I just arrived in Philadelphia from
Salt Lake City where I was calling the Real Salt Lake vs Houston game on ESPN2.
As well as Salt Lake played last week versus the Union, I thought they even
picked it up a notch in Thursday’s game vs the Dynamo. It isn’t easy to make
the Dynamo defense look bad, but that’s what I witnessed last night.
I think the defending champions have the best four man midfield in MLS. Their two central defenders, Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave might also be the best tandem in the league. Add in some talented goal scorers, and you can see why this team should be a strong contender in the west.
Now, let’s fast forward to the big game, FC Dallas vs Philly on Saturday, the last home game for the Union before going to PPL Park on June 27th versus Seattle. After the Dallas game, Philadelphia is looking at 3 more road games, thus the huge importance to pick up 3 points on Saturday.
On the bright side for Philadelphia, I would expect Sebastien Le Toux and Stefani Miglioranzi back in their familiar roles, which will help both the offense and the defense.
The offense will be up against an FC Dallas side coming off of two consecutive shutout wins. Kevin Hartman has a good streak going which includes 188 consecutive shutout minutes.
From an offensive standpoint, Jeff Cunningham is the team leader with 4 goals, although only 1 of them is from the run of play.
Which Jeff Cunningham will we see tomorrow? Will it be a disappointed Jeff Cunningham, unhappy at not being selected for the USA’s preliminary World Cup roster of 30? Or will it be an angry, motivated Cunningham who wants to show U.S. Soccer that they should have included him in their preliminary plans?
Philly fans should hope for the former, not the latter. A motivated Cunningham is a more dangerous player to contend with. FC Dallas will get their chances, as they lead the league in both shots and shots on goal.
For the Union, it’s defense first. Try to get that first goal early if you can. In their only win this season, they scored the first goal.
Home field advantage should help on Saturday. Taking better care of the ball will help even more.
See you at the Linc.