Rocket City Recap: Huntsville dominated by Philadelphia Union 2, lose 2-0

With a 2-0 loss to Philadelphia Union 2 last weekend, Huntsville City FC have now gone eleven games in a row without a win. Even for someone like me, who prioritizes performances over results when it comes to Huntsville, this was hard to stomach. The result wasn’t there, the performances certainly weren’t there, it was ugly all around.

Before we start, allow me to apologize. This was originally supposed to be written on Wednesday, leaving ample time between the recap and Friday’s game against Toronto FC II. However, the storms that swept through Middle Tennessee this week left a power live line down across my driveway, and thus I couldn’t get into my house. I hope you’ll forgive me. Let’s dive in.

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The lineup was different than it had been in previous weeks, with the biggest changes being Ollie Wright stepping in at the number 10 spot in place of Alejandro Velazquez-Lopez, Joel Sangwa filling in at right back instead of Isaiah Jones, and Faiz Opande starting alongside Chris Applewhite in central defense.

From the opening whistle, it was pretty much all Philadelphia. Had they brought better finishing boots, they really could’ve run the Boys in Blue off the field at Subaru Park. However, luckily enough for Huntsville, Philadelphia’s finishing was generally poor. That doesn’t mean Huntsville even came close to capitalizing, unfortunately.

Because of the nature of the game, I’m going to be talking about the first half in broader terms than you might have grown accustomed with Rocket City Recap. Philadelphia pressed Huntsville into oblivion in the first 45. Huntsville really struggled to maintain possession for longer than a few passes.

Around the half hour mark, the play-by-play announcer mentioned that Huntsville had five final third entries to that point. That, on the face of it, doesn’t sound too terrible if you don’t know any better. Philadelphia had 30. Three-zero. 30 final third entries in the first half hour of the game.

Huntsville was extremely lucky to enter the break with the scoreline at 0-0. The hope, obviously, is that things could be shuffled around and the tide stemmed at least somewhat. That was not the case. The Boys in Blue did manage to make the possession figures more favorable, and actually finished with 54% of the ball, but they could do absolutely nothing with it.

Philadelphia finally found the breakthrough in the 79th minute off a good finish from just outside the box by CJ Olney, and finished it off with an 89th minute Francis Westfield penalty. Philadelphia would finish the game with 21 shots, seven being on target. Huntsville, on the other hand, took just six shots, with one being on target.

In every sense of the word, Huntsville was just outplayed. There’s a reason Philadelphia sits 2nd in the conference compared to Huntsville’s 15th, and last place. They’re just simply a better team with better players.

Huntsville has a much weaker opponent in Toronto FC II coming into Joe Davis Stadium next. Toronto sits in 12th. While the hosts will have had quite the tumultuous start to the season with injuries and a coaching change, it’s still true that the success of the Huntsville brand relies in part on results.

Eleven games without a win is unacceptable, and it has to change soon, as agonizingly close as Huntsville has gotten at various points.

Author: Ronan Briscoeis a contributor for Broadway Sports, and a founding contributor at SoundwaveSoccer.com, where he covers Nashville SC, Huntsville City FC and Nashville's youth academy.

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