Hackworth vs. AVFC
Greg Carroccio

The Daily Doop!

Coming off a practice that seemed to irk Union manager John Hackworth Tuesday, the players returned from Wednesday’s practice a bit later than anticipated and looked as if they’d worked a little harder in preparation for Saturday’s showdown in Houston (7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network).

We say irked, but it was coach Hack who implied as much moments before his appearance on “The 90th Minute” radio show at Chickies and Pete’s Tuesday.

We aren’t going to get into specifics, just know he wasn’t pleased with the “flow” of practice.

It was a different scene Wednesday, namely one with defender Gabriel Farfan sporting a walking boot on his left ankle. Paul Rushing, the Union’s head trainer told philadelphiaunion.com that the boot was just a “precautionary measure for now,” and that Farfan was scheduled to “get reevaluated by team docs.”

Watch: Hackworth press conference; Houston preview

But when Hackworth spoke about Farfan’s status for Houston during his weekly press conference – it actually sounded promising.

“His ankle is not doing as well as we thought,” Hackworth said. “So we rested him today and we’ll try to evaluate and see if he can be ready for Saturday.”

Two guys Hackworth was happy to see doing well were midfielders Danny Cruz and Freddy Adu, both of who were in full team practice and “looked sharp,” according to Hackworth. Barring a drastic change in plans here within the next 48 hours before the team flight to Houston, expect both be on the travel roster.

Moving on…

The final FIFA international fixture date of 2012 has wrapped and a handful on MLS players made their presence known for their respective countries. MLSSoccer.com had this article up on its site with a few rundown of MLSers competing in FIFA World Cup qualifying matches. What the article lacked were players not competing in WC qualifying, which of course left out midfielder Keon Daniel. Of all the players on national teams, Daniel was tops in number of goals scored with four as he led Trinidad and Tobago to win its group in CFU Caribbean Cup qualifying and one step closer to qualifying for the CONCACAF Gold Cup next summer.

Gabriel Gomez played for most of Panama’s 1-1 draw with Cuba in Havana Tuesday night. With the win, the Panamanians advanced to the final round of qualifying for the first time since 2006. As far as Union captain Carlos Valdes, he didn’t play in Colombia’s 3-0 exhibition win against Cameroon, Tuesday.

Back to MLS action…

Houston and “the matchbox” of a pitch it has in BBVA Compass Arena looms and it’s not going to be an easy task. The Dynamo is 2-1-2 in their last five and holds a pristine 10-0-6 record at BBVA, allowing just 11 goals all season.

“They say [the field] is like 70 [yards wide], but I don’t think it’s 70, I think it’s like 68 at best,” Hackworth joked. “But that’s the way they like it…it does change tactics a bit, but it doesn’t necessarily change our formation, it just changes our plan of attack and how we intend to approach this game.”

Houston also announced Wednesday that this bad boy is already sold out. Should be a good one.

Until tomorrow...

Contact Kerith Gabriel at kgabriel@philadelphiaunion.com. Follow Kerith on Twitter @sprtswtr

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