Match Preview: Union vs Real Salt Lake
Saturday, September 3rd at 9pm EST, from Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT
So, the moment we’ve waited for since late April: the chance to play RSL on their turf. Maybe someone like Freddy Adu can gesture to the Sandy, Utah, faithful in the same manner that (former “Asshole of the Week” honoree) Fabian Espindola interacted with our fans. Very endearing, let me tell you. (editor’s note: To find out who August’s “Asshole of the Week” was, listen to the YSA Report podcast, at ysareport.com. Thank you for enduring this shameless self-promotion)
Union are catching RSL at an interesting time in the season. The FIFA international break has taken a few players away from Jason Kreis, but his core will still remain familiar. Though on the U.S. roster, Kyle Beckerman, he of the birds’ nest hairdo, is still available for RSL as he will not play in tonight’s friendly against Costa Rica. Every time I see that guy I think of Bob Marley music, until I realize that’s an insult to Marley. Anyway, Union really need the 3 points, and having Beckerman out would have made that easier. Union played RSL tough as kind of gave the game away when the teams met in Chester and settled for a draw. The Union have had ample time to rest up, considering their last match was postponed due to some big storm that came through the area. I hope that Union found their collective goal scoring touch, maybe through osmosis?
I fully expect Freddy Adu to be in the starting lineup this week. Coach Peter Nowak’s had 2 weeks to practice with him and work his fitness level up. So, I expect him to be a the center of the midfield diamond. Ol’ Serby Bastard will probably be in there somewhere because, well, he’s the OSB. I expect Le Toux to be on the right wing of midfield because, well, he has photos of someone doing something they didn’t want photos of them doing. Kidding. That’s the reason he gets to take corner kicks. Anyway, he belongs on the wing because he sets up goals, he doesn’t score them. Mapp will be on the left. Carroll or Okugo will play the CDM role. The interesting thing about the Union lineup, for a change, is who will play at centerback next to Danny Califf? Carlos Valdes is suspended for 1 match due to yellow card accumulation, and that should have been for the New England match, but the weather postponed it, so it becomes this match. Stefani Miglioranzi has played the position before, when Califf missed a game due to illness, so I’d expect him to start again. The $193,000-paperweight, a.k.a. Juan Diego Gonzalez, will still keep his streak of not playing a single minute of a league match alive. Then again, this is Nowak’s team. He may bench Califf and start Migs AND JDG, for all I know.
The most interesting development is that Megan Rapinoe, from the US Women’s National Team, will be in attendance as part of some ceremonies and other media-attention-grabbing stuff. My hope is that she can teach Sebastien Le Toux how to properly strike a cross (find the YouTube clip of Abby Wambach’s game-tying goal against Brazil) so his corner kicks don’t suck for eternity. But, for the match, I expect a 1-1 draw. It will be painful to watch, and I will curse at the television constantly, but I fear that is Union’s fate.
Nick Y., the other .5 of Unholy Union