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Defense questions, more news

Union

Soccer America ranks the Union defense 17th in the league: “More signings are needed as the Union is short on depth after jettisoning Michael Orozco Fiscal and Cristian Arrieta.”

Meanwhile, a look at six Eastern Conference teams that signed foreign defenders in Soccer America, “The Philadelphia coaching staff says the 25-year-old Valdes could make the Union a playoff contender.” Which is it, guys?

With only five defenders on the roster, three of which are central defenders, one of the big questions as the Union are about to open the 2011 season is where is the cover if someone gets hurt? An answer of sorts came out on the Union website on Monday in a post titled, “Farfan Adjusting to New Role Along Backline.” Despite the title, it isn’t until midway through the post that it is revealed that Michael Farfan has “been playing mostly right back during preseason.” Farfan says, “Every player has their main position they’ve always played, but I’ll do anything to help the team,” adding,”If I’m at right back, I’m totally fine with that.” The post also confirms that Ryan Richter “has also been playing a lot of defense during camp.” Who needs coffee in the morning when you’ve got this sort of thing to get the blood flowing?

Also on the Union website, a much superior use of the number five than the laugh fest Goal.com put up the other day. This piece looks at five questions facing the Union at the start of the new season: Is the backline deep enough? Will Carlos Ruiz be effective? Will all of those new faces gel quickly enough? What will happen with the crowded midfield? How much can/should he Union improve?

MLS Talk rounds up its writers predictions for how the season will end. Two writers think the Union will finish last in the Eastern Conference, once thinks fourth, another thinks fifth. If you average them together, I think you get “They have no f’ing idea.”

The Union is WV Hooligan’s “darkhorse team out of the East to do well this season” and predicts a fourth place finish in the conference. Danny Mwanga is the “x-factor”: “The second-year striker has to step up even more to get this club into the playoff discussion.” In another post, the Hooligan continues, “Yeah saying Philly will make the playoffs in their sophomore season is a bold prediction indeed but let’s face it, the East is a total crap shoot this season so its anyone’s game.” Too true.

The Brotherly Game’s Scott Kessler profiles Faryd Mondagon on TBG’s parent site, SB Nation.

The Inquirer has a piece on Carlos Ruiz. Nothing new here for anyone who closely follows the Union, but it is a solid article that covers all of the bases for those who do not.

Ruiz admits that settling in with the Union will take time, although the team’s time Greece helped: “I have just one former teammate, Danny Califf, so it was good to get to know everyone a little better.”

Ruiz tells the Daily News, “I have a lot of [personal] goals for this year and I hope that as a team we can do well. We all expect to play better than we did last year.”

Sheanon Williams is in SI’s photo essay of MLS Top 10 Breakout Players. Great photo! I am constantly forgetting that Williams is only 20-years old. (He turns 21 on Thursday!)

Here’s video of PPL Park head groundskeeper Jason Bowers on preparations for next Saturday’s home opener.

Check out the new Union Dues blog.

Houston watch

Repeating a message from yesterday, friend of the PSP Guido Gaeffke says that if anyone is deciding to travel to Houston for the match, they should call Christina at the Dynamo at 713-276-7582 for tickets and ask to sit with other Union SoB Supporters in Section 225 around row AA. Guido says, “Tickets are only $25 (and if you haggle $17). Looks like we’ll have around 20 of us there.”

Brian Ching aggravated his right hamstring injury on Friday. While he hasn’t been ruled out for Saturday’s match against the Union, he is doubtful. “Am I 100 percent? No,” Ching told the Houston Chronicle. “Do I think I’ll be 100 percent for this weekend? No, but we’ll see how this week progresses. At this point I’d say doubtful for the weekend just because I don’t want to have another setback.”

Houston11Soocer.com says, “If indeed pre-season rankings mean a lot, the first match for the Houston Dynamo against the Philadelphia Union could already carry big implications for both clubs’ playoff hopes.”

Here’s a look at the Philadelphia Fury v Houston Hurricane in 1979. Bob Rigby makes his first appearance for the Fury in the loss.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrIP6Fd08ws[/youtube]

Indepenence

Right on the heels of the USWNT Algarve Cup championship, Nicole Barnhart, Lori Lindsey, Megan Rapinoe and Amy Rodriguez have been named for the team that will play the England women’s team on April 2 in London.

Reading United

Union-affiliate Reading United have a new supporters group, the Locos. The group will participate in their first charity event, YMCA of Reading and Berks County’s 5th Annual St. Patty’s Marsh Madness Plunge for Kids, on March 19. Following that, they will have a Union viewing party beginning at 8pm at Trooper Thorn’s Irish Beefhaus, located along Route 10 in Reading, PA.

Local

The Brotherly Game has a new series focusing on local academy teams affiliated with the Union. This installment looks at the return to play by FC Delco, PA Classics, and Players Development Academy after the winter break and local participation in the Jefferson Cup.

Soccer historian Roger Allaway wonders Read the PSP’s look at the history of the Uke Nats to learn more about one of the great teams in Philly soccer history.

MLS

I wonder when MLS will realize having a stand-alone “First Kick” match to start the season is a terrible idea? I stopped watching last night’s crap game between Seattle and LA before the end of the first half to watch Real Salt Lake play Costa Rican (and fellow Bimbo sponsoree) Saprissa. Not only was it a much better match, it was also, in the long run, a more important match.

The repercussions of the announcement of the departure of DP Blaise Nkufo from Seattle just before kickoff has overshadowed the team’s loss to LA. How convenient.

The Reserve League begins play this Sunday when Columbus Crew face DC United at a yet to be determined location in the Washington area. Some info on the Reserve League:

“MLS reserve teams will play a 10-game schedule that includes two games against five opponents in a six-team conference. Playoffs will also be conducted…Members of the 30-man first team, academy players and trialists are eligible to play in the reserve division.”

If anyone has any information on the Union’s Reserve League schedule, please speak up.

Reuters has ten things to watch for 2011.

The New York Times says the Pacific Northwest is the new center of MLS. ESPN looks at what makes Portland so special.

Jay DeMerit is questionable for the Whitecaps’ first match with a groin injury.

DC United will play Ajax on May 22 at RFK.

San Jose have signed 23-year old forward Simon Dawkins on a one-year loan from Tottenham.

US

The official song and video for the 1990 US World Cup team. Oh, my. So many levels…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o73qnXFP7e8&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Elsewhere

The suspension of matches in Japan’s J-League has been extended into April.

Goal-line technology could be used in the Premiership next season.

In today’s Champions League action, Chelsea host Copenhagen live at 3:30pm on FSC. At 6pm, the delayed broadcast of the Real Madrid v Lyon match will also be on FSC.

4 Comments

  1. I’m so hyped to see the Union play I could f*%king scream. Man, this week is dragging.

  2. SOB supporters will meet at The Den (www.uhdenbar.com – near The Hilton) at 4835 Calhoun as of circa 3pm and will walk to the Stadium around 6.30pm. Would be great of the Union could sponsor some drinks!!!

  3. Andy Dillon says:

    Late to the party, but tweets coming from the team have Nowak talking about 2 non-rostered defenders with the team who could be signed still. Is he talking G. Farfan and Keon Daniel, or some other nameless/faceless players who are well beneath the radar.

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