The Cosmos head to Philadelphia tonight with a trip to the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals on the line. They'll be facing the Union, and luckily, we have a site on the network dedicated to covering Philadelphia's MLS side.
William Murphy was kind enough to answer a trio of questions for us, ahead of tonight's game. Here's what he had to say:
The Union have recently undergone a managerial change. What can you tell us about Jim Curtain?
Funny you should ask that because we ran a piece looking into his background. The long and short of it is that he is local boy made good who played in MLS for more than a decade, won the USOC twice as a player and was known for his training regimes and youth development as a coach. He is completely untested as a senior team coach, but there a numerous former MLS 1.0 players out there entering the coaching ranks with varied degrees of success. We will allow optimism to guide us for now.
The Cosmos play a possession based system, and press high up the pitch after turning the ball over. How do you feel that works against your club's current approach?
Well, honestly, any approach was successful with the pre-World Cup break Union. Unfortunately the US Open cup match versus Harrisburg City Islanders did not go very far in regards to unveiling a new approach. In general, the Union are well equipped to deal with a possessions based side. The Hackworth era side always played their best against some of the best possession teams like RSL and SKC. The personnel are there to destroy almost anything in the midfield. Vincent Nogeira, Maurice Edu and Amobi Okugo are a s good as it gets at cutting off passin lanes, tracking the ball and breaking up play in the center of the pitch. The Union have always been especially vulnerable to counter attacking sides so missing Senna may not be a big loss for the Cosmos. Historically the recipe to beat the Union was, press high, shoot from distance and counter quickly.
What's your favorite Red Bull Lol moment?
Every moment is a LOL moment if you are Red Bull, but I would have loved to see the tears in the eyes of the marketing manager the day NYCFC was announced.
William also gave us his projected lineup, and took a shot at predicting the final score:
Projected Line up: McMath, Williams, Okugo, Berry, Gaddis, Carroll, Edu, Cruz, Nogeira, Maidana, Casey
Score: 3-2 Union (stoppage time PK by LeToux)
I appreciate the insight into tonight's opponent from someone that follows the Union much more closely than I do, but I hope William is wrong about the final score. We'll have more for you later today.