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Drilling down on: at Philadelphia 0, Vancouver 0

Mar 31, 2012, 6:19 PM EST

Columbus Crew v Philadelphia Union Getty Images

Man of the Match: Since those early struggles, Zac MacMath has settled down nicely in Philadelphia’s goal. The 20-year-old ‘keeper has allowed just one ball past him in the last two weeks. He didn’t need to make many saves Saturday, but did have lots to do in controlling his penalty area, getting off the line confidently again and again to deliver critical catches, punches or interventions. His instincts and positioning were perfect.

Packaged for take-away:

  • Joe Cannon had a nice match, too, in the other goal. His only flaw: twice he nearly put the Whitecaps in big trouble with sloppy footwork on balls played back to him.
  • There have been two scoreless draws in MLS this year; Vancouver has been part of both.
  • Union forward Lionard Pajoy was full of hard work and smart runs. But Philadelphia didn’t bring him to PPL Park for “hard work and smart runs.” They need goals from their new striker.
  • Then again, some of it isn’t his fault. It’s hard to see what the Union attack is all about. It’s not really about getting wide and supplying crosses. It’s not about counter attacking. It’s not about slow-build and possession, or not about playing into a target. The real problem is…
  • Philly needs a playmaker something fierce. They’ve got something of one in Freddy Adu, who was on Saturday’s game-day roster.
  • Union manager Peter Nowak made three offensive-minded substitutions, but without that playmaker or an obvious attacking plan, there just weren’t enough quality chances.
  • Vancouver looked quite dangerous on the counter, especially in the first half. Sebastien Le Toux came close a couple of times Saturday, but the goal in his noted return to PPL Park never happened.
  • Chandler Hoffman’s starting debut, as a left midfielder for Philadelphia, turned into 50 minutes of “not good, not bad, nothing special” for the first-round draft pick.
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