HT: The Union essentially doubled down on Maurice Edu in the offseason. How's that decision resonating with Philadelphia supporters at this point?
tBG: Most of the fans here like Mo and what he brings to the table. He's a solid veteran leader who is still in his prime, and is a crucial piece of the Union's midfield. He also gets it. He understands the Union have a lot of work to do in order to make it to the top of the league, and he has been willing to be that leader on and off the pitch to help the club accomplish its goals. Now he does have his naysayers - every player does - but they're few and far between.
HT: With Cristian Maidana hurt and Zach Pfeffer suspended, will the Union's basic shape have to change in any way? If not, who moves into that role?
tBG: I think you'll see the midfield flatten out a bit with both Maidana and Pfeffer out. The only options left are proven but defensive options like Brian Carroll or Michale Lahoud, or offensive, less experienced options like Jimmy McLaughlin or Erik Ayuk, so I think it's very likely to see Curtin go with who he feels is the best option available over trying to remain in a certain formation.
HT: Challenge: Defend the Rais M'Bohli deal Go!
tBG: Challenge accepted! I think M'Bolhi is a great goalkeeper, and the Union were able to get him for dirt cheap. While the Union had other options at that position, Andre Blake is young and unproven and Zac MacMath seemed to have plateaued last season. Neither were a solid first option in goal. When you think about the elite goalkeepers in MLS - guys like Nick Rimando or Bill Hamid - MacMath isn't in that conversation, and he was head and shoulders above Blake. I think M'Bolhi can be that guy once he's on the same page as the rest of the team. This will also benefit the Union in that they can get value for MacMath while he's still fresh on the minds of clubs, and hopefully the Union can turn that value into something tangible.
Predicted lineup (4-3-3): Rais M'Bolhi; Fabinho, Ethan White, Steven Vitória, Raymon Gaddis; Maurice Edu; Vincent Nogueira, Michael Lahoud; Andrew Wenger, Sebastien Le Toux; Fernando Aristeguieta
Predicted score: Between the Fire's woes and the Union's injury bug, I expect a very sloppy match. That being said I think the Union somehow find a way to win 2-1.
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