Union Look to Stay Undefeated at Home
San Jose Earthquakes (5-4-4, 19 points,
5th in the West) vs. Philadelphia
Union (3-7-2, 11 points, 6th in the East) at PPL Park in
6:00pm ET; Fox Soccer Channel
What’s at stake
The Union will open their first ever
homestand against the visiting Earthquakes on Saturday. Undefeated in front of
the supporting Philadelphia fans so far this season (2-0-1), the Union will
have a tough job ahead of them as San Jose have been playing quite well lately.
This is the first time the two teams
have met, given the Union’s position as an expansion team.
Heroes & Villains
Danny Mwanga vs. Ike Opara:
Drafted 1st and 3rd overall, respectively, in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, Mwanga
and Opara will be out to show the other up in this match. Mwanga has been
tearing up the league lately, scoring an impressive five goals in nine games.
Opara himself is no stranger to finding the net, as he's also been knocking in
some goals from his defensive position, scoring three in eight games.
Furthermore, the Quakes
center back will have his hands full trying to prevent Mwanga from scoring.
Both players are in the running for MLS Rookie of the Year, so the pressure
will be on to perform in this one.
Bobby Convey vs. Jordan Harvey/Cristian
Arrieta: The Quakes top assists man this season, Convey will be
flinging the ball in from the flanks all match and it’ll be down to Harvey and
Arrieta (assuming he plays at full back) to shut down the Philly-native. If the
two defenders can stop the winger from getting balls into the likes of Chris
Wondolowski and Ryan Johnson, the Union
could shut down San Jose's whole attacking game plan.
Stat that makes you go “Hm…”
Philadelphia Union forward Sebastien Le
Toux has had his hand in 12 of the Union’s 15 goals this season,
scoring six and assisting on six more.
He said it
“I think we’re going to have one of the best, if not the best,
homefield advantages in MLS. The fans never stopped chanting. They arrived
early and stayed late. It’s the type of crowd any player would love to play in
front of. We feel very fortunate.” -- Union captain Danny Califf on playing in
front of Philadelphia fans at PPL Park.