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

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Union vs. Sporting KC: Lineups

Philadelphia Union Starting XI (4-2-3-1)
Le Toux

Sporting Kansas City Starting XI (4-5-1)

Well, there are plenty of talking points with this lineup. Suffice it to say that surprises abound here in the first starting XI of John Hackworth’s first season opener. Where to begin?

Well remember all those stories about Amobi Okugo being in the midfield? Yeah, don’t worry about it. Appears he’s the choice to go with Jeff Parke in the center. Whether or not that’s a commentary on the fitness of Bakary Soumare will have to wait until after the game.

With Okugo in defense, it means Michael Lahoud will be pairing captain Brian Carroll in the center of midfield. Expect a lot of interchanging between Lahoud and Keon Daniel, as both are capable of filling their respective roles. Lahoud, as well as Ray Gaddis, are players that have impressed in preseason and forced their way into the side after perhaps being on the fringes when camp opened.

There are no surprises in Michael Farfan’s placement in the hole behind the central striker, but Gabriel Farfan, who deputized as a left back through most of last season, is a surprise inclusion in the midfield, his more natural position.

And for all the discussions of a 4-3-3 or a 4-4-2, the first Hackworth lineup of the season features a lone striker in Sebastien Le Toux, not Conor Casey or Jack McInerney. Guess that's what Hackworth meant when he talked about installing different systems this preseason.
The bottom line about this squad: Sporting Kansas City is a very good team with an outstanding midfield. Bobby Convey, Benny Feilhaber and Graham Zusi are hard-nosed, creative players who can control a game. The Union’s starters seem like a lineup of speedy players designed to clog the midfield and counter-attack. Le Toux, as the starting striker, is poised for that purpose with his blend of speed and hold up play.

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