Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth intimated there could be some roster changes for the club’s second match of the season at Colorado.
The Union (0-1-0) will battle the Rapids (0-1-0) Saturday at 6 p.m. ET at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Philadelphia is coming off a 3-1 home loss to defending Eastern Conference champion Sporting Kansas City while the Rapids fell 1-0 at FC Dallas.
It will be the sixth meeting all time between the two clubs, and the third in Colorado, since the Union entered Major League Soccer as an expansion team in 2010. The Rapids have never lost to Philadelphia.
“I haven’t made that decision yet,” Hackworth said of the starting 11 and the roster as a whole for Saturday’s match. “But I would expect some different players in the lineup. Maybe not a lot, but I said it last week, we feel like we have good depth and there’s guys that have been competing at training for the last seven weeks now that deserve an opportunity.
“Certainly when you get caught on the side of the scoreline that we did, I think players and everybody expects some changes to be made.”
“I don’t think there’s any better motivation than any player going back to his home club and trying to make sure he tries to put a little bit of salt in the wound,” Hackworth said. “For Conor, I think that would be great. I certainly think it’s a great possibility for us to do that.”
While the Union are focused on Saturday’s match, Hackworth is still looking at film from the opener.
How much time has he spent in the film room?
“I probably never watched a game as many times as I went back and watched this one back, straight through probably three times and then doing film edits and just going back and forth and what were we doing in that situation, it was a lot for three days,” Hackworth said. “The one thing that still has me a little bit baffled is that we played so good for 40 minutes of that game, and in one moment in the first half, we kind of let our guard down and we get punished because of it. The next 10 minutes after the goal to start the second half, we were not good. We looked like a completely different team.”
The Union made the USL Pro merger with developmental affiliate Harrisburg official today when CEO and operating partner Nick Sakiewicz and assistant coach Brendan Burke traveled to Hershey to announce the move along with City Islanders CEO Eric Pettis and head coach Bill Belcher.
The Union is one of four teams in MLS that has adopted a USL Pro team to act as a farm team in the league’s revamped reserve division. Sakiewicz has said that along with building up tomorrow’s stars, his intent is to grow the partnership with the City Islanders team that will not only develop future MLSers, but also perennially contend for a USL Pro title.
“Having meaningful competitions at levels below MLS is absolutely critical to the development of aspiring players in North America,” said Sakiewicz in a statement. “This partnership sets the stage toward building robust and successful levels below MLS to not only develop players but also referees and soccer executives.”
The City Islanders open their MLS reserve slate against the Colorado Rapids reserves on April 20.
Union writers Andy Jasner and Kerith Gabriel contributed to today’s report