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Philadelphia Union rolled over against Inter Miami



Photo by Carl Gulbish

Let’s be honest, the Philadelphia Union beat themselves in this one.

That statement is not to slight Inter Miami at all. You do not luck your way into a 4-1 victory or somehow not earn it. They were so clearly the better team in this contest, and the scoreline says that. They were also aided heavily by their opponents.

The Philadelphia Union did not lose this contest when Jordi Alba made it 3-0 before the half, or David Ruiz’s goal at the end of the game. Lionel Messi’s long strike in the 20th minute was not what did it either, nor was Jose Martinez’s early strike in the third minute. Philadelphia lost this contest before they even set foot on the pitch. Their entire approach to the semifinal game of the Leagues Cup against Miami was completely wrong.

It wasn’t just the tactical choice of a five at the back. Philadelphia has utilized that before this season to success, although it has recently been a pretty horrible formation for them defensively. The players chosen weren’t great either, but they were just a symptom of the true problem. Philadelphia approached this game with an entirely wrong mindset. Despite all of their success in the Leagues Cup so far, in Subaru Park, they went into the contest scared. Instead of trying to play their game and take the fight to Miami, they were scared of Messi and his boys. They played an extremely defensive formation, with an extremely defensive set of players, and surrendered the ball to their opponent. They took Daniel Gazdag out of the play because they were afraid of Sergio Busquets in possession.

Everything they did was out of fear of their opponents, and it played right into Tata Martino’s hands. It was a truly embarrassing performance in the first half, one that they could not dig themselves out of.

Only look at the ensuing second half to know that I’m right. Philadelphia made some changes, went with a more familiar formation, and took the fight to Miami. Drake Callender stood on his head to deny Philadelphia, but it was hopeless with the hole they dug themselves in early.

There is no shame in losing to a team with Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba. So many of the best teams in Europe, the best players in the world, have fallen to them. There’s a reason Miami has been flying since adding those world class players – what a shock! It just really stinks to see them roll over without a fight in front of a sold out home crowd.

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