The Union have yet to score in open play through two games
Sporting a new formation and a new number 10 for the 2019 season, the Philadelphia Union have only scored one goal through two games, with the lone goal coming via a Marco Fabián penalty in the home opener against Toronto FC. While they haven’t scored, they have been able to get in a fair number of shots, taking 17 against Toronto and 15 against Sporting KC (with 8 of the 32 shots on target). But the inability to convert 1 goal from 32 shots highlights a potential problem the Union will face this season, which is getting into a position to take good shots on goal. Five of the Union’s 15 shots at goal were from outside of the box. Two of the Union’s four shots on goal against SKC were near or outside of the box, and the missed Fabián PK counts as a shot on goal. Taking that all in, the Union only mustered up one shot on goal inside the box, a Cory Burke header.
Marco Fabian will miss the Union’s game in Atlanta (maybe)
Marco Fabian was sent off in the 60th minute for endangering another player when he leaped into the air and stomped on Johnny Russell. The play initially was not given any card, but after the referee went to VAR, Fabián was given a red card. There is definitely an argument to be made that Fabián had nowhere else to land, especially considering he needed to ensure he didn’t take a bad fall. It should be expected that the Union appeal the red card and impending suspension of Fabián. If it is upheld, the Union will either turn to the veteran Ilsinho or to 18-year-old Brendan Aaronson to make his MLS debut in the starting lineup at the Mercedes Benz Stadium to take on the number 10 role.
Derrick Jones has made an appearance
After not making the 18 man squad a week prior, Derrick Jones came on in the 77th minute as a substitute for Warren Creavalle, Jones, in his short cameo, drew three fouls but was much more active than Creavalle, who started in place of Ilsinho, who suffered an injury toward the end of the match against Toronto FC. The homegrown player has yet to push himself up the depth chart ahead of players like Ilsinho, Creavalle and Medunjanin, but this could be a sign that he will at least be considered going forward. The signing of Jamiro Monteiro could make it difficult for Jones to break into the lineup depending on where Monteiro plays, and Haris Medunjanin did not play bad enough in this game that the switch is necessary (unlike last week, neither goal was a mistake by Medunjanin).
Kai Wagner is slowly proving he’s an MLS starter
Left back was a serious question mark coming into the 2019 season. Kai Wagner’s resume wasn’t the most impressive, as he signed over from Wurzburger Kickers, a German third division squad after coming up through German clubs such as FC Augsburg and Schalke FC II. Via WhoScored (and Jonathan Tannenwald), here’s Wagner’s stat-line against SKC:
Kai Wagner vs. Sporting Kansas City, via @whoscored:— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) March 10, 2019
1 chance created
37 pass attempts
91.9 percent pass accuracy
Wagner seems to have settled in nicely and has probably made it difficult for Jim Curtin to even consider bringing in Matt Real, who played in Bethlehem Steel FC’s 2-0 win against Birmingham Legion FC in their home opener.
The Union can start the season 0-3
We knew the Union had a tough schedule to start the season, but the Fabián red card and lack of production from the current squad have made it almost a given that the Union will fall to Atlanta in the Mercedes Benz Stadium. Even if the Union win the red card appeal, through Fabián’s first 150 minutes, the Union have scored 0 goals. However, Atlanta did give up a late goal to FC Cincinnati and may be more vulnerable at this early point of the season. And it seems that we can’t expect Jamiro Monteiro until the Union come home on March 23 to take on Columbus Crew, so we will not have a chance to see a fully built squad until then.