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

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Union-Fire: Lineups and pregame thoughts

Philadelphia Union (4-4-2)
Cruz-Farfan-Carroll-Le Toux
Bench: Konopka, Fabinho, Lahoud, Kleberson, Fernandes, Hoppenot, Wheeler

Chicago Fire (4-4-2)
Bench: Tornaghi, Jumper, Paladini, Pause, Duka, Amarikwa, Santos

- Similar situation for the Union with Danny Cruz on the left of midfield and Sebastien Le Toux on the right. Michael Farfan slots in centrally for the suspended Keon Daniel. We’ll see if the Union opt for a flat midfield four or more of a 4-1-3-2 with Brian Carroll as the lone holder. That may be an option to provide high, attacking pressure.

- Finally, it seems like the Union have a balanced bench. They’ve got a defensive option in Fabinho, they’ve got attacking midfield options in Leo Fernandes and Kleberson, the thunder and lightning forward tandem of Aaron Wheeler and Antoine Hoppenot and the long-missing defensive midfield option in Michael Lahoud. That’s what a professional bench should look like.

- The Fire’s recent goal-scoring success has been based largely on Mike Magee, but it’s also the spaces he opens for the likes of Patrick Nyarko and Chris Rolfe. The Fire benefit when the game gets stretched and they can counter attack, and they’ve already said they’re going to target Jeff Parke when they’re moving the ball in space. That puts a big onus on both Amobi Okugo to stay with Magee and the midfield to stop the runs of Magee and Nyarko before they become problems in the attacking third.

- I think the Union get a bit of a break with Dilly Duka starting on the bench. He’s been better of late and would stretch the field vertically and horizontally on the opposite wing as Nyarko, opening space for Rolfe and Magee.

- Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson is back in net after five games missed with the U.S. National Team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Paolo Tornaghi deputized admirably for him.

- The Fire have given up just two goals on crosses and three on corners. With big defenders like Bakary Soumare and Austin Berry, the Union better have a second plan to get the ball in the net.

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