Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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Take Two: Union vs. New England

I've got quite a few things to discuss after watching a replay of the Union's 1-1 draw with New England on Saturday.

Take Two: Union vs. New England

Alejandro Moreno is one of the Union´s hardest workers, but he has yet to score a goal this season. (Akira Suwa/Staff Photographer)
Alejandro Moreno is one of the Union's hardest workers, but he has yet to score a goal this season. (Akira Suwa/Staff Photographer)

I've got quite a few things to discuss after watching a replay of the Union's 1-1 draw with New England on Saturday. Rank and File will come tomorrow night, then we'll get ready for Thursday night's game against Columbus.

- Marco Perovic's goal took one of the strangest bounces I've ever seen on that kind of free kick. I've watched the play multiple times now, and from everything the kick stays pretty flat as it swings around the wall. So it was quite surprising to see the ball bounce up at such a sharp angle.

The discussion among the media after the game was about whether Seitz had to go to ground to try to block the shot, or whether he could have moved but stayed on his feet. Seitz answered that his intent was to get the center of his body down so that the ball would come to his chest.

"Every time you go to a ball, you want as much of your body behind the ball as possible," Seitz said. "That way if you don't catch it, you give up a rebound instead of letting it go behind you."

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Seitz also admitted that "the whole goal box was pretty beat up," which makes me think the ball hit something that maybe it wasn't supposed to.

Watch the replay at the bottom of the post and see for yourself.

- Alejandro Moreno still has yet to score a goal this season. I don't like harping on this, because Moreno is a great guy and it's clear how much he does in every game both on and off the ball.

But it's August 2nd. The Union have played 15 league games, two international friendlies and two local exhibitions (against Harrisburg and Reading) since opening the season March 25. As one of the club's few true forwards it's not good that Moreno hasn't found the net.

The need for Moreno to break through is even greater now, as we learned after Saturday's game that Danny Mwanga isn't fully fit. Peter Nowak didn't say much about exactly what Mwanga's injury is, but it's why Mwanga was subbed out in the 56th minute.

Nowak did say that he doesn't care about Moreno's goal drought, and his explanation of why was pretty funny.

My old coach always said: when someone would come with statistics, he would ask the person, "Are you Chinese?" he had a very dry sense of humor. And the reporters were like, "What do you mean, Chinese?" And he's like, "Because statistically, every sixth person is Chinese."

A strange tale, but the message was clear: statistics aren't what matters most in this case.

- I liked what I saw from Justin Mapp, though his performance didn't surprise me. It's not every day that a starting lineup-caliber player just falls out of the sky, but that's exactly what happened when Chicago sent him here for allocation money. Mapp brings a lot of pace and a decent finishing touch to the left side of the midfield, and I'm sure we'll see a lot more of him this year.

- There's a flip side to having as many attacking midfielders as the Union now do: someone eventually has to shoot the ball. Fred, Justin Mapp and even Sebastien Le Toux at times are players who look to pass first, and we saw this on a few occasions during the second half. Fred was open once at the top of the box and didn't shoot it, and Mapp had a chance that he didn't take until it was too late and three Revolution defenders were around him.

Another example: in the 92nd minute, Alejandro Moreno served an inch-perfect cross to the head of Jack McInerney, who was wide open at the right side of the goal. There was a clear angle towards goal, but McInerney headed the ball back across the net instead. Obviously, McInerney is a young player, and it's clear he's only going to get beter than he already is. But it's just something to think about.

- Referee Jasen Anno didn't do a great job, but Moreno didn't help. Moreno was not given the benefit of the doubt almost every time he was fouled, or anything close to it. That is Moreno's reputation for going down easily preceding him. It took until Cory Gibbs slid hard into Moreno in the 68th minute for Anno to whistle contact against Moreno as a foul.

Perhaps the best move Moreno made all day came when he decided to stay on his feet instead of going down. Moreno was on the left side of the field, just outside the 18-yard box, and took a bump from Sainey Nyassi. He stumbled for a few steps and looked like he was going to hit the deck, but stayed up instead - and delivered the aforementioned cross to McInerney.

- Two no-calls by Anno stand out. In the 54th minute, a free kick by Perovic was redirected to Zach Schilawski, who headed the ball down. The ball bounced up off the turf, then hit the half-outstretched arm of Stefani Miglioranzi. It was certainly not intentional - a case of ball playing arm is not necessarily a penalty - but that kind of contact falls within a gray area in the rules. Had the penalty been given, I think it would have been a fair decision.

The second was right at the end of the game - in fact, on the same play as the Moreno cross to McInerney. As the cross went over the box, Shalrie Joseph was quite clearly holding on to Sebastien Le Toux. Le Toux went down a bit easily, but I clearly saw Joseph pull on Le Toux's shirt as Le Toux started to fall. Even Revolution play-by-play announcer Brad Feldman thought Anno should have blown his whistle.

- Let's close on a brighter note. The Sons of Ben unveiled a number of new chants on Saturday that were quite amusing. I can't repeat them all here, but my favorite was "Chacho, Chacho Man" to the tune of the Village People classic. "Chacho" is Eduardo Coudet's nickname, and I thought he played pretty well in his first official MLS match.

Coudet used to play for famed Argentine club River Plate. On Thursday, Coudet will face a former star at Boca Juniors, River's eternal rival in Buenos Aires: Columbus midfielder Guillermo Barros Schelotto. That will be a fun matchup, and a good test for Coudet as he settles in with the Union.

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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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