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

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Union-Revolution: Lineups and pregame observations

UNION (4-2-3-1)
Sapong-Maidana-Le Toux
Bench: Blake, White, Fabinho, Carroll, Ayuk, Casey, Wenger

New England Revolution (3-5-2)
Bench: Knighton, Tierney, Fagundez, Bunbury, Okoli, Hall, Neumann

- The Union make three changes from Thursday against New York City FC. Eric Ayuk and Andrew Wenger get breaks, while Vincent Nogueira’s right ankle apparently fails its fitness test. In steps CJ Sapong as essentially a wing forward, while Zach Pfeffer slots into central midfield in Nogueira’s stead. Also returning is Cristian Maidana, who’ll operate as the central prong of the midfield triumvirate.

- Fascinating XI from the Revs, who’ll go with a 3-5-2 (on the sheet at least) without Jose Goncalves and with three defensive-minded midfielders. It’s a very attack-minded squad overall, with Charlie Davies and Juan Agudelo pairing up top.

- The Union are going to face a battle trying to get through the Revs, who haven’t conceded a goal in 208 MLS minutes. That starts with making life uncomfortable for Jermaine Jones, who played 45 minutes last week in his return from offseason hernia surgery. The Maidana nod has to be due, in part at least, to Jim Curtin wanting to fill the space behind the forward line and occupy Jones, not letting him freelance and pick off long passes.

- The same duty is incumbent on the Union’s central midfield paring of Michael Lahoud and Pfeffer. Though Lahoud and Nogueira have played well of late, they’ve done so against a fairly flat midfield of NYCFC that is still trying to figure itself out. The Revs, with the interchanging of Kelyn Rowe and Lee Nguyen, are much more dynamic and can hit you from a much wider range of positions and angles.

- This is a big chance for Pfeffer. The debate still rages, even among those that have seen him play since he was a youngster, as to what his best position in the pro ranks is. He seems to bring more steel (and perhaps not enough creativity) to be an elite No. 10, but a deeper lying role that showcases his box-to-box ability may be for him, and this is a chance to show that.

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June 19, 2015 at 5:19 AM 

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