Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Take Two: Union at Los Angeles Galaxy

What got into Stefani Miglioranzi's head? And should Edson Buddle be on the U.S. World Cup squad?

Take Two: Union at Los Angeles Galaxy

Union star Roger Torres has yet to play a full 90 minutes in a game this season. (Alex Gallardo/AP)
Union star Roger Torres has yet to play a full 90 minutes in a game this season. (Alex Gallardo/AP)

The talking points from Saturday night are pretty obvious. But the one thing that surprised me as I looked back over this post is that Landon Donovan's name is only mentioned once. Not that it's much consolation.

- What got into Stefani Miglioranzi's head? I've talked to him after almost every game I've covered this year, and he doesn't strike me as a guy who plays with the intention of barging into people studs-up when the ball is loose on the field.

But that's exactly what happened in stoppage time of the first half, and Miglioranzi was rightly sent off for it. The Union have drawn three red cards in five games this season, and this might have been the worst one yet. It was certainly the least necessary.

I think I get why it happened: the referee did now blow his whistle after Fred had been tackled and dispossessed. That should have been called a foul, and wasn't. But that does not mean Miglioranzi had to go for a studs-up slide tackle to try to pry the ball free.

As the Washington Post's Steven Goff wrote on his blog yesterday, the Union "might not be the worst club in MLS (D.C. United is), but the expansion team might be the dumbest."

I know I've beaten this horse a lot, but the Union are more than capable of not doing this stuff. We've seen them play some good soccer this season, even when they've been a man down. Surely they can do it with 11 men on the field as well.

- Once again, Roger Torres did not play a full 90 minutes. I'm putting this item right below the item about the red cards, because I think they're related. Torres might be the Union's most talented player on the field, but Miglioranzi is the most important.

Miglioranzi is a prototypical holding midfielder, linking the defense and midfield as the ball goes in both directions. He's tasked with breaking up passes when the opponent has the ball, and providing the ball for Fred and Roger Torres to launch attacks.

When Miglioranzi gets sent off, his role on the field needs to be filled. That means Torres goes. Maybe if Miglioranzi hadn't been sent off, Torres would have stayed on.

And maybe you can put Danny Califf or Toni Stahl in that sentence for Miglioranzi. Just saying...

- You can't blame Chris Seitz this week.
I've said it before when it's been debatable, but this time there's no question.

You'll see that I've posted a couple video clips below. The first is of the Galaxy's first goal. As you watch it, freeze the clip during the replay when the ball is played through to Edson Buddle. You'll see that Michael Orozco had his back to Buddle and was watching the ball instead of the league's leading goalscorer. Buddle went on his way, and the Galaxy went up 1-0.

On the second goal, Seitz did a great job to stop Alan Gordon's point-blank header. But he was crowded out of the ball by Roger Torres, who came from guarding the post to try to clear the ball away. It was a frenetic situation, but had Torres stayed off the ball, Seitz probably would have had it.

On the third goal, there was nothing Seitz could do once Landon Donovan set Buddle loose. That's just quality attacking soccer, including Buddle's slight hesitation that kept him onside as Danny Califf tracked back.

Seitz also made a couple of great saves in the match. Among the notable ones were coming out to stop breakaway by Alan Gordon in the first half, and blocking a rocket from Chris Birchall early in the second half.

- Should Jack McInerney be a starter? The question was raised during my chat Saturday night. I think that given the energy he brings, he's better off as a second-half substitute when defenders are starting to get tired.

McInerney's finish on Saturday was as clinical as it gets. He took Fred's pass in stride and slotting the ball calmly past Donovan Ricketts (you can watch the goal below). But remember that McInerney is still 17. He's got a long playing career in front of him.

- Edson Buddle for the U.S. World Cup squad? The Galaxy forward leads the league with nine goals in six games, and even more impressively he's done it from a total of 12 shots on goal. With Charlie Davies' health uncertain, you would think Bob Bradley has to at least give Buddle a look.

Perhaps Buddle would be a partner for Jozy Altidore, perhaps he would be a supersub. He only has one cap with the senior national team, and it came back in 2003 when he was a rising star. He isn't even in the official U.S. national team player pool right now. It's been a long time since Buddle broke onto the scene and there have been many ups and downs since then. But can Bradley deny him a chance when he's on this kind of form?

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Los Angeles' first goal

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Jack McInerney's goal

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Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, U.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.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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