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With Only Four Natural Defenders, Who Will The Union Start Against San Jose?



Trading Jordan Harvey means more than just breaking up one of MLS’ best defensive lines in the 2011 MLS season or sending off the Philadelphia Union’s most used player during their short history. It also provides the team with allocation money to potentially bring in a player during the international transfer window on July 15.

Harvey’s departure leaves the Union with little in terms of defensive depth. Even if Juan Diego Gonzalez – dubbed by this writer as “The $193,000 Paperweight” for his high salary and zero playing time in 2011 – is included, the Union have only four natural defenders currently on their roster.

Danny Califf and Sheanon Williams will be the only two of the team’s starting defensive line that will make the trip to play the San Jose Earthquakes, as Carlos Valdes is out with an illness and Harvey is now with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Additionally, Carlos Ruiz and Veljko Paunovic did not make the trip to San Jose.

The situation posses quite a conundrum for the Union. Gabriel Farfan and Michael Farfan have proven in their small amount of playing time this eason that the two are most adept at outside or attacking midfield roles, despite head coach Piotr Nowak attempting to force them into the line up as converted full backs. Along the same lines is Keon Daniel, whose career has seen him play mostly as a central midfielder, but a move to outside midfield has shown that he is able to successfully play in MLS and has made Nowak think him suited to play at fullback once this season.

Nowak had a similar situation presented to him when the Union traveled out to the Pacific Northwest to play the Portland Timbers. Harvey had picked up a red card the week before, against San Jose, and Califf was out due to an illness, ala Valdes tonight.

Deciding to employ a completely untested line up, Nowak put the Farfans at both fullback positions and asked starting right back Sheanon Williams to partner with Valdes in the middle. The team was unable to find any offensive rhythm and lost 1-0 off of a set piece.

Since that game the Farfan twins have been seldom used as fullbacks and Williams never again as a center back.

But will Nowak return to a similar line up defensively? Hit the jump to see our prediction for tonight's starting line up.

Goalkeeper: Faryd Mondragon

Right back: Gabriel Farfan

Center Back: Sheanon Williams

Center Back: Danny Califf

Left Back: Michael Farfan

DCM: Brian Carroll

DCM: Amobi Okugo

RCM: Kyle Nakazawa

LCM: Justin Mapp

ST: Danny Mwanga

ST: Sebastien Le Toux

Who do you think will start? What formation will the team use? Leave your predictions in the comments section below.

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