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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Regardless of who's available and who isn't Chris Albright figured he should be ready. It's the least he could do, considering his spate with injuries.

The veteran defender, Albright started the Union's 2-1 loss to Colorado Sunday.

Union manager Peter Nowak wanted to try a lineup that would push his attacking midfielders and forwards higher up the pitch, so he chose Albright. That allowed guys like Sheanon Williams and Porfirio Lopez to make runs on the wing, even if they didn't produce any goals.

Williams will miss the next match, due to a U.S. call-up, and Lopez could be fatigued, after getting a Costa Rica call-up this week, which puts extra emphasis on Albright.

“My mentality coming into this year, regardless of Sheanon being called in, was to be ready when called upon," Albright said Wednesday from PPL Park. "Having the experience with being in a lot of different situations and on different teams, that's sort of what's asked of you as a professional. If you've learned your trade good enough over the years, you should be ready.

“You learn how to get ready in the gym. It's sort of the loneliest place on earth, doing rehab. If you work hard enough to get back, it's a testament to the work you put in. I focus on being healthy now."

Albright, who signed with the Union in the offseason to bolster Nowak's backline depth, is a Philadelphia native and a Penn Charter alum. He's seen the ups and downs of MLS, which wasn't around when he was a kid.

“I try to explain this to people: If you asked me when I was 12 years old who my favorite athlete was, it was Michael Jordan because there wasn't any soccer players I could see regularly on TV that gave me the dream to maybe on day realize the dream of playing professionally. With MLS, that's changed now. Guys can turn on the TV and a 12-year-old kid who's not going to be 6-6, 250 can say, 'I want to be like...' Pick an MLS player. That's an opportunity those kids have now that guys my age didn't have. So it's unique."

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