Match previews / Union

Preview: Philadelphia Union vs. Houston Dynamo

Game time: Saturday, 4 p.m.

TV: Live Well HD (abc 6.2), Telefutura

Philadelphia Union host the Houston Dynamo on Saturday in a game that basically means nothing on paper but a lot to Union players who are trying to prove they can play next year.

Both teams are out of the playoffs, but it doesn’t mean fans are down on their teams, at least in Philadelphia’s case. The Union (7-13-6) have already sold out two of their final three home games and could sell out this match against Houston (7-14-5) too.

Look for the Union to give some young players a chance to start and get plenty of minutes Saturday, particularly since this will be their third game in eight days. “Union Jack” McInerney scored in garbage time Wednesday night and could get a start in place of injured striker Danny Mwanga, while the midfield could get a shuffle after Wednesday’s mess at Colorado.  Between the packed schedule and the round trip to Denver, this may be a tired team. On the flip side, these last games will be a chance for veterans like striker Alejandro Moreno, who is finally healthy again, to show they’re worth keeping next season.

The starters up top could be key in this game, because Houston may be without their top two goalies, leaving homegrown player Tyler Deric to get his first appearance in Major League Soccer by starting in goal. Houston has a fairly slow back line, but they also have good attackers like Brian Ching and Brad Davis who will challenge the Union defenders. This is a team not nearly as good as in past years, due to the losses of Stuart Bolden and Ricardo Clark to Europe on free transfers, but it’s a team with some solid core players who can still run with anyone in MLS.

If you want to see a Union game in person before season’s end and don’t already have tickets to one, this is your last chance, because it’s the only one that’s not sold out yet. To buy tickets, go to the Union web site.

Probable starters

Philadelphia

Goalkeeper: Brad Knighton

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

Midfielders: Justin Mapp, Andrew Jacobson, Kyle Nakazawa, Sebastien Le Toux

Forwards: Alejandro Moreno, Jack McInerney

Houston

Goalkeeper: Tyler Deric

Defenders: Richard Mulrooney, Adrian Serioux, Ryan Cochrane, Andrew Hainault

Midfielders: Corey Ashe, Geoff Cameron, Lovell Palmer, Brad Davis

Forwards: Brian Ching, Dominic Oduro

Injuries and Suspensions

Philadelphia: QUESTIONABLE: MF Eduardo Coudet (R calf strain); FW Danny Mwanga (L shoulder sprain); PROBABLE: MF Stefani Miglioranzi (L shin contusion)

Houston: OUT: MF Colin Clark (L knee surgery); MF Anthony Obodai (L knee meniscus); DOUBTFUL: GK Pat Onstad (concussion); QUESTIONABLE: GK Tally Hall (R ankle sprain)

Prediction

The Union win 2-0. The Colorado game was an aberration by a tired team. The playoffs may be out, but the Union players still have a lot to play for.

7 Comments

  1. I don’t know how often, if at all, this has come up on this website, so forgive me if I’m re-stirring old turds. “Union Jack” is an unacceptable nickname for a member of a team named “Mc”anything, whose supporters all wear SHAMROCKS on their official jerseys. No self respecting Hibernian American would refer to McInerney as such, yet some insist on pushing this tag and trying to make it stick. Now, I’m no chest-pounding plastic paddy or always-offended bleeding heart- I’ll even drink a car bomb if it’s put in front of me. But this “Union Jack” thing is uncool.

    Again, sorry if you’ve had this argument already.

    • Hey man, I got the 4th most common last name in Ireland, my dad and grandfather raced a boat in the late 60s called “Sinn Fein,” and I even have a red beard and a flair/affliction for the written word — and I coined the nickname. The Troubles, still? Really? I think Americans stew over it more than the Irish do, based on my experience over in Ireland. You definitely made me stop and think about it though. Damn it. I was always so high on that nickname too! I think you may have successfully ruined it for me now.

      • While I don’t like to wax about my Irish credentials, I’ll say that my family has maintained a strong connection to the MuthaLand (as if you couldn’t tell by my name).

        While my time spent in Ireland has been fairly limited, I’ve seen enough over there and have enough off-the-boat friends here and there to know that while it’s not always discussed, problems with their neighbors to the East are far from over, and far from being relegated to a past so distant that it isn’t worth thinking about. You’ve inspired me to comment further- http://phillyuniontalk.com/10-01-2010/an-open-letter-to-people-who-call-mcinerney-union-jack/

      • Case made. Like I said, I think you’ve successfully killed it, at least for me. Once Irish politics enter the mix, an off-the-cuff soccer nickname based on wordplay (Jack … plays for the Union … oh! Let’s call him Union Jack! Brilliant!) loses its original lighthearted purpose.

      • Based on the comments, it looks like most of MY readers are on your side! Don’t go changing it for my sake.

  2. What’s with the disappearance act for Torres and Salinas? If the Colorado game showed anything, it’s that we need all the speed and creativity that we can muster up on the field. That and better defenders, but there are no reinforcement in that area until the offseason.

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