PBPP: Things Coming Together Down the Stretch
It is up for debate as to whether or not Saturday’s win vs Chivas USA was Philadelphia’s best 90 minute performance of the season.
What’s not up for debate is the fact that it clearly was the team’s best result of 2010. Getting the win was important enough, but how about scoring three goals in the process, something they had done only three times this season. Add in the shutout, and you can see why things are looking better these days for the Union. Here are some of the bright spots:
Alejandro Moreno and Fred were able to register big goals. All season long the Union have looked to others to step up, besides the high scoring duo of Le Toux and Mwanga. Those two vets came up big on Saturday. The Fred goal, just before the stroke of halftime, gave Philadelphia a huge lift, while deflating their opponent at the same time.
Le Toux Again
He started out quiet, but then came to life. Once again Sebastien was a factor. He now has a dozen goals to go along with 10 assists. He remains the only player in MLS to have double digits in both categories in 2010.
Solid in Goal
You could argue that Brad Knighton wasn’t busy in goal, and I would buy that since he only was called upon to make two saves, but I saw a lot more in Knighton’s play Saturday. Look at his positioning, and his body language. The way he came off of his line both on corners and during the run of play. Knighton has started the last three MLS games, allowing just one goal (at San Jose) while picking up two shutouts.
When a team plays solid defensively, we don’t just talk about the back four and the goalkeeper. Defense is a team effort. Having said that, the back line has really picked it up lately. Over the last three games it has been Jordan Harvey on the left, Danny Califf and Michael Orozco-Fiscal in the middle, and newcomer Sheanon Williams on the right. Williams has added speed to that unit, plus those long throw-ins have become a dangerous element in the Union offense.
There have been a lot of bright spots for the Union after they might have hit their low point of the season, that 2-0 loss in Washington DC back on August 22. Since then, the team has gone 3-1-1 in their last five MLS games, scoring seven goals while giving up just three.
I believe that 10-day break between the San Jose and Chivas game really helped the club on Saturday as injured players had a chance to heal. It might also be a factor this week as the team now has to play two games over a four day period. On Wednesday the Union face a hot Colorado Rapids team, then come back to PPL Park for a Saturday matchup vs Houston.