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

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


(Times staff / JULIA WILKINSON)
Remember this guy?

That's Zach Pfeffer, who will make the start in tonight's friendly with Aston Villa. He hasn't appeared with the first-team at any stage of the season --- not against MLS competition, not in U.S. Open Cup play, not even in friendlies.

Until tonight.

Here's the rest of the Union starting XI:
GK MacMath
DF Gaddis; Okugo; Valdes; G Farfan
MF Gomez; Pfeffer; Torres; McLaughlin
FW Hoppenot; Hernandez

And the Union (expanded) bench:
GK Harrison
DF Williams; Albright; Lopez; Jordan
MF Carroll; Lahoud; Daniel
FW Pajoy; Martinez

Some observations about tonight's lineup:
  • Careful with the starters, Hack. Union interim manager John Hackworth values Saturday's league match with rival New York over tonight's friendly. So why start so many of the regulars? Perhaps Hackworth feels a commitment to Aston Villa, which precludes him from starting an all-reserve lineup. In any case, the Union cannot afford an injury setback to any of their starters. So if we see Zac MacMath in goal, All-Star Carlos Valdes, Amobi Okugo or Gabriel Farfan on the backline, or Gabriel Gomez in the midfield for any more than 45 minutes, that could be a problem.
  • No place like Home(grown Players). Tonight, Pfeffer and Cristhian Hernandez get their chances to show what they can do. Pfeffer, as previously mentioned, hasn't seen the pitch with the Union first-teamers this season. Hernandez, at least, has played twice in the MLS slate.
  • Where's Jorge? Anyone seen Jorge Perlaza lately? The guy for whom the Union traded Danny Mwanga, Perlaza didn't even make the 18 (err, 21). How far has the guy fallen on Hackworth's depth chart? While Mwanga entered tonight's MLS match against Chivas USA as a reserve, and has scored since joining the Portland Timbers, Perlaza has been a ghost. He's gotten 72 of 540 possible minutes in MLS play, compared to Mwanga, who's gotten 336 of a possible 630 minutes with the Timbers.

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