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Posts Tagged ‘Jack McInerney’

Actually a Tale of 2 cities – SKC and Philly biased previews

June 22, 2012 1 comment

This guy I know through a friend and some other people used to work AT Livestrong Park for SKC.  Every now and then I like asking for some input for the blog when we play together.  He’s even coming to the game – so if you see him with me, please don’t give him our “friendly welcome” …

Eh, what am I saying, GO FOR IT!  And onto the 2 sided preview

SPORTING Perspective (Who cares…)
Phillip Bupp

We can piece together Sporting Kansas City’s gameplan for Saturday’s Union game based on their gameplan from last Wednesday’s game against the Seattle Sounders.  Sporting benched starters Kei Kamara, CJ Sapong, Graham Zusi, Julio Cesar and Seth Sinovic (Matt Besler is out for a few weeks due to appendicitis) in favor of Jacob Peterson, Soony Saad, Peterson Joseph, Michael Thomas and Michael Harrington along with Lawrence Olum starting in place of Besler.  The game was much more important than the final score for a couple reasons.

This was a test for Sporting to determine what kind of depth they have.  With games in hand against their top opponents in the Eastern Conference, Coach Peter Vermes used this opportunity to use their final non-conference game of the season to see how his bench can play in a hostile environment of over 40,000 people after traveling to the West Coast.  For the most part, the team performed wonderfully and drew the Sounders 1-1 with a primarily backup squad.  If anything, the starters were the ones who were making mistakes and having bad games.  Aurelien Collin played his usual aggressive style but took lots of risks after getting a yellow card in the 16th minute.  It was a miracle that he didn’t pick up his 2nd yellow because he didn’t let up his play.  Until Graham Zusi came on in the 50th minute, Roger Espinoza seemed lost and somewhat unprepared commanding the midfield.  After Patrick Ianni’s beautiful goal, the usually calm and reserved Jimmy Nielsen was shown screaming at Espinoza which I felt was undeserved as there was nothing anyone on Sporting could really do.  It was a nice set piece and nicer goal by Seattle.  Backups Jacob Peterson and 19 year old Soony Saad had exceptional games early on as Peterson scored a terrific goal and Saad was on target with most of his shots and was much more physical than ever (which has been a weakness of his).  Knowing that the bench players can perform when called upon is better to know now than finding out late in the season and it gives Vermes a great dilemma and start thinking about giving these players more starts and more playing time.

The other aspect learned from the Seattle game was that it showed how important Sporting views future games on the schedule.  Sporting will play five games in thirteen days so the players will have to have a breather at some point especially since they have to endure 2 cross country trips within a week.  The Seattle game became the sacrificial lamb of the stretch and they got away with a point on a night that had New York also drawing and Real Salt Lake blowing a two goal lead and losing to the LA Galaxy.  It would be safe to assume that barring some sort of injury or exhaustion from players, Vermes will play the Starting XI (except Besler and possibly Bobby Convey) against Philadelphia and somewhat close to the Starting XI for their US Open Cup game against the Dayton Dutch Lions with possibly a couple changes to the lineup.  As far as what Philadelphia should do, they should keep in mind that one more yellow card means that Aurelien Collin will receive a one game suspension for too many yellows.  If he’s suspended and Besler doesn’t come back, the two Center Backs will most likely consist of Konrad Warzycha and Lawrence Olum, both primarily Midfielders converted to Center Back, which have a combined total of nine MLS appearances and two starts.  Julio Cesar can take a spot if necessary but that would sacrifice some strength in the Midfield.  In other words, Sporting can’t afford Collin to get another yellow so I would target him and the inexperience of Olum and go through the middle if I’m the Union.  I predict a 2-1 Sporting win with goals from Collin (off a Zusi corner) and Sapong.

UNION ASPECT ( The one that matters)

Now, let’s not get started on the whole “Our season is blown” and “Why bother” comments.  There is rejuvenation, there is hope, there is a chance – that something might happen.

Hey, I’m in the “Throw all the reserves out there against SKC and focus on the USOC on Tuesday” camp, but that’s just me, especially considering not that many people in the stadium probably know (or care) about the USOC match and how there actually is some figment of a chance.  It’s something salvageable, right?

Rejuvenation- We have a new coach.  He put a lineup in that made sense against DC.  Hell, they played like a damn team.   I can’t say much more than that (especially cause of the copious amounts of beer prior, and firewater, and some licourish vodka). He put McInerney in, who was likely mere moments away from handing in his 2 week notice (I know, he can’t, just saying).  Hackworth even stated “Sheanon is a left back, he’s going back into that position”.  Does this mean no more strikers as defenders and goalies as midfielders?  No more darts at a roster chart?  Consistency?  Hope – see everything I just stated.  Chance – This game should be a matter of pride.  Again, we shouldn’t go balls to the wall, but this is SKC, this is the 2nd best team (with 2 games in hand) in the Eastern conference.    This is the team that I feel deep down, we all want our team to be.

What better way to have pride than to come away with at least a point?  Kansas City is already established this season.  They have their standing position to protect, and even improve.  As of now we almost have nothing, going forward – unless there is a huge shift in the standings – we’re going to be the spoiler team, at least that’s going to have to be our mindset – get into the game and ruin the teams above us.  Also, if memory serves correctly, SKC was in the same boat we were at this time of the year last year, were they not?

Our game last week put our team into perspective – we have a lot of work to accomplish until we become an actual team, but they are slowly starting to get together.  DC didn’t put up their best game against us, and we put up an aggressive – yet haphazard one – at best.  It’s new beginnings, and it’s the silver lining.  This game Saturday IS the proving ground for us and Hackworth.  Yes, a week and a half is a short time for a coach to get things together – but I feel this is the turnaround.

Prediction – 1-1 draw where our defense excels greatly.  Lahoud will get a yellow card.  McInerney will get a goal.  Adu will do his little 5 foot shuffle.  The only downside – and this is because of having Nowak as a coach it is what we expect as our gameplan – is if we play their game and focus only on defense… But I feel that if we come out like we did against DC last week, and avoid the counterattack, it will be a great game.

First One Leg, Then the Other

November 2, 2011 1 comment

Thankfully, for Union fans, this round is 2-legged.  My overall feeling about Sunday’s first leg against Houston Dynamo is that they were doomed from the announcement of their starting lineup, yet put up a great effort, worthy of leaving PPL Park with a zero goal deficit.  The inclusion of Stefani Miglioranzi in the starting XI was borderline criminal, and responsible for their minus-one differential.  He is an injury or suspension fill-in, at best.  There are no logical tactics that should include him in a starting role.  He’s not a 90-minute player, he’s not fast, and he’s not even above-average for an MLS player.  Inevitably, Nowak would have to sub for him, which isn’t a tactical sub because it’s necessary.  I would rather see Juan Diego Gonzalez in Thursday’s match than Miglioranzi, and JDG hasn’t played a single minute in MLS play this season.  The difference is I KNOW Miglioranzi hurts this team (Adam Hainault agrees with me).

The positive outlook is that Union were able to threaten Houston’s defense, which had conceded just 3 goals in their previous 5 matches.  There was luck involved in Sebastien Le Toux’s goal, as the pass deflected off of the back of the head of a helpless Houston defender.  But there was also luck involved in Houston’s first goal (well, their luck was that Nowak started Migs.  Oh wait, I’m supposed to be positive in this paragraph).  The substitutions were all positive.  They created several opportunities for goals, but their inexperience showed.  Jack McInerney, for all of his willingness to get forward on well-timed runs, needs to realize that sometimes he needs to be on the ball-side of his defender because he’s not going to win headers too often.  Roger Torres, for all of his willingness to play the nicely-weighted through-ball to a surging teammate, needs to realize that his teammates don’t always see the game the way he does (although they friggin should).  Freddy Adu, for all of his experience internationally, needs to realize that he is still the new guy on the team and he has much to learn about how his teammates play.  McInerney was certainly hurt by his lack of playing time (damn you, Fat Chooch!), and it showed in the waning moments of the match.  A little more sophistication in his game probably finds him in a better position to attack the ball and put more threatening shots on goal.  Roger finally learned to drop deeper in the midfield to be the conduit from defense to offense.  Playing in that manner with Adu also on the field should lead to a more consistent and potent offense (all in due time.  I hope this happens Thursday night, but I’m not counting on it).

The best thing to come out of Sunday’s 2-1 defeat is that we have learned Michael Farfan and Seba can step up to the big moment and perform in the playoffs.  Their play combining for the response in the 7th minute shows that Seba is not a fluke, and Marfan has cemented himself in the starting XI for the foreseeable future.  Speaking of Farfans and positives, Union are very lucky that Gabe was not issued a red card for his wreckless challenge on Danny Cruz.  I think the yellow card was the correct decision, especially given that it’s a playoff game and the teams get more levity to play and compete hard.  I have no refereeing experience, but if Garfan had been issued a straight red card, I would not have argued it.  I would have been really upset at Garfan for the challenge, instead.  It was an aerial cross to a stationary winger.  Cruz was not making a run behind Garfan, therefore there was no urgent need to win THAT particular pass.  If anything, by playing proper body position, Garfan could have easily dispossessed Cruz after Cruz’ first touch on that pass.  Worst-case, Houston has the ball on the wing at the foot of someone not named Brad Davis, therefore, it’s not Houston’s most-threatening position.  All of that being said, Garfan also did well to compete hard and not pick up a second yellow, so Union’s comeback attempts did not have to come a man down.  And he is eligible for Thursday’s match.  Which is a positive because….

….it’s one less possibility that Stefani Miglioranzi starts… you knew I was coming back to that, didn’t you.

Nick Y., the other .5 of Unholy Union

Where Will the Goals Come From?

October 26, 2011 1 comment

If that seems like a redundant question about Union, it’s because it is.  Sebastien Le Toux has been in stellar form the last third of the season.  However, he is the only Union player in attack that can make that claim.  The addition of Freddy Adu has done little to make this a more dangerous team.  So, if Houston only has Le Toux to worry about, and focus their defense on him, how the hell are Union going to score? (insert @FakePeterNowak witticism here)

Veljko Paunovic has been the most frequently-used second striker, until his hamstring issues forced him out of the lineup.  He looks to be back in good health, so I’d expect him to be there.  However, he tallied just three goals on the season.  Danny Mwanga has also recovered from an injury, his being to his right hip.  Injuries, and Nowak’s insistence on playing Carlos Ruiz, limited Danny to just 5 goals in his sophomore season.  He is a talented and dangerous player when he’s on his game, but I’m unsure that he’ll find his match fitness before the weekend.  Jack McInerney netted his only goal of the season early in Union’s 2nd match against Houston.

The point is, while Union’s striker corps is getting healthy, they haven’t shown much, other than Le Toux almost notching a second season of a double-double.  They have received contributions from the midfield, but those goals are also scattered among them all, and we never know for certain who is going to start in the midfield (we’ll talk about them tomorrow).  For Union to advance out of this round of playoffs, they’re going to have to find the combination that will produce up top.  Kinda like Wayne Rooney’s hair transplant surgery.

Nick Y., the other .5 of Unholy Union (@UnholyUnionNDY)

The Week (and a half) In Review

August 9, 2011 1 comment

So, there have been a lot of things happening this past week… losses…ties…ties..bearfights.  So, without further ado, a break down of the Pros and Cons of what has happened with the Philadelphia Union.

CON – Fan Favorites

I’ll come out and say it, after the game on Saturday versus Houston, there is no way Le Toux is not cursed.  Prior to this game, I wanted him benched for at least a half and make him take notes and write an essay about what he should do, where he should go, and what is going on with the movement on the ball.  Saturday, being his best game of the season in my view, was undeniably unlucky in a World Series of Dice fashion.  But where he is unlucky, he is leaving goals and subsequent points in the standings off the board. 

OOOOOH – Shoot the damn ball-all (to tune of seven nation army).  Danny, I cannot say any more, louder, with more veins popping out of my neck, Shoot the damn ball!  I’ve made plenty of comments on twitter, on forums, on the street, in my bed, in my head… everywhere.  You are young, you can screw up, you can miss the goal for all I freaking care, but if you expect yourself to get picked up in Europe, in every situation you were in that had me yelling at you, they will not take you if you don’t shoot the frigging ball at goal when points are on the line – yet alone with half empty nets.  You may be a fan favorite, for a long time, but let me tell you this – you CAN do wrong, especially when you’re doing nothing.

PROS – Starvin’ Marvins

Roger Torres, Vjelko “Old Serb” Paunovic, and Union Jack McInerney.  2 you would expect, and another you didn’t see coming, starving for the goals that have been absent (and relatively are for most of the season).  Torres almost lead the team into a rally to tie the game against the defending MLS champs in the Rapids.  Paunovic got the fire started with a nice shot from distance to take the lead in the first half verse Chicago.  It’s what you gotta do when you have no box play – and trust me, this team has none.  Unfourtanately that dwindled into a tie situation, one that could have easily changed if a certain someone had shot the ball instead of thinking about it.  And then McInerney gets his start in the final game in 9 days versus Houston.  What happens?  A nice LEAD feed into the box by Le Toux, and without thinking even with it out of reach and a defender on him, Jack gets a lucky touch on the ball before the goalie to send it wobbling behind the keeper.  I cheered, I cried, I kissed babies.  It was a beautiful moment.  Even more beautiful was the second goal, if it had happened.  Differing reports say that he was clearly onsides, others say his foot crossed the path a split second early, and I say onsides.  So, it was onsides and should have gone in ( 😛 ) but oh well.  He gave us a lead, that we once again squandered.

CON – Something Smells Fishy (7/29/11)

As there are a multitude of fans who dislike him, plenty who started turning over a new leaf, and a good loyal few who supported the guy the second he got here, it was a shock to hear that the Union had sold Carlos Ruiz… Well, he wasn’t in the game, so we knew something was up.  Although he was not a long term solution, he was still vital to a lot of chances we wouldn’t have if he wasn’t there (presence).  I’m still chalking this up as a con even though plenty won’t agree.  But, upon saying he was no longer Union’s property at that press conference, he still was.  Tricky Nowak, he is.  And it took another week before things settled into –

PRO – What’s Your’s is Mine

It started as “Ruiz is no longer with us.” Into “He is still property of the Union” and then “It is a complicated, multi-team deal.”  Speculation would lead you, the unwitting soccer fan, into the idea that we are replacing Ruiz with someone, or trading him through a team to another team for money for another player…  You basically need a John Madden teleprompter to think these things out.  But we got sidetracked into a bittersweet solution that most of us forget about – loans.

Valdes is no longer loaned out to us.  Instead, we own his ass.  It was nice to hear, considering what happened with our previous loanee Orozco Fiscal (who will be with the USMNT tomorrow).  It was very bittersweet because, we’ve gotten rid of two starters recently, and various reserves, and have yet to replace anyone.  So to find out our first acquisition during the trade window is to own the rights of a player that wasn’t in question for another 6 months, was kind of a heart drop.

CON – Weight of the world

If anything damaging salary cap wise is the fact that we still have Juan Diego Gonzalez.  I’m not knocking him as a player, or a person… I’m knocking the team for not ever using him during league play, and that it’s just a complete waste.  If you’re not going to bother with him, get rid of him.  Pick someone else up.

PRO – Soon enough

Rumor has it that someone’s contract was signed, for a year, on August 6/7 2010.  Of course, it is likely we won’t hear any word on Gonzalez because of the Union policy of “We do not talk about players who are not under contract with the Union”.  So for what it’s worth, we will probably not know he is off the team until some media guy (read: local aspiring journalist) asks the question and gets that response a month from now.

CON – Ejection in a bottle

During the Rapids game, some fan (read: moron) threw a bottle from the River End which resulted in a brawl.  To the man who threw the bottle and subsequently did not like being pointed out for doing so, how old are you? 10?  That’s the last time I had gotten into a fight for name calling and pointing.  How much of a mental midget do you have to be to start a fight because you broke the rules and didn’t like being told on?  This is besides throwing the bottle… I have anger issues myself, but I never throw things (in stadiums).  Hope spending overinflated money on StubHub, the 20 dollar parking fee, and 3 $8-$10 beers you had was worth the night in jail.  I’m sure Bubba gave you my regards.

Pro – All for one

Corner creeps get mad respect.  As do all those around who either pointed the asshole out, or was able to (eventually) break up the fight and / or vindicate those who were only defending themselves.  This is the only pro to this situation cause it only makes us all, as soccer fans, look bad.

CON – Why do they call them “Tie Fighters”?

I’m sick of leaving points on the field.  Don’t you?  Colorado was a travesty that there was no way in salvaging sans an extra time effort.  But both Chicago and Houston feel dirty, and feel like a loss because we were up early and had to settle for a tie.

Pro – What do you mean pro!?

Yea, there’s really nothing positive about that.  At least we didn’t completely lose it.

That was our week (and a half) in review.  Tune back next time when 3 games happen within 8 days again while I have a shit ton of actual work to do.

-Dan K

Match Preview: Union vs. Chicago Fire

August 3, 2011 1 comment

Tonight, 9pm, Comcast SportsNet, from Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL.

So, who in the hell is going to play right fullback?  Sheanon Williams’ red card against Colorado has put Union in an unfamiliar position.  They are already playing with a mid-season replacement at left back, Gabriel Farfan, but have yet to have to replace their right back for even a minute of this season.  This should be a massive problem, right?

Enter the Chicago Fire, who own the league’s worst home record.  If there was EVER a good time to find out exactly how much versatility this roster has, this is the week.  My guess is it’ll be our other Farfan, Michael, because, well, that’s Nowak’s new philosophy.  When in doubt, just put Farfan in there.  Who knows what he’s going to do if they need another attacking midfielder.  Maybe Gabe and Mike have another brother, or a cousin….

Anyway, the bigger issue here is the need for Union to rebound from their first home loss of the season, and their first time in a long time not atop the standings table.  A mid-week match against a bottom-feeder seems just the remedy.  I normally think these mid-week matches are more arduous for the side, thus not a good thing, but in this case, the team needs to get the bad taste of last match out of their collective mouths.  The sooner the next match came, the better.

I don’t care about Chicago’s team.  Tonight is about Union accomplishing what they should get accomplished.  Which means I do NOT want to see Kyle Nakazawa in the starting XI.  He has looked tentative in attack ever since the friendlies against the European teams.  The person who has looked best in that same timespan is Roger Torres.  Starting him, however, would defy Nowak-logic, thus I expect Veljko Paunovic to start in the CAM spot tonight…. not that I want it that way, it’s just what is likely to be.  And on that note, is it a good thing or a bad thing that we, as fans, have not the foggiest idea of what our starting XI will be from week to week?  I say it’s a good thing, because it gives me something to discuss in previews, and something to complain about in post-match critiques.

So, for what I expect to happen, not what I would like, It will look something like:

                  Mwanga          Le Toux

Mapp        Carroll        Paunovic        Daniel

Garfan      Califf             Valdes            Marfan

                            Mondragon

I could see this playing as a 3-5-2 also, with Paunovic playing as a CAM/recessed striker, and Neon Keon sliding into a more central position to allow Marfan to play the right wing.  That’s likely how the attack will evolve anyway when pushing forward, but I think Nowak will have them start in the 4-4-2 they’ve played almost all of the season.  Also, if Nowak would like to start Jack McInerney and show Sebastien Le Toux what the bench looks like, I’d be ok with that, too.  Whoever plays in this match, I want a decisive victory for Union, at least 2-0.  I think the clean sheet would be a nice achievement given that their normal right back is not in the lineup.  They need to play more like 2nd half vs Colorado than 1st half vs Colorado.  It’s about results, and Union need one badly to keep up with Columbus and to stay ahead of New York.

Nick Y., the other .5 of Unholy Union

Postgame: Union vs San Jose Earthquakes

July 10, 2011 2 comments

A scoreless draw on the road against a team that hadn’t scored a goal in 3 of its previous 4 matches.  That is what Union left San Jose with Saturday night.  While Chris Wondolowski was in the lineup (though you wouldn’t have known it based on his high complaint-to-actually playing the ball ratio), they were missing Bobby Convey and Steven Lenhart.  The latter two have given Union many problems, so their absense made this a match that should have more closely resembled the thrashing in Toronto.  Union dominated possession and chances, yet scored the same number of goals as the ‘Quakes, and yours truly:  zero.

As we are now past the halfway point of the season, I can now rip the team for the way that they’re playing, per my promise given during the first YSA Report podcast.  My head is still spinning trying to grasp the logic of the Jordan Harvey trade, then we get news that Carlos Ruiz, Veljko Paunovic, and Carlos Valdes were all going to be absent.  I understand that the lineup was going to be drastically different than what it should have been.  All of the players in the starting XI have played this season.  It’s not as if they asked ANOTHER 30-something to come out of retirement to play.  I just don’t get how a team that “allegedly” practices together can look so disjointed.  Case-in-point:  Roger Torres’ header attempt.  He was completely unaware that Jack McInerney was in the same zone and in far better position to leverage that head strike likely into the back of the net.  THESE FRIGGIN TIES AGAINST INFERIOR TEAMS HAVE TO F*CKIN STOP!!!!!!!  It’s great that DC United helped the Union’s cause by beating the NJ Pink Cows, but the team can’t rely on the rest of the league beating each other up so Union stay atop by default.  Playtime is over, kids.  Get three points when they’re there to be had.

The last place I want to see Stefani Miglioranzi is on the field, trust me.  If someone had told me that Migs was going to play all 90 in this match and somehow NOT make an error that directly resulted in a goal, I would have done a “bearfight” in celebration.  I’d prefer that he find the seat next to Juan Diego Gonzalez (that is, if anyone can actually find him).  He played a solid game in emergency duty, the credit for which will rightly be given to Faryd Mondragon.  I’d also like to thank the San Jose organization for having to use UC-Santa Barbara’s facility for their games.  It was quiet enough that Migs could hear the directions from Dragon so well that even he couldn’t screw this game up. 

I don’t want to see the possession statistics on this match.  It will make me want to throw up, and then punch somebody.  Or maybe punch somebody and then throw up on them.  Either way, I’m going to be in a bad mood when the statistical analysis proves that Union should have won this match by a field goal.  Union’s next match is against New England Revolution, the last place team in the Eastern Conference.  This match has now become a must-win.  If Union really want to prove that they are the top team in the East, then they need to be able to beat the worst teams in the league, regardless of the venue.  That’s what happens in leagues everywhere else in the world; the big guys beat up the little guys (I don’t want to hear Manny Pacquiao references).  KC was a bad team: scoreless draw, DC just changed their team up mid-week: another draw, playing a short-handed sh*tty team in San Jose: scoreless draw.  Road draws build character for bad teams.  Union are in first place, but that will not be true much longer if they can’t figure out a way to beat the teams that they should beat.

Nick Y., the other .5 of Unholy Union

Match Preview: Union vs Real Salt Lake

June 10, 2011 1 comment

Saturday, 4pm, PPL Park, Chester, PA, ABC, 123, more commas,,,,,

Union are 2-0-1 in their last 3 matches, and RSL lost on Wednesday at Columbus.  I would like to say that these trends mean an easy Union win, but that would be short-sighted.  Salt Lake is another team with a great defense, much like Union, as they’ve given up only 6 goals in their 11 league matches.  Union are pourous by comparison, conceding 10 goals in their 12 league matches.  In other words, don’t expect a 6-goal outburst like what we saw in Toronto.

The positives for Union are that they’ve looked better offensively since Carlos Ruiz has not been on the field.  This spans that 3-match streak I mentioned above, and it’s far from coincidence.  Sure, Toronto FC is a sub-standard soccer club, and Union made them seem exactly that (aside from those moments of lunacy that led to 2 goals being scored against them, but I’ve tried to erase them from my memory…).  The real point is that the team has looked better in all phases of attacking soccer with no Fat Chooch in the lineup.  Something else to look forward to is Jack McInerney featuring alongside of Danny Mwanga (At least I hope).  Jack Mac looked in great form considering his lack of first-team playing time.  He almost finished a chance, and created a great chance for the stone-footed Sebastien Le Toux (I cried typing that phrase, but I’m slowly coming to grips with the fact that Seba is not Superman).  Union will need the offense to be effective if they plan on not being RSL’s 8th clean sheet.

I mentioned a couple of them before, but now for the negatives.  Sebastien Le Toux HAS TO, and I can’t emphasize that enough, HAS TO do better with his first touch so he doesn’t spoil great scoring chances.  The way he botched Jack Mac’s through ball was criminal, and it’s really starting to get on my nerves.  I understand that he had a great year last season, but his play this season is so disparitly awful that I’m thinking having him come off the bench may not be the worst idea.  Set piece defense has also become a black cloud over this Union side.  Their ability to stop similar plays during the run of play is what’s made them the Eastern Conference leaders.  Their inability to stop those same plays when their opponent initiates from a re-start has cost them points already.  It’s not a secret, so I have faith that the coaching staff is working with the team on straightening this deficiency out.

It seems as if their run in the CONCACAF Champions League has taken on toll on the SLC Punks (yes, I had to work in that reference).  More than half of their goals conceded have come since losing in that tournament’s final and they only have 1 win in their last 5 matches (1-2-2).  The hope for Union is that they’ve caught a normally very strong RSL side in a funk and can secure all 3 points while playing at home.  However, I see this match ending in a draw.  I’m pretty sure it’ll end 1-1, but would not be surprised to see our first completely scoreless match of the season.

Nick, the other .5 of Unholy Union