Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Philadelphia Dispatch: Riding a Wave of Union Goals

There is excitement in the air surrounding PPL Park these past eight games and this excitement has the fans proud to be supporters of the Union. The Union have been on an impressive roll as of late and Coach Jim Curtin has not even had a full line-up since he took over the team. This past Wednesday, Philadelphia took on their long time rivals the New York Red Bulls and came away with a 3-1 victory which moved the Union within one-point of the fifth playoff spot in the East.

The return of Michael Lahoud and Amobi Okugo to Philadelphia’s line-up from Red Card suspensions is a definite plus, however, the squad that played Wednesday against New York looked amazing and the question arises, what starting XI will Coach Curtin go with against the Chicago Fire.

A wave of Union Goals

The Union have played as a complete unit from the back line, to the midfield and especially to the attackers. In the past ten games, which include the U.S. Open Cup and regular MLS season matches, Philadelphia has scored twenty-six goals and in seven of those matches, the Union have scored three or more goals. The point of the attack has been led by the tandem of Conor Casey and Sebastien Le Toux. Casey has scored six goals within the last six matches and Le Toux has not missed a penalty shot since rejoining the Union.

Casey and Le Toux are not alone when it comes to the offense, Fred has been a great addition to the squad and if left alone in front of the net, he will score. Fred came on for the injured Cristian Maidana and quickly scored a goal, which was his first with the Union since the 2010 campaign.

The key to the recent success of the Union have been the play of the midfield, which consists of Maidana and Vincent Nogueira. When it comes to the ability of distributing the ball across the pitch and being able to kick-start the counter, Nogueira is the man to turn to. Throughout the season, his talent has grown and if there ever is a need for a long ball across the field to change the tempo of the match, he is the man to call upon. Even though he suffered an injury on Wednesday, Maidana has been delighting the Union fans with his unique talent for trick plays, however, hidden below those tricks, lies a sleeping giant in the form of a lethal ball handler.

As the match against the Fire looms large in regards to needed three points for the Union to stay alive in the playoff hunt, both teams have been successful in another soccer arena, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. These two teams have advanced to the semi-finals of the tournament and have a chance to meet in the finals if they both win their next Open Cup Match. The Union will take on FC Dallas while the Fire will have a tough contest in the form of Seattle.

It has been an interesting ride for the Union in these last ten matches and if the trend continues, MLS will know that Philadelphia is talented and hungry for a chance at making a run in the playoffs.

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