Mar 17, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya (11) collides with Columbus Crew midfielder Artur (7) after his shot attempt during the first half at Talen Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Here are three things we learned from the Philadelphia Union’s 0-0 draw with the Columbus Crew on Saturday.
1. Borek Dockal needs time
Borek Dockal admitted his first performance for the Union could’ve been better, as he failed to make much of an impact in the final third.
“It can always be better,” Dockal said. “My performance definitely can be better. But I have to start at some point so it would actually be a miracle if I played an excellent game today. If I look at my preseason and the difficulties here with my injury.
“So I expect much more from myself definitely. And as a team I feel we can play better also. It was not a bad game. We had to see we met a really good team with a good ball possession so it was a lot of running without the ball, which is always difficult. We didn’t give them many chances, which is positive. But on the other side, we didn’t create enough chances. If you play a home game and you want to win the home game, then we should create much more.”
Dockal and captain Alejandro Bedoya drifted too far to the right throughout the game, as space was left open in the center of the field.
Most on the team believe that will be fixed in the coming weeks as familiarity is gained between Dockal and his new teammates.
“It’s the first time with Borek and Ale playing together and they both are naturally right-footed so I think it’s normal for them to drift to the right a little bit,” Union midfielder Fabian Herbers said. “They’re just testing it out now and I think we have to have a little more balance in the midfield, but I think going forward they’re experienced players and they can figure it out.”
2. Young defense thriving
Through 180 minutes of play in the 2018 season, the Philadelphia Union have held opponents scoreless.
The young center back duo of Jack Elliott and Auston Trusty faced a difficult task against Gyasi Zardes on Saturday, but they did well against the movement of the U.S. Men’s National Team forward.
“Trusty and Elliott were very connected,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. “They did a good job with Zardes and I thought Rosenberry was solid and played a really strong game. Andre didn’t have a ton of saves to do. Overall, probably not the most exciting game for people to watch, a lot of little things and tactical battles going on in the run of play, and neither team really created a ton of chances.”
Although the result could’ve been better, the Union are building confidence with a young back line that also includes third-year right back Keegan Rosenberry. Fabinho and Ray Gaddis split time at left back after Fabinho left with a leg injury at halftime.
“It’s good for us I think to build confidence with a lot of young guys in the back line and especially today with the personnel change at halftime,” Rosenberry said. “Shutouts are important, but we also focus on three points and the result at home. Disappointing, but we’ll try and build on the shutout and some of the positives from today.”
3. David Accam needs to be more involved
This comes with the attack being more balanced, but the Union must get David Accam on the ball more than they did in Week 3.
The winger, who ravaged Andrew Farrell in Week 1, wasn’t heard from much during the scoreless draw against the Crew.
Accam showed up early in the second half, as he cut into the middle of the field, but nothing else came after one of the most dangerous attacking buildups of the day.
As Dockal and Bedoya tilt back toward the middle of the field, expect the Union to be more balanced with Accam receiving more scoring opportunities.
Having another week of practice between Saturday’s draw and the March 31 clash with the Colorado Rapids should help fix the issue.