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Union's Nowak says his lineup is not set in stone

Union team manager Peter Nowak says that being flexible is the key to moving on in this 34-game Major League Soccer season. One day's lineup may not be the next day's.

Union team manager Peter Nowak says that being flexible is the key to moving on in this 34-game Major League Soccer season. One day's lineup may not be the next day's.

The topic came up because Nowak, during his weekly news conference at PPL Park, was asked the reasoning for not starting forward Danny Mwanga, the overall first pick of the 2010 SuperDraft, in Saturday's 1-0 win in Houston.

Mwanga came on strong in his rookie year, finishing with seven goals and four assists. He did enter the game in the 59th minute, replacing midfielder Justin Mapp. For the game, the Union started two forwards, Carlos Ruiz and Sebastien Le Toux. When Mwanga entered, Le Toux played more as a withdrawn forward.

"We tried to display a couple of systems we can use throughout the season, and it's not going to be this or that," Nowak said. "We have enough options to mix things up and choose the best possible way to approach a game."

Nowak said it was important to have extra midfielders to clog up the middle, which worked. But the Union were frequently beaten on the flanks. Either way, Nowak reiterated the point he made after the game - that the offense will have to push forward more during Saturday's 4 p.m. home opener against the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps FC

This has a chance to be an offensive game after Vancouver made a bold statement with last week's 4-2 opening win over visiting Toronto FC.

Former Union midfielder Shea Salinas, now with Vancouver, said on Wednesday that he would not make the trip to Philadelphia because of a strained knee ligament.

On a lighter note, Nowak was asked his opinion of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco's trying out Wednesday for Sporting Kansas City of MLS.

"Why not? I'm all for it," Nowak said. "I hope he is aware of the salary cap we have."

Nowak then said the Union have had inquiries from football players as well. He refused to divulge any names.

"It is a little different playing with your hands and playing with your feet," Nowak said.

Independence signing. The Independence signed midfielder Sinead Farrelly, the second overall selection of the 2011 Women's Professional Soccer draft from the University of Virginia. She is a graduate of Haverford High.

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