PAJOY SHOWING PROGRESS
|(Times / JULIA WILKINSON)|
He may not be a step as quick as other players. And he may not have scored nearly as many goals as advertised in the preseason by ex-Union boss Peter Nowak. But Pajoy’s improved play is showing up when the Union have needed it.
Pajoy struck twice Tuesday night, once from the run of play and another time from the penalty spot, in a 5-2 win over Harrisburg that sent the Union into the semifinal stage of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Part of the reason for Pajoy’s improved play of late has been that he’s lining up beside two others in the Union’s new-look formation. No longer is the Colombian striker being counted on as the lone striker. Instead, he’s been paired up with Jack McInerney and a combination of other players, like Josue Martinez, Antoine Hoppenot and even Freddy Adu at glimmers pushing forward.
On the same token, Pajoy isn’t always on the attack. He’s dropped a step or two into the midfield, and been counted upon as a link to distribute the ball, rather than simply dump it over the opposition and run onto it.
“It’s just been the hard work that we’ve been putting in,” Pajoy said the other day, through a translator. “The offense, as well as the rest of the team has realized that we have to start scoring goals to win games.
“Not just me, but the entire team, feels pretty confident due to our recent games. It’s something that we didn’t have in the beginning of the season.”
Notice how many times Pajoy said ‘I’ there? Zero. He’s a humble guy, who often will not answer questions pertaining to himself. Call it Bryzgalov-itis, but Pajoy’s taking a team-first approach … even after netting a brace.
Pajoy doesn’t want to be the only guy being relied upon to score. That might have been his M.O. when brought in last offseason, but it isn’t anymore.
“The team isn’t relying on one person. Everyone on the offense is doing their part,” Pajoy said. “This is important for a team that aspires to great things. Hopefully, the offensive players can continue their ways.”