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2023 Union season stat round up: Through 32 matches

Photo: Ruairi Rossi

With the MLS regular season coming to a close in a little over three weeks, I thought it a fulfilling exercise to take a dive into some interesting statistics from 2023.

Team goals fifth in MLS, 12th in non-penalty goals

Heading into last night’s match, the Union have the fifth-most goals in MLS with an even 50. That means that over their 31 matches in MLS play, they are scoring 1.61 goals per game. This number is down from 2022’s rate of 2.06 goals per 90. Obviously, the 2022 number could be slightly inflated by a few games where Philly ran rampant on the scoresheet.

Taking away the team’s 11 goals from the PK spot in 2023, that leaves 39 goals from open play and non-penalty set pieces, which boasts the 12th most in MLS play. Their 61 non-penalty goals in 2022, led MLS last season.

Tied with LA for sixth in xG/90, 14th in non-penalty xG/90

In all situations in MLS play, the Union have the sixth most expected goals per 90 minutes of all teams in MLS with 1.26 goals. Given that the Union convert non-penalty opportunities at a rate that is 14th best in MLS (1.20 per match).

To compare this to the 2022 season, Philadelphia had 1.74 xG per 90 — good enough for third in MLS last year. Their non-penalty xG/90 of 1.52 saw the team with the fourth most in MLS.

The discrepancy between the Union’s xG and non-penalty xG numbers emphasizes how reliant the Union are on getting to the penalty spot. Given the Union’s struggles in comparison to expectations this season, it is also fair to say that it is an overreliance

Union have 11 PKs made on 11 attempts this season (18/18 in all comps), the most in MLS

The Union’s efficiency at the spot this season has been astonishing. Daniel Gazdag’s 11 PK goals in MLS account for 22% of their total goals in MLS this season. They’ve also been a huge part of propelling Gazdag into second all-time in goals in franchise history,

In 34 matches in 2022, the Union converted nine total PKs, which made up just 12.9% of their total goals.

This dependence on the PK in 2023 has shown in the eye test too. The amount of diving and tumbling in the box at the slightest contact has definitely seen an uptick in 2023 — sometimes to the detriment of finishing off a solid opportunity.

That said, these acts are not the easiest thing to quantify, and more often than not, the chances of converting a PK will trump the chances of finishing off a would-be chance from the run of play.

The Union have lost only one game that Jack McGlynn has started in all competitions in 2023

I mentioned this in a previous article, but really wanted to highlight this statistic. Say what you will about McGlynn’s defensive responsibility, he’s been part and parcel to the success of the Union this season. Simply being on the pitch to start matches, McGlynn helps the team dictate terms in ways that no other midfielder on the roster can.

Enjoy the beauty he imparts while he’s still on this side of the pond. He is a unique player and there aren’t many of his ilk to come through the Academy.

Philadelphia has been scored on more times in the first 15 minutes than any club in MLS

Steve Cangiolosi blessed the audience with this tidbit last night which was an unsurprising, and troubling stat. It has seemed that the Union have struggled to get going early in games for most of the season, and this does nothing but confirm that. Something the Union will need to get straightened out heading into the playoffs.

Philadelphia are 26-1-10 in their last 37 games at the Soob

The fortress is still intact. With the Union officially clinching a playoff berth two weeks ago, the Union will have one more opportunity at home to build some momentum heading into the playoffs as they face off with Nashville this weekend.

Looking back on the expectations at the beginning of the season, the lack of hardware and boasting a fourth-place finish in the Eastern Conference point tally were both not necessarily on the menu. Finishing the season strong could see the Union put themselves in a good position to lock down some playoff games at home.

(Stats from

One Comment

  1. Regarding the record at home, I assume that is just regular season since they have lost twice there this year including the Leagues Cup debacle. The one regular season loss was extra tough since it was during an international break when several players were missing. After last night no team is undefeated at home.
    Also worth noting is that the Union have only one regular season loss since July 8. Unfortunately, that loss was to the worst team in the league.

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