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Preview: Philadelphia Union at San Jose Earthquakes

Game time: Wednesday, 10 p.m.

TV: Live Well (abc 6.2)

Two teams fighting for a playoff spot face off Wednesday night as Philadelphia Union pays a visit to the San Jose Earthquakes.

San Jose (9-7-6) sits in eighth place in the overall table but has more games to play than its competitors as well as the league’s easiest remaining schedule, at least on paper. On the flip side, the Quakes are playing their third game in 11 days and will likely rotate players as a result. New signings Geovanni and Khari Stephenson have started well and boosted a team that needed depth down the stretch, as has the return of long-injured Eduardo. Meanwhile, Philly native Bobby Convey has rejuvenated his career with this year’s all-star performance, and backstop Jon Busch has come off the Chicago Fire’s scrap heap to play terrifically, with a GAA of 0.90. They have, however, had to make do without top rookie center back Ike Opara, who is likely out for the year with a fractured foot.

The Union come in on a four-game unbeaten streak, having collected their first regular season shutout with a defensive gem Saturday against Chicago. Brad Knighton replaced beleaguered Chris Seitz in goal and made the necessary stops, and the Danny Califf-led back line played brilliantly for the second straight game. Winger Shea Salinas returned from injury to bring some speed to the flanks, and newly signed right back Sheanon Williams did much the same, offering an attacking dimension that had been lacking at fullback. Sebastien Le Toux continued his MVP-like season with the game-winning goal, while midfielder Justin Mapp continued his excellent form by creating the goal. The Union, however, may be without rookie starlet Danny Mwanga, who traveled with the team but is questionable with a shoulder injury, and Juan Diego Gonzalez, who was ably replaced Saturday by Michael Orozco Fiscal.

The last time these teams played, the Union dominated much of the game but gave up two stunning goals at the end of each half to take their first-ever home loss.

Now, they hope for a win to keep their faint playoff hopes alive. With 24 points in the standings, the Union remain mathematically in the playoff hunt, but if they maintain any hope of actually reaching the postseason, they need need to beat San Jose.

Probable starters

Philadelphia

Goalkeeper: Brad Knighton

Defenders: Jordan Harvey, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Danny Califf, Sheanon Williams

Midfielders: Justin Mapp, Andrew Jacobson, Stefani Miglioranzi, Shea Sallinas

Forwards: Sebastien Le Toux, Alejandro Moreno

San Jose

Goalkeeper: Jon Busch

Defenders: Chris Leitch, Brandon McDonald, Jason Hernandez, Tim Ward

Midfielders: Bobby Convey, Geovanni, Brad Ring, Khari Stephenson

Forwards: Chris Wondolowski, Cornel Glen

Injuries and suspensions

Philadelphia: DOUBTFUL: DF Juan Diego Gonzalez (L groinstrain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Toni Stahl (R ankle strain); MF Eduardo Coudet(R calf strain); PROBABLE: DF Michael Orozco Fiscal (L hamstring strain).

San Jose: OUT: MF Andre Luiz (L knee surgery); DF Ike Opara (L foot fracture); GK Joe Cannon (L ankle fracture); DF Ramiro Corrales (L knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Eduardo (R hip strain); DF Tim Ward (L ankle sprain).

Prediction

1-1 draw. Both teams are playing well. Both have gotten some reinforcements. The Union haven’t shown they can regularly win on the road, but they are in good form lately.

(Photo: Paul Rudderow)

3 Comments

  1. Allez Philadelphie says:

    Earthquakes 0-1 Union
    Migs with the winner

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