Match previews / Union

Preview: Philadelphia Union vs. Chivas USA

Game time: Saturday, 4 p.m.

TV: Telefutura, Live Well HD (abc 6.2)

The only MLS team without a city in their name is fortunately on the road this Saturday, so you don’t have to figure out what city the game’s in order to watch their match against Philadelphia Union. Chivas USA (7-13-4) come into Chester with their playoff hopes looking like they’re about as hopeless as the Union’s, but each has something to play for.

The Union (6-12-6) have taken 10 points from their last five matches and, with their goalkeeping situation seemingly settled down in the hands of Brad Knighton, are looking to show they can be as good as they’ve shown hints of all season. Coming off a much-needed 10-day break after a tough 1-0 loss to San Jose, the Union are rested and healthier than they have been in a while.  If you saw the San Jose game, you saw a tired Union team riddled with injuries. The one goal came at the expense of left back Jordan Harvey, who looked so tired on a cross leading to the goal that he barely moved. Winger Shea Salinas is back from injury, Juan Diego Gonzales could return as well, Danny Mwanga’s shoulder should be healed up, and the team has six matches left to pull off a miraculous run to the playoffs or simply just show the rest of the world how good they are.

Despite one more point in the standings, Chivas USA seem in worse shape. Their best player, Jonathan Bornstein, leaves on free transfer for Mexico at season’s end and is coming off an injury, and they already lost another top player, Sacha Kljestan, to Belgian club Anderlecht earlier this year. Rumors swirl about a move from Los Angeles to San Diego (though truthfully, it’s guys like us who are swirling them). This is a team that hasn’t shown signs of being good all year, unlike the Union, who tantalize at times with their possession game. That said, the Goats do come in with young forward Justin Braun showing that he may have national team potential, with nine goals this year. Goalkeeper Zach Thornton is one of the league’s best, and Paulo Nagamura is working his way back into the lineup after a half-year foray into Mexico. And, and …

OK, there’s not much else here. These guys suck. Not much to watch other than Braun. The Union should beat them like a drum.

Which means, of course, that things may get interesting.

Probable starters

Philadelphia

Goalkeeper: Brad Knighton

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

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

Forwards: Danny Mwanga, Sebastien Le Toux

Chivas USA

Goalkeeper: Zach Thornton

Defenders: Ante Jazic, Dario Delgado, Michael Umana, Mariano Trujillo

Midfielders: Rodolfo Espinoza, Ben Zemanski, Paulo Nagamura, Michael Lahoud

Forwards: Justin Braun, Alan Gordon

Injuries

Philadelphia: DOUBTFUL: MF Eduardo Coudet (R calf strain); PROBABLE: DF Juan Diego Gonzalez (L groin strain); DF Toni Stahl (R anklestrain); MF Stefani Miglioranzi (L calf strain); FW Sebastien Le Toux (L anklesprain); FW Danny Mwanga (L shoulder sprain).

Chivas USA: OUT: GK Dan Kennedy (L bicep surgery); QUESTIONABLE: MF Blair Gavin (L hamstring strain); FW Giancarlo Maldonado (R hamstringstrain).

Prediction

Union win 2-1 if Bornstein starts, 3-1 if he doesn’t play. Either way, you can probably detect the pattern here. They drew 1-1 last time they played, but don’t look for that to happen again.

13 Comments

  1. Union have seven or ten points from their last four? Go Union.

  2. “Jordan Harvey, who looked so tired on a cross leading to the goal that he barely moved.” Less he was tired more he sucks. The rise of Williams and the return of Gonzalez should see Jordan Harvey sitting on the bench where he belongs. I am sick of that man costing us points. On another note I was wondering if Williams and or Knighton are GA players? I thought Williams was but have not heard anything about Knighton. At this point I am happy Knighton has ascended to the starting position, but am worried because he has essentially taken a protected player spot if he is not a GA. The other question I had is what is the deal with Roger Torres? He has impressed every time he has been on the field but Nowak seems reluctant to give him any time. His talent is undeniable, but I worry that he is likely to go unprotected in the expansion draft because he appears to be the odd man out for some reason.

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      Regarding Torres, from a recent piece on the Union website:

      “According to Hackworth, neither a dip in performance or an injury are to blame for the decrease in minutes. It would appear, then, that the technical staff believes others on the squad have simply earned their spot over Torres, or have been better suited for the past two opponents than the diminutive 19-year-old midfielder.

      “No particular reason,” Hackworth explained when asked why Torres hasn’t seen any action since coming on in the 46th minute against Kansas City. “We felt like Roger was playing good and had played good up until the last two games. It was nothing about him that he didn’t play. He continues to do well in training. Hopefully he can have a strong rest of the week and get an opportunity on Saturday.”

      • They really are like the Kremlin down there at PPL. Smoke and mirrors and masters of deflecting questions lol.

      • Nowak has been apt to describe Roger as a solo player, and I have to agree. When nothin’s doin’, he’s a great guy to throw on the pitch to change the pace and get defenders out of position. But he plays his own game. If you watch the peripherals of camera angles when roger is on the field you see other players holding runs, mistiming runs, and roger spinning circles with his head down. Amazing ball skills and great confidence for a young player, but his game doesn’t complement anybody else’s on the first team. Makes it hard to start him, and hard to throw him out there when things are flowing well but not finding the net.

    • Neither Williams nor Knighton is Generation Adidas. And re: Harvey? Heh. Yeah, we know how you feel about him, Mike. And lately, you’re definitely right. I’m just not as down on him as you because I did feel he played well in the season’s first half.

      • Sorry if I was a bit harsh on you for the harvey thing, I will stop beating the dead horse lol. Yikes thats scary I was hoping at least one of them was GA. I guess the new protected list is Califf, Gonzalez, Williams, Orozco, Knighton, Jacobson, Mapp, Salinas, Le Toux, Torres and Nakazawa

      • No worries, Mike. You’re cool. Let him have it if he deserves it.

  3. Will we know who they protect? My list would go like this.

    Califf, Gonzalez, Orozco, Mapp, Salinas, Le Toux, Torres, Coudet, Mwanga, Harvey (!), and which ever keeper they think people want.

    I don’t think Jacobsen or Nak are irreplacable, and Williams, has looked alternately great and just a little too amazed to be on an MLS pitch, but based on the fact that he barely got a contract, I don’t think anyone is going to take him. I think Coudet is a great asset to our team, and would be a great asset to any team trying to find cohesion at its inception.

    • Mike Servedio says:

      I think there is little chance they protect Coudet. And a similarly small chance that he’ll be back with the team next season. Okugo who should definitely be protected is Coudet but 15 years younger.

      I’d also be surprised if they protect Gonzalez. I’d like to see them hit the free agent market for a center back. (I’ve heard Jay DeMerritt is still looking for a job).

      Williams should be protected over any outside back if it comes to it. He’s the only one playing like a 2010 outside back, bombing up the sideline, looking to cross the ball. Harvey or Fiscal haven’t had a decent cross between them in what seems like forever.

      • I could obviously never agree with the Harvey protection piece and Coudet is 36 so I think any team would be crazy to take him in expansion draft. Jacobson is irreplaceable to me because I feel that he and okugo are the heirs apparent to Mig. Even though I despise Man United Fergie was heavily impressed with Jacobson out of all of our players. I was surprised when he picked Jacobson out of all of our players to put such high praise on, but I have to figure that the man has an eye for talent that sees shit the rest of us miss. Mwanga may still have GA status by end of the year, we all can hope anyway, (Dan is that right?) so I would hope we get Williams in their as he is young, has undeniable talent as a winger, and his throw ins are better than Le Toux’s corner kicks.

      • Yeah, Mwanga could still be GA. It’s pretty murky though. We probably won’t know till the protected lists come out in November.

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