Tag Archive | "Match Preview"

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Game #20 Preview: Defending champs come to town

Posted on 29 July 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Colorado Rapids (7-6-10) vs. Philadelphia Union (8-4-7)
Friday, July 29, 2011, 7:30PM, Fox Soccer Channel
Chester, PA, PPL Park

Last year's match-up produced frustrations galore

Less than 24 hours after Bob Bradley was fired as US Men’s National Team coach and Union gaffer Piotr Nowak is already being thrown into the ring as one of the long-shot, MLS contenders for the top job. Let’s put that aside (especially considering there’s almost no chance it’ll happen) as the defending champions, Colorado, are coming to town tonight and the Union are looking to pick up where they left off before the “international friendly” break. After two spirited showings against Everton and Real Madrid – and more importantly no injuries – the Union will return to MLS competitive play with a strong and healthy squad. Compare that to the Rapids, who visit PPL Park without big man Conor Casey (ACL tear) and the possibility of several others.

Game Notes:

The Rapids have still put the ball in the net the last couple games, even without their best striker. Winger turned striker Sanna Nyassi flew through a flat-footed Red Bulls defense not once but three times to help Colorado to a decisive 4-1 win. Their last game, however, was a back and forth affair against New England, a 2-2 tie. Along with a surprise in Nyassi, the Rapids have two proven goalscorers in MLS All-Star Omar Cummings and former Hull City target striker Caleb Folan. You can expect them to start up front with Nyassi back at his original position on the flank.

The Union will be looking to extend a five game unbeaten streak and their last MLS regular season match was a 3-0 win up in New England that saw two new first-time scorers take centerstage. Carlos Valdes and Sheanon Williams scored their first and earned themselves an active but relatively relaxed week of international friendlies. Valdes and Williams didn’t look their sharpest against Real Madrid but we’re pretty certain that shouldn’t carry over into tonight. Valdes is also one more yellow card away from a one-game suspension but don’t expect that to make him any more cautious.

Believe it or not, Carlos Ruiz has scored in three of the last four regular season games. The Rapids have conceded 30 goals this season so one should expect that he’ll at least get his chances tonight as well. Ruiz has his haters and certainly has his flaws but if – at a little over the halfway point of the season – you were told Ruiz would produce at this rate, you’d take it no questions asked.

Both Carlos Ruiz and Danny Mwanga have an impressive history against the defending champs. Ruiz, the vet, has eight goals in 18 games against Colorado while Mwanga is batting 1.000, scoring 2 in 2 appearances. Le Toux has supplied the magic with 3 assists in five games. FC Delco product Jeff Larentowicz is having a huge season for the Rapids, netting four goals from the holding midfield position. A handful on the restarts and in possession of an impressive long shot, Larentowicz should play a role in whether or not the Rapids can get one by Faryd Mondragon.

INJURY REPORT: PHILADELPHIA UNION—QUESTIONABLE: FW Levi Houapeu (L ankle strain); PROBABLE: FW Veljko Paunovic (L hip strain) … COLORADO RAPIDS—OUT: FW Conor Casey (L achilles tear); PROBABLE: GK Matt Pickens (R groin strain); MF Brian Mullan (lower back spasms); DF Anthony Wallace (R quad strain); FW Omar Cummings (R ankle sprain); MF Jamie Smith (R hamstring strain); FW Macoumba Kandji (L knee ACL tear)

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Game #12 Preview: Philadelphia at Colorado

Posted on 03 June 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The Union, coming off of their biggest victory of the young season, will now head to the location where they suffered their biggest defeat of 2010. The defending champions stand in the way of positive momentum for the Union heading into a homestand against Real Salt Lake next Saturday. The Rapids are facing a bit of personnel crisis with Omar Cummings, Jamie Smith, and Marvell Wynne set to miss this game but their squad has been proven deep as they still sit respectably high in the Western Conference standings.

Philadelphia Union (6-3-2) at Colorado Rapids (4-3-6)
Saturday, June 4th, 2011
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO
9:00pm EST, The Comcast Network

Philadelphia Union Probable Starters

————————————Mondragon————————————

Williams—————–Califf———————Valdes—————Harvey

—————————Carroll—————-Nakazawa———————–

Mapp———————————————————————-G. Farfan

—————————Mwanga—————–Le Toux———————–

OUT: GK Thorne Holder (Concussion); MF Amobi Okugo (L ankle sprain); DOUBTFUL: MF Michael Farfan (R groin strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Gabriel Farfan (L hamstring strain); MF Stefani Miglioranzi (R groin strain); MF Zach Pfeffer (appendectomy); FW Carlos Ruiz (R groin strain)

Colorado Rapids Probable Starters

—————————————Pickens—————————————

Kimura——————D. Moor————–Marshall————-A. Wallace

—————————Mastroeni———–Larentowicz———————-

LaBeaux——————————-Folan—————————Thompson

——————————————Casey—————————————

FW Macoumba Kandji (L knee ACL tear); DF Marvell Wynne (R hamstring strain); MF Joseph Nane (R shoulder strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Jamie Smith (L calf strain); FW Caleb Folan (R groin strain); FW Omar Cummings (R ankle sprain); PROBABLE: GK Matt Pickens (R groin strain); FW Quincy Amarikwa (L ankle sprain)

Game Notes:

The Union are coming off a historic win for the franchise, a 6-2 drubbing of Toronto FC at BMO Field. Both Justin Mapp and Danny Mwanga registered braces, Le Toux had two assists, and two youngsters grabbed their first ever professional goals – Gabriel Farfan and Kyle Nakazawa. The Rapids, however, haven’t lost in a while but – on the flip side – they have tied every one of their last five games. Last time around at to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the Union were demolished 4-1 at the hands of Omar Cummings and the defending champions. It was their If Cummings plays – as he’s listed as questionable on the injury report – he’ll be the one to watch. A guy like Conor Casey, however, a towering target in the penalty area, could pick up the slack if Cummings can’t go.

Both Omar Cummings and MLS veteran Tyrone Marshall have opted to stick around in Colorado for the match-up against the Union. Marshall will be the one most likely to see some time against Philadelphia after both Marvell Wynne and his replacement Joseph Nane left their last game with injuries. The loss of Wynne could be huge as the Union’s speed down the flank and up top (especially if Mwanga and Le Toux start) should factor in against guys like Tyrone Marshall.

The five consecutive ties that the Rapids have accrued over the last month or so actually matches a Major League Soccer record. Regardless, the Rapids haven’t lost in seven games (but have only managed one win in that span). The Union will be looking for the three points obviously and for them to explode for 6 goals against Toronto FC, even without Carlos Ruiz in the lineup, was encouraging. Guys like Justin Mapp and Brian Carroll will need to build on their strengths in the midfield and when open chances are offered, they need to be taken (those two point blank chances early in the second half). They’re going to have to deal with a tough central midfield made up of USMNT veteran Pablo Mastroeni and FC Delco product Jeff Larentowicz.

Colorado is one of the best in the league on set-pieces. If Larentowicz sniffs the goal, he’ll go for it. The Union back four must minimize fouls trying to body-up on a target striker like Conor Casey or a determind Andre Akpan. Aside for 10 minutes in the second half in last Saturday’s win over Toronto, the backline was solid. They’re going to need 90 minutes against Colorado.

The Union recently cut ties with Chris Agorsor, the former youth star from the University of Virginia. Agorsor was cut even after playing the second half of Philadelphia’s match against affiliate club Reading United AC. Nowak had been saying he would get some playing time for Agorsor but it never came. His exit could be due to a request for playing time from the player himself or simply, that the Union feel they have better signings lined up as the summer window opens.

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Game #11 Preview: Philadelphia at Toronto FC

Posted on 27 May 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Toronto FC have started another season in disappointing fashion but the fact remains, they’re serviceable at home. Add that to the fact that the Union are subpar away and Saturday’s match-up should be an interesting one. Carlos Ruiz will look to have maximum impact as he is set to report for international duty with Guatemala right after the game. Toronto, still trying to find an answer for the loss of former talisman Dwayne De Rosario, hopes the impressive Joao Plata can grow into that role.

Philadelphia Union (5-3-2) at Toronto FC (2-4-6)
Saturday, May 28th, 12:30 PM EST, Comcast SportsNet
BMO Field, Toronto, Canada

Philadelphia Projected Starters

———————————–Mondragon——————————————-

Williams————–Califf———————–Valdes———————-Harvey

————————Carroll——————–Nakazawa—————————-

Mapp—————————————————————————M.Farfan

————————-C. Ruiz——————Le Toux——————————

OUT: GK Thorne Holder (concussion); MF Amobi Okugo (L ankle sprain); MF Zach Pfeffer (appendectomy); QUESTIONABLE: MF Stefani Miglioranzi (R groin strain)

Toronto FC Projected Starters

————————————–S. Frei————————————————

Eckersley———–D. Williams——————Cann————————-Gargan

————————–Sturgis—————-Yourassowsky————————–

————————————Stevanovic———————————————

Martina——————————————————————————-Plata

————————————-M. Santos———————————————-

OUT: MF Elbekay Bouchiba (R knee surgery recovery); MF Jacob Peterson (L hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: FW Alan Gordon (adductor strain); Gianluca Zavarise (adductor strain); MF Toni Tchani (R hamstring)

Game Notes:

The Reds are coming off a fair result in Colorado, a 0-0 draw. They were scheduled to play the 2nd leg of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship against Vancouver this past Wednesday but poor weather conditions kept it from happening. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Vancouver was leading 1-0 up until the 63rd minute when the game was abandoned. Rules apparently state that the game had to be played in its’ entirety to be official. Bad for the Whitecaps, good for Toronto FC. It has since been rescheduled for July 2nd.

There will be one lingering concern from Toronto FC’s almost loss to Vancouver on Wednesday. BMO Field has been pretty much under water since then and there’s no telling what the field will be like mid-day Saturday. The good news is that the Union have one water-logged game under their belts, a tie with Seattle in the pouring rain. The pursuit of three points ruined in the waning moments.

The Union have only managed one goal on the road so far this season and the Reds average a little over one goal conceded a game at home. At BMO Field, the Reds defense is formidable and the Union, especially with Ruiz in the lineup before reporting for international duty, will have to buck that trend. Toronto, overall, have been shutout five times this season (out of 12 games). Not the prettiest of stats.  

The 2011 offseason was incredibly busy for Toronto FC management and there are very few players remaining with the Reds that played a part in the 2010 season. So far this season, the turnover has yet to pay off but there have been a couple signs of life here and there. Their revelation has been the diminutive Joao Plata, a 5’3″ Ecuadorian attacker taken in the 2011 SuperDraft. A winger for the most part, Plata and former Ajax product Javier Martina have been pretty potent on the wings. Sheanon Williams and Jordan Harvey will have their hands full but they should have enough speed and composure to deal with them.

It was Dwayne De Rosario who sunk the Union last time around at BMO Field. Toronto FC came away with the 2-1 win despite an improved away performance from Philadelphia. The Union paid them back, winning at home on a last gasp Sebastien Le Toux goal in July. Both players who had an impact against the Union last season, DeRo and Chad Barrett (now with LA), have moved on.

The Union are hoping they can pull a DC United in Toronto. Charlie Davies and Chris Pontius came into BMO Field a little over a month ago and led United to a convincing 3-0 win over the Reds. Since then, however, Toronto has rebounded well, going 1-0-2 at home. The defense should be able to keep a big guy like Maicon Santos in check, as they’ve done well all season limiting target men. It’s Joao Plata and Martina that they need to worry about. On the offensive side of things, it’s a small field like in Portland and finding a way to move down the pitch without the aid of ample room on the wings will be tough.

The Union sit tied at the top in the Eastern Conference, now with a game in hand thanks to another New York tie. Toronto lie in 7th place, above Chicago and Sporting Kansas City, with 12 games played to their 10 and 8 respectively.

Tidbits:

The Union front office will take on The River End residents, the Sons of Ben, in the first ever River Cup match-up to be held at PPL Park.

A great in-depth scouting report of Toronto FC from PhiladelphiaUnion.com.

The Union striker corps could have a veteran addition by the week’s end. Vejko Paunovic, a journeyman, should be that addition. He’s older (33), has a pretty impressive resume (Getafe, Atletico Madrid, and Tenerife among others), but hasn’t played in over two years. Depth and knowledge is the main concern here and if he doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, he should do more good than bad.

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Game #9 Preview: Philadelphia Union at FC Dallas

Posted on 14 May 2011 by stoma

After a midweek match against the Los Angeles Galaxy at PPL Park that was simultaneously thrilling, frustrating and a dogged display from the Union, Philadelphia heads back onto the road to face a hot FC Dallas squad that is unbeaten in its last four matches, winning three and drawing one.  The 1-1 Union draw kept them unbeaten at home this season, but they are just 1-2-0 away from home thus far.  Worse, they have tallied only 1 goal on the road, and Danny Mwanga’s 84th minute equalizer against Los Angeles did not exactly give followers of the club a confidence boost in the firepower of the offense. Can the attack have the breakthrough it has been looking for against a Dallas squad that has conceded just 4 goals in 5 home games?

Philadelphia Union (4-2-2) at FC Dallas (4-2-1)
Saturday, May 14, 2011, 8:30PM EST, TCN
Pizza Hut Park, Dallas, TX

FC Dallas Probable Starting XI

_____________________Hartman_____________________

Jackson_________John______________Ihemelu_________Loyd

_____________________Hernandez______________________

Chavez___________Alexander_________Jacobson_________Shea

______________________Castillo_________________________

OUT: DF Edson Edward (R knee ACL tear); MF David Ferreira

(R ankle); DF Jair Benitez (L knee); FW Maykel Galindo (L plantar fascia

strain); FW Milton Rodriguez (IT band syndrome); PROBABLE: MF Bruno

Guarda (R hip flexor strain)

 

Philadelphia Union Probable Starting XI

_____________________Mondragon________________________

Williams___________Califf___________Valdes____________Harvey

_______G. Farfan_______Carroll___________________Nakazawa

_____________________Mwanga___________________________

______________Le Toux_______________Ruiz_________________

OUT: GK Thorne

Holder (concussion); DOUBTFUL: MF Stefani Miglioranzi (R groin strain);

PROBABLE: MF Gabe Farfan (L hamstring strain)

Game Notes:

Following a slow start to the season, bad seemingly went to worse when FC Dallas lost 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira to a broken ankle.   Instead, the team rallied, winning three and drawing once in the 4 games since the injury, the final 3 without Ferreira entirely.  They enter this match with 14 points, equal to those earned by the Union, although in 1 more game played.  This places Dallas in a tie for 3rd place in the Western Conference.

The Union have a significant injury question of their own after goalkeeper and early-season MVP Faryd Mondragon strained his groin late in the match against Los Angeles and gutted it out to stay on the pitch.  The team has made no announcement regarding Mondragon’s availability and he does not appear on the injury report, but do not be surprised if it turns out that the 39 year-old cannot go a mere 3 days after such an injury.  If he cannot, Zac MacMath will make his professional debut.

The Union will be faced with 2 of their former players, Andrew Jacobson and Chris Seitz, now members of FC Dallas.  Jacobson has been playing well, earning himself 6 consecutive starts and registering 1 assist, while Seitz backs up the stalwart Kevin Hartman in goal.

The Union have yet to play a regular season match in 2011 in which either side has scored more than 1 goal.  Philadelphia has won 1-0 four times, lost 1-0 twice and drawn 1-1 twice.

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Game #8 Preview: Los Angeles at Philadelphia

Posted on 10 May 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The Union return to PPL Park after a loss at JELD-WEN Field this past Friday night. A Futty Danso goal on yet another set piece sunk the Union but in essence, the Philadelphia defense – even with the absence of Harvey and Califf – did their job. The Union offense, however, did not. It was Philly’s sixth 1-0 scoreline in seven games this season. Could a possible changes spur the Union attack or will Ruiz, Le Toux and company finally gel? Or will it be all defense in Philadelphia’s rematch with Landon Donovan and the Galaxy?

Los Angeles Galaxy (4-2-4) at Philadelphia Union (4-2-1)
Wednesday, May 11, 2011, 7:30PM EST, TCN
PPL Park, Philadelphia, PA

Los Angeles Galaxy Probable Starting XI

——————————–Ricketts——————————

Franklin———–Gonzalez———–DeLaGarza—–Dunivant

Donovan———–Beckham———-Juninho———–Magee

———————–Angel————-Barrett——————–

OUT: DF Leonardo (R knee ACL/LCL tear); DF Sean Alvarado (R knee ACL strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Gregg Berhalter (L knee MCL sprain); FW Adam Cristman (L knee surgery); MF Miguel Lopez (L knee contusion)

Philadelphia Union Probable Starting XI

——————————Mondragon—————————–

Williams————Califf—————-Valdes————Harvey

———————-Carroll————–Okugo———————-

Le Toux———————————————————Daniel

———————-Mwanga————-C. Ruiz———————

OUT: GK Thorne Holder (concussion); PROBABLE: MF Stefani Miglioranzi (R groin strain)

Game Notes:

If you feel like it hasn’t been too long since we’ve seen the Galaxy, you would be right. The Union were dealt their first loss of the season, 1-0, at the Home Depot Center a little more than 5 weeks ago (April 2). Aside from the Leonardo gamewinner off of a Galaxy set piece (sounds familiar right? Danso anybody?), the Union defense looked solid even away from home. The inability for the Union offense to find net – even with a man advantage – and one real let down on the set piece sent the Union back to Philadelphia with nothing. If we’re still comparing seasons, however, a 1-0 loss is palatable when compared to that 3-1 drubbing in 2010?

Unfortunately, the only thing rosy about the Union’s all-time performance against the Galaxy is their last two meetings – both 1-0 losses. Los Angeles leads the all-time series 3-0-0. The first goal will be vital for each team. Both are 4-0-1 when scoring first.  

The Galaxy are coming off of a 1-1 tie with Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls in a match that proved to be one of the most entertaining of the new season. Henry struck first before Donovan equalized. Several near misses and great play from both teams kept things interesting until the very end. That game, however, played late Saturday night and the cross country travel for a mid-week fixture could have an effect on the Galaxy players.

Jordan Harvey will be back from suspension which should see the back four back in action – Williams, Califf, Valdes, and Harvey. Michael Farfan, in his two appearances, showed big promise for future playing time and may have even worked his way into future lineups. Harvey is considered an iron man when it comes to minutes so unfortunately, something would have to happen to the veteran for Farfan to take over that left flank.

David Beckham has looked impressive in his central role, orchestrating the Galaxy’s offense with pinpoint through balls and switches. Landon Donovan has disappeared in games but always seems to come to life when the Galaxy most need him. Angel has looked increasingly more dangerous as the games go on and he gels with the Galaxy offensive set-up. Still, over 500 minutes and only one goal for the Red Bulls’ all-time leading scorer.

Assistant Coach John Hackworth will be the one barking orders from the touchline vs. Los Angeles. Piotr Nowak is in Poland for a “Match of Stars” Charity Event with the likes of Lothar Mattheus, Davor Suker, and Hristo Stoichkov held in Poznan. He will return in time for the Union’s trip this Saturday, May 12th, to Pizza Hut Park.

The Union fell to #6 in MLSSoccer.com’s Power Rankings. The Galaxy remained at #3.

Birnis Adames, a Camden, NJ native, won this year’s installment of Sueno MLS and a spot in the Union’s youth academy. The 18 year old scored four goals in the final round held in Dallas, Texas making him a clear favorite to win. It wasn’t confirmed until announced on Republica Deportiva this past Sunday. Check out Birnis’ profile here from the tryouts in Philadelphia. Another Jorge Flores in the making?

By the way, the Philadelphia Union/Broad Street Run Photo Contest has a winner! And it is Crissie Prescott! Quick post to come! Faced by the good problem of having a team to run with, Crissie had to get creative. We’re talking college party, Sharpie-fun creative! $25 gift card heading to her and congrats on the PR. As we weren’t able to get as many participants as we had hoped, only a first prize will be given out this time around. We will be sure to give more time before next year’s Broad Street Run. Thanks to all that participated!

Predict the Scoreline

[polldaddy poll=5034110]

 

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Game #7 Preview: Philadelphia at Portland

Posted on 05 May 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The Union head to Portland charged with the opportunity to do what Salt Lake, Chicago, and FC Dallas could not do at JELD-WEN Field. Win. It’s Major League Soccer’s best defense against a team that somewhat resembles that  ‘strong home, struggle away’ expansion Union squad we remember from a little over a year ago. Who will come out on top?

Courtesy of OregonLive.com

Portland Timbers (3-3-1) vs. Philadelphia Union (4-1-1)
Friday, May 4, 2011
JELD-WEN Field, Portland, OR, 10:30PM

Portland Timbers Projected Starting XI

——————————–Perkins—————————-

Hall—————Brunner———-Danso————Wallace

Nagbe————-Jewsbury———Chara———-Alhassan

———————Cooper———-Perlaza———————

OUT: FW Bright Dike (R Achilles rupture); FW Eddie Johnson (R Achilles tendinitis); FW Brian Umony (R knee MCL sprain); PROBABLE: GK Adin Brown (hamstring strain); DF David Horst (R ankle sprain); GK Jake Gleeson (L elbow sprain); MF Peter Lowry (R knee MCL strain)

Philadelphia Union Projected Starting XI

——————-—————––Mondragon——————–————-

Williams————–Califf——————–Valdes-———-M.Farfan

——-————–—-Carroll——————Okugo————————-

Le Toux–————————————–—————————-Daniel

————————–Mwanga—-————-–Ruiz—————————

OUT: GK Thorne Holder (concussion); PROBABLE: MF Gabriel Farfan (R toe dislocation); MF Stefani Miglioranzi (R groin strain); DF Danny Califf (illness); MF Keon Daniel (R foot contusion)

Game Notes:

The Union will look to be the first team to beat Portland at JELD-WEN Field in regular season play this Friday. The Timbers most recent was an impressive 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake, a team struggling with the disappointment of losing in the CONCACAF Champions League final. The Timbers did, however, drop a recent decision to San Jose in an Open Cup qualifier. Ike Opara scored an extratime gamewinner that ended the Timbers participation in the tournament but head coach John Spencer made it clear at the outset of the game that USOC play was not a priority to him, the match-up with Philadelphia was. He fielded a team of reserves in the 1-0 loss.

In two out of the three Portland wins, the Timbers defense surrendered late goals that made things relatively interesting (3-2, 4-2 respectively). Ruiz, Le Toux, and Mwanga building upon previous performances will be key. Hopefully, Le Toux getting that first goal of the year will open the floodgates for him. In Portland’s 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake, the away team created opportunities but in many cases, they failed to follow through with them.

Timbers striker Jorge Perlaza was at one time a Union target during the offseason. Since joining Portland, however, he has started down the road of fan favorite – scoring the first goal in JELD-WEN Field history and linking well with Kenny Cooper up top. Head coach John Spencer also has an impressive amount of speed on the wings, something that could potentially cause the Union backline a little trouble. Darlington Nagbe – #2 draft pick – and Kalif Alhassan (four assists so far) were problems for Real Salt Lake this past weekend.

The Union could be without Danny Califf in central defense due to sickness. If that’s the case, it will most likely be Juan Diego Gonzalez in replacement of Califf and Michael Farfan, fresh off his professional debut, at left back for Harvey.

The Union neutralized Steven Lenhart for the most part against San Jose but Kenny Cooper is a different story. He’s a technical target man, one that can actually beat you on the dribble if given the chance. If an undersized back like Gonzalez is forced to take Cooper for the whole 90 minutes with Perlaza looming, it could make for an unsettling 90 minutes.

The Colombian connection isn’t only prevalent with the Union. The Timbers have two Colombians in their probable starting lineup – a newly signed Diego Chara and Jorge Perlaza. Both have known each other since the age of 12. Chara should provide a calming influence in the center of the pitch while Perlaza has already shown what he can do, bagging a brace in the first game at JELD-WEN Field.

If the Union can strike first at JELD-WEN, there’s no telling how the Timbers will react along with the crowd. They are 0-3-1 when conceding first but the majority of those contests were on the road. To silence the crowd early and force them to start from behind should be a main Union concentration.

The announcement of the Broad Street Run/Union photo contest winners will be this SUNDAY night!

Predictions for the scoreline this weekend? Worried – especially since Portland are 3-0-0 at home – or are you excited to see how the Union’s defense withstands the pressure?

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Game #6 Preview: San Jose at Philadelphia

Posted on 29 April 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The Union return to action after a welcomed week off when a trip to Real Salt Lake was rescheduled due to the Royals participation in the CONCACAF Champions League (an unfortunate loss). Sebastien Le Toux and the rest of the squad that was around last season will be looking to one-up the visiting San Jose Earthquakes, a team that had their number last year. Fans will remember the late Arturo Alvarez heartbreaker at PPL Park and this weekend’s DOOP day will hopefully be a time for payback.

San Jose Earthquakes (1-3-2) at Philadelphia Union (3-1-1)
Saturday, April 30, 2011
PPL Park, Chester, PA, 4:00PM, 6abc

Philadelphia Union Projected Starting XI

—————————–Mondragon—————————-

Williams———–Califf—————–Valdes———-Harvey

——————-Miglioranzi————Okugo——————-

Mapp———————————————————-Daniel

———————-Le Toux————–Ruiz———————

DOUBTFUL: MF Gabe Farfan (R little toe dislocation); PROBABLE: DF Jordan Harvey (L hamstring strain), MF Brian Carroll (R hamstring strain), MF Justin Mapp (L hamstring strain)

San Jose Earthquakes Projected Starting XI

——————————–Busch———————————

Hernandez———Opara———-McDonald———-Corrales

——————————-Cronin———————————

Stephenson——-Dawkins——–Wondolowski——–Convey

——————————–Sealy———————————–

OUT: MF Andre Luiz (L knee injury); DOUBTFUL: DF Tim Ward (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Joey Gjertsen (R groin strain), MF Matt Luzunaris (L hip flexor strain)

Game Notes:

The Union will remember Quakes forward Steven Lenhart. a [a part of the Columbus Crew last year, for his showing at PPL Park. The blonde-fro’ed target forward struck twice with his head to lead Columbus to a victory. The Earthquakes also shared similar success against the Union in 2010. At PPL Park, a last gasp Arturo Alvarez gamewinner stunned Union fans and in the return leg, in San Jose, the Union never really threatened in a 1-0 loss. The good news is – the Union are much improved – and Steven Lenhart will likely play the role of super sub or not play at all.

The Quakes are on a four game winless streak (0-2-2) with their last two games being losses to New York and Chivas USA respectively. A players-only meeting was held as coach Frank Yallop threatened to shake up the line-up. Union fans must remember, however that they’re also a team that came only one win away from reaching the MLS Cup final in 2010 so bad form or not, the Union need to take it to them. 2011’s Earthquakes have conceded the most shots in Major League Soccer so far (91) but it’ll mean nothing if the Union can’t create.

Philadelphia native Bobby Convey is coming off of his best season in Major League Soccer since his return State-side after a spell with Reading in England. He has to regain that 2010 form but you can expect, part of a team hungry to right their wrongs, that he’ll be a big part of things on Saturday. It’s hard to believe the Penn Charter product has worked almost 250 competitive matches over a career spanning 11 years now. He was drafted by DC United in 2000, then becoming the youngest player ever signed by Major League Soccer.

The Flyers will be starting their series with the Boston Bruins at 3:00PM on game day. It shouldn’t affect game day attendance too much but you never know.

Brian Carroll, out the last several games with a right hamstring strain, could see time against San Jose but there is no reason to believe that he will start. Amobi Okugo has played well filling in for the vet and as long as he continues to do so, Carroll can make sure he’s 100% ready to return. There’s also the possibility – though not listed in the injury report – that Stefani Miglioranzi may miss the match with a knock taken in the Union’s draw vs. Seattle.

Kerith Gabriel, over at Philly.com, takes an in-depth look at the Union’s league-leading defense and it’s transformation from leaky to impenetrable in just a season.

In case you missed it, Timmy Howard and Everton FC will be visiting PPL Park in late July. Part of the season ticket package!

YSC Sports and the Philadelphia Union recently hosted the last leg of Sueno MLS and the finalists will be announced on Sunday, May 1st on Republica Deportiva. Over 400 youngsters took part in tryouts, assessed by coaches including Reading United AC and Union Reserve coach Brendan Burke, as they fought for one of five spots to earn a trial and a ticket to the “Final Event” held in Dallas.

Just as the Union were surprised by their week off, affiliate club Harrisburg will have to wait a little while before their 2011 home debut. They were scheduled to take on the Rochester Rhinos but flooding has forced the city of Harrisburg to close down City Island. Rescheduled date to be announced.

Predictions for the scoreline this weekend? If both Miglioranzi and Carroll have to sit this weekend or at least come in off the bench, who would you have start?

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