It’s Friday – finally.
For many of you it means a few more hours in a cubicle until you can kick back for the next 48 hours. For the Union, it meant a brief walkthrough this morning before boarding a plane for Houston later this afternoon.
The Union has had a much better week of practice since a Tuesday session that left boss John Hackworth seeing red. One thing is for certain, this team works a ton – and I mean a ton – on possession. I’d say roughly 45-60 minutes of the hour and a half long practice is centered around keeping possession of the football.
“You are only going to get good service and chances in the box if you keep possession,” said Union assistant Brendan Burke following a session at PPL Park, Thursday. “There are teams that big and physical that can come down your throat like a Houston, for instance, and we aren’t one of those teams. So practices where we work on keeping possession and making sure we deliver smart, accurate passes is important.”
The team also took part in a crossing and finishing drill Thursday which Burke noted is included anywhere from 3-4 days a week. In this one, balls played into space are either driven low or lofted into the box for an onrushing player to finish.
It’s actually pretty enjoyable to watch. We have some acrobats on his team.
Oh, and speaking of coach Hackworth, his weekly press conference which airs on www.philadelphiaunion.com is now scheduled for Monday given the team’s short turnaround before a date with Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Park on Wednesday night (8:30 p.m., The Comcast Network).
The trio that has been away for international duty, Keon Daniel, Gabriel Gomez and Carlos Valdes will rejoin the club in Houston for tomorrow night’s showdown at BBVA Compass Arena (7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network). All three wrapped with their respective clubs in the penultimate FIFA international date of 2013. One more remains this year on Nov. 14.
Switching gears from guys who star for the team and for guys still looking to make the roster, last week we brought you our "Meet the Trialists" series. Lucky Mkosana, a member of that trio that also featured Matt Kassel and former Union supplemental draft pick Ryan Richter continues to impress in training and could very well find himself a spot on the roster. While the coaches are keeping everything mum, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Mkosana, who is ridiculously strong with the ball at his feet and keeping defenders at bay, sporting Union gear at preseason training held this year in the Orlando-Deltona region in a few months’ time.
Oh, all the info you need for preseason is right here, my friends.
A big, hearty congrats goes out to Union supporter Greg Cohen, who took down a few notable Union players, including midfielder Danny Cruz in the final to win our FIFA13 tournament on Wednesday night. Cohen took Cruz to overtime plus penalties where he prevailed, 7-6.
“I wasn’t even supposed to be here,” Cohen said. “I got a call that someone had to drop out of the tournament and was asked if I wanted to play. This is awesome, I am so glad that the club does this for the fans, now I have bragging rights for a long time.”
Check out the look on Cruz’ face following the loss. Classic.
The Montreal Impact sent out a release Friday that the club will embark to Italy following the MLS season for a 12-day trip beginning Nov. 5. While there, the Impact are scheduled to play Serie A clubs Bologna and Fiorentina. Guess the infusion of former Italian greats Marco DiVaio and Alessandro Nesta is paying dividends, especially the inclusion of DiVaio, who played and scored 65 goals for Bologna (2008-12) before coming to MLS.
Enjoy your weekend, we’ll talk Monday…
Contact Kerith Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Kerith on Twitter @sprtswtr