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

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Union-San Jose: Lineups and prematch observations

UNION (4-2-3-1) 
Bench: McCarthy, Gaddis, McKenzie, Creavalle, Burke, Fontana, Ilsinho

San Jose Earthquakes (4-4-2) 
Bench: Bersano, Affolter, Salinas, Hyka, Alashe, Thompson, Amarikwa

- No surprise given the performances of Fabian Herbers the last three games that Fafa Picault returns from suspension and zooms straight into the starting lineup. Jim Curtin talked a lot this week about the Union’s desire to get Picault’s vertical and horizontal field stretching onto the field. Without any game action in the last month, he might be a little short on sharpness and game-fitness, but he’ll be a spark that hopefully ignites the technical powder kegs that are the scuffling Borek Dockal and David Accam.

- The Delco Destroyer backline gets its first chance to play in front of home fans, with Matt Real granted another start at left back next to Auston Trusty. The Drexel Hill native Real faired alright in last week’s 3-0 loss in Colorado, and a game on home turf should afford him the chance to get forward more and show what he can do on that natural left foot that Curtin so prizes. A little chemistry between Real and Accam on the left flank wouldn’t go underappreciated either.

- No surprises tactically from the Earthquakes, a team that has finally made a change in its fourth game, a little tweak at left back with Joel Qwiberg in for former Union man Shea Salinas. The Quakes generated plenty of chances in last week’s 2-1 loss to New York City FC but couldn’t only solve a stellar Sean Johnson once in net. The big key here is how to handle Valeri Qazaishvili, Georgian code name Vako. With Danny Hoesen and Chris Wondolowski occupying the center backs and the lack of a true holding midfielder, how the Union’s defense communicates and hands off the in-cutting runs of Vako from the wing will be vital to quell his threat. Vako did score against the Union last year at Avaya Stadium.

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