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Match report: San Jose 0-0 Union

A second half of dominance produced no goals for the Union, who earned their first west coast point but were good enough that they should have had more.

After a wild week that saw Jordan Harvey traded and the Carloses left in Philadelphia for alliterative reasons (virus for Valdes, rest for Ruiz), the Union fielded a strong side that paired Sebastien Le Toux and Danny Mwanga up front.

Kyle Nakazawa made a return to the starting eleven and immediately put his dead ball skills to good use. A fourth minute free kick spun inches wide of the near post, proving that there is only one Philadelphia player who should be lining up behind the ball in dangerous situations.

San Jose showed that they are well-aware of the value of video tape as they pressured the Union center backs and looked to force the Union to play direct and bypass the midfield.

While San Jose was breaking up the Union’s attack, they were doing very little to stimulate their own. Chris Wondolowski and his weird old face were frustrated from the opening whistle. And while Wondo did not react as poorly as Eric Hassli, his ineffectiveness took any potential bite out of the Earthquakes.

In the back, Stefani Miglioranzi was performing as well as he has in recent memory. Strong in the air and simple with his passes, Migs filled in for the absent Valdes.

As Mapp rose in prominence, the Union wrested control of the match from the home team. Good combination play betwee Le Toux and Mwanga freed Mapp on the right, and his blocked shot was the opening volley of a torrent of Union chances. The best chance, in fact, came mere moments later when the dynamic Keon Daniel turned his man on the left and cut down the endline, centering for Le Toux. The Frenchman’s run was cut short by a slip on the grass and the Earthquakes escaped unscathed.

It was Mwanga’s turn to threaten next, and he blasted on net from twenty-two out. While it was refreshing to see the Union keep the ball on frame, the shot was directly at Jon Busch, who parried easily.

For all the poor finishing, this was easily the most effective first half from a Union midfield in some time. Nakazawa popped in and out of play while Keon Daniel and Justin Mapp took turns being the center of the action. Daniel released Mwanga after a winding run into the middle, but the young striker couldn’t get the ball out of his feet and ended up sliding a soft shot wide.

The second half was more of the same. The Union were even more dominant but the chances seemed less frequent. San Jose was struggling to even clear their half and the match was as one-sided a a professional face-off can get.

Michael Farfan, Roger Torres and Jack McInerney failed to make significant impacts and Seba Le Toux continued to avoid scoring.

Both teams hit posts, with a deflected shot from San Jose skimming the crossbar while a Nakazawa free kick spun off the wall and knocked some paint off the far post.

The Union gained a point on New York, who lost to DC United, but all the points were easily within grasp and an offensively-challenged team never got out of neutral against an inferior opponent.

Photo: Paul Rudderow

6 Comments

  1. PhillyHotspur says:

    tough result……………Deserved the 3 points.

    Danny Boy had the best chances and came up empty……pretty disappointing.

    And, on another note, Keon should be in the starting 11………….plain and simple

  2. I disagree with your analysis about JMac. For the limited time he was shown, he played extremely well. His back heel was sublime and created a scoring chance. His run to the far post put him in a better position to head the ball than Torres. This kid is the future.

    • Similarly, I disagree on Michael Farfan – he got three (blocked) shots off and seemed to always be roughly in position (he was just a step off the cross that skipped past everyone)

  3. I think the Union are mentally drained right now. Last night’s game more or less proved that to me. They haven’t had a consistent starting 11 for more than maybe two games in a row. You can’t get into a groove that way. I think the fact that from one game to the next there are several positions on the field that you never know who is going to fill it takes a lot of of our guys. That’s my theory, anyway…

    My question is, why the heck is LeToux taking corners? Nakazawa is a million times better at corners than LT is. I don’t understand that logic at all. I think Migs played very well, for once.

  4. This was a horrible performance by both sides. There are 3rd division teams in Europe that performe better then either of these teams. It was disappointing and frustrating to watch. Especially since the Union clearly should have taken all three points. This is a systematic problem that has existed all season. The fact that they are first in the East is not an indication of success but an indication of how poor the league is overall.

  5. Pingback: The Philly Soccer Page » Union v San Jose quick reference

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