Swans draw in Philly
FULL TIME: All square in Philly! A good workout for the #Swans… 💪
— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) July 16, 2017
A live stream of a pre-season friendly is a very rare event. Thus, when I realised that Saturday’s match against Philadelphia Union was live on YouTube, I promptly tuned in. If you were to use this match as a barometer for how the season will go, you’d be fairly sure that we are nailed-on certainties for the bottom spot. This was a game so low in quality, with the Swansea players beginning the steps towards match fitness, and our American opponents playing a standard of football that suggested they were a team put together on the day.
This was a match that saw 21 players feature for Swansea, with the entire outfield team swapping at half-time, and Kristoffer Nordfeldt playing the entire 90 minutes. Swansea fell behind early on, with Leroy Fer giving away a penalty with a clumsy challenge, before taking a lead with two of the scrappiest goals in football history. It seemed the Union goalkeeper was playing his first game, swiping wildly at any corner delivered into his area, and Kyle Bartley and Jordan Ayew respectively took the gilt-edged chances they were presented with. Unfortunately, we could not hold on to a morale-boosting win so early in pre-season, and Nordfeldt looked poor for the second goal conceded.
What can we learn from this game? Firstly, the lack of Sigurdsson and Llorente showed up how thin our squad could be should one of or both star players leave. With Tammy Abraham having not yet joined the tour, our striking options were Jordan Ayew and Oli McBurnie, and we lacked a cutting edge that would have settled the fixture earlier.
Roque Mesa looked impressive, a player in the mould of Leon Britton, playing simple, short passes to dictate the tempo. Our wingers showed very little promise, with Montero and Barrow in particular struggling to find their man from crosses in the second half.
Of course, there is little to rejoice or worry about at this stage in pre-season, and there is a long way to go, but Swans fans will hope there is a morale boost coming soon.
News broke on Sunday that Michu, the player that defined our 2012/13 season, is planning to retire. Injuries have long been a hindrance to a career that burned so brightly for a short time, and it seems that he has finally decided to give up the battle for his playing career. Having left Swansea, he returned to his native Spain to rebuild his career, starting in the Spanish fourth division before rejoining his home club of Real Oviedo.
Michu was a brilliant player that deserves his place in Swansea City history. If this news has disappointed you as it has me, watch this video to reminisce his brilliant first season at the club.