By JOEY SAMUEL
Last week, Raymon Gaddis was plugged into the starting lineup on a moment's notice when Philadelphia Union captain Danny Califf aggravated a hamstring injury. As the Union prepare for Saturday's away tilt against Chivas USA, it's becoming likely that Gaddis will get yet another start in his first MLS season.
In his weekly press conference with reporters, Union coach Peter Nowak said that Califf has only been stretching and lightly jogging this week in practice, and has yet to resume training. That means Gaddis, who performed well by most standards in the team's 1-0 win last week against Columbus, could get the nod yet again.
"Coach always tells us to be prepared," Gaddis said. "I've been playing soccer all my life, this is what I love to do, so you live for the moment. You've got to take your opportunities when they get there."
Also in the mix to start in place of Califf is veteran right back Chris Albright, but Gaddis seems the more likely given his strong play against the Crew. Sheanon Williams would then move over to center back once again.
MWANGA'S STATUS STILL UNKNOWN
After missing last week's win due to a rib injury, Danny Mwanga is still unsure if he will rejoin the lineup for Saturday's clash with Chivas USA. Against Columbus, the Union played with only one striker in Lionard Pajoy and ended up getting the win, so it's unknown if Mwanga would start even in the event that he is healthy.
"I've made a really big step forward," Mwanga said of his recovery. "I'm really shooting to be ready to go by Saturday. If not, I'm just going to have to try and get healthy and be ready for the next game."
NEW SIGNING HERDLING JOINS TRAINING
A new face at Union training recently has been German striker Kai Herdling, who was signed by the Union this week from Hoffenheim but had been practicing with the Union a few times prior to everything becoming official. On Wednesday, coach Peter Nowak stressed the impact that his experience could have on the team's young core.
“With all of the youngsters we have in the locker room, I think he will be a good role model for them,” Nowak said. “And from the playing side, he’s a guy who can be a striker, a playmaker, someone who always wants to be around the ball. He’s very technical.”
Nowak said that Herdling needed to go back to Germany to acquire his work permit. He was unsure if the new signing would be ready to go for Saturday's game against Chivas.
UNION PREPARED FOR CHIVAS DESPITE TRAVEL
Despite having to travel across the country to face Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center, the Union feel they are well prepared to earn a result, especially after gaining momentum with the 1-0 win over the Crew last week.
In fact, of all Western Conference teams, Chivas is the one that Philadelphia has seemed to have the most success against since the team debuted in 2010. In the four meetings between the two teams, the Union have won two and drawn the other two, with both wins coming at PPL Park and both draws at the Home Depot Center.
"They've had a rough start like us," Nowak said. "They've lost three home games and won three away games, but with winning a very difficult game across the country in Toronto, they have good confidence. I think they've found a very good formula to be successful. They have a pretty established system right now."