No one really expected the expansion Philadelphia Union to burst onto the pitch and take Major League Soccer (MLS) by storm in their inaugural season, but lax stretches of play through the first six games have prevented Peter Nowak’s side from producing better results.
Example One, 27th minute: In today’s 3-0 loss at Real Salt Lake, the Union carried play during most of the first half, but in the blink of an eye an errant back pass from defender Christian Arrieta to keeper Chris Seitz proved costly.
Instead of finding the comfort of his own keeper, Arrieta put the ball right at the feet of Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio, all alone behind the Union defense.
A Jordan Harvey tackle prevented Saborio from scoring, but the deflection landed right in front of Real Captain Kyle Beckerman whose one time blast beat Seitz to the lower right corner.
Note to Union Defenders; need to do a better job of marking your man. Why was Saborio so wide open inside your own 18?
Example Two, 51st minute: Arrieta was also indirectly responsible for Salt Lake's second goal. Arrieta’s yellow card for rough play helped set up a Real free kick just outside the 18.
The placement of the ball and Philadelphia’s use of a two man wall (Fred & Roger Torres) should have been enough to help protect the angle on the near post.
Operative words here: “should have been enough”.
First mistake: Torres ducked on the free kick attempt instead of perhaps heading it out.
Second mistake: Sietz inability to hold onto the ball.
The best keepers in the world have what I call soft hands; they catch the ball like they are trying to catch a raw egg. Sometimes it seems like Sietz has hands of stone.
Heck, anyone knows that if you kick a ball off a stone wall, it’s going to bounce back.
Look, I do not want to continue to bash Sietz week in and week out, but so far this season, he has given up several soft goals. From my stand point as a goal keeper instructor, you cannot give up rebounds in your own 18, especially with your opponent standing right there.
In this case the opponent was Jamison Olave, who tucked the loose ball into the back of the net to give Salt Lake the 2-0 lead.
The third goal of the game in the 70th minute was simply a direct result of Salt Lake's hard work and ability to move through the Union Defense. Alvaro Saborio on the give and go to Pablo Campos returned a nicely played volley that end up on Saboreo's fore head and into the back of the net. 3-0 Real.
The loss was Philadelphia’s fourth in a row, a stretch in which they have been outscored by a margin of 10-3. Hopefully a return to the friendly confines of Lincoln Financial field for next Saturdays game against FC Dallas will help put an end to the winless streak.
Philadelphia’s leading goal scorer, Sebastien LeToux made the trip to Sandy, Utah and was dressed and available but Nowak decided to give the striker another week to strengthen his healing knee.
LeToux’s absence made way for the surprise start of 17 year old Jack McInerney who scored his first MLS goal in last week’s loss to the L.A.Galaxy.
Draft pick Kyle Nakazawa also got his first MLS start today, playing at midfield for Stefani Miglioranzi who sat at a one game suspension following last week’s red card.
Philadelphia Union 0 (1-5-0) Real Salt Lake 3 (3-3-2)
Philadelphia Union 0 (1-5-0)
Real Salt Lake 3 (3-3-2)
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (Unassisted) 27'
RSL – Jamison Olave (Javier Morales) 51'
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (Pablo Campos) 70'