Philadelphia Union vs. FC Dallas | MLS Match Preview

PHILADELPHIA UNION vs FC DALLAS
PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
June 29, 2013 (WEEK 18, MLS Game #154) 5:30 p.m. ET (NBC SN)

A huge interconference match is ahead on Saturday afternoon when Philadelphia Union play host to FC Dallas at PPL Park before an NBC Sports Network audience. Union are coming off back-to-back 3-0 victories, last against the New York Red Bulls, in moving into second place in the Eastern Conference. FC Dallas sit in second place in the West, following their dramatic 2-2 home draw with Sporting KC last weekend, though they were bounced out of the U.S. Open Cup in a midweek defeat.

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REFEREE: Allen Chapman. AR1 (bench): Adam Wienckowski; AR2 (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: Daniel Radford
MLS Career: 21 games; FC/gm: 20.9; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 3; pens: 5

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: PHI: Raymon Gaddis
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Conor Casey, Michael Farfan
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: DAL: Richard Sanchez (Mexico U-20); Kellyn Acosta, Danny Garcia (USA U-20)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (5 meetings): Union 0 wins, 5 goals … FC Dallas 2 wins, 9 goals … Ties 3
AT PHILADELPHIA (4 meetings): Union 0 wins, 3 goals … FC Dallas 0 wins, 3 goals … Ties 2

LAST YEAR (MLS)
5/19: DAL 1, PHI 1 (Perez 7 – Gomez 56)

  • The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play.
  • FC Dallas are unbeaten all-time vs. Philadelphia, in five meetings. The teams have played to three draws, including both lifetime meetings in Philadelphia, and a 1-1 result last year in Frisco in the only meeting between the teams. FCD is 2-0-1 vs. Union at home.
  • Coaches record: John Hackworth vs. DAL: P1 W0 L0 D1 … Schellas Hyndman vs. PHI: P5 W2 L0 D3

PHILADELPHIA UNION
Philadelphia Union won by a 3-0 scoreline for a second consecutive match, this time rolling to victory against a 10-man New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon at PPL Park. Union sit in a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference with 25 points from 16 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Union opened the scoring after just seven minutes. A corner kick was cleared, but the ball made it out to Sheanon Williams at the edge of the box. He then sent in a cross that found a streaking Conor Casey to head into the back of the net.
  • The match truly turned in the 28th minute, when the Red Bulls' Lloyd Sam was shown a straight red card by referee Baldomero Toledo for going studs up on Philadelphia's Danny Cruz.
  • Union finally took advantage in the 64th minute. Keon Daniel saw his shot from the top of the box saved by goalkeeper Luis Robles, but Casey took a nice touch after latching onto the rebound and fired home a leftfooted shot.
  • Antoine Hoppenot sealed the win for Philadelphia with an 89th-minute goal, finishing off a counterattack by stroking home a Sebastien Le Toux rolling pass from the right side of the box.
  • Union team manager John Hackworth made no changes to the team that cruised to a 3-0 defeat of the Columbus Crew at PPL Park
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis - Danny Cruz (Michael Farfan 36), Keon Daniel, Brian Carroll (Matt Kassel 91+), Sebastien Le Toux - Conor Casey (Antoine Hoppenot 73), Jack McInerney.

TEAM NEWS

  • Union have scored three goals in back-to-back games for the first time in their MLS history, after a second successive 3-0 victory. Philadelphia has scored 10 goals in the last four games.
  • “I think we put it on even terms,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “The way that we approached it within our team, our goal of this year is to make sure we're competitive in these individual series, so now it's even. I think the last game of the season against them is going to be a huge one.”
  • Said Jack McInerney: “Obviously going back to last year, it wasn't the best year. I think we could have gone into New York this year and got a result, but things didn't fall our way. I think we expected ourselves to win at home today, so that's not much of a surprise to us. I think we sent a message around the league.”
  • Conor Casey has scored three goals in the last two games, scoring multiple goals for the seventh time in his MLS career in the win against New York.
  • “As a forward obviously you want to score and the most important thing is to put the work in,” Casey said. “Jack [McInerney] has put the work in all year and it’s good for the other guys like me to come in and take the load off of him.” Said Hackworth: “I always thought Conor was going to be doing this someday. He’s been doing it all year long. Today was obviously a huge day for him. Quality in every way. He does so many little things for our team that makes us better.”
  • Two of the Union goals were set up by wide players on the right, the first from right back Sheanon Williams and the third from winger Sebastien Le Toux.
  • “Sheanon does a great job offensively and defensively,” Le Toux said. “I know he can always overlap when I come inside and I know he’s always involved in the attack so I have an outlet to play him.” Said Williams: “I think me and Seba right now have a good relationship. It kind of started as, ‘Let’s try this out.’ But we seem to work well together. Seba’s always helping me defensively and I try to do the same thing for him offensively. We’re happy to have him back and I’m happy to have him on my side.”
  • For Le Toux, it was his third assist in the last two games, and he now leads MLS with seven assists.
  • “I think the guys are just making good runs,” Williams said. “To be honest, it helps that we’re not the smallest team in the league anymore. We have some big bodies and we have some people that want to bang with their center backs. And that makes all the difference. As long as we have people that are willing to go into the box, I’ll keep crossing, Seba will keep crossing and we’ll keep trying to get service in.”

READ: Philadelphia Union turn to forgotten man Michael Farfan

FC DALLAS
FC Dallas remained undefeated at home for the season with a stirring comeback, scoring two late goals for a 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening in Frisco. FCD are in third place in the Western Conference with 29 points from 16 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Sporting took the lead from the penalty spot two minutes before halftime. Even though SKC center back Aurélien Collin knocked home a rebound following a scramble in the area after a free kick, referee Mark Geiger waved off the goal and awarded a penalty kick for a foul by FCD's Andrew Jacobson. Kei Kamara ensured KC would lead by converting from the spot.
  • Sporting doubled their lead early in the second half when Graham Zusi sent in a corner from the left and the ball took a bounce before ricocheting off FCD midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson and into the goal.
  • The hosts were given a lifeline in the 68th minute when KC's C.J. Sapong was sent off for knocking a ball onto fallen Jacobson during a stoppage in play.
  • FC Dallas took advantage to start their comeback in the 88th minute. Ramon Nuñez floated in a cross from the left side of the box that Jacobson flicked past Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen with a glancing header.
  • Two minutes later, Walker Zimmerman scored his first professional goal off a freekick sent in by David Ferreira from the right corner to secure a share of the points.
  • FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made two changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field. Je-Vaughn Watson came into the team for the suspended Jair Benitez, and Kenny Cooper started up top in place of Eric Hassli.
  • FC DALLAS (4-2-3-1): Raul Fernandez - Zach Loyd, George John, Matt Hedges (Walker Zimmerman 46), Michel (Ramon Nunez 74) - Andrew Jacobson, Je-Vaughn Watson - Jackson, David Ferreira, Fabian Castillo (Blas Perez 59) - Kenny Cooper.

READ: Like/Don't Like: FC Dallas saves the best for last vs. Sporting KC

TEAM NEWS

  • FC Dallas set a club record with their 13th consecutive league home game without a loss, coming back to snatch the point against Sporting KC. FCD is 7-0-2 this season in Frisco.
  • “I kept looking up above the stadium, where there was a full moon and sometimes full moons are bad karma or bad luck or whatever it may be,” said FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman. “Even though we were up a man, I didn’t know if we were going to find a goal.”
  • FCD defender Walker Zimmerman scored his first professional goal to cap the comeback. It was his first appearance in a league game since May 25, when he made his only MLS start.
  • “We like Walker a lot and I think the more you see him, the more you are going to like him,” Hyndman said. “He’s got great timing, a lot of courage to get on the end of the ball. I think he’s going to be a good one for us.”
  • Zimmerman came on at halftime for Matt Hedges, slotting straight into central defense alongside George John.
  • “It’s always tough. It’s a huge partnership on the field between the two center backs. There is a lot of communicating going on and playing off each other,” said John. “So obviously it took us a few minutes to get on the same page, but you know Walker is a great player and he got the pace real fast. It wasn’t the first time playing with him, so it was not a big deal at all.”
  • Ramon Nuñez made his second league appearance since his return to MLS and FC Dallas, and recorded his first assist of the season, setting up the first FCD goal.
  • “I thought one guy who really made a difference ... was Ramón Núñez,” said Hyndman. “I thought he put a foot on the ball, I thought he gave many more openings and opportunities for David Ferreira to get free. You could see some very, very good bits and pieces of Ramón that’s helping our team.” Said Núñez: “I feel good. I think everything else is going to come by playing minutes, and I think today is the start of something good to come.”
  • Andrew Jacobson continued to add to his career-high single-season goal output with his third of the season. He had two career goals coming into the year, one scored in each of the last two seasons.
  • “I thought he fought awfully hard in this game. He had a new partner up there in Je-Vaughn Watson, and AJ had a very good game for us,” said Hyndman.
  • On Wednesday, FC Dallas were eliminated from the U.S. Open Cup at the quarterfinal stage following a 3-2 loss to the Portland Timbers in Frisco. Je-Vaughn Watson put FCD ahead early, but goals from Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri and Frederic Piquionne sent the Timbers into the lead. Blas Perez scored a late goal for the final scoreline.
  • Here’s the FCD team: Chris Seitz, Zach Loyd (Bobby Warshaw 83), George John, Walker Zimmerman, Jair Benitez, Jackson, David Ferreira, Andrew Jacobson, Je-Vaughn Watson (Ramon Nunez 68), Fabian Castillo (Kenny Cooper 77), Blas Perez.