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Posted by on Sep 18, 2012 in MLS, Philadelphia Union, Recent, Toronto FC | 0 comments

Fear and Self Loathing in Toronto Eh?

I really wanted to write a match review of the Union match versus Toronto. I couldn’t do it, I mean of course I could if I really wanted to, or even if I didn’t want to. I have a job and children, I do things I dont want to do all the time. I think what I meant to write actually is that I truely and dearly wanted to write a match review but I never saw a match to write about. Now before you think I went all Hunter S. Thompson on you and am about to spin a tale of conscious-altering, completely illegal and possibly immoral hi-jinks. I am about to sorely disappoint you……again.

I was actually excited to see the Union beat up on the worst defense in the league. It did not exactly work out that way. The first 45 minutes were a dismal affair, with both teams looking sloppy and Toronto with the better chances. I would even go as far to say that without some serious incompetence on the part of the TFC forward line, they should have been leading at the half.

I want to take a minute to speak about Eric Hassli. Hassli is a villain in Philadelphia, and probably most places on earth including his mother’s house, I am willing to bet. He is the French Lenhart, with less hair and more neck tattoos. Now in all fairness, Hassli may be knitting sweaters for crippled, homeless puppies and having tea with the Dali Lama in his off time, but I could easily see Hassli being that guy off the field as well. Regardless of what his actual personality is like, he is a killer. Big, strong, slightly insane and likely to snap at any second and punch out the closest person to him on the pitch, regardless if what uniform they are wearing. I will go out on a limb and say that Hassli may be exactly the guy the Union should be going after in the offseason. He has scored 15 goals in 24 games with two teams, has a wicked temper and a good first touch, it’s a perfect fit. The Union with 15 more goals is in the playoff picture.

Half time had me thinking yet again whether its the workman or his tools who are at fault for this dismal season. This team has not exactly been playing out of its skin this year no matter who was in charge. By that logic, its the players that aren’t good enough. There is an old soccer addage that goes something like “you cant fire the players so you fire the coach”. The Union tried that already, and as soon as that “new manager smell” wore off, the team resumed its sub par performances. The solution lies in a combination of both perhaps? I know Hackworth has many defenders, and I would still not count myself amongst those calling for his head, but I question his ability.

The Union has the same problems it had under Nowak, under Hackworth, just without the alleged hazing and physical abuse. Hackworth has shown nothing new on the field. His substitutions, while admittedly positive, no longer have an effect on the game because everyone knows how to step off and allow Hoppenot room to run himself into the corner before he tries to turn into the box, flop and look for a foul he was only ever going to get the first or second time he tried it.

So I have to type again (I really am getting tired of saying the exact same things over and over, which is another reason I doubt the technical staffs ability to take the Union forward) there needs to be a change of approach. This team an the technical staff appear to fit the definition of insanity. ( Editors Note: I am editing myself right now and besides that feeling vaguely dirty, this is becoming exactly the kind of self indulgent and self referential dribble I was hoping to avoid, Ok back to the point. The saying goes, for those of you that have never heard this before: “The definition of Insanity is to try the same thing over and over and expecting different results”)

Hackworth and company seem either unable or unwilling to change the plan. Sound familiar?

The second 45 minutes saw two goals, some stupid and overly chippy play (I am looking at you Farfan), and a goal from yet another person who gets paid to keep the ball out of the net, not put it in. This is a nice problem to have sometime, but only when the guys you are paying to put the ball away are doing it as well. To be fair, it was a nice tap in from Williams. This “match” also has the first fundamental paradigm shift in Hackworth’s career. Hoffman was subbed on for Lahoud instead of Hoppenot, very heady stuff indeed.

Post Script:

I wanted to write more, I truly did. Circumstance has prevented such a thing. Here is what I know to be true:

  1. Toronto is terrible, and the Union have failed to beat them
  2. The results aren’t that different in a post Nowak world
  3. Crossing to 5 foot tall players is ineffectual.

There really is no more to say, so as your lawyer I advise you to find any means at your disposal to forget this so called match and perhaps this entire season as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

Now back home to battle the Capital-ists!! Away Lazlo!!