FINAL WHISTLE: Corners and counters lead to tough loss for the U

On a night when Montreal Impact put four past the Union at home, there were a lot of key moments to analyze as Philly looks to right the ship on Wednesday against Seattle.

Crazy corners

It was how they drew it up and then it wasn’t. Auston Trusty guided his first MLS goal home off a Borek Dockal cross from Haris Medunjanin’s corner kick. But on two other corners, Philly allowed the Impact to counterattack and score.

Countering off corners can be a big part of being a successful transition team because corner kicks create a situation in which many players are out of position and scrambling to recover if the ball is cleared from the box. When Fafa Picault slipped on the first Montreal counter off a corner, the Impact quickly saw an opportunity and capitalized on it. There was some luck involved for the visitors as they needed Picault to lose his footing and the ball to fall to Alejandro Silva when Ray Gaddis hustled back to knock the ball loose from Piatti.

Not enough shots

The Union struggled to create shots against a deep and sturdy Impact defense. Montreal’s central midfield trio did a great job protecting the middle of the pitch and Philly was unable to create the man advantages on the wings that would have helped them dominate the match. Indeed, a glance at the Union passing map shows that the Union didn’t dominate the right side as they often have this season.

Additionally, Philly could not successfully get behind an Impact defense that worked to keep the home side in front of them. Not known for his defensive work as much as his attacking flair, Nacho Piatti collected four interceptions and eight recoveries over the course of the night, many of them in the area on the right where Philly often does its best work.

Pushing Dockal deep

A final aspect of the match that the Union will hope to improve by Wednesday is where Borek Dockal collects the ball. By maintaining tight defensive lines and ensuring both deeper central midfielders remained in the middle of the pitch, the Impact largely kept Dockal from receiving passes in the final third. Instead, the Czech playmaker dropped into areas around the center circle to gather the ball and start plays.

Still, the Impact could not lock Dockal out of things entirely. By collecting his fifteenth assist, Dockal tied the all-time Union single season assists record with 15. The next time a helper is credited to the Czech international in MLS play, he will sit alone atop Philly’s all-time leaderboard.


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