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Preview: Philadephia Union vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Game time: Saturday, 4 p.m.

TV: 6abc

Philadelphia Union end their long layoff Saturday by playing host to the struggling San Jose Earthquakes.

Philadelphia native Bobby Convey resurrected his career last season after knee injuries drove him from England, but the Earthquakes (1-3-2) need more than him to resurrect a team that has surprised many with their struggles early this season after some great form in late 2010. The team lacks a good, top-line striker to either play hold-up for the midfielders or score in his own right. Likewise, they don’t have a dominant ball-winner in the midfield. What they do have is a few good midfield attackers in Convey, Khari Stephenson and Chris Wondolowski, last year’s Golden Boot winner, as well as a good goalkeeper in Jon Busch.

The Union (3-1-1) sit in second place, but they’ve scored fewer goals (4) than any team in the league. Fortunately for them, they are playing great defense and have given up only two goals through five regular season games. New signing Carlos Ruiz has polarized some with his play, drawing criticism for his inactivity and praise for his goals (2 in 5 games). Fellow striker Sebastien Le Toux hasn’t hit the score sheet yet, however, and has struggled to partner with Ruiz. The other newly signed Carlos, Carlos Valdes, has been stellar on the back line with fellow center back Danny Califf. Defensive midfielder Brian Carroll is listed as probable for Saturday and could return from injury. The real question will be whether Union manager Peter Nowak has used the two-week layoff to make any tactical changes to the squad and whether the time off has helped heal the lingering injury many believe Le Toux has been suffering from.

Probable starters

Philadelphia

Goalkeeper: Faryd Mondragon

Defenders: Jordan Harvey, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Sheanon Williams

Midfielders: Keon Daniel, Stefani Miglioranzi, Amobi Okugo, Justin Mapp

Forwards: Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz

San Jose

Goalkeeper: Jon Busch

Defenders: Chris Leitch, Jason Hernandez, Brandon McDonald, Ramiro Corrales

Midfielders: Bobby Convey, Sam Cronin, Simon Dawkins, Khari Stephenson, Chris Wondolowski

Forwards: Ryan Johnson

Injuries and suspensions

Philadelphia: DOUBTFUL: MF Gabe Farfan (R little toe dislocation); PROBABLE: DF Jordan Harvey (L hamstring strain); MF Brian Carroll (R hamstring strain); MF Justin Mapp (L hamstring strain)

San Jose: OUT: MF Andre Luiz (L knee injury); DOUBTFUL: DF Tim Ward (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Joey Gjertsen (R groin strain); MF Matt Luzunaris (L hip flexor strain)

Local connection

San Jose left midfielder Bobby Convey may be the best Delaware Valley native playing professional soccer today. He finally recovered from knee injuries last year to regain the form that made him a U.S. national team regular during the 2006 World Cup cycle.

Prediction

The Union win 1-0. San Jose may have Wondolowski, but they don’t have good, true strikers. With the Union taking a defensive approach this season, look for this one to be decided on a defensive mistake, something the Earthquakes have made plenty of in 2011.

7 Comments

  1. Instead of Y.S.A.
    Cheer “Eat More Bimbo” !

    How could they argue ?

    Peace.

    K

    • really? good luck. won’t be doing that ever.

      • Ed Farnsworth says:

        Mr. Murphy, you must be on a mission (or a Bimbo employee) because I see you posting that comment everywhere. I admire your spunk but that chant hasn’t got a chance.

      • Josh Trott says:

        Though I am of the opinion that we should sing the Bimbo song. This could be hilarious.

  2. Really another 1-0?! I sure hope not! This should be the game where Nowak releases the offensive hounds! Nowak’s got something to prove to the league and especially the fans. My prediction: he is gonna put out an offensive unit and seek to score multiple goals while preserving a shutout. 3-0 Union.
    ……….Mondragon…………..
    Williams…Valdes..Califf..Harvey
    Le Toux….Migs….Okugo…Torres
    ……..Mwanga…..Ruiz……….
    We really need Le Toux and Mwanga to get on the scoresheet in this one.

    • Los, I think you seriously underestimate how Stubborn Nowak is. He does want to prove something though and that is that he is right and we are all wrong. His arrogance hurts his coaching.

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