After playing three games in seven days, the Philadelphia Union will have an eight-day break between games. On Sunday, Philadelphia faces the San Jose Earthquakes. In their last game, the Union lost to the Houston Dynamo 2-0 mainly due to fatigue and playing players partly out of position. Against the Earthquakes, the Union will need three points or else they will descend further in the standings as they make a push for the playoffs.
With 10 games left, it is imperative the Union take advantage of every possible point. This is especially true playing at home. Luckily, the Union haven’t lost at home under interim team manager Jim Curtin. In fact, their only two losses under Curtin came in the state of Texas.
Philadelphia will hope that midfielder and playmaker Cristian Maidana will be healthy and able to play a full shift Sunday. The midfield desperately needs their natural no. 10 back. Other Union players have tried to play in the no. 10 position in Maidana’s absence, but it was clearly evident they aren’t natural playmakers.
The Union look to spark their offense after a mundane attack against Houston. Pedro Riberio was played out of position as a lone striker and the midfield had a hard time finding him up top. Hopefully, Connor Casey is back in the lineup come Sunday and the midfield can connect their passes better.
Additionally, this may be a good time to star Brian Brown in the starting XI. In his limited playing time with the Union, he made an instant impact scoring on the road against Sporting KC.
They have the depth, but players need to be played where they fit in naturally. In addition, a well-rested Union should put on a better showing then their last game. Three points on Sunday against San Jose is critical. If they don’t their 2014 MLS season looks more and more like a bust. However, if they rise to the occasion Sunday, they will keep themselves within playoff contention with nine more games to go.