Portland Timbers vs. Philadelphia Union Preview; A Chat with the Brotherly Game

(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Typically, the day before a game I'll set up a interview with one of my many fellow SB Nation bloggers to discuss the upcoming game and various aspects of the opposing team. It's nice to get that sort of fan-level interaction and figure out just what the opposing team is about.

This time, however, Scott Kessler of the Brotherly Game and I have decided to take it a little further than the typical three question approach. Instead, we decided to sit down for about a half hour and discuss, over Google Talk, each team in a more casual, but also more in depth manner. I can't promise well do this every time (it might not even work this time!) but it should be interesting nonetheless.

So enjoy the chat!

Stumptown Footy: So about last night's game... probably one of the more interesting games of the season. Thoughts? Reactions?

Scott:  I've heard way too much from the team about that game being good for the Union. That game was indicative of the free fall that this team has been undergoing. There's no reason for a playoff bound squad to give up four goals in one half, let alone an entire game, to the New England Revolution.

However, the "never say die" attitude that the Union have is nice to see.

SF: How did you rookie goalkeeper do? I'm assuming not well...

Scott: Zac MacMath's goals against average right now is four. From the looks of that, it's not pretty.

But...

Three out of four goals were completely not his fault at all, in any way.

SF: Defensive gaffs by the backline?

Scott: Poor set piece defense, refusal to step up into spaces, just some fantastic shooting. Things like that.

SF: So looking ahead to Saturday's match against the Timbers what are you expecting from the team in terms of performance? I guess at this point it's sort of do or die time right?

Scott: I think this can finally be claimed as a "must win" game for the Union. They're one misstep away from actually falling out of a playoff spot.

SF: Especially given that it's looking like the Western Conference is going to take three of the four wildcard spots available.

Scott: I don't know about that. The Eastern Conference has had two teams in wildcard spots for a bit now. Of course I'm basing that on the information that MLS is putting out, which has proven to be incorrect.

SF: So with such a tiring game last night, are you expecting this to have a negative performance impact on the Union for Saturday?

Scott: Last time the Union had one of these "uplifting" games or second half explosions they came out flat in the next game.

I don't think that will happen, though.

SF: Anything else you can share about the Union?

Scott: Keon Daniel is returning from international duty, which is a huge boost to a tired team.

Plus Sebastien Le Toux is on fire.

SF: Your projected starting line up and formation?

Scott: 4-1-3-2 Zac MacMath; (r-l) Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Danny Califf (C), Gabriel Farfan; Brian Carroll; (r-l) Veljko Paunovic, Freddy Adu, Keon Daniel; Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga

I think Roger Torres deserves a start after last night and Stefani Miglioranzi showed why he should stay off the field. However, Torres getting the start again would surprise me given Nowak's decisions this season.

--

Super thanks, once again, to Scott Kessler of the Brotherly Game for talking with me.

Let me know what you think of the format. Should I do it again? Should I put this concept to rest now? Sound off!

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