With just a little less than 72 hours before a clash with Sporting Kansas City, there is not much time to dwell on the debacle that was Saturday night in Houston. The players spent Monday doing fitness and regeneration at Healthplex in Springfield, Delaware County and for the few that came back to PPL Park following the session – they didn’t have much to say.
“We simply did not play our best, and Houston just came right down our throat,” said Union midfielder Michael Farfan. “It’s a game that I personally would like to forget. We can’t think about that [loss] now because we have another tough match in Kansas City to look forward too.”
Union boss John Hackworth had plenty to say however. Given this week’s schedule, Hack held an impromptu press conference at PPL Park. One thing he noted was Houston’s narrow pitch at BBVA Compass Arena and how it favors virtually no club – especially his, which likes to attack from the flanks.
Perhaps this is the reason why the Dynamo are 11-0-6 at home this season?
“I am looking forward to playing on a soccer field that is actually the right size,” Hackworth said. “I can’t say enough how hard it is to play in Houston on that field…there is no width to it at all and it doesn’t make for a very good game at least not if you are a visitor there, that’s for sure. It creates a style of soccer that I personally don’t find very attractive and it’s not the kind of style we try to play.”
It may sound like a bit of a stab, but don’t create Hack into a monster. Houston coach Dominic Kinnear wasn’t exactly kind with his statements at halftime Saturday night. NBC Sports color guy Kyle Martino asked Kinnear about his team’s strategy against a Union side out to play spoiler and would likely throw the kitchen sink at his club following the break.
“We got to go for the win too. I tell you what, if they [Philadelphia] are playing for something; they are taking their time getting there to the ball and stuff like that. So hopefully the tempo can pick up and I think it all works in our favor.”
Anyway, we all know the outcome…the Union exerts a bit more energy in the second half…two Dynamo goals get scored anyway…and Houston qualifies for the playoffs at Philly’s expense and relishes a perfect home record. Ugh.
Looking forward to Kansas City…
The Union will head to K.C. possibly without their outside backs, as Hackworth noted in his presser that Sheanon Williams and Gabriel Farfan are still listed as questionable with their respective injuries.
“They are both questionable right now,” Hackworth said. “So that impacts our decisions in a big way, because to have our two starting outside backs both hobbling makes it tough…but we got to be careful with those guys because they are important for us and it’s not worth it for them to get hurt or have an injury that is more severe.”
Take from that what you will, but we take that both of those guys are likely to sit this one out – which you’d have to applaud Hack if that is the call he and the training staff makes, especially in this stretch of the campaign.
Couple more things to mention about Kansas City: Hackworth considers Livestrong Park by contrast a “really tough place to play,” and “with them being one of the best teams in the league we’ll have our work cut out for us, I’m sure.”
Kickoff is 8:30 p.m. and will air on the Comcast Network with JP Dellacamera and Bob Rigby calling the affair.
“The 90th Minute,” SportsRadio WIP (610-AM) weekly soccer show will air Wednesday live from Chickies and Pete’s in Northeast Philly (11000 Roosevelt Blvd.). It will be our final show of the season and this week’s show will have a special media panel featuring CBS radio guy Greg Orlandini and Philly Soccer Page writer Eli Pearlman-Storch along with host Carl Cherkin and special guest Ives Galarcep of the blog “Soccer by Ives.” Kerith Gabriel will call in from Kansas City to provide an inside look prior to kickoff and Union CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz is scheduled to attend.
We finally have the footage from our third annual FIFA video game tournament and it’s a good one. Don’t know of you can see it up close, but our winner, Union superfan Greg Cohen was actually shaking from the excitement.
MLSSoccer.com “Armchair Analyst” Matthew Doyle provided this interesting article on players that would make a perfect “B” team selection for U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann. A couple of Union players made the cut. Let us know your thoughts.
Catch you tomorrow…
Contact Kerith Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Kerith on Twitter @sprtswtr