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The Philadelphia Union: A sneak peek at the Impact's next opponent

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After a liberating win over the Columbus Crew at home, Jesse Marsch is already focused on the next game against another Eastern Conference opponent. It is not an understatement to say that the remaining 14 games are literally 9-point games. In a way, this is the beauty of a playoff race in soccer, something very specific to North American Soccer (and sports obviously).

The July marathon will take care of the wanna-be`s in the playoff run but the 2 negative results in MLS action can easily break the spirits of a club. Giving the men a 2-day rest, Jesse Marsch is preparing the team for an away game against a Union club that has found its own momentum. Since letting go of Peter Nowak, the Philadelphia Union has tallied a 3-2-0 record with notable wins over the LA Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City. Led by a young bunch of players up front. the Pennsylvania team is eager to take it up a notch and the motivation will not be missing against the Montreal Impact.

We discuss more about the Union, their recent games and different formations, after the jump

The Philadelphia Union already played one midweek game before meeting the Montreal Impact and were also in action in the previous weekend. On the previous weekend, the Union took care of business against Toronto FC (3-0) and just lost in the USOC semi-final against Sporting KC (2-0). This means that there will be heavy legs, tired minds with only 2 days of recovery that might give an advantage to the Impact.

Union lineup in the last two games:

Against Toronto FC:

Zac MacMath; Sheanon Williams, Amobi Okugo, Carlos Valdes, Gabriel Farfan (Chris Albright 89'); Brian Carroll, Gabriel Gomez, Michael Farfan (Roger Torres 83'); Freddy Adu, Jack McInerney (Antoine Hoppenot 65'), Lionard Pajoy

Subst not used: Chris Konopka; Keon Daniel, Raymon Gaddis, Michael Lahoud

Against Sporting KC:

Zac MacMath; Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Amobi Okugo, Gabriel Farfan; Michael Farfan, Brian Carroll, Michael Lahoud (Gabriel Gomez 66); Freddy Adu, Jack McInerney, Lionard Pajoy (Antoine Hoppenot 64)

Subs not used: Chris Konopka, Raymon Gaddis, Chris Albright, Keon Daniel, Josue Martinez

Nine Union players have almost played both games, so that's 180 minutes (+ added-time) before playing the Montreal Impact. That is not something to be ignored as factors into the game whereas the Impact have rested 2 days (Monday and Tuesday). This is not a a guarantee as per a physical and mental fatigue advantage but it is good to know under these circumstances.

The Union in their last few games have mixed different formations including the 4-3-3, 4-4-2 and the 4-2-3-1. But the one constant (or almost) comes under the form of 4 players: Freddy Adu, Jack McInerney, Lionard Pajoy and Michael Farfan. McInerney has had the role of the CF in classical soccer terms whether the Union play an official formation with one or two strikers. The 19 year-old forward has scored 3 goals in 9 games but only started 4 games. The quatuor as a whole seem to be flexible enough as individual and as unit to mix it around in their roles and positionning

The 4-3-3 formation came back twice in the Union's last 2 games but it is interesting to see a player like Freddy Adu switch from Left Midfielder to Left/Right Winger during a game. Very similarly to the Montreal Impact, every player has a positioning but there is some freedom and responsibility given to players in the creative department.

Related: The Montreal Impact and The Playoff Picture | Follow Mount Royal Soccer on Twitter

Anatomy of a goal : courtesy of MLSSoccer Youtube Channel

Why re-invent the wheel when you can take advantage of an excellent series '' Anatomy of a Goal '' , usually presented by Greg Lalas , Editor in Chief of and founder of @KSFilmFest.

I was so happy to see that goal analysed in '' Anatomy of a Goal '' because I had the chance to see it live and really enjoyed. I will not describe it and ''re-invent the wheel'' so click on Play and enjoy it. Notice the movement of all the players and how the ball moves around quickly. It reminds me a lot of what the Impact is able to do lately with a lot of movements off the ball and stretching out the opponent's defense.

'' Chassez le naturel, Il revient au ballon '' -- Zebda