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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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