The finale: Union-Orlando City lineups and observations
- The questions for the Union remain that same, at least those that haven’t already been answered. Andrew Wenger doesn’t rate another look at fullback. Fernando Aristeguieta can’t start up top. Zach Pfeffer can’t even make the 18. Andre Blake remains the guy in goal. Michael Lahoud, after a less than convincing outing at Red Bull Arena, retains his spot, largely on the logic that he played so well in the 0-0 draw with Orlando in August.
- Interesting that Cristian Maidana starts on the bench. He enters tied with Toronto's Sebastian Giovinco for the league lead in assists with 15, one ahead of Sporting Kansas City's Benny Feilhaber. The flipside, though, is how badly he played last week in New York before being subbed off a halftime.
- One weakness that’s glaring (among many that are more concealed): There’s no defensive depth. Maurice Edu was shut down for groin surgery two weeks ago, and Steven Vitoria is suspended due to yellow-card accumulation. So beyond Richie Marquez and Ethan White, the next player with center back experience is probably Wenger. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that no one wants to see the season end this way.
- Orlando City needs a win, and a big one. They’ve got nothing to lose, but Adrian Heath isn't exactly throwing all caution to the wind. Kaka and Cyle Larin will be the focal points, but the fullbacks will have to get forward with regularity. Putting Brek Shea in the back four is a way to get another attacking player in the side, and expect him to get forward with gusto.
- The Union are thin in defense, but the Lions are at bare bones in goal. Tally Hall had surgery this week, meaning that long-time backup Josh Ford is in net while MLS pool goalkeeper Trey Mitchell, whom the Union used for their bench on two occasions this season, is the reserve. The Union should test Ford early and often.
Labels: Andre Blake, Andrew Wenger, Brek Shea, Cristian Maidana, Cyle Larin, Ethan White, Fernando Aristeguieta, Josh Ford, Kaka, Orlando City, Philadelphia Union, Richie Marquez, Steven Vitoria, Trey Mitchell