Union can take positives from early performances
Starting out the season with a record of one win and two losses
may not seem like the most outstanding way to start a franchise.
Pretty ugly losses to both Seattle and Toronto have left a bitter
taste in the mouth of many of the Union players and fans. Even the win 3-2 win
over D.C. United wasn’t flawless.
Still, Philadelphia has a lot to feel good about as its inaugural
season gets underway. Here are a few things Peter Nowak & Co. can point to
as building blocks going forward:
This team can pass: Despite having long periods off the ball when
down a man in both their losses this season, the Union have shown their ability
to move the ball around the pitch quite nicely.
Controlling possession at some stages through players like
Alejandro Moreno, Sébastien Le Toux and Roger Torres, Nowak’s boys have really
come together quickly. For an expansion team, this is particularly pleasing as
it often takes teams quite awhile to gel on that level.
The target man: Quickly becoming the team’s most solid Expansion
Draft pick, Moreno is showing he still has plenty left in the tank. His
tireless performances have been pivotal for the team so far this season and
have helped make his teammates better.
The Venezuelan has been able to provide a dependable outlet deep
up the field and continually works to gain position from the opposing defenses.
His performance against D.C. was exactly why the Union took him from Columbus.
If they weren’t down a men in both their other matches, Moreno would have been
able to do more, as working up top virtually all alone is never easy.
Terrific Torres: One of the standout players on the team, Torres
has been a revelation since joining the Union from Colombian side America de
Cali. Crafty on the ball and quite elusive at only 5-foot-5, Torres has been
quite a handful. In setting up two of the team’s four goals so far this season,
Torres also has an eye for a great cross as both his assists were very
At only 18 years of age, the on-loan midfielder has settled in
extremely well to a foreign country and foreign league. Having him keep up the
solid play will be huge for the team’s success.
The new veteran: An MLS rookie, but a veteran of nearly 15 years
of professional soccer, Cristian Arrieta came to the Union and played well in
the right-back slot against Toronto.
Not playing outside of himself and doing all the right things,
the 30-year-old Orlando native has been a huge upgrade over the recently
released Dave Myrie. Arrieta’s abililty to put in a good ball from the wide
positions will also prove valuable as he tested the TFC defense on multiple
occasions last week.
With the New York Red Bulls coming up this weekend, the team
shouldn’t be too down about its record. The silly mistakes have hurt them,
without question, but there are bright spots that if continued, should help the
Union to some impressive performances this season.