A few observations on the Union’s impressive win at FC Cinncinati on Saturday night:
Marco Fabián has soccer and basketball skills
Marco Fabián’s basketball-playing goal celebration was just one of many highlights in his return from a two-game suspension. In 71 minutes on the field, he had 75 touches, took seven shots, created two chances, and completed 46 of 56 passes, according to WhoScored’s box score.
The goal is the top headline, of course, and it should be. From the pretty build-up with David Accam to the sharp finish and the great celebration, fans saw the full package of what Fabián can deliver as a playmaking star.
Fabián said he planned the celebration on Friday with Alejandro Bedoya, whose arms formed the net for the Mexican’s dunk of the soccer ball. Fabián has become friends with 76ers star Tobias Harris since coming to Philadelphia, and has sat courtside at the Wells Fargo Center a few times. Bedoya, Auston Trusty and Fafa Picault have too. Joel Embiid, a longtime soccer fan, has come to a few Union games over the years.
“We are really close to the basketball, with the NBA and the 76ers,” Fabián said Saturday night. "We are friends with Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid — they like their football. A little kidding around with the basketball, but maybe they can see that [highlight].”
(And if he traveled, well, you know how many steps NBA players get away with these days.)
A different role for Brenden Aaronson, but a good one
With Fabián back, Brenden Aaronson spent most of the game on the left side of the midfield diamond instead of at the top. Aaronson played on the left a few times in preseason and looked good, and he looked good again Saturday night. The 18-year-old Medford native had 57 touches, two shots and four tackles, created one chance and completed 24 of 30 passes.
Aaronson also notably took corner kicks from the side of the field where he could hit right-footed inswingers. That was news, since Fabián and Haris Medunjanin handle most set pieces.
WhoScored listed Aaronson’s chance created as the 10th-minute corner kick that landed in the right place for Fabián to hit first time. From here, we’ll give Aaronson a bonus point for starting the play that ended with David Accam’s goal. Aaronson made a nice cut inside before hitting a pass that was deflected toward Nick Hagglund, who misplayed the ball with Accam right in front of him.
Jamiro Monteiro’s debut
Although Jamiro Monteiro played just 20 minutes in his Union debut, he showed flashes of his potential. The Dutch midfielder had 18 touches, one tackle, one interception, and completed 10 of 11 passes.
We’ll see whether he starts next Saturday at home against FC Dallas. If he does, the question will be whether he replaces Aaronson or Medunjanin. Monteiro is probably a better tactical fit for Aaronson’s left-sided role than Medunjanin’s at the bottom of the diamond, but Aaronson is playing too well right now to take off the field so easily.
Jack Elliott impresses on the back line
For all the talk of Mark McKenzie not playing, Jack Elliott’s good performances shouldn’t be overlooked. The Englishman has earned the right to stay in the starting lineup, and he played well again in Cincinnati. He had a team-high 91 touches, won three aerial duels, made five clearances and completed 68 of 83 pass attempts.
Elliott has played every minute of all five games so far this season, and has completed at least 80 percent of his passes in three contests. The Cincinnati game was his third, and his best in terms of total completions. He had his best game by percentage against Columbus: completing 90.7 percent of his attempts — 49 of 54.
Trusty also played well against Cincinnati: 79 touches, two tackles, two clearances, one aerial duel won and 59 of 72 passes completed, including 12 of 20 long balls.