A look at Union's newfound success through set pieces

Two games, and two goals from corner kicks.

For the second straight week, the Union picked up three points, and they did it by turning a weakness into a strength.

"They had to start falling," joked manager John Hackworth, when asked about the Union's early season success on corner kicks. "I know some of you guys come to training and watch us work on restarts, so at some point you would think that this kind of production was going to happen."

Historically, the Union have not been a strong set piece team.

But in three games this season, the team has scored half of its four goals from corner kicks.

Last week, it was Amobi Okugo bagging his first MLS goal.

This week, it was Jack McInerney scoring the game winner against New England.

"It's something you always work on, but it's all about execution really," McInerney said. "I think they were playing zone and they didn't mark me on either corner kick. Seba played a great ball in, I hit the header, (goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth) made a good save, but it came right back to me."

McInerney buried his own rebound, scoring the game winner and improving the Union's record against the Revolution to 5-0-3 all time.

Read: Union-New England recap

But some of the biggest praise was reserved for Le Toux, who has drastically improved his corner kick delivery since the 2011 season.

"I think part of it is just Sebastien is improving like everybody else," said Hackworth. "That's something he's prideful of, the fact that he can take those corners. To be fair, when we started practicing restarts early in the preseason, I don't think the staff had the idea that Sebastien would be the guy taking corners. But, to his credit, he's been really consistent, and he's serving such a good ball. That's another aspect of being dangerous on corner kicks, and he continues to do that. I think that's just a development in his own game."

"To be honest, we knew last year with set pieces, offensively and defensively it was kind of a weak point," added Okugo. "I think early in the season we were joking with Seba, saying 'why is he taking corner kicks?', because we knew in the past he wasn't as good (with his service). But, to his credit, he's been putting in great balls and whether it's me, or Jack, or anyone else, we've been able to find space and get it on target."

Le Toux calls the set piece success a confidence booster, but also admitted that past struggles on restarts might have influenced the attitude of the team.

"I think it's just the fact that you guys (in the media) say to us we don't score a lot on set pieces, and maybe all of the guys in the box want to show that we can score goals, and that's what happened," said Le Toux, laughing. "It's good for us, it's good for the guys, and now we know we can score from set pieces, and I'm glad that i was able to (hit two good balls) and that it went well. We're going to work more on it and hopefully score more goals that way, but it's good for the confidence for sure."

Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at k.kinkead@hotmail.com

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