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Offensive struggles

Striking out

Danny Mwanga recorded no shots against Chicago in 65 minutes of play. Against Portland he recorded no shots in 30 minutes of play. In the home opener he recorded 2 goal attempts, one of which was on target, in 90 minutes of play. In other words, one shot on target in 185 minutes of play.

Lionard Pajoy’s header against Colorado showed the kind of fight Union fans expect. On the day, he turned in a respectable 2 shots on target from 5 attempts. But on the road, Pajoy has 0 shots on target from 3 attempts. In other words, Pajoy has 1 goal from 2 shots on target and 8 attempts over 270 minutes of play.

Josue Martinez and Jack McInerney are the only other forwards to have seen minutes. In his start against Portland, Martinez recorded 1 shot on goal from 1 attempt over 60 minutes. In 11 minutes against Colorado, he recorded 1 shot off target. Over 25 minutes against Chicago he recorded 0 attempts. McInerney recorded 1 shot off target in 16 minutes of play against Portland, 0 attempts in 10 minutes of play against Chicago.

So, over three games, or 592 minutes of individual play, the Union forwards have recorded one goal, 4 shots on target, 7 shots off target, and one blocked attempt from a total of 12 attempts on goal. Overall, the Union have recorded 9 shots on target, 15 shots off target and 8 blocked attempts. At present, Carlos Valdes has as many shots, and Chris Albright as many shots on target, as Martinez and Mwanga.

Shots on and off

The Union struggled to generate attempts on goal in Portland in the season opener, recording 5 goal attempts, 2 of which were off target and 1 blocked. Of the 2 shots on target, only one came from open play.

Against Colorado in the home opener, the Union were much more active, creating 20 attempts on goal, 10 of which were off target and 5 were blocked. Of the 5 shots on target, 4 came from open play, an encouraging sign.

In Chicago, that encouraging sign proved illusory as the Union goal attempt total dropped to 7, 3 of which were off target and 2 were blocked. Neither of the 2 shots on target came from open play.

Of the Union’s 32 attempts on goal—on target, off target and blocked— over 3 games, 17 have come from outside of the penalty area. Only 2 have come from inside the goal area.

No threat from crosses

Against Colorado, the Union had 15 crosses, 5 of which were successful. In Chicago, that number dropped slightly to 14 crosses, 5 of which were also successful. But whereas 3 of the crosses against Colorado were key passes and the fourth was an assist, all of which came from open play, the only cross against Chicago that posed a serious threat was Gabriel Gomez’s 79th minute free kick.

There were 3 successful crosses from the left in Chicago, all from Keon Daniel, 2 of which were from open play. On the right, Gomez was responsible for the other 2 successful crosses, one of which was from open play. Only 1 successful cross, from Daniel, came in the first half.

It’s time to renew the Michael Farfan-Sheanon Williams partnership on the right.

That final pass

The Union continue to struggle in finding that decisive pass in the final third. Against Portland, the Union completed 35 passes in the final third from 60 attempted for a passing accuracy of 58 percent. At home against Colorado, this number improved to 64 percent (46 successful passes from 71 attempted). Chicago marked the lowest passing accuracy percentage of the first 3 games. Completing 37 passes from 69 attempted, the Union’s passing accuracy in the final third in that game was 54 percent.

Across the league

Where does the Union stand compared to the rest of the league, other than tied for last place? The Union’s 2 goals are actually 1 more than the total for Chivas USA, DC, Montreal, New England or Toronto. The 32 attempts on goal puts the Union level with New York and above 9 other teams, including Vancouver (25) and Seattle (19), who are first and second in the West. The Union’s 9 shots on goal is the same as Seattle and Chicago with only Vancouver, DC and Toronto having fewer.

But the only number any of us really are interested in seeing is a “3” in the points column after Saturday.


  1. No, we don’t need Le Toux at all…

  2. One word comes to mind … flaccid.

  3. Mwanga needs to sit for a game and find his rookie form. Give JackMac a shot and see if he cant strike up something. Farfan, and torres need to shoot and shoot often.

    • But we have been down this road before swinging from Jack Mac to Paunovic to Mwanga. What we need to is get Mwanga and Pajoy out there and let them find chemistry and hopefully they will . Nobody could have looked good out there not Mwanga not LeToux, hell Messi would have been hard pressed to look good. Just throwing in new personnel won’t help at this point.

  4. Sitting Mwanga is no good. He did that most of last season. If he’s no good, then transfer him. If he is, then play him. Then again, like a lot of things in the off-season, you have to wonder about Nowak’s moves. We seem a bit overloaded at F with Pajoy, Mwanga, JackMac, and Josue. Guessing/predicting Nowak’s lineups and formations is like trying to store water in a paper bag.

  5. In pajoy i trust

    • Thats good though we had a lot of shots we are creating chances it’s only a matter of time that they will go in the net and hopefully on a consistent basis. Believe me it happens to me in fifa 12 all the time.

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