Match stats / Statistics

How did the Union offense improve?

After the dispiriting effort in Portland that saw only 5 attempts on goal, 2 of which were on target, the Philadelphia Union offense showed signs of life against Colorado. Although that game also was a loss, the Union did manage 20 attempts on goal. While that is a cause for celebration, it is important to remember that 10 of those attempts were off target and 5 were blocked. In other words, only 25 percent of the Union’s goal attempts found the frame. The 2 shots on goal in Portland actually results in a higher percentage of on target goal attempts at 40 percent.

Most of us would agree that the Union offense looked more threatening in the first half, in which there were 9 attempts on goal resulting in 3 shots on target and 6 shots off target. But it is also all too obvious that the offense has a long way to go.

Of the 3 shots on target in the first half, Danny Mwanga had one, Gabriel Gomez had another from a free kick, and the third came from Chris Albright following a corner kick. Mwanga’s 41st minute effort was thus the only shot on target registered from open play in the first half. His shot off target in the 23rd minute was the only other goal attempt recorded by Mwanga in the entire game.

Lionard Pajoy recorded 2 shots off target in the first half, both from open play, the first coming in the 33rd minute. He was responsible for both of the Union’s shots on target in the second half, the first coming in the 48th minute, the second his 67th minute headed goal following a corner kick when the Union were down 2–0. His final goal attempt of the day was a stunning 89th minute miss.

The Union would have 11 attempts on goal in the second half, 2 on target, 4 off target, and 5 blocked. In addition to Pajoy’s off target effort, Michael Farfan (who also had a shot off target in the first half), Cristhian Hernandez and Josue Martinez also recorded shots off target in the second half, with Farfan’s banging off of the crossbar in the 72nd minute.

Most of those 11 attempts came after Colorado scored in the 56th minute, including all 4 off target attempts and 3 of the blocked shots. Pajoy’s headed goal was the only goal attempt on target after the Union were playing catchup.

On the day, 2 of the Union’s shots on target came from outside of the penalty area, one in each half. Two shots on target came from inside the penalty area in the first half, 1 in the second half.

Having a goal direct from a free kick (there was 1 in 2011) and a goal from a corner (2 in 2011) from 2 games are good things. Going from one goal attempt from open play against Portland to 17 against Colorado is a great improvement. Now the Union, who have yet to record a goal from open play in 2012, must become better at finishing those chances, and fast.


The Union didn’t just turn up the attempts on goal after they went down, they also picked up their passing. On the day, the Union had 329 successful passes from 464 attempted for a passing accuracy of 71 percent. Following the first Colorado goal, they recorded 173 successful passes from 230 attempted for a passing accuracy of 75 percent. In other words, a little more than half—53 percent—of the Union’s successful passes occurred in the final 34 minutes of the game.

When we look at passing in the middle third and final third of the field after Colorado’s first goal, the Union recorded 146 successful passes from 200 attempted for a passing accuracy of 73 percent. Looking at the final third alone where the Union was facing a bunkered-in Rapids defense, the Union’s passing accuracy drops to 63 percent (24 successful passes from 38 attempts).

On the day, Gabriel Gomez was the sharpest passer, his 51 successful passes from 64 attempts giving him a passing accuracy of 80 percent. (Hernandez completed 9 of 10 passes but only 3 of those went forward and 1 of those was a throw-in.) He was followed by Valdes and Pajoy (79 percent), Carroll (78 percent), Albright (77 percent), Mwanga (76 percent) and Daniel (75 percent). Martinez (25 percent) and Torres (48 percent) were the least accurate passers on the day followed by Williams (63 percent) and Lopez (67 percent).


  1. Pajoy looks great so far, and Mwanga had a good first half. Give them a few games to mesh and it could be a great partnership. But lets be honest, how many people expect Nowak to do something sane like that?

  2. Being at the game last Suday, I like the look of the team the first haft. Alot of chances some good movement of the ball by passing. One of the things that bugged me was the fact that player had the chance to shoot and wouldn’t pull the trigger. They dribble up to the 18 or get just inside the box and surrounded were just outside they had space take the shot. They need to stop trying to beat two three defenders pass or shoot.

  3. I also agree, they need to pull the trigger more. All to often they get to the 18 then slow down the play and it alows the defense time to get behind the ball and clog up the shooting and passing lanes. I wish they would just shoot or make a move toward goal, things may happen.

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