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

Friday, May 11, 2012


Courtesy: Getty Images
Wednesday night, in a game looking like it was pointed toward a draw, the Union had an 18-year-old lining up to take free kicks and corners.

Granted, Wednesday's game was a friendly, thus ensuring there was less at stake than a league match. But Cristhian Hernandez was the man called upon by Union assistant John Hackworth.

Hernandez didn't deliver the game-winning goal, or the helper that led to it, though his effort in a 2-1 win over FC Schalke 04 provided a glimpse into how the Union technical staff view the future career trajectory of the 5-11 forward.

“Ever since I was young, I was the guy behind the ball," Hernandez told me the other day. "I got used to having the pressure of delivering a nice ball. From that pressure, I got the confidence of Coach Peter (Nowak) and going out there tonight having corners and free kicks. Having no other guy responsible to take it, I was willing to step up to the challenge."

The franchise's second Homegrown Player, and a mere 17-year-old when he netted the game-winner against EPL side Everton FC, Hernandez has gotten 26 minutes -- largely garbage time -- in two home losses. So, at the very least, the PPL Park fans have gotten a glimpse at him.

He said he's confident in the future the Union have promised him, in giving him a pro contract last offseason, even if he wishes he'd play more. Until then, it'll be games like Wednesday's that motivate him.

“It's difficult because, going out there is a whole different level," Hernandez said. "Everyone's a lot faster and a lot stronger. It's all about confidence. And I have it right now."

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As of 5 p.m. Friday, MLS had yet to update its injury report.

That left the status of Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath up in the air. MacMath was listed in Tuesday's report as 'OUT' with concussion-like symptoms, after taking a knee/shin to the back of the head in the first half of last weekend's loss at Seattle.

Backups Chase Harrison, 28, and Chris Konopka, 27, played well in the friendly, but have combined for one appearance (Konopka's start last season with New York) in their MLS careers.

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