Can the Union extend their one-game winning streak?
OK, one game isn’t a streak, and two games is barely a streak. But considering the Union haven’t won two games in a row yet this season, a win at home on Saturday against Real Salt Lake might feel like a streak to Union fans. And why not? The Boys in Blue have been very streaky in the Jim Curtin era.
But having said that, you could probably think of a lot of ways why the Union won’t win their second in a row this weekend. Their number one striker, C.J. Sapong, is questionable with a quad contusion. Their number two striker, Cory Burke, is out due to a red card suspension. Their number three striker, Jay Simpson, evidently sucks so bad at practice that Curtin doesn’t even consider him for the starting XI. Their big off-season acquisitions, David Accam and Bořek Dočkal, have underwhelmed so far. On top of all that, the Union have been trotting out the youngest back line in Major League Soccer.
At least they’ll be back home after a three-game road trip, on which they dropped the first two matches, but salvaged three points with a 2-0 win against Montreal. Real Salt Lake are a beatable team, with a minus-8-goal differential after 10 matches. One reason for that is that their fullbacks aren’t really fullbacks. The Union defense shouldn’t rest easy though, because despite the lousy goal differential, the Claret and Cobalt do have guys who can score. Albert Ruslan, Joao Plata, and homegrown rookie Corey Baird are all capable of putting the ball into the back of the net.
The big question coming into this match is who will play at striker for the Union. In his midweek press conference, Curtin said he is considering moving either Accam or Fafa Picault up top. Marcus Epps could get another start but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alejandro Bedoya move up to wing, letting Warren Creavalle or Derrick Jones get some minutes at the number 8 position.
However, the Union have not inspired confidence in me, and I am going to predict that they do not get a winning streak going: Union 2, RSL 2