I made the trip out to Downingtown last night to watch the Independence's last preseason game, a 1-0 win over Penn State at the United Sports Training Center. As you might guess from the scoreline, it wasn't exactly a work of art. I talked with Independence coach Paul Riley afterwards, and he's well aware of what his team needs to do before the curtain goes on April 11.
"We've still got a lot of work to do," Riley told me after last night's game. "I still think we're a little bit behind where we should be at this point."
A big reason for that has been the absence of U.S. national team stars Amy Rodriguez, Lori Lindsey and Heather Mitts. All three were at the Algarve Cup in February and March, and on the roster for this week's two-game friendly series with Mexico.
(You may have heard that the second of those games was played amid a snowstorm in Sandy, Utah, at Real Salt Lake's stadium.)
"We've had four games, and we've only had the whole team for one of them," Riley said. "We're probably a month away from where we should be."
There's more from Riley, goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc and midfielder Caroline Seger in the video player at right.
Also, in case you didn't hear yesterday, the Union will be holding a pep rally at Dilworth Plaza a week from today at noon. The entire team will be there, and it wouldn't surprise me if some people from the Independence are there too.
You might want to tell your boss that you'll be taking a long lunch that day.