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

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Union 0-0 Toronto: A dour day in Disney

In all good faith, I can’t really recommend watching the replay of the Union’s rather lifeless 0-0 stalemate with Toronto FC to close out the Disney World Pro Soccer Classic (unless you have absolutely nothing to do). As nice as it was to see Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu go at each other in the center of the pitch, there wasn’t much in the way of coherent attacking soccer or excitement on either side. So to save you the trouble, a few observations:

- The Union’s attacking choreography has a lot of work to do. A lot. That’s not wholly unexpected, but the season is right around the corner, so some comfort needs to be achieved quickly. Where to begin? The idea of playing through the middle is stymied by congestion in that part of the pitch, either from the presence of Brian Carroll stepping up or Jack McInerney drifting back. That hampers the amount of space Edu has to operate, especially with Cristian Maidana and Sebastien Le Toux inevitably drifting inside, and it left Vincent Nogueira dropping way too deep and wide for possession. For as much as Le Toux brings, there are times when it would be beneficial for the Union to have a winger on the opposite side as Maidana who stays wide instead of slotting in centrally.

- Negatives aside, there are also undoubtedly positives. The overlap play with the fullbacks courtesy of Maidana and Le Toux is already more developed than at any point last season. Even from deep-lying positions, the distribution of Nogueira and Maidana is obviously impressive. Edu seems to be adapting well to the free rein he’s been given in midfield. And McInerney appears to be settling in well to the fluidity and movement of the attack.
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Union 1-2 Red Bulls: Preseason observations

For all intents and purposes, the Union’s real preseason started off Tuesday with its 2-1 loss to New York Red Bulls in what appeared to be miserable Jacksonville, Fla.

Though the Union ended up on the wrong side of the ledger thanks to goals by Lloyd Sam and this Henry guy, they enjoyed the better of play of large stretches. They also made wholesale changes at halftime, giving us a good sneak preview into the potential depth chart of John Hackworth. A few observations:

- Here’s the lineup that started:
Maidana-Nogueira -Cruz
Note the arrangement at left back with Fabinho ahead of Ray Gaddis, and I think Richie Marquez’s nod indicates his place in the center back depth chart (though I wasn’t terribly impressed with his play, with the Red Bulls first team scoring both goals). In terms of formation, it seemed like Maurice Edu was pretty deep lying, making it more a 4-2-3-1 rather than a 4-1-2-3 with he and Vincent Nogueira in the center. There was also plenty of interchange between those midfielders drifting in and out.
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