Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Take Two: D.C. United at Philadelphia

Alejandro Moreno has a bit of a reputation for falling over, but he made two goals for Philadelphia by staying on his feet.

Take Two: D.C. United at Philadelphia


UPDATE: Sebastien Le Toux has been named Major League Soccer's Player of the Week. Voting for the award is done by the North American Soccer Reporters, of which Marc Narducci and I are members.

All ballots are made public, and you can see the results of this week's vote here. Le Toux edged out New England's Zach Schilawski, who also scored a hat trick on Saturday. The Revolution beat Toronto, 4-1.

With the Union's next game coming Thursday, I wanted to get this up as quickly as possible. It won't be as detailed as my review of the Seattle game was, but I do have a few things I want to highlight.

- I wrote about this a little bit yesterday, but I'm going to say it again, because it's important: having Stefani Miglioranzi and Fred on the field makes a huge difference. Both players are capable of settling play down in the middle of the park.

Their experience counts for a lot, too. Compare that tandem to Toni Stahl and Danny Mwanga, who started in Seattle. That's a pretty big difference.

- Alejandro Moreno has a bit of a reputation for falling over, but he made two goals for Philadelphia by staying on his feet.

On the first, Moreno gathered the rebound off Troy Perkins' save, then kept the ball from two defenders with some nice dribbling and a pass to Roger Torres. On the second, Moreno took a bump from Brandon Barklage, but stayed up and turned to send turn and loop a spectacular long ball to Sebastien Le Toux.

- Moreno will get a lot of plaudits for that pass, but don't overlook Cristian Arrieta's contribution on the play. Arrieta hustled to get to the loose ball on the wing, then made the sharp pass to Moreno with his first touch.

- A sequence I suspect we'll see a few times this season: Roger Torres makes a play of consequence, then gets tackled by the offended opponent. That happened in the 44th minute, when Torres stole the ball from Carey Talley. He then made a nice pass down the left wing to Moreno, and was whacked by Kurt Morsink just after releasing the ball.

I'm sure Peter Nowak will tell Torres to consider it a compliment. You might tell the referee to consider it a foul.

- Two errors by the Union led to D.C.'s first goal. The first was the lazy pass from Michael Orozco that was picked off by Santino Quaranta. The second, I thought, was left back Jordan Harvey's decision to start tracking Quaranta well before the ball got to him.

I thought Harvey could have come to the ball more than he did, and I think he probably would have gotten there in time. But even if he'd missed Quaranta, the Union had enough players back to make up for it.

- Jaime Moreno might play until he and another guy with the same initials, Jamie Moyer, are in rocking chairs the rest of the week. But just as Moyer can still fool hitters, Moreno can still be effective for D.C. United. Moreno isn't hard to shut down, but if you let him go free on the field he can make you pay. And if the guy who has to look for him is Chris Seitz, so be it.

What made Moreno's goal wasn't just him stripping Seitz of the ball. It was the crossover dribble that sent Seitz tumbling to the turf. For however little gas Moreno has left in his tank, he's still got that.

- If you are the parent of a child who plays soccer, show him or her the clip of Dejan Jakovic's foul on Alejandro Moreno. Jakovic was rightly sent off by referee Terry Vaughan. The contact itself didn't merit a red card, but Moreno had clearly beaten Jakovic after turning and was on his way towards the goal.

If the foul had taken place in the middle of the field, it might not have even been worth a yellow card. But Vaughan called it for what it was: a denial of a goalscoring opportunity.

- An assessment of the game as a whole: there wasn't a huge amount of play down the flanks. That's in part because Lincoln Financial Field is only 68 yards wide, but I also don't think either team had players out there who were genuine wingers. That didn't stop the teams from combining for five goals, of course. But we'll see if the pitch width is a factor for the Union's next game at the Linc, May 15 against FC Dallas.

Which players and moments from the game stood out out to you?

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