Union See Mixed Results in First 2 Months

MLSSOCCER.COM'S SHANE EVANS OFFERS UP THE STATE OF THE UNION
It took two years for the
Philadelphia Union to go from a dream to kicking off their first game in
Major League Soccer. And it took just two months for their first season
in the league to show definable trends, both negative and positive.


Starting the year 1-5-1,
the inaugural season for the Union has gone the way many thought it
would: badly. Traditionally, expansion clubs in MLS struggle out of the
gate and take a while to come together.

Four points at this stage
in the season may not seem like much, but the team is certainly playing
solid soccer. The movement is crisp and they are gelling much quicker
than anyone could have expected. They have a solid scoring threat up top
and the midfield has generally been playing well together.

With the Union facing a
bye week this weekend, we take a quick look back at the season so far
for the league’s fledgling franchise.

At Seattle
Sounders FC (March 25)
 - A daunting way to start out the season, the Union played
surprisingly well for an expansion team on the road in a place like
Seattle. Controlling the possession for extended periods, even when down
a man, Philadelphia’s 2-0 loss didn’t do their play justice.

D.C. United (April
10)
 – An emotional and emphatic 3-2 win, this was by far the
team’s best performance of the season. Visiting D.C. United were
outplayed and outmatched in the Union’s first ever home game. This one
could have easily been more lopsided.

At Toronto FC
(April 15)
 - A short week sent the Union on the road to face
Toronto FC at BMO Field, and they came away with a 2-1 loss. Playing
well again, they were hindered by isolated mistakes and ultimately
weren’t able to make up the difference playing down a man. Even in the
loss, they bossed TFC for big portions of the match.

At New York Red
Bulls (April 24)
 - Probably the Union’s worst showing of the
season. The high-flying Red Bulls kept the Union on edge in this match
and never really let them find their rhythm, earning a 2-1 win at Red
Bull Arena.

At Los Angeles
Galaxy (May 1)
 - Thoroughly outplayed by the league’s top team
in the first half of the match, the Union responded with a much better
second half in a 3-1 loss. Despite being down a man for the third time
this season, the visitors actually won the last 45 minutes and forced
the Galaxy into surrendering one of only two goals allowed this season.

At Real Salt Lake
(May 8)
 - Another misleading scoreline, as the Union played
much better than a 3-0 margin would indicate. RSL showed their class on
the three goals scored and deserved the win, but Peter Nowak’s team
didn’t give them much in the match that was played largely in the
midfield.

FC Dallas (May
15th)
 - Falling behind for the first time ever at home, the
Union created chance after chance against Dallas in a 1-1 draw. If it
weren’t for FCD goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, the Union could have easily
scored three or four goals. It was no. 1 overall pick in last year’s
SuperDraft, Danny Mwanga, netting the game-tying goal in the last minute
of stoppage time.