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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Union 2-0 D.C. United: Three extra points

The Union did what they had to Saturday, pure and simple. It wasn’t always pretty, and it certainly wasn’t as effective as it could have been, but the Union need what was needed in dispatching a youthful D.C. United side, 2-0, at PPL Park. A few stray observations.

- I guess when the Union win, I should start with a positive. So how about this: Fabinho is a very good left wing option. Much of the Union’s struggles in the first half were because they went almost exclusively down the left with Sebastien Le Toux and Fabinho, deputizing at left back for Ray Gaddis. That lack of balance effectively shut Danny Cruz out of the game, and he didn’t have much influence before being withdrawn for Michael Farfan as a defensive sub. Cruz has played a lot and is a high energy guy, so Fabinho could be a good option if Cruz needs a break at some point.

- The Union peppered D.C.’s cage with 22 shots Saturday. Only three were off the boot of Jack McInerney. His first effort was his best, a top poke in the fifth minute that forced a reflex save from Bill Hamid to push it over the bar. But McInerney has to shoot more. He’s mired in a seven-game scoreless slump (yeah, we’ll use that word), and he played like it at times with his over deferential, pass-first mentality at times. When you consider the midfield options around him consist of Brian Carroll (two goals in MLS play, one scored with his back), Michael Farfan (one MLS goal, not from the run of play), Cruz (two MLS goals in one furious two-minute span against Seattle set against the backdrop of a generally misfiring eye for goal) and Keon Daniel (five shots on goal all year), there’s not much reason to lay the ball off. Good scorers shoot their ways out of slumps; that’s what McInerney must do.

- Among the myriad problems in the first half with the Union’s attack was this: With Casey and McInerney drawing D.C.’s back four backwards, who was the most advanced central player to fill in the space created in the 18-yard box and above? That would be Carroll and his aforementioned goal prowess. The central midfield spot remains a problem for the Union. Daniel, for some reason, constantly wanted to drop back and let Carroll go forward. Farfan wasn’t great in that role last week. And Kleberson, again for some reason, didn’t feature. If Daniel is going to push that far back, they’d might as well put Michael Lahoud out there to be a more effective and more consistent holder and set Carroll go forward.

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