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

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Union-Impact: Lineups and pre-match thoughts

Philadelphia Union (4-3-3)
Maidana-McInerney-Le Toux
Bench: Blake, White, Lahoud, Bone, Fernandes, Hoppenot, Casey.

Montreal Impact (4-2-3-1)
Di Vaio
Bench: Bush, Bernier, Brovsky, Gonzalez, Ouimette, Smith, Wenger.

- If there was any question about the health of Austin Berry and Sheanon Williams, the sloppy conditions at PPL Park likely were the tiebreaker in manager John Hackworth’s decision to hold them out another week. He’s certainly been happy with Ray Gaddis at right back (and today, he’ll be severely tested by Justin Mapp down the wing). And Aaron Wheeler has deputized ably in the center. Few defenders have what you would call “favorable” matchups against someone as prolific as Montreal’s Marco Di Vaio, but he was just as disadvantaged on paper last week against Jairo Arrieta and Dominic Oduro and still managed to turn in a great performance.

- The rest of the Union midfield is as it has been most of the season. Conor Casey is either not yet fit or not the right fit (I suspect it’s a bit of both) to start, but he certainly could play a role off the bench. Danny Cruz is an omission from the bench this week.

- For the Impact, a little surprise at seeing Patrice Bernier to make way to the bench this week. The Impact made three changes from last week, with Frank Klopas wasting no time reintroducing Di Vaio and Andres Romero after three-game suspensions to start the season. Andrew Wenger makes way, while Heath Pearce and rookie Eric Miller provide a threat going forward on the wings at the expense of Jeb Brovsky and Karl Ouimette, the goalscorer of the back-breaker last fall.

- In pondering which team, if either, the wet conditions favor, consider this: On paper, you’d think the Union’s ability to play on the ground would withstand the weather, while Montreal’s hope of lumping long crosses toward the head of Di Vaio would be dented. But keep in mind that this weather is reminiscent to the conditions in the 5-3 drubbing Montreal delivered at the Saputo Stadium last year.

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