Union Dues: Philadelphia Find Identity
CHESTER, Pa. – I’ve been waiting for a match like this all season. A match that I could sit back in the press box at PPL Park and watch the Philadelphia Union really take it to their opponents for an entire 90 minutes.
Suffering through periods of mistaken-laden soccer and unfortunate results, the Union have scarcely played as well as they did in a massive 3-0 rout of Chivas USA last Saturday.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
From the first kick of the match to the referee’s final whistle, Peter Nowak’s side kept the pressure on the struggling Goats and, through a newfound potency from set pieces, was able to put up its biggest winning result of the season.
So why haven’t Philly been able to play like this in their other 24 matches?
A lack of focus and the struggle to find an identity as a team certainly have been causes. But until now, when there’s so little time left in their first year, the Union had not really made it a point to play as a unit and limit the opposing team’s opportunities.
But they've suddenly only allowed three goals in their last five league matches, and the Union’s defense and holding midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi took away any chances Chivas may have had. At the other end, Sebastien Le Toux was the tip of the attacking spear that drilled three goals, the first time the Union have won by that margin.
With the Colorado Rapids coming up on Wednesday, Philadelphia can take a lot from the win over Chivas USA. Playing determined, organized soccer at home hasn’t always translated on the road, but this most recent victory is the biggest building block we have seen from the team to date.
Player of the Week: Sebastien Le Toux
The man behind two of the team’s three goals against Chivas, Le Toux continues to play at the highest level. His contributions have been vital to the expansion squad in their first season in the league and keeping him around for the foreseeable future should be a top priority for the team’s brass.
Little-Noticed Observation of the Week
Fred has been a solid player for the Union, but hasn’t really contributed much as far as numbers go. Though he’s had plenty of chances to add to his stats, the midfielder only has managed three goals and one assist so far. What he has added, however, is spark and determination, and that paid off on Saturday, when he was at the right place at the right time to give the Union a tally at the most vital of times – right before the half. It also served as the killer blow.
Nowak-ism of the Week
The team manager was his usual no-nonsense self after the match to address the media. Despite playing a pretty impressive match, the gaffer said there were areas of the match with which he wasn’t pleased and stressed the need for his team to improve. Frankly, that is exactly how a manager in his position should react to a win like this, and his team has and will continue to benefit from that philosophy.