Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Union vs. FC Dallas postgame reactions

I'll keep my analysis brief, as I'm going to fall asleep at my desk if I spend a lot of time writing.

Union vs. FC Dallas postgame reactions


There are two elements in this post. One is a video with quotes from Freddy Adu and Danny Califf. The other is an audio playlist with more quotes from Adu and both head coaches' postgame press conferences.

I'll keep my analysis brief, as I'm going to fall asleep at my desk if I spend a lot of time writing.

First of all, I think could it do a heck of a lot of good for Sébastien Le Toux's confidence that he scored not just once, but twice from the spot against Kevin Hartman.

While Le Toux still hasn't scored from open play this season, just getting the ball in the net matters a lot - especially when the guy staring back at you is probably the best goalkeeper in Major League Soccer right now.

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Hartman guessed right on Le Toux's first penalty kick, but Le Toux put it so far into the corner that Hartman couldn't get there. On the second penalty, Le Toux sent Hartman the wrong way.

Since much of the contest in a penalty kick is psychological, it was good to see Le Toux have the confidence to step up to the spot twice and get the job done both times.

Secondly, I was quite impressed with Freddy Adu's performance. I wouldn't have been surprised either way had he started or had he not. Yet given how Adu improved over the course of his time on the field, I think it's good that he was out there from the kickoff.

(Which he took, incidentally. Nice job playing to the moment there by Peter Nowak.)

It was an unfortunate coincidence that Adu's Union debut came against a team with a five-man midfield, and with five highly skilled players at that. As a result, Adu didn't have all that much space to operate in as he got himself settled into the game.

But over time, Adu started to find his way, and after about 50 minutes I thought he raised his game a level. The two crosses he hit from the left side were almost inch-perfect. It certainly wasn't Adu's fault that Veljko Paunović was a foot offside in the the 58th minute. 

The only significant downside I saw in the game - aside from the usual inability to finish plays in the final third - was another big mistake by Carlos Valdés. He does so many great little things all over the field, but he has also been directly involved in three of the last six goals that the Union have conceded.

Next up for the Union is their biggest game yet this season: a trip to Columbus to face the Eastern Conference-leading Crew. A Union win at Crew Stadium would put them in first place on goal difference, while a Columbus win would give the Crew a six-point lead.

Considering that the Union still have to travel to Real Salt Lake, Kansas City, Seattle and New York, it would be a very big gap to have to overcome.

That's enough from me for the night. What did you think of Adu's debut, and the Union's performance overall?
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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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