Due to bad weather the Union have not played a league match in two weeks. Due to poor play the Union have not won a league game in over six weeks -- going 0-2-3 over that stretch. The Union, who look to get back to their winning ways, will face Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium (9PM/The Comast Network).
The Union, who were victimized by a dubious hand ball call against Columbus two weeks ago, are due for a break or two. They'll catch one tonight as Real Salt Lake will be without leading scorer Alvaro Saborio, who was on international duty last night with Costa Rica. Considering how physical he was for the Ticos last night it's a good thing he's not playing.
This is particularly true considering the Union will be without Carlos Valdes, who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Real Salt Lake center back Nat Borchers is also suspended due to yellow card accumulation.
It'd be nice to see the Union take advantage of these absences, but Jason Kreis has a resilient group of players, as evidenced by their 2-1-1 record in games where they've had a player sent off. That's the sign of a mentally tough side. Combine that with the cross country travel and the Union will have their hands full tonight.
Bottom line, the Union need to find a way to score. I'd like to see Peter Nowak give Freddy Adu a start tonight, but not in the center of the field. I feel like Adu's creativity and ability to run at people would best be utilized on the flanks. With Keon Daniel away with the Trinidad & Tobago team there will be an opening on the flank. There's so much traffic in the center of the field. Why not create some width and play Adu wide on the touchline?
The Union find themselves out of the top two in the Eastern Conference for the first time all season (they currently sit in fourth). Could the loss of Carlos Ruiz have really affected them this much?
Here's the lineup I hope we see tonight: Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Stefani Miglioranzi, Gabriel Farfan, Justin Mapp, Brian Carroll, Kyle Nakazawa, Adu, Le Toux, Paunovic.
Final Score Prediction: I just can't see the Union walking out of Utah with all three points. I'll say 2-1 RSL.
The Toni Stahl Memorial Union Player Most Likely to See Red: Gabriel Farfan, who has shown a bit of a chippy side lately.