Following the Toni Kroos superhero impersonation thing against Sweden, this was always going to be a different thing. That’s possibly a bigger understatement than Toni Kroos doing a superhero thing. Kroos literally saved Germany’s World Cup aspirations, which is possibly greater than a superhero’s feat.
Meanwhile the ‘Caps, well, to say it was a different thing. If you watched it all. Or suffered through it all.
Yeah. It was a different thing.
Carl Robinson went with the same lineup that managed to hammer home 5 goals against a hapless - almost defender-less by nature of the amount of injuries they had - Orlando City FC side. Starting at left back was Brek Shea, with Aly Ghazal holding his place in the centre of the park ahead of the likes of Efrain Juarez and Russell Teibert.
It didn’t take long for the hosts to get at the soft, soft, underbelly of the ‘Caps. Ilsinho and Borek Dockal, C.J. Sapong and Fabrice Picault ran literal circles around the defence. That may not be entirely fair to the likes of Felipe and Doneil Henry, but on the whole the ‘Caps were overrun from the start to the end.
Dockal and Ilsinho repeatedly took on and casually stepped around Brek Shea, who continually got caught out either over commiting, or failing to jockey, or failing to even pick his head up and look at what was happening around him. The overall positioning awareness - more so the complete lack there of - on the left hand side of the pitch left Jose Aja, Felipe and Henry scrambling to make blocks, or last ditch tackles one after another.
It didn’t take long either for the pressure to finally tell. After what was something like their 9th attempt on target, Brian Rowe’s goal was finally breached by Dockal in the 23rd minute. Shea’s obscenely weak clearance attempt literally headed the ball back to the edge of the penalty box.
Alphonso Davies got caught by that, but I can’t fault him for that. Shea was under absolutely no pressure, he could have controlled with his chest, or taken a step back further on the ball and just kicked it clear.
Instead, he used his overpaid head to try and clear the ball and screwed the other 10 men on the pitch with him. I’ve seen players layoff passes for teammates to be hit first time at goal with more pace than that clearance had.
The fact that it remained 1-0 up until half time, and even for about 20 minutes after the break was remarkable. I can sit here and complain that the referee didn’t book several blatant fouls that were late, studs up or otherwise against ‘Caps players in the first half, but on the whole the result looked like a sure thing from the opening minutes.
If you think I’m even remotely exaggerating, there’s a very simple stat line that sums the game up which is the TWENTY-FIVE shots on target that the Philadelphia Union had to the ZERO shots on target of the Vancouver Whitecaps.
This horse is quite honestly, very dead. There isn’t much more I can say. I can recap how Borek Dockal strolled through the Whitecaps defence to make it 2-0.
Or I can describe how Jose Aja was trying to desperately recover space in his own box not even a minute later, after an obscenely easy pass from Ilsinho to substitute Corey Burke which simply cut the ‘Caps in half and nearly let Burke saunter through the 18-yard box towards Brian Rowe. With no other options other than to let Burke shoot, Aja opted to tug Burke’s shoulder, the goalscoring opportunity went wanting, and Aja received a red card.
From the spot, well you guessed it. 3-0 Union.
Then at the death, with the game less than 90 seconds from being over, Yordy Reyna lost his mind - in the box - and decided to run after Fabrice Picault and blatantly foul him. Picault was actually laughing after the play - almost stunned by the fact that a professional footballer just committed the lazy, half-assed, moronic foul that Reyna committed.
It’s in the highlight package, which is somehow 4 whole minutes long, and can be found around the 3:10 mark. If you just want to see the sad moment that Brian Rowe had to face his third penalty of the game, and concede it, it’s here:
That’s that. My word. That was bad.
The only positives I can even potentially scrape together are that this should be the end of Brek Shea at left back, and probably Aly Ghazal in the middle, and there’s a Town Hall being held very soon which will allow for a lot of dirty laundry to be aired.
Oh, and we don’t have to worry about who to pair with Kendall Waston. Doneil Henry not only isn’t suspended but actually helped keep that scoreline from being even more embarrassing.
For the second time this year the ‘Caps had multiple red cards against them. The difference though is that these weren’t even remotely controversial. These were blatant and clear cut. no VAR needed in Philadelphia other than to further embarrass Reyna and Aja for receiving them.
In the mean time I leave you there - if you want to chime in, please do so. I’ve defended this team, this squad, this manager before but that result leaves me at a loss.
Where do you stand?