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3 Questions with Arizona United reporter and new ICS contributor, Jeff Wendt

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This week in preparation for the opening home game against the Arizona United SC, we take a few moments to pick the brain of long time Arizona United reporter, and new ICS contributor, Jeff Wendt.

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

1. One of the big stories of the offseason for Arizona United was Diplo's investment in the team. What changes, if any, have you seen so far as a result of that investment?

I think the biggest investment we’ve seen so far is the addition of Frank Yallop as the new head coach. While United believed in building from the ground up with inaugural head coach Michael Dellorusso (now an assistant at Rio Grande Valley FC), owner Kyle Eng knew change was needed to grow the product in Arizona. Adding Brett Johnson as a co-owner and with Diplo being a major investor in the team, the money was available to attract someone like Yallop. And with a name like Yallop comes players who want to play under a former Coach of the Year in MLS. Enter players like Gibson Bardsley, Blair Gavin, Christopher Cortez and Julian Ringhof who are buying into Yallop’s style early.

2. Another big story was Yallop taking over the head coach job. How are people out in the Valley feeling about their new, vastly experienced coach?

This town and this fan base is very results-driven. They expect success from whoever comes in to coach the club. That being said, events I have attended have shown the talk about Yallop is all positive. Fans are happy to see a proven winning soccer coach brought in to turn the two-year losing drought around. They have faith in the decision that Eng has made and know that the future is now when it comes to the club’s winning ways.

3. Last year goalkeeper Carl Wosczcynski was one of the most widely recognized players with Arizona United. Who do you think will be drawing attention this season?

Early indications show that one of the players to watch might be forward Christopher Cortez. United was able to pick up Cortez from the Orange County Blues, where he scored six goals for the club last season. Cortez is a sneaky quick player who can turn a game around quickly. United found a gem in Cortez falling to them late in the preseason.

Score prediction:

Coming off a 2-0 road win Wednesday night at Seattle Sounders 2, Arizona United comes into the game 1-1-0. A quick turnaround is never good, but coming against a rested Sacramento squad winning its opener at Seattle last week, United could be in trouble. They are traveling light on the defensive end, as they only carried two defenders with them in Seattle. If United can weather the first 30 minutes and still be fresh from a game played just 72 hours earlier, a draw could be likely. But I see a 2-1 Sacramento win.

Lineup prediction:

GK-Carl Woszczynski

D- Brock Granger (RB), Julian Ringhof (CB), Uchenna Uzo(CB), Daniel Antunez (LB)

MF- Nick Costa (L), Blair Gavin (C), Miguel Timm (R)

F- Gibson Bardsley (R), Sam Garza (C), Christopher Cortez (L)