CHESTER, Pa. – These days, there’s very little that surprises Houston Dynamo veteran Brad Davis in MLS.
A veteran of 10 seasons, this year's MLS assist king, with 16 during the regular season, knows he will be a key target of the Philadelphia Union in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday night (5 pm ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes, live chat on MLSsoccer.com) and he also has an idea of exactly how the Union plan to neutralize him.
“I think most teams are going to try and push guys forward and try to make me defend as much as possible,” Davis told MLSsoccer.com on Friday night. “To be totally honest, I would do the same thing.”
Davis typically starts matches on the left wing, although he pinches in centrally on multiple occasions during a game. Expected to counter him for the Union is the duo of right back Sheanon Williams and rookie midfielder Michael Farfan. Both Philly players have showcased their attacking abilities this year and could put Davis to work to cover them.
“I feel that Williams will try and push up a little bit if that’s who’s playing there [at right back],” Davis said. “Even though I feel I’ve gotten better and I’m covering more ground these days, they will try and keep me out of the attack and make me defend as much as possible. But I’m still going to do my best to not let that happen, find good spots and try to get on the ball as much as I can to help my team.”
In four all-time matches against the Union, Davis has two assists and both came at home in 2010. This year, the soon-to-be 30-year-old came up dry despite playing all 180 minutes in the regular season against Philly.
“We know Brad Davis has a good shot and has a lot of assists on the year,” said Philly’s Farfan, who was “not too sure” whether he would actually play on the same flank as Davis. “He’s one of their outlets and a guy who gets balls in the box.”