BPB: Union pressure and Fafa the Fantastic

Although they only left Orlando with a point, the Union were the superior side on Saturday night. Even when James O’Connor’s men packed the box, Philly’s ball movement and activity off the ball — particularly the involvement of their wingers — created opportunities. In the sequence below, you can see the Union turn an Orlando restart into a series of half-chances that could easily be finished on another day.

First, Philly forces the Purple Lions to play through their left, cutting off routes up the right. They press the ball well, creating a turnover in the home half, then Auston Trusty plays a sensational ball through the lines to CJ Sapong to put Orlando under pressure. After that, you see why the Lions have struggled to keep the ball out of their net all season.

In the second clip, the Union recycle play and hold Orlando in their own box after establishing possession. This is the sort of sustained pressure in the final third that Philly has struggled to generate in past seasons but that they have become adept at in 2018. Watch how the Union get bodies into the box and create space for themselves with both extended and quick movements once the ball is in a good position for a cross.

Finally, let’s just admire Fafa Picault’s goal. There’s nothing much to say here. Just watch what happens and then remember that Picault was once again overlooked for the US Men’s National Team over the weekend. This speed, defensive workrate, and improved crossing should get the winger a look-in soon.

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