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Stat chat: Union v Dallas

In addition to the two PK goals Sebastien Le Toux recorded on Saturday in the Philadelphia Union’s 2–2 draw with FC Dallas, Le Toux led the Union in shots on goal with three. Danny Mwanga and Keon Daniel each recorded a single shot on goal.

Le Toux’s tally on Saturday brings his total of PK goals to three—all of Le Toux’s goals have come from penalty kicks this year—the same number as Eric Hassli, Dwayne De Rosario, Jack Jewsbury and Alvaro Saborio. Landon Donovan, Charlie Davies and Shairie Josephs each have four.

The ten corner kicks the Union recorded against Dallas is the most they have recorded in any game this season, the next highest total being eight in the 1–1 draw with Real Salt Lake, followed by six in the scoreless draw with Kansas City. The Union continue to have the lowest number of the corner kicks in the league with 85, an average of just under four per game. Only one goal has been scored from a corner kick this season, Danny Mwanga’s goal against Toronto, a conversion rate of .01 percent.

The Union are now 4–0–2 when they score at least two goals with a 2–0–1 record both home and away. When an opponent scores two goals the Union’s record is 2–2–2 with the record again evenly split between home and away.

First half v second half

The Union were fairly comprehensively outperformed by Dallas in the first half. Aside from scoring two goals from open play, Dallas registered more attempts on goal, shots on target, successful passes and enjoyed better passing accuracy.

In the second half, the Union largely outperformed Dallas, upping the tempo of their attempts on goal, recording one more shot on goal than the visitor, and more successful passes. While the Union’s passing accuracy remained the same in both halves –the 61 percent being the lowest recorded by the team this season, followed by 63 percent in San Jose and 64 percent in Colorado, two games that also ended as draws—they were able to force a decline in accuracy for Dallas, who fell from 69 percent in the first half to 60 percent in the second half.

(As you have probably noticed, once again, the total number of passes recorded on the Match Statistics page do not agree with the numbers on the Chalkboard page. Correspondingly, the passing accuracy figures do not agree. Personally, I feel more comfortable with the Chalkboard numbers if only because it is possible to visually track every figure recorded there.)

How’d Freddy do?

It is hard to know what to expect from a guy who had one training session with the Union before starting on Saturday and none of us want to heap a ridiculous amount of expectation on the shoulders of a guy who has already experienced that.

PSP’s player ratings for the game said of Adu, “He was man-marked for much of the first half and struggled to get enough time to show his creativity. His first through-ball nearly put Le Toux in, but these plays were too few and far between. Had several nice moments taking on defenders in the second half, but the touch is just not quite there yet.” The question of touch is backed up by his match stats, with Adu attempting 22 passes, twelve of which were successful, ten of which were not. That works out to a passing accuracy of 55 percent, six percent below the team average for the match.

Adu’s 55 percent was far from the worst among the starters, with Le Toux recording a 36 percent passing accuracy and Jack McInerney 41 percent. Among the defenders, Sheanon Williams came in at 53 percent, Carlos Valdes at 58 percent while Gabriel Farfan registered 76 percent passing accuracy and Danny Califf 70 percent. Among the midfielders, the numbers ranged from a low of 50 percent for second half substitution Roger Torres to 74 percent for Brian Carroll. The most accurate passer on the day? Justin Mapp at 86 percent.

As is clear from the Heatmap, Adu spent a lot of time on the left side of the field and the coming weeks should prove interesting in terms of Adu’s positioning. Will he be the playmaking distributor from the middle? Will he be the wide middle? Will he rotate up top? Peter Nowak has made it clear that he wants a fluid system of players capable of switching roles within as well as between games. Now that the transfer window is closed, that Adu is capable of adapting well to such a system appears to be the single bet the Union has placed on making a successful playoff run.

Talk about putting pressure on a player.

Heatmap image courtesy of MLS

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