The result certainly isn’t what John Hackworth desired in his debut as interim Philadelphia Union manager, but the team didn’t look bad at all despite falling 1-0 to Eastern Conference leader D.C. United.
The Union’s midfield looked particularly sharp, propelling an attack that outshot the visitors 15-7, but that was unable to push one past United goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
Important nuggets to take away for the rejiggered and potentially rejuvenated Union:
Sheanon Williams returned to his usual spot, right back, after former coach Peter Nowak had experimented by stationing the gifted defender at center back. Williams responded with a big night on offense and defense. Center back? Nah … he looks like a right back; just watch some of those dashing runs up the flank in the highlights below.
Michael Farfan doesn’t look like he’s going to mind playing for Hackworth, as he created steadily throughout the game as the Union lined up in an attack-minded 4-3-3.
Amobi Okugo, usually a midfielder, started at center back, a very interesting experiment. Let’s see where this one goes.
Jack McInerney, 19, got his first start this year (possibly only because Lionard Pajoy was suspended, but no matter).
Credit to D.C. United, and to Chris Pontius especially; he not only sneaked into the back post for a close-range stick-away, Pontius also drew the foul that led to the telling free kick. Still, Philly fans have some hope for better things ahead based on last night’s outing.
“I thought we grinded one out tonight,” United Coach Ben Olsen told the Washington Post. “They were good. Give them a lot of credit. I thought their energy was good, I thought their soccer was better on the night. … But at the end of the day it’s about winning games.”