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

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Forget the fact that the Union started four guys Monday who weren't with the team a year ago. Toss out the fact that a fifth guy, Zac MacMath, is a first-year starter.

Union manager Peter Nowak (pictured) suggested Wednesday that newness didn't lead to his club's 3-1 loss at Portland in the season opener. According the Nowak, the Union have other things on their minds right now.

“It's not only the changes on the field, just per se. ... I think its getting the housing together, the families -- that's important to their life," Nowak said Wednesday, in his press conference at PPL Park. "That's why we try to make those moves before the season, (and) preseason starts so they can establish some sort of stability in their lives. ... They are very connected with the families, with the people they try to bring with them, the children. It's important."

That's not to say the Union are dealing with outside distractions, but there's an argument to be made for what Nowak is saying: With moving to a new region of the world -- as have Gabriel Gomez, Porfirio Lopez, Josue Martinez and Lionard Pajoy -- comes the settling-in period.

Maybe we're only seeing the Union (0-1-0) with one set of eyes. Maybe, in time, we'll see the Union for what they are -- a third-year franchise coming off a playoff appearance. But Sunday's match against Colorado, which opens the PPL Park portion of their 2012 slate, should be a good barometer for whether the Union have shaken the off-the-pitch duties.


Nowak said he expects midfielder Roger Torres "to be on the roster" for Sunday's home opener. Torres missed the season-opening loss at Portland with an ankle injury. Nowak added that defender Chris Albright, who's recovering from a groin strain, trained today with the Union.

"I don't expect any (further) setbacks," Nowak said.

From that we can conclude that defender Carlos Valdes, who took a headshot from Portland's Kris Boyd and remained in the game, should be good to go for Sunday.

(Times staff photo / JULIA WILKINSON)

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