week 22 Games Notes: Philadelphia Union v. New York Red Bulls

Not all introductions go well.
(I watch the damn things, so it always feels like a waste to not comment on it. I just couldn't figure out how to get them into the weekly MLS wrap. So I stopped trying. Oh, and I updated the Conifers & Citrus Interest Rankings - see right sidebar!)

Why I Watched
The Philadelphia Union picked up the kind of player that fascinates me – e.g. foreign guy that I've never heard of, but who looks to have a decent resume. Yep, I'm watching for Tranquillo Barnetta (whose name sounds made up). There are more new guys to watch on the other side of the center-stripe, too, what with the New York Red Bulls now lousy with Wrights-Phillipseses.

Overall (Or, Was It Worth It?)
Yeah, if only for the way it told two tales of a player's league debut: Philly had Barnetta come on about the 64th minute; he coughed up a penalty to New York at, oh...the 66th minute (NOTE: Unofficial count....well, nailed it, actually). New York's Shaun Wright-Phillips, on the other hand, showed off a little of what he's all about (e.g. dribbling/combining; good wheels), all the way up to setting up his brother, one Bradley, for one of New York's three. Details aside, I called the game "territorial" in my notes. I'm not saying that neither side wanted possession, but the primary focus appeared more about getting the ball into the opposition's half and, through high pressing, keeping it there. It wasn't always pretty, or even often – that's not a style I like a lot – but the game sorted out about right (e.g. 3-1 to New York).

Notes on Philly
Because I don’t watch them a ton, I can't say if Philly always struggles with some defensive fundamentals, but they did against New York. The biggest one: a failure to sort out quickly, who goes to the ball and who follows the player. Happened all over with them, and it didn't help. That said, the Union does some things I like – e.g. when they're wide, the look for runs that cut inside at the top of the box instead of continuing toward the touchline to get behind. Mixes it up nicely, for me. Uh, what else? Sebastian Le Toux still has both the spit and fire. Also, Gaddis strikes me as good symbol for Philly as a club: reasonably good, but a bit too sloppy with...everything – e.g. passing, trapping, movement. And, to circle back on the reason I tuned in, Barnetta neither impressed nor disappointed me. He just looked like he didn't quite know what was going on, when he needed to know it. It'll come. Probably.

Notes on Red Bulls
First of all, this is not a great team. It is a good and competitive one, though, and that carries a team far enough in MLS, and even further in the East. One thing I like about New York: how well their midfielders assist with getting the ball out of the back, mainly through finding good angles for outlets. It's just understanding movement, really, and it's not all that different from what Columbus does; New York just looks more comfortable doing it sometimes. New York's other strong suit: defensive rotations; this helps them so much with keeping the game in front of their defense. And, on better days, this happens when the defense breaks down. OK, don't want to go much longer (I have a one-page limit for these), so I'm just going to list 'em: Damien Perrinelle gripes a ton (wait, no, that's Toronto FC's Damien Perquis; my bad...but, jesus, the tantrums Perquis threw), but he's also very intelligent; his defending isn't flawless, by any means, but he reads the big picture very well and his covering runs show it. Matt Miazga could very well be something special; kid looks like a stork, but he's very accurate with those big dangly feet. Finally, when the Wright-Phillips’ combined to score, the approach play felt very English (or I'm exaggerating...shh...) to me: quick and athletic. That feels like a new look for New York, but...well, I'm not sure I think it should.

All for now...

No comments:

Post a Comment