After a tumultuous start to the season (2 wins in 14 matches), the Philadelphia Union are rounding into form and head to Dallas on a three game unbeaten streak (2 wins and a draw). Part of the reason for the Union's recent fortune has to do with the rediscovered partnership between the striking duo of Conor Casey and Sebastien Le Toux. Their ability to play off one another looks much like what the FC Dallas hopeful have been looking for from Blas Perez and Tesho Akindele. One has the size for hold up play, the other has pace to burn. So what should we be looking for from this Casey-Le Toux partnership and how can Dallas stop it?
Shots (Lots of Them)
Casey and Le Toux have combined for five of the Union's last six goals and 12 of the team's last 40 shots (30%). Interestingly enough, they've also registered five shots on target in the past two matches, resulting in five goals. Obviously that's not a rate that both players can sustain, but does put extra pressure on Matt Hedges and Stephen Keel to close them down quickly.
6/7 v Vancouver. 3 goals. 3 shots on target. 7 shots off target. 1 blocked shot.
6/28 v New England. 2 goals. 2 shots on target. 2 shots off target.
Of the five goals scored between them, and actually of all the six goals scored in the past two matches for the Union on a whole, none of them were a result of a crossed ball.
6/7 v Vancouver. 3 assists via passes.
6/28 v New England. 2 assists via passes.
The Union have attempted plenty of crosses and their success rate isn't high enough to warrant enough fear in the Dallas defense to tempt them otherwise.
6/7 v Vancouver. 10/45 successful crosses.
6/28 v New England. 2/17 successful crosses.
This will mean Zach Loyd and Moises Hernandez (my presumed starter from here on out) will need to keep their distance from the wingers and invite crosses to come into the box. Both have a penchant for making tackles (averaging 5 between the two of them per match in the last 5 games) and will require a little restraint from them so as to be beaten on the dribble. Of course, since we're talking crosses here, that means Chris Seitz should get the start ahead of Raul Fernandez - that is, if Oscar Pareja decides to go with this route.