The dominance the Union displayed Saturday against Chivas USA needed no explanation.
Simply put, the Union played its brand of tough, attacking soccer, limited costly mistakes and garnered a 3-0 win as a result. For once, the 16,481 fans at PPL Park had no fluke play to get miffed about, very few uncapitalized opportunities to lobby and no single event that happened to swing the momentum - or the score - in Chivas' favor.
It was, dare we say, near perfect.
"From the result standpoint, yes, there's no question about it [this was our best result]," said Union manager Peter Nowak. "We found our rhythm after the first goal and then the huge goal right before halftime gave us even more confidence. The second half was much better from a tactical standpoint and then we were able to score a third goal and really enjoy the play. It wasn't 100 percent of what I was looking for, especially in the first half, but 3-0 is 3-0 and we are still moving forward, which is very positive."
Set pieces were the bread and butter as forward Alejandro Moreno opened the scoring with a header off a driven corner kick from midfielder Justin Mapp. Mapp captured his fifth assist in eight games and Moreno nodded home his second of the season. Fred banged home a garbage goal off a Moreno shot in stoppage time of the first half to put the Union up, 2-0, and Sebastien Le Toux capped the affair with his 12th goal of the season.
In goal, Brad Knighton was dominant, earning the second clean sheet of his career. In three games the one-time backup has compiled a ridiculous 0.45 goals against average, allowing one goal while posting nine saves.
"It's exciting to be a part of today," Knighton said. "The second half we really took it to them. You could tell they were getting really frustrated with how we were playing . . . As you could see, I had maybe only two shots on me the whole game, so it's nice having [a solid defensive front]. It makes my job a whole lot easier and puts a lot less pressure on the team as a whole. We had played well defensively the last three or four games. It's just been a tumbling effect now. A lot of us are taking that to heart. We were wearing our heart on our sleeves. We are expecting zero every single game."
The only bad moment was when rookie forward Danny Mwanga was subbed early in the first half after re-tweaking his already sore left shoulder. Listed as questionable, Mwanga is hoping he can play Wednesday when the Union travels to Dick Sporting Goods Park to play the Colorado Rapids.
"It's all right, but it's a little sore," Mwanga told the team's website. "I kind of jammed it when Alejandro had a header before the one he scored on. It doesn't seem to be as bad as the first time, which is good. We'll see this week. I'm not sure right now. We have a number of games left and I want to be as healthy as possible . . . I want to help the club as much as possible, I want to be back [but] I'll listen to what the trainers are telling me."
With playoff aspirations dashed after a 1-0 loss in San Jose 2 weeks ago, the Union's playing the role of spoiler with a trio of major home contests against Houston (Oct. 2), Los Angeles (Oct. 7) and Red Bull New York (Oct. 16).