Subtraction By Subtraction: The Incredible Shrinking Roster

The Philadelphia Union were able to take the last two weeks at a leisurely pace. They showed well in a couple of friendlies, Faryd Mondragon was the only player to see action in the All Star Game, and the U eased past a struggling New England Revolution. One loss later - just the 5th of the season after 20 games played - they are still top of the table with at least one game in hand over much of the league and the squad remains in the Eastern Conference driver's seat.

Meanwhile, another story line has been developing: The Union have recently unloaded Chris Agorsor, Jordan Harvey, Thorne Holder, and (pending formalities) Carlos Ruiz from a roster that already boasted a few vacancies, while adding only Veljko Paunovic. Couple that with suspensions, injuries, and other obligations, the management must now regroup from their first home loss, fly to Chicago for a match on Wednesday, and turn right back around for a Saturday date with Houston Dynamo on Seaport Drive... 3 matches in 8 days for a team down to 16 players with playing time in Major League Soccer this season.

Players that are available and have seen the field in 2011 league play (minutes vs Colorado in parentheses):

Faryd Mondragon (90)
Carlos Valdes (90)
Danny Califf (90)
Gabriel Farfan (90)
Brian Carroll (90)
Sebastien Le Toux (90)
Danny Mwanga (90)
Justin Mapp (73)
Kyle Nakazawa (45)
Michael Farfan (45)
Roger Torres (45)
Keon Daniel (45)
Veljko Paunovic (17)
Amobi Okugo
Stefani Miglioranzi
Jack McInerney

No league minutes yet:

Zac MacMath
Ryan Richter
Levi Houapeu (ankle strain)
Juan Diego Gonzales

In Dallas for U-17 Generation Adidas Cup - last game will be on Sunday morning:
Zach Pfeffer

Red card suspension:
Sheanon Williams

We are almost certainly going to see Okugo, Migz, and McInerney on the pitch in some capacity, and there are some players who went the full 90 against the Rapids that will be called upon to do the same midweek. Might we see Farfans on each defensive flank? Is Richter set to make his league debut after helping to keep Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo off the board in front of 50,000+ at the Linc? Sheanon Williams, who has only missed 42 minutes all season, will not fly to Chicago... but how long until the team's leading fouler draws another yellow (which would be his 5th - another suspension)? Will the Union call Pfeffer back from Dallas? After all, the boys are out of contention for the GA Cup title and FC Dallas / USYNT striker Alfred Koroma is leaving the competition to go on the Disney All-Star Tour.

I guess there's a silver lining to the US U-20s missing out on the World Cup, which started today and will run through August 20th - MacMath and Okugo were virtual locks for the squad.

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