MLS Match Preview: Colorado Rapids vs. Philadelphia Union
COLORADO RAPIDS vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
DICK'S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
March 10, 2013 (WEEK 2, MLS Game #11)
1 p.m. MT (Altitude; TCN-Phi / UDN @ 5 p.m. MT)
A winter storm pushed this match from its previously scheduled Saturday time slot, but the postponement will only heighten the anticipation for both clubs as they seek their first victories of the new season in the Colorado Rapids' home opener at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids began their season last weekend with a 1-0 loss at FC Dallas, while the Union started their new season at home, dropping a 3-1 decision to Sporting Kansas City.
REFEREE: Ismail Elfath. SAR (bench): Frank Anderson; JAR (opposite): Baboucarr Jallow; 4th: Allen Chapman
MLS Career: 8 games; FC/gm: 23.5; Y/gm: 2.3; R: 4; pens: 6
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (5 meetings): Rapids 3 wins, 10 goals Ö Union 0 wins, 5 goals Ö Ties 2
AT COLORADO (2 meetings): Rapids 1 win, 5 goals Ö Union 0 wins, 2 goals Ö Ties 1
LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/18: PHI 1, COL 2 (Pajoy 67; Castrillon 56; Cascio 62)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season
- Union have never defeated Colorado in five meetings all-time. The Rapids have won three, with a pair of draws.
- The Rapids have won the last two meetings between the teams, both coming at PPL Park, including a 2-1 victory a year ago in the lone meeting of the season.
- Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. PHI: P1 W1 L0 D0 Ö John Hackworth vs. COL: first game
The Colorado Rapids opened their new season with a road defeat, falling 1-0 to FC Dallas on Saturday evening in Frisco.
- The game's only goal came in the 11th minute. Dallas playmaker David Ferreira launched a speculative long ball from inside his own half, but Rapids goalkeeper Steward Ceus failed to claim it after leaving his box, leaving Jackson with the simplest of finishes into an empty net.
- With Matt Pickens injured, Steward Ceus started between the posts. Rookie Deshorn Brown and Dillon Powers were each given their professional debuts, and new signing Kevin Harbottle started wide in the midfield.
- COLORADO RAPIDS (4-1-4-1): Steward Ceus - Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Diego Calderon, Brian Mullan - Hendry Thomas - Atiba Harris, Pablo Mastroeni, Dillon Powers (Kamani Hill 75), Kevin Harbottle (Tony Cascio 62) - Deshorn Brown (Andre Akpan 83)
WATCH: Rapids fall to FC Dallas in season opener
- A year ago, the Rapids bookended their season with back-to-back wins, defeating Columbus and Philadelphia to start the season, then ending their year with wins at Chivas USA and home to Houston.
- "I thought we were the best team on the field from the first minute to 90 full minutes. But we made a mistake and we paid for it. I donít really remember another [scoring threat FC Dallas had] after that," said Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja. "I'm very proud of the boys. The goal was a mistake, but Iím very proud of the team and very happy with the performance. The guys played very well today and created options. We dictated tempo. We were all over.
- With offseason acquisition Edson Buddle out with a knee injury, rookie Deshorn Brown was given his first professional start at the point of the Rapids attack.ï With MartÌn Rivero and Jaime CastrillÛn also both out for the foreseeable future with injuries, rookie Dillon Powers was inserted into the heart of the midfield.
- You want to have the result, but with this philosophy that we have here weíre not afraid to throw the young guys in there because they deserve it,î said Pareja. ìI thought the performances today by Dillon Powers and Deshorn Brown were great.î
- Said defender Drew Moor: ìDillon Powers was as solid as heís been all preseason. Deshorn Brown showed that heís extremely dangerous, can get in behind and heís got speed. Kevin Harbottle was fantastic. He has been incredible in preseason. Itís a good squad and a hard working group of guys.î
- Pablo Mastroeni made his first appearance in almost a full year, starting just the first two games of last season before missing the remainder of the campaign with concussion-like symptoms.
- Mastroeni became the first field player in MLS history to play at least one match in 16 different seasons, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman is the only other player to have played in 16 seasons in league history. Current New England goalkeeper Matt Reis, as well as Jaime Moreno, Tyrone Marshall and Zach Thornton (all retired), all played in 15 different seasons.
Philadelphia Union scored the first goal of the new season but couldnít make it stick, falling 3-1 to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park.
- Union took the lead in the 17th minute. Sebastien Le Toux snuck behind the SKC defense and received a brilliant over-the-top ball from Keon Daniel, managing to control the long pass and immediately fire it past SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.
- Sporting leveled the scoreline just minutes before halftime. Bobby Convey made a nifty move along the sideline and played a cross into the box to Claudio Bieler, who headed it back to fellow SKC newcomer Benny Feilhaber. Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath blocked Feilhaberís blast but could not do the same on Graham Zusiís close-range rebound.
- SKC took the lead in the 66th minute when Zusi whipped in a sharp free kick from the left to Oriol Rosell, who broke free of his mark and headed it past MacMath.
- Sporting put the game away in the 83rd minute. Chance Myers laid the ball back for Bieler from the right side of the area and he took a composed left-footed shot that beat MacMath to open his MLS scoring account.
- Sebastien Le Toux started up top in his return to his former club, one of two newcomers in John Hackworthís opening day first XI, along with defender Jeff Parke.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis - Brian Carroll, Michael Lahoud (Roger Torres 80) - Michael Farfan, Keon Daniel (Conor Casey 84), Gabriel Farfan (Jack McInerney 70) - Sebastien Le Toux
WATCH: Union fall to Sporting KC in season opener
- After concluding their 2012 with three consecutive losses, Union werenít able to get the new campaign started off on the right foot.
- After spending the 2012 season in Vancouver and New York, after he was traded away by then-coach Peter Nowak, Sebastien Le Toux made his return to Union one to remember with the opening goal. Le Toux scored 25 league goals combined in his first two seasons with Philadelphia.
- This is home for Seba,î Amobi Okugo said. ìHe feels at home here, and you play the best when youíre most comfortable. Thatís why we brought Seba back. Thatís why the fans are happy. And thatís why he scored.î
- Said Union team manager John Hackworth: ìI canít think of any way to feel good about anything that just happened. Iím glad Sebaís here and Iím glad he scored a goal in his first game back. But the fact is this is a team sport. And, from our perspective, itís unacceptable to play in PPL and play the way we did.î
- Raymon Gaddis was given the start of the left side of the back four and Gabriel Farfan ñ touted by Hackworth as the clubís first-choice left back ñ was moved forward into the midfield.
- He played very well defensively and he had one of the best guys in our league to try to negate,î Hackworth said. ìHe did a great job.î Said Gaddis: ìMy off-the-field relationship with Gabe Farfan helps a lot with how we played. Despite the result, I think we did very well on the left side. We communicate on and off the field about what are tendencies are and what we like to do. So I think it helped very much.î
- Keon Daniel was given the start in the heart of the midfield, with Michael Farfan ñ who had settled in the playmaker role by the end of last season ñ moved into a wider position.
- I thought that he had a really good start to the game and I donít want to be critical of any players but the fact is that we all have to be better,î said Hackworth. ìItís a 90-minute game and we have to play it that way. Despite our good start, we have to finish things and certainly we didnít do that.î
- Conor Casey came on for the final six minutes in his Union debut, replacing Daniel. "We feel like Conor has had a great preseason but we wanted to press and we did. Thatís not playing to Conorís strengths. We feel like Conor still needs time to get integrated," said Hackworth.
- Amobi Okugo was given the start in central defense alongside Jeff Parke with Bakary Soumare an unused substitute. ìHeís had a solid preseason but weíve got to go play a 90-minute game where we know weíve got to play the two time defending champion and we feel like weíre going to take the game to them so our decision was to go with Amobi,î said Hackworth. ì Ö You know, you get to write that they were the wrong choice now but the reality is they are decisions that the coach has to make.î