Welcome to the second installment of the “The Union Daily.”
Let’s get right to it…
The Union practiced this morning at PPL Park under gray skies but put forth an intense 60 minutes of possession, passing and shooting drills coupled with a 20 minute light scrimmage amd walkthrough.
One player not a part of the action was midfielder-forward Freddy Adu, who worked out with training staff, but did not participate in team activities. Union boss John Hackworth later revealed that Adu will not be traveling with the team to Chicago ahead of Wednesday night’s match (8:30 p.m., The Comcast Network) as he is still feeling the effects of the quad strain in his left leg suffered in the Sept. 23 win over Houston.
“He’s still suffering from the thigh injury and it’s important that we continue to monitor that,” Hackworth said during an impromptu press conference following the session. “We have a couple of guys who are banged up right now, so [this match] definitely has the ability to look a little different.”
Hackworth did focus on shooting with various drills that lasted roughly 15-20 minutes of the hour long session.
And while he may not have done it in a game yet, know that in practice rookie forward Chandler Hoffman can put a ball away. Hoffman was crisp on shots from distance and placing balls away from the keeper. Perhaps this is why he was referred to as a “steal” selected at No. 13 in January’s MLS SuperDraft.
So if you are reading this Chandler, the next time you get the call: SHOOT, SHOOT, and SHOOT!!
It’s safe to call Tuesday’s practice a high intensity workout, with Sheanon Williams as the vocal presence in the keep away drills. The three trialists in camp currently, Ryan Richter, Lucky Mkosana and former New York Red Bulls homegrown player Matt Kassel were kept separate from roster players, but did cone drills away from the full team along with forward Krystian Witkowski. Witkowski, who passed concussion testing last week has -- as he put it to philadelphiaunion.com Tuesday -- been “working his way back with the full team.”
One thing to note is that youngster Zach Pfeffer was an integral piece during the practice session and Hackworth lauded the youngster in his presser: “Pfeffer played great [in Sunday's reserve match against Columbus] he put together a really strong effort, which was great to see."
Not sure if that means Pfeffer boarded the team plane to Chicago Tuesday afternoon (as Hackworth keeps lineups and formations close to the vest), but I wouldn’t be surprised if the 17-year-old earned a seat on the flight.
Academy goalkeeper Zack Steffen was named to U.S. under-20 men’s national team coach Tab Ramos’ 19-man roster ahead of the team's trip to Spain to compete in the Mirabella Cup.
The U.S. will play Canada, Scotland and Azerbaijan in the tournament beginning Oct. 6 through Oct. 17.
One homegrown guy who did not make the trip was midfielder Jimmy McLaughlin, but McLaughlin will still make his presence known Tuesday night on “The 90th Minute” SportsRadio 610 WIP’s weekly soccer show. McLaughlin will be a guest live from Chickies and Petes (11100 Roosevelt Blvd., Northeast Philadelphia).The show airs from 7-8 p.m.
The guys over at Philly Soccer Page named rookie forward Antoine Hoppenot its player of the week. If you missed the match, Hoppenot was in beast mode in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Columbus, drawing a penalty kick and generally being a menace with his speed...
Speaking of forwards, while I can’t provide specifics (in part because I don’t have them yet), I can say the following. After speaking with both Hackworth and CEO & operating partner Nick Sakiewicz, the hunt is on for “big time forwards.” The last part in quotes is not mine but from Sakiewicz himself overheard by various staff members at philadelphiaunion.com.
I can’t provide insight but perhaps the big man might offer tidbits Wednesday night when he’ll be at Kildares in Manayunk viewing party for the Chicago match. The party kicks off our month long "The U Thank U" campaign. Wear Union gear at Kildares and get 10 percent off food in addition to a voucher for a complimentary drink courtesy of the club. Gotta admit, to say our staff is rolling out the red carpet this month doesn’t do it justice.
Voting ends Friday for fans to submit a new name for The Union Daily. Remember, the person with the best name will win a Union prize pack. I have received a bunch of great names so far, with “The Whole DOOP” in the running right now as a winner. Got something better? Send it to email@example.com or leave your idea on our Twitter feed under the hashtag #dailyname or under the comments section on our Facebook page.
Contact Kerith Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Kerith on Twitter @sprtswtr.