MATCHDAY: It's a fine day for soccer as Union open home slate vs. New England Revolution

MATCHDAY: It's a fine day for soccer as Union open home slate vs. New England Revolution
March 15, 2014, 9:16 am
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The sun (and warmth!) are expected at PPL Park on Saturday (Steve Moore photo)

Well, after the winter we've had, I think we all deserve a beautiful Saturday.

As for Philadelphia Union fans -- who have sat through tropical storms, thunderstorm delays, bitter cold and four seasons of up-and-down-mostly-mediocre soccer -- well, they deserve this weather to fall on this day.

We told you about John Hackworth's one year to get it right.

We educated you on the revamped roster and who holds the keys to a successful season.

We told you why last week's draw wasn't so bad, and why even the biggest soccer snobs should pay attention.

Heck, we even told you what kind of beer to buy (bring me some, kthanks).

Probable Union lineup, courtesy our friend Kevin Kinkead

Now to the nuts and bolts. The Union will likely trot out the same lineup as they did last weekend in Portland (at right, courtesy Kevin Kinkead). If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I haven't heard anything about Sheanon Williams being 100% fit just yet, so expect Raymon Gaddis to start at right back once again. The bench will probably look the same, and you can even probably count on seeing the same substitutions.

You can expect the new guys -- Vincent Nogueira, Cristian Maidana and Maurice Edu -- to get absolutely raucous welcomes from the Sons of Ben that should make your hair stand on end. The crowd will be well lubed up by 4 p.m., and ready to explode. Whether the Union can feed off that energy will be key. They need to get off on the right foot, and get a first-half lead. Otherwise, the fans will get restless and players can get tight. I don't see that happening.

I'm usually pretty conservative with my predictions, but the Union know what they have and are only going to grow. New England (with a possible lineup from our friend Kevin Kinkead) is not as bad as it appeared in last week's 4-0 drubbing to Houston. But they're set for a let-down this year after last year's surprise playoff appearance.

Prediction: Union 4, Revolution 1

Goals: McInerney (2), Maidana, Edu.

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