July 17, 2012
Hackworth plans reserve-heavy lineup against Aston Villa
Don't be surprised if the Philadelphia Union lineup on the field for Wednesday's friendly against Aston Villa doesn't look much like the team that has won three straight Major League Soccer games.
|With Team Manager John Hackworth planning to rest most of his regular starters for Wednesday’s friendly against Aston Villa, youngsters like Cristhian Hernandez will get a share of the spotlight.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
"Tomorrow is an interesting game for us," said Union interim team manager John Hackworth. "It’s the eighth game in 24 days," he said referring to a stretch that has seen the team play five MLS games and two U.S. Open Cup matches, and now an international friendly.
Hackworth said most everyone on the Union roster should be available for selection with the exception of Bakary Soumare and Chandler Hoffman. With the Union having to play an away game against division rival New York Red Bulls on Sunday, it’s not likely too many starters will see action.
"Tomorrow presents an opportunity for guys that may have not played with the first team in those games to really have the spotlight shine on them," Hackworth said. "They are guys that deserve it. I am excited to see some of the young guys who haven't been playing, but who have been working so hard in training and have really pushed the guys that have been on the field to do some of the things that we have done. They deserve their chance and they are certainly going to get their opportunity tomorrow night."
Wednesday night’s friendly against Aston Villa kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Led by renowned manager Paul Lambert, the list of international standouts on the club’s roster includes Irish goalkeeper Shay Given, English striker Darren Bent, and U.S. National Teamers Eric Lichaj and Brad Guzan.
The game at PPL Park kicks off a three-game U.S. tour for Villa. They head to Chicago for a game on Saturday against the Fire and then on to Portland to meet the Timbers on July 24.
Lambert, who led his team through training in the scorching 90 degree heat at PPL Park on Tuesday, referred to MLS as "an improving league."
"I don't think the league should be underestimated, I really don't. I know Scotland came over here a couple of months ago and were well beaten by USA national team. I don't think you can undersell it.
"There are some really good players in it and I think it's an improving league and we're in for a hard game, a really tough game."