Coronavirus / USL - Philadelphia Union II

Philadelphia Union II’s game schedule

Feature image courtesy USLC; schedule slides courtesy Philadelphia Union II

Philadelphia Union II has announced its revised game schedule for the 2020 season.

Union II does not play on the opening July 11 weekend. That is a good thing since they did not resume full-team full-contact training until Wednesday July 1. They will have 17 days to reteach, remediate, and repair, not 10.

July – the first “three-gamer”

But there is a price for the delayed start. Their 15 total games will be played in 11 weeks, not 12. Youth cuts both ways at that pace, because, while younger muscles recover more quickly, younger physiques have not yet developed the strength and endurance of full-blown adults. And Union II is an especially young side for USLC, as mandated by Sporting Director Ernst Tanner.

Not only does head coach Sven Gartung’s intent to use all five of his substitutes fulfill the developmental goal of giving the maximum number of players meaningful opportunities to play, it will ease his youngsters’ struggle with the endurance-building that his early game schedule demands.

The schedule is front-loaded with home games. The final three of the season are on the road.

The second “three-gamer” and most of the third

In three separate sequences Union II will tap-off three consecutive times in eight or nine days, (Saturday – Wednesday – Saturday, or Saturday – Wednesday – Sunday). There is adequate but not munificent recovery time between each three-game sequence. The first “three-gamer” starts immediately, on opening day when they host Pittsburgh Saturday July 18th at Subaru Park. They have six days before the second, and then ten days before the third.

The slowest part of the schedule is the last three games of the year. All those are away.

Coach Gartung is wise to have 25 or 26 players in mind without counting any “loan-downs” from the first team. There will be little time in-season to recover from any soft-tissue injuries more serious than bruises, let alone anything damaging bones or ligaments. And the early-days’ pace demands squad rotation. The effort and energy expended in USLC is not the same as in high school even in elite soccer academies.

Finishing on the road

We cannot yet estimate with any accuracy when or how often Matt Freese, Cole Turner, and Jack de Vries might be available. They have been confirmed to be in Florida with the—so far—negatively-testing first-team Union group. We do not know whether they will require quarantine times after their return north, nor do we know exactly when that will be.

Nor do we know if there are any game dates for which there are no conflicts with the first team’s own schedule. All MLS schedule news has focused on the Florida tournament. There has been no news whatsoever about matches after August 11th.

Contrary to the previously announced competition expectations, the Union II do not play every member of their group an equal number of games. They play Hartford four times, two home and two away, and Red Bulls II also four, also two and two. They play Pittsburgh the expected three, the final two on the narrow turf at Highmark-on-the-Monongahela. And they play Loudon three as well, counting the long-ago game last March.

The extra “easy-travel” Red Bulls and Hartford games probably counterbalance the away trip to Central Florida. A Union II source has indicated that the current intention is to fly to Central Florida, saving at least two days of practice and the usual pattern of recovery and rehabilitation after the Atlanta game and having a day to acclimate down south.

2 Comments

  1. Tim Jones says:

    Here is the URL to FiveThirtyEight.com’s predictions for the Union II’s matches this season, as of July 6th.
    .
    Add the filter Philadelphia Union II in the appropriate box.

  2. Tim Jones says:

    Oops, forgot the URL! Heh, Heh.
    .
    https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/soccer-predictions/usl/
    .
    Sorry.

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