Danny Mwanga has scored in 11 of his 56 regular season appearances for the Philadelphia Union, and the squad has only lost once when he's found the back of the net. Unfortunately, his last goal came 23 games ago on June 25th. In that same stretch, Danny posted two assists (home and away against the terrible 2011 edition of the New England Revolution).
The former 1st overall MLS SuperDraft pick has gone through an extensive drought before. Mwanga went 18 games between early August '10 and mid-May '11 before putting another bulge in the old onion bag. Actually, he has only managed to score in short bursts, notching all 7 of his 2010 goals in a span of 13 games and all 5 goals of the 2011 campaign during a 9-game run.
Whether or not his next streak is around the corner, the team needs a scoring threat to emerge. Fans are eager to identify a new face of their franchise (like it or not, Peter, that is what happens... *see every sport, every league, and every team ever*). It's a bit early to draw many conclusions from the current season, but hit the jump for a look at some interesting Union-related numbers...
Philadelphia Union 2012 Record: 0-3-1
41 shots taken, 11 on goal, 2 goals scored
50 shots faced, 16 on goal, 10 saved, 6 goals against
64 fouls committed (2nd most in league), 53 fouls suffered
Of the Union shots on target, 5 came in the run of play and 6 (including both goals) resulted from set pieces. 11 of the shots on target faced and 4 of the goals allowed came in the run of play, while opposing teams have put 5 shots on frame / scored 2 goals as a result of set pieces.
All but one goal - for or against - was scored between the 51st and 76th minute.
Philadelphia has an all-time combined 13-5-16 regular season home record and 6-19-9 away record. 4 of the 5 home losses were to Western Conference teams: Colorado Rapids x2, LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes. 5 of the 6 road wins came against Eastern Conference teams: Houston Dynamo x2, New England Revolution x2, Toronto FC. The only blips were when the Union managed to beat the Galaxy on the road and lose to the Columbus Crew at home.
Of the 82 league goals scored in team history, 31 were scored by players currently on the roster:
Danny Mwanga 12
Jack McInerney 4
Roger Torres 3
Michael Farfan 2
Freddy Adu 2
Gabriel Gomez 1
Lionard Pajoy 1
Sheanon Williams 1
Danny Califf 1
Gabriel Farfan 1
Keon Daniel 1
Carlos Valdes 1
Brian Carroll 1
Union players have a combined 65 MLS goals when you count their stints elsewhere in the league. Only 5 (Adu, Califf, Carroll, Albright, Konopka) have suited up for an MLS team other than the Philadelphia Union. Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle have a combined 206 MLS goals.
For most of last season, the Farfan brothers kept an impeccable disciplinary record. Michael Farfan was particularly well behaved, playing in 21 games and committing 22 fouls, drawing just one yellow card. He has recently changed his ways (or more likely, he's started to show the scrappy demeanor that led to an early red card in the 2010 ACC Championship Game against Zac MacMath's Terps). After four games, Michael is tied for 2nd in the league with Kyle Beckerman in fouls committed (12) and he has two yellow cards to his name. Gabriel Gomez is one foul behind him, tied for 3rd with Eric Hassli. Have Peter Nowak and Sporting Director Diego Gutierrez (6th all time in Major League Soccer fouls committed, 3rd all time in yellow cards) turned him to the dark side? Is his terrific new Kurt Russell hairstyle a sign of madness?
Last season, Sebastien Le Toux was the only field player in Major League Soccer to play every minute of every game for his team. Four games into the season, only 3 field players have played all 360 possible minutes:
The reserve team is set to kick off their campaign with a match at Chester Park against the Revolution on April 9th. That should be a welcome event for the 9 players who have yet to see time on the field this season:
With a maximum of 5 non-roster players allowed per reserve game and limits on the number of minutes players can log between first team and reserve league matches in a given block of time, there will be opportunities for the youngsters to kick a soccer ball... provided they stay healthy.
Okugo and Pfeffer have suited up for the Union before, but the other kids on the previous list will hope to avoid joining the rank of players who were on the roster but never saw league action with the U:
Danny Cepero (emergency pool goalkeeper for one game)
FC Dallas and the Philadelphia Union are the only squads without a European-born player on their books. 12 of the 19 teams have at least one Colombian. The most common non-US countries of birth in Major League Soccer are:
Colombia - 31
Canada - 22
Brazil - 17
Jamaica - 14
England - 11
Argentina - 9
Costa Rica - 9
Mexico - 8
Ghana - 8
France - 7
The Houston Dynamo are using the fewest international roster spots (4) while the Vancouver Whitecaps are using the most (10). The Union are currently using 8 of their 9 international spots.
Who has impressed you the most this year? Who has been the most frustrating to watch? Do you regret buying a Lopez wig before seeing him play a minute? Has the team simply been unlucky or are we looking at a very long year ahead of us? Leave your thoughts below!