OTNP 3 Union Penalty Kicks: Too Much Depth is a Good Thing, Injury Concern, and a Message to Zac MacMath
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 • 1:37am
1. Wenger vs. Cruz – It's essentially fact at this point: Curtin loves Wenger in the midfield rather than as the striker. Lately, all we have seen Wenger play is wing midfielder, and he has also found great success at the position as exemplified by the San Jose match. I could see the left wing position battle for starting time coming down to Danny Cruz and Wenger; both players have played their hearts out lately, but Wenger seems to have the edge at the moment because he's shining some confidence that he has never had before. Cruz was subbed on for Wenger late in the game and played in the fashion of "don't forget about me Philadelphia." No, I would never forget you Danny; you're a faster version of Connor Casey: you play you're heart out for the team while also giving some bumps and bruises along the way. Just a matchup to watch out for…
2. Maidana at CAM? – With Maidana supposedly back at full health, it should be interesting where Maidana goes back in the starting 11. And yeah he belongs there…in case you forgot his game winning goal at Kansas City, you should watch it again and again. he ran this offense until he pulled a hamstring, not his fault. I see him playing at center attacking midfield. This would mean pushing Nogueira back into a good position for him at CDM, but a ripple effect would occur then with starting jobs at the other holding midfield spot and center back. But remember…all of these issues are good problems; it's good to have too much depth or too much talent.
3. Sheanon Williams injured? – Williams was subbed out in the San Jose match shortly after his goal. It didn't seem like a haunting injury, but just something to keep an eye on…
Finally, I would like to say congratulations to Rais M'bolhi on his first complete match as a Philadelphia Union member. He played well, despite knocking off a little bit of rust throughout the game. Yes, I was one of the people that flipped out over the original signing for many reasons. I love MacMath in goal for the Union; he is a great asset to the team and its future. He is a team player and lays himself on the line for the team and community.The three straight blocked penalty kicks and sticking in there during the penalty shootout against FC Dallas in the US Open Cup…that's what Zac stands for. I give him praise and support especially for the way he has conducted himself through this difficult time; he is truly a professional. Luckily, we will all see Zac MacMath many more times by the end of the season because M'bolhi must go represent Algeria in African Cup play. So hold in there MacMath, we are all here for you. Keep that standing ovation in your mind that you got on Sunday night as you walked out to sit on the bench. Players on the bench don't get that kind of applause….stars do.
Philadelphia has a long road ahead: 9 MLS matches all against Eastern Conference foes and a US Open Cup Final against Seattle. I will be here supporting the team as I am sure everyone else will. This team is hitting its stride at a perfect time, and we'll see how good they really are in back-to-back games against Toronto FC on 9/3 and 9/6. This has been the OTNP Daily Set Piece.
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