PBP: Union Have Something to Build From
Draws in soccer can be both good and bad. In the
case of the Philadelphia Union, it’s not the point they gained on
Saturday vs FC Dallas, but rather the way they earned it, that makes it a
very good point.
On the day they had the better of the ball
possession, had more shots, shots on goal, and corner kicks than did
their opponent. Having said that, they were still trailing 1-0
entering stoppage time.
A loss there would have meant a five game losing
streak heading into a bye week. Maybe some heads would be down, a
result of another frustrating good effort that resulted in no points.
Instead, the overall number one draft choice in
Major League Soccer, Danny Mwanga, came through. His goal, with time
running out, re-energized an amazing crowd of 25,000 plus, sending them
home happy. Mwanga had struggled like most rookies do in their first
season. He wasn’t getting much playing time, and at times was not in his
normal forward position. In his limited time on the field in 2010, he
looked uncomfortable with and without the ball. On Saturday, he looked
extremely confident and comfortable when striking that game-tying goal
from about 15 yards out.
The other good thing about his first pro goal is
that he got a chance to celebrate it, as opposed to Jack McInerney,
whose first MLS goal came in a 3-1 loss in Los Angeles. Congrats to
Danny Mwanga on his first professional goal. Here are some other
positives for the Union from this past Saturday.
• Chris Seitz had his best game of the season.
While he only made 3 saves in the game, they were good ones. More
impressive was his poise and confidence. He made no serious errors.
Nothing he could do on the Brek Shea goal. After allowing 2 goals in
each of the first 4 games, then 3 goals each in the next 2, this is
something for Seitz to build on. It was his 7th consecutive start this
season, which matches the total number of starts in his first 3 seasons
in the league.
• I thought overall the back four had their best
game of the season as well. Danny Califf and Michael Orozco were strong
in the center, taking Jeff Cunningham out of the game. Jordan Harvey
made some big plays on both sides of the ball, and Cristian Arrieta had a
good bounce back game after the Real Salt Lake loss.
• Despite scoring just that one goal, the
offense is clearly more effective with Sebastien Le Toux back in the
lineup. Le Toux had four shots, all on target, as the team fired 21
shots towards FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. The team also earned
10 corner kicks. If Kevin Hartman didn’t bring his “A” game to the Linc
in that first half, Philadelphia could have had 3 or 4 goals.
• An enthusiastic crowd stayed with the team
right till the very end. Sons of Ben looked and sounded strong in the
end zone. The two games at the Linc attracted an average crowd of
until May 29th vs Houston and another three consecutive road games for
this expansion team. But then, another moment Union fans have been
eagerly awaiting...the opening of PPL Park. How's that for an exciting
next home game?