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Union vs. Club Deportivo de Guadalajara

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Tonight at 8pm, Philadelphia Union will take on CD Guadalajara of the Primera Division de Mexico.  Las Chivas, as they are better known, are a side comprised solely of Mexican players.  They are the only team in the Mexican 1st Division to have such a policy.  This is the last “friendly” of the season for Union, so what do we make of it? 

CD Guadalajara’s nickname is “The Goats.”   That’s pretty crappy.  They can’t even claim that it’s an anagram for “Greatest of All Time” because they speak Spanish.  This is an opportunity to play a young lineup for Union.  They’ve got a few players nursing injuries, bumps, bruises, and the like, so it’s an opportunity to experiment a little.  The team’s main focus is this weekend’s contest with Kansas City, but Union are not so advanced that they can afford to deviate from what they are trying to build.  I would like to see Sebastien Le Toux get some time off, but Union would like to put their best team out there so Seba will play. 

The MLS season, however, is somewhat lost for Union already.  They have no shot at getting into the playoffs, so why not play all of the young guys who haven’t played as many minutes?  It is likely because of the upcoming expansion draft and certain players’ label as being Generation Adidas players.  There was a post on Philly Soccer Page theorizing that these Generation Adidas players not eligible for the expansion draft, so their teams don’t have to protect them.  Players graduate out of G.A. status based on league minutes played, so we can play McInerney and Okugo all 90 minutes with no impact on that status.  Union maybe have been playing them few minutes so that they don’t have to use one of their 11 spots on the protected list on them.  It stinks for the on-field product but it is masterful planning for the future.  That being said, it doesn’t apply to tonight (I don’t think, I’m still new to this stuff) so let’s see Union Jack get his chances to disrobe once again. 

I look for Union to play aggressively in the first 10 minutes, then settle down and play for possession for the rest of the half.  I think they’d like to alert Chivas to their ability but really just keep them at bay.  They can then knock the ball around between the defenders without purpose, as they are apt to do.  Union want to entertain the fans, but I really believe they’d value a clean sheet over scoring goals more than the fans would like.  Chivas is an offensively talented side, so to hold them scoreless would be an immense boost for our goalkeeping and our back line.

 Though I think a formation change is in order, I don’t advocate it for this match.  This needs to be a practice in furthering their teamwork.  Chivas will punish Union for their mistakes more so than MLS teams, so Union will have to hold themselves to a higher standard.  That’s precisely the reason these matches are scheduled.  It will force Union to play better, and hopefully this “friendly” will further their development.  And maybe, just maybe, Union will make some friends.

-Nick, the other .5 of Unholy Union

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