PBPP: First MLS Shutout Gives Union Hope

Dellacamera takes a look at the Union and Wednesday's opponent

A long overdue shutout win vs
Chicago on Saturday added some hope to the
Union’s 2010 season. The club picked up an
important three points over a team that could end up in that 8
th and
final playoff slot. Of equal importance, no team that the Union is
realistically chasing picked up three points in week 24.

Toronto and Colorado lost,
San Jose and Seattle drew, while Kansas City was idle. Saturday’s win will mean even more if the
Union can knock off San Jose Wednesday on the road.

For Philadelphia, there's no time to
worry about the other teams. If
you take care of business with your own games then you have a chance to get
into the playoff hunt. If you lose
these upcoming games, the focus will change with a look towards next season.

The immediate focus is on
Wednesday night’s road game in San Jose. Philadelphia are faced with a short turnaround, a cross-country flight,
and a question mark on Danny Mwanga, who injured his shoulder on
Saturday (x-rays were negative). They will be up against
a hungry team with playoff hopes, and will also be facing a smaller sized field
than they are used to.

To pick up three points, the
Union need to put together another 90 minutes like we saw on Saturday. The defending overall was solid, even
with the changes that were made. Rookie Sheanon Williams made his MLS debut at right back and showed some
promise while Brad Knighton, in his second start of the season, made four saves en
route to his first career shutout. Knighton’s body language was strong, looking confident the entire night.

Sebastien Le Toux is on
another streak, which can only be good news for the Union. After going five games without a goal, the
French striker has now scored goals in back-to-back games.

Justin Mapp had another
strong offensive performance, this time versus his former club, assisting on
the Le Toux goal and being a presence with his dribbling and passing
skills.

Good to see Shea
Salinas back in the lineup as a sub after missing 11 games with a fractured left tibula. Salinas came in for Alejandro
Moreno, adding fresh legs and breakaway speed to the game. The versatile Salinas was last seen
starting at right back for the Union. Wherever Manager Peter Nowak puts him, it does give the team some
options.

For Wednesday, the Union have to be concerned with several
players:

  • Geovanni -- His quickness,
    playmaking, and scoring ability all have to be factored in. He is the most dangerous player on the
    field.
  • Chris Wondolowski -- He looks for
    openings, usually in or around the box, and he seems to find them. He leads the team in goals with eight, and five of those have been game-winners.
  • Bobby Convey -- He is having a
    career year, assists-wise. As a
    left sided midfielder he is good on the attack, using his speed to create
    opportunities. The Union's right
    midfielder and right back (whoever they are on Wednesday) need to be up for a
    huge challenge.
  • Jon Busch -- Where would this team be without him? They certainly would not be in the playoff hunt. Busch took over when both Joe Cannon and the team
    needed a lift. He lost his job as
    the starter, but then Cannon suffered an injury, giving the job back to
    Busch. He is a veteran, used
    to being in the playoffs, and knows what it takes to play in the big games.

I'm looking forward to
Wednesday. It’s a late start with
a 7:00pm local time kickoff, 10:00pm in Philadelphia. We’ll
be on the air (6abc's Live
Well HD Network) at 9:30 pm with the pre-game show. See you then.