The Philadelphia Union are flying high, and are facing an FC Dallas side that are also red hot. The two sides show promise through young attacking play makers. There’s no doubt a young player could be the difference in this match. The Philadelphia Union’s shift to a younger lineup has been the catalyst of their recent unbeaten streak, and could be the key to beating FC Dallas at their own game.
The Union have adapted nicely in the last three weeks to Ernst Tanner’s tactical approach to the game. The high pressing style has paid off when using pacy strikers to attack the back line and stretch the play. The midfielder at the top of the diamond has done well pressuring high with the strikers, while the shuttlers on the side of the diamond and the base of the diamond have cut out passing lanes and started attacks from midfield. The wing-backs have been outstanding, and the center backs strong.
The tactics are paying dividends against depleted and weaker sides; this weekend, the Union will have to show it works against a strong Dallas side.
The Union’s shape and application of tactics has been magnificent:
The Union have show they have taken to Heart the changes Ernst Tanner brought to Philadelphia. Strong pressing and sound defensive play have resulted in the a shutout streak. That streak has lasted over the last two-and-a-half for the Union and they have a plus five goal differential over the past two games. Things are going well because the team’s shape and application of the style of play suits the players who have been on the field.
The high pressing style has paid off when using pacy strikers to attack the back line and stretch the play. Picault and Accam have hurried and harried defenders to making passing mistakes, and their pace have created many scoring chances.
The midfieldes in the diamond have brought their skills to the forefront. Marco Fabian has done a great job pressing to help the Union press high, turning the ball over in the middle of the field. Brenden Aaronson and Alejandro Bedoya look to be the shuttlers who can disrupt passes and start attacks in an instant. Haris Medunjanin has found himself at the base of the diamond in the last two matches intercepting passes and being that deep lying midfielder the Union have used over the last two seasons.
On the back line, Ray Gaddis has shown his quality, even if he does not 100% fit in the system in place. His veteran presence, and defensive know-how should be appreciated in this early 2019 season. On the other side of the pitch Kai Wagner, has played out-of-his-mind. He’s been the best player for the Union this season. He’s consistent in his defending and confident moving forward.
The center backs Jack Elliot and Auston Trusty have been the backbone of the defense in this last stretch, both have been impressive, and their chemistry is growing game-by-game
As always, Andre Blake is a constant in the Union’s net. He makes saves when called upon, and has shown his leadership qualities organizing a very young back line in front of him.
Can the Union continue their good form against a side that could exploit and slaughter them:
This Union squads magnificence in executing the game plan needs to be on display against FC Dallas. If it’s not, then they could lose this game 3-0 in front of their home crowd.
FC Dallas are very good in possession, they have won their last two games scoring seven goals and allowing just three. Their midfield is full of attack minded players, and if they can break the Union’s press they could devour the Union’s recently stark defense. For the Union to beat Dallas, they will need to control the play, and win set pieces.
Dallas has had trouble defending set pieces, and the Union have had trouble capitalizing on their set pieces. The Union will benefit from having set pieces, but they will need to take the opportunities and make something from them to get the win they want. players that could be paramount in this match are a pair of young American Attackers.
Aaronson and Pomykal: American difference makers:
Paxton Pomykal is 19-years-old, Brenden Aaronson is 18-years-old. They are both play making midfielders for their sides and will go head-to-head in this match! It’s an exciting time for US Soccer fans as the future will be on display.
Pomykal had a hell of a week last week, scoring two goals. Aaronson is coming off some masterful performances against Atlanta, Columbus and Cincinnati. This should solidify his place in the 11 for the Union.
The two young stars go up against each other on Saturday, and many will be watching! This game within the game will draw viewers, and create comparisons of the two, hopefully for years to come!
Union’s lineup vs FC Dallas:
The Union do not change their winning lineup often. I see Jim Curtin keeping the same boys in the 11 against FC Dallas. Will this squad be able to secure all three points? We’ll have to wait and see on Saturday!
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Peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports & Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports.