Changes along the Union defense are coming, but what's it going to look like?

Parke injury, Williams ejection now forces back line shuffle

 

All of a sudden, it looks like big changes are coming to the Union backline.

Although it has yet to be confirmed, Jeff Parke left Saturday's 2-2 draw with what appeared to be painful-looking right hamstring strain.

Sheanon Williams was controversially red carded in the waning minutes of the game.

View: Match recap: Union 2, Sounders FC 2 

That means Bakary Soumare might be in line for his first Union appearance since requesting a trade earlier this year.

It was the first questioned posed to John Hackworth at his post-game press conference.

"Yeah, for sure," said the Union manager, when asked if Soumare would be available to play in Chicago next week. "I mean, I don't know how Sheanon gets a red card. It's bizarre. But for sure, thank goodness Baky's in good form. You saw Gabe. Gabe's in good form. We'll be ok."

Parke hit the ground awkwardly on a one vs. one challenge just before halftime. Hackworth immediately signaled for Gabriel Farfan, and rearranged his backline.

Farfan came in at his former left back position, moving Ray Gaddis to right back. Williams pinched inside to center back, a position he played last year under Peter Nowak.

The new look backline did reasonably well before conceding the equalizer on the 64th minute.

"Great response, it was really good, but then we let up and we let the second one in," said Hackworth. "You work so hard to get back into that game and we put a lot of energy out to get back into that game. We should have been back (level) at halftime for sure, and we're down a goal, we get two back in the second half, do all of the right things, and should have gotten a third. But it's our fault for giving up that second one."

"Once Jeff went off with hs injury, Sheanon came inside with me and Ray tucked in and came over to the right," said center back Amobi Okugo. "Gabe was playing as more of a hybrid, left mid, and came back when needed, because we were trying to exploit some of the spots that we thought were open. Once we got that second goal, we dropped Gabe back. It was fine, and then that whole debacle with Sheanon and Lamar Neagle happened. So it was three in the back with (Brian Carroll) trying to hold down the fort."

Conceivably, the backline against Chicago next week could look like this:

  • Ray Gaddis: right back
  • Bakary Soumare: center back
  • Amobi Okugo: center back
  • Gabriel Farfan: left back

Philadelphia has center back depth in Chris Albright and Harrisburg loanee Greg Jordan. Keon Daniel and Michael Farfan do have Union appearances at fullback, while other midfielders could step in if necessary.

"We feel comfortable playing with whoever is back there," Okugo explained. "At practice we work on all different types of formations with different personnel, whether it's me and Baky, or me and Parke, or Parke and Baky. Hopefully we come out ready, because it's a big game versus Chicago."

Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at k.kinkead@hotmail.com