By Ryan Fleming
A few thoughts following Real Madrid’s 2-1 defeat over the Philadelphia Union.
- Despite being reasonably entertained, the Sons of Ben and Union supporters can at least tip their hats knowing this outcome could have been very different. At the half, the score could have 4-2 or 3-2 in favor of Philadelphia, but failed attempts, missed chances and an array of blunders nullified any chance of a positive outcome. Sebastien Le Toux and Carlos Ruiz proved difficult for Madrid’s expensive defenders, but the finishing lacked. For Jose Mourinho’s side, finishing came with a calm, cool, classy excellence. And that’s what Madrid held over Philadelphia.
- Is this World Football Challenge really worth all this? Sure, 50 thousand-plus traveled to Philly and I would imagine both teams took in some cash, though Madrid essentially bathes in it. At the end of the Union loss MLS teams were being outscored 15-5. Manchester United rolled to a 4-1 victory against the lowly (yet improving?) New England Revolution, and a repeat scoreline for Madrid against one of the MLS’s best sides, the Los Angeles Galaxy,so the total is skewed a bit. Fortunately the MLS isn’t embarrassing itself and thanks to Vancouver and the most-recent Philadelphia Union performance, league commissioner Don Garber can smile for now.
- MLS watch out, the Union are a team of the future. Against some of the best in he world, the Philadelphia forwards caused confusion and asked questions of Jose Mourinho’s defense. If Sebastien Le Toux and Carlos Ruiz finished half of the chances they were given, the outcome could have been 4-2 in favor of the MLS club. What’s also worth noting is that coach Peter Nowak’s decision to bring 16 year old Zach Pfeffer on for the last 20 minutes. Sure, it was a mere friendly, but putting a teenager on whose yet to appear in league play, shows confidence and faith in the future, when Philadelphia wanted to win.
Ryan Fleming can be reached at Ryan.Fleming@thesoccerguysonline.com.