Despite the Philadelphia Union’s lack of goals this season, creating chances hasn’t been a problem. Eventually, the floodgates will open. It’s inevitable.
Ask anyone who regularly watches the Philadelphia Union what their biggest flaw is through the first fourteen games of the season and they’ll tell you the same thing: they don’t score goals.
On paper, it’s not all that surprising. Not many names jump off the page at you. Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin, David Accam, and C.J. Sapong have all proven themselves as quality players in the league, but none of them put much fear in the opposition.
However, when watching the Union play, you can see that Jim Curtin has implemented a system that works as they create chances time and time again. They simply haven’t converted, and the numbers back that theory.
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Philadelphia has only scored more goals than four teams in MLS this season and the same amount of Minnesota United despite the fact that they rank tied for fourth in total shots with 197 and ninth in shots on goal with 70. Nine teams have scored more goals with fewer shots on target, while twelve teams have scored more often with fewer shots in total.
Goal scorers, especially non-elite ones, are known for being streaky. More often than not, one or two goals can allow them to ride that confidence for a season, while one or two missed sitters can result in a few miserable months. Sapong and Accam, in particular, have proven the latter.
Curtin’s side have created plenty of chances, both at home and on the road but, unfortunately for them, nobody has been able to consistently capitalize. Just a season ago, Sapong found the back of the net 16 times. Overall, he managed one goal per 175 minutes, or every other game in different terms. In his 12 appearances this year, the Union center-forward is averaging just one goal in every 514 minutes of action.
After a breakout campaign in Chicago, the Union splashed the cash on Accam, sending $1.2 million in allocation money to the Fire. Accam nearly managed a goal or an assist per game by tallying 14 goals and eight assists in 2,177 minutes of action in 2017. In 810 minutes as a Union player, Accam has yet to record his first goal or assist.
This is the same player that did this just over a year ago.
And this a few years back…
While the numbers don’t currently portray players capable of finding the back of the net on a consistent basis, their track records, along with the Union’s ability to create chances, can only mean one thing.
Eventually, the trouble that they have had scoring goals early on will end, and more than likely, the floodgates will open.