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Short rest

Photo: Nicolae Stoian

Ten matches remaining.

Between Real Salt Lake away on September 3 and New York away on October 20 is 47 days, an average of one game every 4.7 days.


The remaining schedule

Looking at the actual schedule, the breakdown goes like this:

After an unplanned weekend off courtesy of Hurricane Irene, the Union play Real Salt Lake away on what works out to be 14 days  of rest after the loss in Columbus, but that also includes a near-transcontinental flight. If you factor in the “friendly” with Harrisburg City Islanders on August 24 (everyone did have to run laps, after all), it’s actually ten days rest.

After a return flight back across most of the continent, the Union face New England at home on September 7 on four days rest, followed by three days rest before hosting Portland Timbers on September 10. The home stand continues against Columbus on September 17 before the Union get back on a plane to face Kansas City on September 23 and a short week of six days rest.

Six days later it is DC United at PPL on September 29 before three days of rest that includes a transcontinental flight to play Chivas USA on October 2. A six day break begins with a flight back to the East Coast, and then it’s another transcontinental flight to face Seattle away on October 8. Several thousand frequent flyer miles later it is Toronto at home on October 15 before the bus ride to East Harrison and the Energy Drinks on October 20. That is:

10/14 days + transcontinental flight→RSL→transcontinental flight home + four days→NE~ three days→POR→seven days→CLB→six days + flight to the Midwest→KC→flight home + six days→DC→three days + transcontinental flight→CHV→transcontinental flight home + six days + transcontinental flight→SEA→transcontinental flight + seven days→TOR→five days→NY→PLAYOFFS?→

Two crucial stretches stand out. Between September 3 and September 10 the Union will play three games in seven days, one away and two at home. Between September 17 and October 2, the Union will play four games in 15 days, two at home and two that involve long plane flights, and that stretch is followed by another long flight for an game away on less than a week’s rest.

Short rest

How have the Union done this year on short rest?

So far, their league record is 2–1–5 in matches played on five days of rest or less. They have two wins (New York, Chivas) on three days rest and both wins were at home. They also have one loss and one draw on three days rest, the loss happening away to Dallas and the draw at home to Houston.

On four days rest, the Union have two draws, one on the road to Colorado and one at home to Kansas City.

They also have two draws on five days rest, one at home to LA and one on the road to Chicago.

At home that works out to a 2–0–3 league record on short rest, 0–1–2 on the road.

If the US Open Cup match and the friendlies are included, the Union have three wins on three days rest (New York, Chivas USA and Everton at home), two losses (at Dallas, Real Madrid) and two draws (Houston, Reading United away). On four days of rest, the Union have one win (Harrisburg City Islanders away), one loss (DC United away in the US Open Cup), and two draws (at Colorado and Kansas City). On five days of rest they have two draws (LA, away to Chicago). That’s an overall record of 4–3–6, or 3–1–3 at home and 1–2–3 on the road.


How will the Union do over the remaining ten games? I haven’t a clue.

But, I’ll hazard a guess.

Based on their past record and looking at whether a game is home or away, the amount of rest before each game, a whole lot of optimism and paying no heed to their recent form, how’s this for a prediction:

RSL (A): Draw
NE (H): Win
Portland (H): Win
Columbus (H): Draw
KC (A): Draw
DC (H): Win
CHV (A): Draw
Seattle (A): Loss
Toronto (H): Win
New York (A): Draw

That’s 17 out of a possible 30 points with only one loss. Like I said, I’ve included a whole lot of optimism—which, to be frank, goes against my nature—so don’t hold me to it. Would 17 points be enough for a playoff spot?

No rest for the weary

It’s a long season. In the 215 days from the season opener on March 19 until the season finale on October 20, the Union will have played 39 games—34 league games, one US Open Cup game and four friendlies. That works out to a game every 5.5 days. Taking the long view, short rest is actually the norm.

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