Photo: Paul Rudderow
At Tuesday’s weekly press conference, John Hackworth said of tonight’s game against Columbus Crew, “It’s going to be a huge game for us. We’re at a point in the season where we have to make sure to get three points at home. Specifically, getting three points from an [Eastern Conference] opponent makes it a six-point swing. With all our games coming up, we have to look at each of them like that, particularly at home.”
If head coach Robert Warzycha has anything to do with it, it will be a focused Columbus Crew that comes to PPL tonight (8pm, TCN). “We have to be thinking about one thing: how can we go to (Philadelphia) and get three points.”
The Union will be wary of giving new Columbus DP Federico Higuain opportunities to display his talents—he scored three goals, two from free kicks, and an assist last week. Likewise, his strike partner Jairo Arrieta has three goals since Higuain joined the team. The pair each had 2 goals in the Crew’s 4–3 win over New England on Saturday. Said Hackworth at Tuesday’s press conference, “We have to play solid defensively and try to limit their chances. We have a gameplan going into tomorrow, and I am confident the players understand. [There's] no question we are going up against a hot team right now, and we have to recognize that.”
Matters would be helped if the Union could find its way back to the kind of goalscoring form it enjoyed after Hackworth first took over the team. To do that, Hackworth made clear Jack McInerney is the key. “He’s the guy that we have to rely on the most right now and he knows that. Goal scoring is funny because it comes in waves sometimes. He’s done so many good things for us…and we really need to create a few more (chances) for him…He’s the best one (we have) at pure execution. We have to put him in good spots and find him in good spots. I don’t think we’ve found Jack Mac enough. He continually makes good runs and we haven’t found him or we’ve been late in finding him. We’ll try to rectify that and see if it makes a difference.”
Hackworth confirmed at the press conference that while Bakary Soumare is available, the team continues to take “a conservative approach” to getting him into the starting lineup.
The latest Disciplinary Summary shows that Michael Farfan is not suspended for tonight’s game due to yellow card accumulation after receiving a caution in Friday’s draw with Real Salt Lake. A Union spokesperson told PSP a notice in the Game Notes for that game indicating Farfan would be suspended if he received a yellow card was a misprint. The current Disciplinary Summary lists Gabriel Farfan, Michael Farfan and Gabriel Gomez as one caution away from receiving automatic suspension.
Hackworth believes the playoffs are still a possibility. “Right now, we still believe we can pull off something pretty special here…If we get on a little bit of a roll here, things can change pretty quickly.”
While earlier reports suggested that Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum would play tonight despite leaving the game over the weekend with a bruised back, Warzycha said on Tuesday that rookie goalkeeper, and homegrown product, Matt Lampson will be getting the start.
Look for PSP’s match preview later this morning. In the meanwhile, there’s our quick reference with stats, video highlights and more from all of the past Union meetings with the Crew. And here are previews from The Daily News, CSN Philly, MLSsoccer.com, theCrew.com, The AP, and Goal.com.
Hackworth said when asked about the status of Freddy Adu, “The situation with Freddy is that it’s a talking point for [the media] but it’s not for anyone on the inside of this team…Just like any player in the locker room, Freddy is working hard, he’s being a team player and that’s what we expect. Whatever role he gets asked to play tomorrow, is important to him and our whole team. But it’s about the Philadelphia Union and our team — not any one specific player.”
At Sporting News, Brian Straus weighs in on the ongoing Adu debate, noting the exchange of comments by Alexi Lalas (Adu is “kind of a like a luxury car—he’s not practical,” and Adu’s reply on Twitter, “You are the best player in U.S. history. We are all not worthy of you”). Pointing to recent remark’s from Hackworth—”I’m trying to get Freddy, specifically, to understand that it’s not about Freddy Adu at all. It’s about the Philadelphia Union”—Sporting News concludes, “If Adu, at 23, still needs to learn that lesson, then his frequent travels make a bit more sense. Philadelphia is a team in transition and Adu must buy in to Hackworth’s system if he’s to avoid club going to yet another club.”
Look for a piece from PSP editor Dan Walsh on Freddy Adu later this morning.
Michael Farfan and Raymon Gaddis both received honorable mentions in the latest MLS Team of the Week.
Zac MacMath comes in at No. 17 in the latest Castrol Weekly Top 20. In the full Castrol Index, the top five Union players are Jack McInerney (No. 29), Zac MacMath (No. 58), Gabriel Gomez (No. 85), Carlos Valdes (No. 97), and Amobi Okugo (No. 105).
Danny Cruz is honored by the support he’s received from Union fans.
A report on the Union website says that Sunday’s River Cup charity game raised in excess of $30,000 for the Philadelphia Union Foundation.
The latest YSA Report is now available.
In case you missed it, the Union and Jorge Perlaza have parted ways. Thank you Peter Nowak for giving away Danny Mwanga for nothing.
Penn State’s Christine Nairn is named to the Soccer America Women’s Team of the Week.
The Trentonian has a look at Mercer County Community College men’s soccer program.
Houston Dynamo are close to signing English midfielder Giles Barnes.
In CONCACAF Champions League play, Toronto FC face a stiff battle to stay in the competition after being defeated 3–1 by Santos Laguna. LA Galaxy face Puerto Rico Islanders tonight (10pm, FSC).
Don’t forget that Carli Lloyd will be at PPL Park tonight. She’ll be signing autographs at Toyota Plaza from 6:30pm-7pm.
Mainlinemedianews.com talks to Heather Mitts.
Just who will own the rights to broadcast Premiership games in the US for 2013-16 will be decided in October. EPL Talk considers what might happen if Fox Soccer loses those rights to beIN Sport.
A new international football channel has been launched on YouTube.
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke is back in Brazil to continue his tour of the host cities of the 2014 World Cup.