Burgundy Wave and The Brotherly Game riff it up - Part II

CHESTER PA - AUGUST 14: Matt Pickens #18 of the Colorado Rapids punches the ball away from Sebastien Le Toux #9 of the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park on August 14 2010 in Chester Pennsylvania. The match ended in a 1-1 tie. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Usually before games, the SBnation MLS editors tend to get together via e-mail and take a couple of questions from each other. Last season though, SBnation's Phildelphia Union blog The Brotherly Game and our own Burgundy Wave pioneered a new method of getting to know each others teams, getting together on AIM or Google or something and having a little talking session. Flows a bit better, anyway. Below is part two of my discussion with Scott Kessler of tBG.

Make sure to go here first and read the first half of the conversation before going below!

SK: What were they?

UZ: They started in a 4-1-4-1 with Conor Casey up top. Sanna Nyassi left at halftime and was replaced by Joseph Nane, who was injured 10 minutes later. In his stead, they brought in Andre Akpan as a striker and switched to a 4-4-2 which was more of a 4-1-3-2. Later, Caleb Folan came in and they switched to a full blown 4-3-3.

Even then, Marvell Wynne was knocked out of the game so they were playing a 3-3-3 with 10 men, although that doesn't really count. It's been a funky stretch for Colorado. So how's Le Toux been doing? After that near-MVP year last season he seems to have quieted down, has it been bad luck in front of net, bad play in general, no help or something else keeping him out of the net?

SK: At this point it's on him. His touch is off completely. That's the real problem with him right now. Last year he was able to go in and out of defenses, break them apart by himself because of his sublime skills on the ball. Now it's almost like he has no first touch. And he also lost his ability to pass. That started to hurt the team earlier this season.

UZ: How about Mwanga, same story? Although I notice he's heated up recently

SK: Mwanga is a product of where Nowak went with the team this season. Broke up his great partnership with Le Toux in favor of Carlos Ruiz and lessened his minutes greatly. When he's played he's done well. Versus Portland he had some great runs. That was really the start of good things for him this season. He had to get used to his new role this season, which he appears to have done.

UZ: So it should be a lot more fun to watch the Union offense when it's Ruiz-less today simply because we'll see Le Toux-Mwanga up top perhaps?

SK: It might be.  Ruiz's contributions to this team have been analyzed completely and really don't need more discussion unless the Union put up another two plus goals tonight. Dead horse, beaten, etc. I don't know what's been discussed outside of Philly, but in the area it's been overdone.

UZ: Wouldn't doubt it.

SK: I saw your take on the score line was 1-1 in your prediction. I won't doubt such a result, but I'm looking at a 2-1 or 3-1 win for the Union based upon how up in the air the Rapids line up is right now.

UZ: Meh, even up in the air we do have most of our best players back right now, with Conor Casey finally being back in goal scoring form being the most important thing. Even with the injuries our strongest point is still the defense anyway. If the Union win it's probably going to be 1-0 or 2-1, I would be amazed if they managed to score three.

If Jamie Smith plays, I'd go so far as to say that the Rapids have a very good chance of winning it. If he doesn't, I'll call for a draw. The Rapids, for all their faults, still know how to pull points out at home.

(Unless they're down to 10 men for 87 minutes, of course!)

 

SK: I'll agree to that

UZ: But then, I saw on the tBG preview that you guys had Scott Palguta starting in our midfield. If that happens the Union will win 5-0. I'd laugh.

 

SK: That's based upon MLSsoccer.com's reports, so blame the source!

UZ: Hahaha, I figured as much. I need to have a word with them! I'd rather just go without a right midfielder than go with our terrible back-up right back in the spot, I think.

SK: He's that bad?

UZ: Remember when the Rapids lost to DC United in Colorado last year? Had Matt Pickens not covered up all of Palguta's screw ups that game would probably have ended 4-0. He's that bad.

SK: Oy to the vey. It'll be great for the Union if he plays.

UZ: I don't doubt it. He is probably the worst player on the Rapids, sadly. It's actually almost unfortunate that he scored that lucky goal against Houston earlier in the year because now he's going to remain the first defender off the bench!

Fortunately for my sanity, the Rapids should have a starting back four of Wallace-Moor-Marshall-Kimura healthy.

SK: Your sanity is not as important as three points for the Union.

UZ: Pfft, they could probably lose 3/4 of the remaining games in the season and still win the East. Besides, we're trying to set MLS history over here with most games drawn in a row! History Will Be Made.

SK: This isn't the NHL playoffs.

 

UZ: If it was, the Whitecaps would be beating people.

SK: And New England would be good.

 

UZ: Or at least have a good defense.

SK: Taylor Twellman would still love them, too (he loves the Bruins, per his tweets this season). Works out perfectly.

UZ: At the very least, I can make the money-making claim that Wells Thompson will NOT score on the Union this year. Put it in the bank

SK: I can tell you that Zach Pfeffer will probably be on the bench. That's my best guess from the Union's side.

UZ: Put it in the bank.  If he does play, I'll be amused considering the Rapids are filled with old guys for the poor young'un to deal with.

SK: Hackworth has said that Pfeffer would be one of the best collegiate players the second he took the field for a school. Instead he's making a ton of money for a 16-year-old.

UZ: Not a bad choice to make, really.

SK: Especially when he'll probably be making some starts next year. I think the coaching staff will feel safer with him at 17.

 

UZ: Yeah, the Rapids have a system that keeps the kids from playing for as long as the team thinks they're not ready so we might not see our own fresh out of high school player Davy Armstrong play for a loooong while. Even a guy like Andre Akpan who was ready out of college last year didn't get a start until 7 games into the year a season after he was drafted.

 

SK: Most title challenging clubs don't see "youth" start. Unless it's Arsenal, Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund or Ajax.

UZ: Fair point. Also I have to laugh at someone calling Arsenal a "title challenging club".

SK: They challenge but don't win.

UZ: In a state where the majority of people are Arsenal supporters thanks to our team's connection with them, I get a lot of practice poking fun at them, so mockery just kind of comes naturally.

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