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Philadelphia Union preseason recap

Brian Mechanick contributed this post

We stand on the precipice of a new era: The Philadelphia Union Era. The brand-new CBA has been signed and the 2010 season is about to begin. Kick-off is less than three days away, when the Union faces off against the Seattle Sounders (9:30pm Est, ESPN2). But before kick-off, let’s look at what the preseason has told us about this team and what it should look like.

The Union played against teams from the NCAA, Mexican First and Second Division, and USA Second Division—and only one MLS team.

The results were as follows:

5-0 Win versus UNC
2-2 Draw versus Chivas de Guadalajara
1-0 Win versus Universidad de Guadalajara
2-0 Loss versus FC Dallas
1-0 Loss versus FC Tampa Bay Rowdies

These are not the best inspiring results, but also nothing to worry about. The pre-season exists for a reason. Teams (and players) need to feel things out and experiment.

These opening games however have given some very interesting ideas about how Nowak is going to set this team up. Guys like Le Toux, McInerney, and J.T. Noone (trialist from Temple) have put themselves in the picture for playing time. Le Toux, in particular, seems to be the chosen starter to pair with the veteran Moreno upfront.

As for Thursday’s game, expect the following line-up (Fred is suspended from a 2009 red card):

———-Le Toux———-Moreno———-

G – Knighton
D – Myrie
M – Zimmerman
M – Jacobson
M – Nakazawa
F – Mwanga
F – McInerney (or Noone)

A defensive side to be sure, but that’s where the team’s experience lies. The most intrigue definitely comes in the midfield, as Miglioranzi is the only player I would bet my life on to start. It’s very possible that players such as Zimmerman starting, or to see Mwanga put up to with Moreno, forcing Le Toux into a more withdrawn offensive role.

Of course, the Union ran such a closed preseason that it’s hard to get a strong feel for the side. Let’s hope whoever Nowak chooses comes out in a tough Seattle environment with confidence, discipline, and creativity.


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