Play by Play Plus: World Cup Roster & More

For the Philadelphia Union, it was a familiar story on Saturday. Huge mistakes, not necessarily the number of them as much as the size of them, is costing this team points. Even Real Salt Lake’s Head Coach Jason Kreis felt that the Union were the better team in the first half and deserved the lead.
Without Sebastien Le Toux, the offense has clearly struggled. He has missed two games, and in those two matches the team has a total of one goal. Le Toux had scored 4 goals in his first 4 games. His chemistry up top with Alejandro Moreno was something to build on. He knows how and when to run when Moreno has the ball, putting more pressure on the opponent's defense.   

Minus Stefani Miglioranzi as well on Saturday, the club gave up 3 goals. Not saying that if Miglioranzi played he could have prevented a loss, but you would like to think that he would have made a difference. He’s the type of player who reads the game well, breaks up plays, then starts the attack. He also gives you a veteran presence on a young team.  

Miglioranzi will be back to face Dallas on Saturday since his one game suspension has been served. As for Le Toux, everyone is hopeful that he can return to the lineup. Not playing last Saturday in Salt Lake will give him some extra time to be ready to return to action.

FC Dallas has won their last two games. They are led by one of the league’s greatest goal scorers in its 15 year history, Jeff Cunningham. In goal now is Kevin Hartman, who appears to have won the number one job over the previous incumbent, Dario Sala. Hartman holds many of Major League Soccer’s goalkeeping records. I'll have a preview of Saturday’s game later this week.

Other items: The only thing that may slow down the LA Galaxy is the World Cup. The MLS World Cup break will mitigate the damage, but LA will be without at least one of their stars for some league action nevertheless. If the U.S. advances deep into the tournament, that chunk of time could be substantial. They are definitely losing Landon Donovan, but might they also be losing Edson Buddle? Buddle was named Tuesday to an initial squad of 30 players for the World Cup. From this list of 30, the squad will be pared to 23. Buddle has a pretty good shot of making this team considering that the USA is thin at the forward spot.

Surprises on the 30?  First surprise was the naming of 30. All indications were that Bob Bradley would announce 26-28 players. Naming his 30 tells me that they might be dealing with an injury or two here, and also that Bradley has not been convinced that he has his list of 23. At this stage, my gut tells me that Bradley knows 20 for sure, possibly 21. Which means that up to 10 players could be competing for 2 or 3 spots.

I was mildly surprised that Conor Casey did not make this list of 30 and that Herculez Gomez did. Eddie Johnson has picked up his play lately, playing in Greece, so his inclusion in the 30 was not a surprise. The final 7 cuts will be interesting.

Other big games this week:

Houston is at Real Salt Lake for a nationally televised game on Thursday, 9:00pm on ESPN2. It’s an important 3 points for both as Houston trails Western Conference leaders LA by 9 points, while RSL trails the Galaxy by 12.

On Saturday, Seattle is in New York to take on the Red Bulls. Anxious to see how both teams play after being embarrassed last weekend. Seattle lost at home, 4-0 to the Galaxy, while New York lost by that same score on the road at San Jose.