Prior to the 2012 campaign, the Philadelphia Union had only lost 4 matches at home. It is early June, and the team ranks last in virtually every offensive category with a disappointing home record of 1-3-1. Eastern Conference teams are 31-15-12 at home this year (8 losses occurred at PPL Park or Toronto FC's BMO Field) and Western Conference teams are 31-20-12 at home (9 losses at the Home Depot Center).
The international break provides time to reflect on the first third of the season. Beyond the rocky start on the pitch, the Union have traded their captain, the first overall draft pick from the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, and they lost an exciting young attacking midfielder to an early knee injury. All of this after an off-season of well-documented transition.
Can the Union use Open Cup success and a series of friendlies with club affiliates in Reading and Harrisburg to regroup? DC will be out for revenge when the break ends and red-hot Sporting Kansas City will provide a tough test the following week, but one has to hope home field advantage will start to kick in at some point. Hit the jump for a few numbers to get you through this DOOPless spell...
Philadelphia Union 2012 Season:
2-7-2 - 8 pts (18th out of 19 teams in league)
110 shots taken (last in league), 29 on goal (last in league), 8 goals (last in league), 3 assists (last in league)
51 shots on goal faced, 34 saved, 3 blocked, 14 goals allowed
Results: L, L, L, T, W, W, L, L, L, T, L
2-1 win vs FC Schalke 04
3-0 win vs Rochester Rhinos (USL) in US Open Cup Third Round
2-1 win (OT) vs DC United in US Open Cup Fourth Round
Union Scoring History:
The players on the current Union squad have accounted for 24 of the 88 league goals scored - playoffs included - since the team came into existence.
26 Sebastien Le Toux - Vancouver Whitecaps
12 Danny Mwanga - Portland Timbers
6 Carlos Ruiz - Veracruz
4 Justin Mapp - Montreal Impact
4 Fred - Melbourne Heart
4 Gabriel Gomez
4 Jack McInerney
3 Veljko Paunovic - retired
3 Freddy Adu
3 Roger Torres
3 Lionard Pajoy
2 Michael Orozco Fiscal - San Luis
2 Alejandro Moreno - Chivas USA
2 Michael Farfan
1 Jordan Harvey - Vancouver Whitecaps
1 Danny Califf - Chivas USA
1 Shea Salinas - San Jose Earthquakes
1 Kyle Nakazawa - LA Galaxy
1 Sheanon Wililams
1 Gabriel Farfan
1 Carlos Valdes
1 Brian Carroll
1 Keon Daniel
1 Perry Kitchen (own goal) - DC United
2012 Goals and Shots:
In 2011, the Union had 16 different goalscorers. They have 3 so far this season...
Gomez deflected free kick vs Portland Timbers
Pajoy header from Torres cross following a corner vs Colorado Rapids
Gomez penalty kick vs Columbus Crew
Adu backheel from Farfan effort, deflection vs Chivas USA
Gomez shot from top of box, lay off from Pajoy vs San Jose Earthquakes
Pajoy header from Adu cross following a corner vs New York Red Bulls
Pajoy shot from Mwanga pass, defensive miscue vs New York Red Bulls
Gomez header from poor defensive clearance vs FC Dallas
37 of the Union's 110 shots were taken in the first half of a match.
Gomez and Pajoy are the only players with more than 3 shots on goal this season (7 each).
Unlike last year, when Sebastien Le Toux played every minute of every game without earning a single card (how he managed that with the number of times he threw up his arms complaining to the refs is beyond me), no player has played every minute and all players with more than 400 minutes logged have drawn a card.
Michael Farfan leads the team in fouls committed with 29, earning 3 yellow cards for his efforts. He is on pace to rival Diego Serna's all-time MLS fouls record of 83 in a season. Gabriel Gomez has earned 4 yellows on 19 fouls, though he did manage to play 'nice' long enough to have one card cleared from his record. A 5th yellow would have resulted in an automatic one-game suspension.
Freddy Adu, Keon Daniel, and Gabriel Farfan have received red cards in league play this season (matching last season's 3-red card total), and Peter Nowak has been sent off as well. The Union earned 5 red cards in their inaugural season.
Carlos Valdes, Lionard Pajoy, Michael Farfan, and Sheanon Wililams lead the team in time on the field, each logging over 900 minutes through 11 games. Despite the large roster, only four players have yet to enter a league match - Greg Jordan, Krystian Witkowski (ongoing concussion issues), and homegrown players Jimmy McLaughlin and Zach Pfeffer. 7 players spent time on the Union roster last season without seeing the field.
Zac MacMath is right in the middle of the MLS pack in terms of his goals against average (1.33 per game). Though he won't be found near the top of any goalkeeper wins or saves percentage charts, Zac held the second longest league shutout streak so far this season. His 408 spotless minutes were just narrowly bested by Jimmy Nielsen's 414 for Sporting Kansas City.
Of the 14 goals allowed, 11 came in the second half of a match and 9 were in the last 30 minutes.
When allowing the first goal, the Union are 0-6-1.
Lionard Pajoy is tied for 5th in the league in offsides calls.
Freddy Adu is 7th in corner kicks taken.
Michael Farfan is 5th in the league in fouls committed.
Lies, Damned Lies, and MLS-Reported Average Attendance:
Seattle Sounders 38,672
Montreal Impact 36.498
LA Galaxy 22,242
Houston Dynamo 22,039
Portland Timbers 20,438
Sporting KC 19,177
Vancouver Whitecaps 19,012
Toronto FC 18,889
Real Salt Lake 18,486
Philadelphia Union 18,313
New York Red Bulls 15,823
Colorado Rapids 15,194
Chicago Fire 13,730
DC United 13,668
Chivas USA 13,632
Columbus Crew 13,219
FC Dallas 13,181
New England Revolution 11,752 (max capacity 68,756, capped at 22,385 for Revs)
San Jose Earthquakes 11,668 (max capacity 10,525 but one game played at alternate venue saw 21k+ fans)
All reports point to Roger Torres returning to the lineup in the very near future. Will his vision and the speed of Jorge Perlaza make a difference? 12 points back from where they stood after 11 played last year, can the Union take advantage of an upcoming 6-game stretch that includes 4 at home and matches against TFC (1-9-0), Galaxy (3-8-2), and Montreal (3-7-3)? Will I make it through this post without mentioning allocation money? Nope.
Leave your thoughts below!