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Game 5: Philadelphia Union vs. Los Angeles Galaxy Preview Linkup

This is how Landon Donovan sleeps at night. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)
This is how Landon Donovan sleeps at night. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)
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The consensus seems to point to a likely insurmountable uphill battle for the Union.  They couldn't be more of an underdog going into this game.  

Question marks surround who will step up in LeToux's absence and fill those shoes.  Moreno is clearly capable of being that goal scorer but he is going to need someone to set him up.  Who will it be: Mwanga or McInerney?

My biggest concern is the defense.  They just simply have to play better and avoid those costly mistakes.  One thing is for sure: no more penalty shot giveaways and red cards.  This gift giving has to stop.

My prediction: LA 3 - Philly 1.  The Union have given up 2 goals in every single game this season against teams that are subpar in comparison to LA.  I just can't see us stopping their attack.  Maybe we can get one goal in there.  Hackworth spoke of playing an agressive 4-3-3.  That could swing both ways: maybe we can get another goal in but I bet we give up another too.  Our best hope is that LA completely underestimates this Union squad and plays flat.  They are coming off a bad game (for them) against Kansas City so hopefully their issues persist.

And now the linkup...

Union face Buddle, Galaxy without Le Toux | Philadelphia Inquirer | 05/01/2010
"Edson Buddle is on fire and has something to play for in a lot of ways and is playing his way into a potential national team call-up," Union assistant coach John Hackworth said. "When you are facing a goal-scorer like that, you have to do a really good job of containing him."

 

Los Angeles Galaxy Vs Philadelphia Union: Head To Head Preview - Goal.com
Galaxy: The Galaxy will welcome the newbie Union to the Majors with open arms and saying, "welcome to the league... sorry we have to beat you." Galaxy win 2-0. Philadelphia: 2-0 to Los Angeles. The first-placed Galaxy have only failed to pick up three points once this season, at notoriously difficult to play at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City. Edson Buddle is sitting atop the scoring table, while Landon Donovan is the reigning league MVP. LA's quality, especially at the Home Depot Center, should be enough to dispatch the inexperienced Union.

 

BIG SHOES TO FILL  Le Toux injury forcing Union changes
The injury to forward Sebastien le Toux has left the Philadelphia Union coaching staff scrambling to figure out where the team’s offensive production is going to come from, with the Frenchman at home nursing a knee injury. “Those are big shoes to fill for our team right now,” said Union coach John Hackworth. “We haven’t made a decision. Our options are to go with Jack McInerney or Danny Mwanga to partner up high with Alejandro (Moreno), or we would play some kind of variation so we had more wingers involved, with us playing a 4-3-3.”

 

The Sports Network - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Now it will be up to other players, notably Alejandro Moreno, to pick up the goal-scoring slack as the team tries to get on track after a 1-3 start. "It's a long season, it's definitely not a sprint," Moreno told mlssoccer.com. "We're doing some good things on the field. We've lacked consistency over the course of the 90 minutes. We have made some decisions on the field that have perhaps affected the outcome of games. If we are to get results on a consistent basis, our play has to be consistent throughout 90 minutes."

 

State of the Union: Galaxy and Union are Worlds Apart
t will be interesting to see if and where Salinas will play this Saturday as Califf, Harvey, Michael Orozco and Christian Arrieta will likely be the four starting defenders. Salinas doesn’t have any preference – as long as it’s somewhere. “It was definitely different but I had fun back there,” said Salinas last weekend, adding that he played a little defense with the San Jose Earthquakes the past two seasons. “I felt like I did some things that you can tell I’m new to the position … but I was super excited to find out I was back in the lineup playing. “I’m just excited to be on the field. I don’t care where it is.”

 

James Clark's soccer blog: Both Philadelphia teams hit the field today - pressofAtlanticCity.com
But it’s not necessarily time to hit the panic button, and that’s a bit of what I see with the shuffling of the players. Add to the fact that 18-year-old Colombian midfield maestro Roger Torres keeps getting yanked from games in which he seems to be pulling the team’s creative strings in due to “fitness” or “rhythm” issues, and I’m not really on board with a lot of the coaching decisions.

 

MLS Preview: Philadelphia Union at LA Galaxy
Prediction. I haven’t picked the Union to win yet all year. I was going to pick them this week, in the time-tested “MLS is crazy, anything can happen” theory. But with Le Toux out, I think it’s too big a hill to climb. Philly puts in another solid effort but loses again. Los Angeles 2-1 Philadelphia.

 

STAY HUNGRY  Galaxy host expansion Union on Saturday
The Union’s two options for replacing Le Toux are a pair of rookies, former Pac 10 Player of the Year Danny Mwanga and Jack McInerney. They will come up against a formidable Galaxy defense, one that has allowed only one goal all season, and doing that while constantly changing players in the back line. They started a third different back four in as many games last weekend, when Gregg Berhalter made his season debut in central defense. Todd Dunivant and Omar Gonzalez have been ever-present for the Galaxy this season, but A.J. DeLaGarza, who started at center back against RSL in place of the injured Leonardo, shifted back to right back when Sean Franklin was unable to play with an injured ankle.

 

Union's Le Toux won't face Galaxy | Philadelphia Inquirer | 04/30/2010
A spokeswoman for the Union described the injury as mild and said it was in the team's best interest to give Le Toux the week off.