Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Take Two: Union at Houston Dynamo

Shea Salinas' strong performance in the Union's 3-2 win at Houston on Saturday has put him in the discussion for a regular spot in the starting lineup. But if Salinas comes in, someone has to go to the bench. Who should it be?

Take Two: Union at Houston Dynamo

Shea Salinas scored an impressive goal in the Union´s 3-2 win at Houston on Saturday. (David J. Phillip/AP)
Shea Salinas scored an impressive goal in the Union's 3-2 win at Houston on Saturday. (David J. Phillip/AP)

After a few fleeting days off the grid, I'm back at at it. Here are my questions and talking points after going back over the Union's win this past Saturday.

- Who should start in the Union's midfield? This is the biggest question to discuss after Shea Salinas' strong performance as a starter. Salinas clearly brings an element of pace that some of his teammates don't have. He also has a bit of creativity, as we saw when he flicked the ball past Pat Onstad with the outside of his right boot to score the Union's first goal.

But if Salinas is now in the mix for a regular starting position, then one of the other starters has to sit if the Union sticks with a 4-4-2. Let's assume the formation stays the same (and I think that's a pretty safe assumption). I've put up a poll asking which of these five players you think should not start: Fred, Stefani Miglioranzi, Kyle Nakazawa, Shea Salinas or Roger Torres. Cast your vote and share your thoughts in the comments.

- Michael Orozco did a good job defending Luis Angel Landin, one of the Dynamo's most dangerous players. but he also got a little lucky. Landin beat Orozco down the right flank in the first minute ofthe match, but Orozco closed down the play. He got a bit lucky that referee Steven DePiero didn't call a foul, but it's good that Orozco made the recovery.

Orozco then gave Landin a bit of an elbow in the seventh minute, and Landin went down in the box. But DePiero told him to get up, which I think was the right call. Landin finally beat Orozco on a run in the 33rd minute, but Jordan Harvey was there to back Orozco up and force a goal kick.

What was responsible for Orozco's change in fortunes? Perhaps a change of jersey. The 24-year-old put his full last name, Orozco Fiscal, on the back of his shirt on Saturday.

- Danny Mwanga's stock continues to rise. That's now two decisive goals in second-half stoppage time for the rookie - and he had two other great chances in the second half that he could have easily finished.

I really like the idea of using Mwanga as a supersub, because his pace can make a difference in the second half. But I still think Mwanga's best role is as a forward instead of as a midfielder.

I was a bit surrpised that Mwanga's introduction moved Sebastien Le Toux to the midfield, even though Le Toux has experience there. Obviously, it's hard to argue against a substitution that worked out quite well.

- Stefani Miglioranzi is lucky he didn't get sent off for horse-collaring Danny Cruz in the 58th minute. It was a rough foul, and it clearly disrupted an attacking play. It wasn't a denial of a goal-scoring opportunity as such, because there were defenders behind the play. But it was certainly dangerous, and might have deserved more than a yellow card.

- Cristian Arrieta might consider coming forward more often. He unleashed a shot from long range on the right side in the sixth minute that flew just past Pat Onstad's net. Shots from distance are something that we don't see enough of in the league as a whole. If Arrieta has that in him, it would be great to see it again some time.

- You can't execute a set piece better than the Dynamo did on both of their goals. The crosses were perfect and the headers were unstoppable, right under the crossbar at the middle of the net. Chris Seitz made a couple of nice saves, especially a point-blank stop of Danny in the 57th minute. But there was no way he could have gotten to either of those headers.

- When is Alejandro Moreno going to score? The veteran forward has done a seemingly infininte amount of running this season, and has set up a few goals with nice passes. That includes the Union's game-winner at Houston, in which Moreno fed the ball for Sebastien Le Toux's run down the flank.

Still, the Venezuelan veteran has yet to find the back of the net himself. For as many attacking options as the Union have, it would nonetheless be a big help if Moreno could score a goal or two of his own.

More coverage
Landon Donovan steps into leadership role
Which midfielder should not start?
Stefani Miglioranzi
Kyle Nakazawa
Shea Salinas
Roger Torres
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The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, the National Women's Soccer League, the U.S. men's and women's national teams, and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Jonathan Tannenwald
Lauren Green Inquirer Staff Writer
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