Starting out the season with a record of one win and two losses may not seem like the most outstanding way to start a franchise.
Pretty ugly losses to both Seattle and Toronto have left a bitter taste in the mouth of many of the Union players and fans. Even the win 3-2 win over D.C. United wasn’t flawless.
Still, Philadelphia has a lot to feel good about as its inaugural season gets underway. Here are a few things Peter Nowak & Co. can point to as building blocks going forward:
This team can pass: Despite having long periods off the ball when down a man in both their losses this season, the Union have shown their ability to move the ball around the pitch quite nicely.
Controlling possession at some stages through players like Alejandro Moreno, Sébastien Le Toux and Roger Torres, Nowak’s boys have really come together quickly. For an expansion team, this is particularly pleasing as it often takes teams quite awhile to gel on that level.
The target man: Quickly becoming the team’s most solid Expansion Draft pick, Moreno is showing he still has plenty left in the tank. His tireless performances have been pivotal for the team so far this season and have helped make his teammates better.
The Venezuelan has been able to provide a dependable outlet deep up the field and continually works to gain position from the opposing defenses. His performance against D.C. was exactly why the Union took him from Columbus. If they weren’t down a men in both their other matches, Moreno would have been able to do more, as working up top virtually all alone is never easy.
Terrific Torres: One of the standout players on the team, Torres has been a revelation since joining the Union from Colombian side America de Cali. Crafty on the ball and quite elusive at only 5-foot-5, Torres has been quite a handful. In setting up two of the team’s four goals so far this season, Torres also has an eye for a great cross as both his assists were very impressive.
At only 18 years of age, the on-loan midfielder has settled in extremely well to a foreign country and foreign league. Having him keep up the solid play will be huge for the team’s success.
The new veteran: An MLS rookie, but a veteran of nearly 15 years of professional soccer, Cristian Arrieta came to the Union and played well in the right-back slot against Toronto.
Not playing outside of himself and doing all the right things, the 30-year-old Orlando native has been a huge upgrade over the recently released Dave Myrie. Arrieta’s abililty to put in a good ball from the wide positions will also prove valuable as he tested the TFC defense on multiple occasions last week.
With the New York Red Bulls coming up this weekend, the team shouldn’t be too down about its record. The silly mistakes have hurt them, without question, but there are bright spots that if continued, should help the Union to some impressive performances this season.