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

Monday, July 11, 2016

Alberg's goal goes down as historic for the Union

Roland Alberg bagged his sixth MLS goal of the season Saturday
against D.C. United. (Courtesy of Philadelphia Union/Sideline Photos)
Lost in the onslaught of goals in the Union’s 3-0 win over D.C. United Saturday night, Roland Alberg earned a double dose of club history.

The Dutchman converted a 20th-minute penalty kick to open the scoring, his sixth goal of the season in MLS and eighth in all competitions, including the U.S. Open Cup. Alberg is tied for the team lead with Chris Pontius for most goals in MLS and total this season.

In the longer view, Alberg’s goal earned two other distinctions: He is tied for the most goals scored in a single season by a Union midfielder and the most goals scored in a single season by a Union foreign signing.

Alberg is level with Gabriel Gomez for both honors. Gomez scored six goals in the ill-fated 2012 season, the Panamanian setting the standard for Union midfielders. Vincent Nogueira scored five goals from midfield last season, as did Freddy Adu in 2012. Both are in Alberg’s rearview mirror.

Gomez owns the slight edge in style points, since only one of his goals came from the penalty spot, as opposed to three of Alberg’s. Alberg also forced the own goal by Chicago a few weeks back, so it’s really 6.5, like an away-goals tiebreaker kind of thing.

As far as foreign signings go, Alberg and Gomez are even again. The Union’s most productive seasons in terms of goals scored have been monopolized by American forwards, draftees and acquisitions from other MLS clubs, as is the case of former Seattle Sounder Sebastien Le Toux, who owns three of the top four and four of the top seven scoring seasons in Union history. Others that Alberg is chasing include Conor Casey (twice), Jack McInerney (twice), CJ Sapong, Danny Mwanga and Andrew Wenger.
Behind Gomez and Alberg are foreign signings like Nogueira, Fernando Aristeguieta and Lio Pajoy with five goals apiece.

Alberg’s advantage looks better when you consider goals in all competitions, boosted by the team’s improved play and progress in the Open Cup. But his goals-per-90-minutes average is where he really stands apart.

Alberg’s six MLS goals have come in 646 minutes, an astronomical rate of 0.836 g/90. That’s by far the highest among Union players who have logged at least 500 minutes in a season. Next highest is Le Toux at 0.527 g/90 in 2013. Casey in 2014 (0.502) and Le Toux in 2010 (0.500) are the only other players over a goal-every-two-games average over more than 500 minutes.

Even below 500 minutes, Alberg’s goal-bagging rate still exceeds Casey in 2015 (0.794 over 340 minutes) and McInerney in 2010 (0.771 over 350 minutes).

Goals/90 minutes in Philadelphia Union history.

Those figures should fuel the excitement over Alberg. After all, his offensive production has come entirely in the last month, and if MLS chose a branded MVP for the period of June 15-July 15, Alberg would be it.

It’s a small sample that deviates sharply from Alberg’s goalscoring record in the Netherlands (16 Eredivisie goals in 8,241 minutes, or a goals/90 of 0.175). But even if he doesn’t keep scoring in MLS at five times his pace in Holland, he’s at least producing at a rapid rate by Union standards.

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