Baffling Formation Dooms Union in First Playoff Game

Baffling Formation Dooms Union in First Playoff Game

The agita started when the teams filed out of the tunnel and onto the field. I scanned the jersey numbers to see which eleven players Peter Nowak had selected to start the first playoff game in franchise history. The #6 stuck out like a sore thumb.

Before allowing the panic to set in I checked to make sure Brian Carroll was out there. He was. If Carroll hadn’t suffered an injury in the lead up to the game, then why was Miglioranzi out there? Next, my thoughts turned to Danny Califf and Carlos Valdes. Perhaps one of them was unable to go, and pressed for a starting center back Nowak plugged in Miglioranzi. Nope, both starting center backs were out there.

Ok, so why in the world was Miglioranzi, who played fewer regular season minutes than Carlos Ruiz (who left the team in JULY!), starting this game? I only became more incredulous when I saw how Nowak decided to deploy him.

The Union came out in a five man back line. With Miglioranzi stationed between Califf and Valdes. In a playoff game. At home.

Wait, what?

The Union came out, at home, in an aggregate goal two-leg playoff series, with six of their ten field players decidedly defensive-minded (Sheanon Williams, Califf, Miglioranzi, Valdes, Gabriel Farfan, and Brian Carroll).

The bizarre decision to plug Miglioranzi into the starting lineup backfired almost immediately. Six minutes in, Brad Davis whipped a free kick into the box, which was headed home by Andre Hainault. The man Hainault beat to win that header? You guessed it, Stefani Miglioranzi.

So much for that five man backline paying defensive dividends.

To some degree I understand what Nowak was hoping for when he dreamed up the lineup. The formation enabled Williams and Gabe Farfan to run the flanks. At times the formation morphed into a 3-5-2, with Williams and Gabe Farfan joining Carroll, Michael Farfan, and Justin Mapp in the midfield.

What I don’t understand is why he used Miglioranzi as a de facto third center back. Why not slide Carroll back there and use Amobi Okugo as the holding midfielder? Or, why not just stick with the 4-4-2 you’ve employed the entire season?

To be fair, the Union did not play all that poorly. They created chances, scored a gorgeous goal (Le Toux slotting home a beautiful floated chip from Michael Farfan), but in the end, unlike Houston, they were unable to finish their chances.

Substitutes Roger Torres and Freddy Adu injected some much-needed attacking verve. I’d look for one of those to start during the second leg on Thursday night.

All things considered, the Union have an opportunity to win this thing. They are only down single goal. Here’s hoping Nowak has scrapped the Miglioranzi experiment.


Video highlights:

NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales


NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: NBC Sports Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

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• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
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• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
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• Other various projects as assigned


1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
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Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

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Asked about LeBron James after Sixers game, Kyrie Irving says @*#^*!#%&*

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Asked about LeBron James after Sixers game, Kyrie Irving says @*#^*!#%&*

Apparently Kyrie Irving doesn't want to talk about LeBron James.

After the Celtics' win over the Sixers on Friday, a fan asked Irving, "Where's LeBron?"

Irving's response ... NSFW ...

WARNING: The video contains offensive language. But if that kind of thing doesn't bother you, you can watch it here.

Irving was asked about the incident by reporters Saturday.

So what he's basically saying is "sorry, not sorry."

With the video circulating around social media, expect Irving to hear from the league.