Real Salt Lake vs. Philadelphia Union | MLS Match Preview

Real Salt Lake vs. Philadelphia Union - July 3, 2013 (IMAGE)

Photo Credit: 
Gabriel de los Rios / MLSsoccer.com

REAL SALT LAKE vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah
July 3, 2013 (WEEK 19, MLS Game #164)
8 p.m. MT (KUCW; TCN-Phi)

Western Conference leaders Real Salt Lake put their winning streak on the line when they play host to Philadelphia Union on Wednesday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL claimed sole possession of the West lead last weekend following a rare 1-0 victory at Toronto FC, their fourth victory in a row. Union kick off a three-game road swing with the visit to the Wasatch Front, closing out an undefeated three-game homestand with a late 2-2 draw with FC Dallas last weekend.

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REFEREE: Ismail Elfath. AR1 (bench): Corey Rockwell; AR2 (opposite): Jeremy Hanson; 4th: Kevin Terry Jr.
MLS Career: 15 games; FC/gm: 24.5; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 4; pens: 6

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: RSL: Tony Beltran (through July 4)
WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Lovel Palmer … PHI: Conor Casey, Raymon Gaddis
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Ned Grabavoy, Chris Wingert, Kyle Beckerman … PHI: Brian Carroll, Michael Farfan

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: RSL: Tony Beltran (USA); Kyle Beckerman (USA), Nick Rimando (USA), Alvaro Saborio (CRC) … PHI: Keon Daniel (TRI), Jack McInerney (USA)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (5 meetings): Real 2 wins, 7 goals … Union 0 wins, 3 goals … Ties 3
AT SALT LAKE (2 meetings): Real 2 wins, 5 goals … Union 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 0

LAST YEAR (MLS)
8/24: RSL 0, PHI 0

  • The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play.
  • Real have never lost to Union in five meetings all-time. The teams played to a scoreless draw at PPL Park in their lone meeting last season, one of three draws in the series.
  • RSL has won both meetings all-time at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • Coaches record: Jason Kreis vs. PHI: P5 W2 L0 D3 … John Hackworth vs. RSL: P1 W0 L0 D1

REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake extended their undefeated streak to six games with an historic win, defeating Toronto FC 1-0 on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. RSL took over sole possession of first place in the Western Conference with 33 points from 18 games.

READ: Aaron Maund impresses Kreis in win over TFC

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal arrived just before halftime. Yordany Alvarez stepped into a rocket of a shot from outside the box that beat TFC keeper Joe Bendik and found the inside of the far post.
  • Both teams were reduced to 10 men in the 79th minute following a melee set off after a clash between Salt Lake’s Tony Beltran and Silva, both of whom were shown straight red cards by referee Chris Penso.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-2-3-1): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran (ejected 79), Aaron Maund, Nat Borchers, Lovel Palmer - Kyle Beckerman, Yordany Alvarez - Olmes Garcia (Robbie Findley 69), Javier Morales, Joao Plata (Ned Grabavoy 62) - Devon Sandoval (Abdoulie Mansally 82),
  • RSL head coach Jason Kreis made six changes to the team that defeated Seattle Sounders FC 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Aaron Maund, Lovel Palmer, Olmes Garcia, Yordany Alvarez, Joao Plata and Devon Sandoval all came into the team, in place of Carlos Salcedo, Chris Wingert, Ned Grabavoy, Khari Stephenson, Robbie Findley and Alvaro Saborio.

TEAM NEWS

  • Real Salt Lake won their fourth consecutive league match – one shy of their club record. RSL won five in a row in both 2010 and 2011. The goal and win at BMO Field were the club’s first-ever there in four matches, and was its first win in Canada.
  • “It’s not something that we’re overly concerned with.  It would be another thing if we had a team that knew how to win in other places and a team that has gotten enough wins over the years to be considered a successful team. Maybe then it’s a different situation but we haven’t been concerned with it,” said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. “But having done it now I guess it feels good.”
  • Kreis opted for a tactical shift from his usual scheme, putting Olmes Garcia and Joao Plata into wide attacking positions with Javier Morales operating behind spearhead forward Devon Sandoval.
  • “The questions are always answered in the matches. We can talk on the chalkboard as much as we want, we can run through things in practice and see that we like it, but the players answer the questions in the game,” said Kreis. “I think that they did a pretty nice job today. It wasn't perfect, but it was their first time at it. It's nice to see we have another option.”
  • It was also the third clean sheet in the last four games for RSL, and their first shutout away from Rio Tinto Stadium since a 2-0 win at San Jose to start the season. “We clogged the midfield,” goalkeeper Nick Rimando said. “They had a lot of service into the box, but I thought we dealt with it well. We're happy at the end with three points.”
  • Yordany Alvarez scored his first MLS goal in the win in Toronto. Alvarez was in the starting lineup for the first time since April 20, his third league start of the season.
  • “Our belief in our depth continues to grow,” Kreis said. “I think everybody’s heading in the right direction. I’ve always said that’s what gets you results in this league, and I continue to think so.” Said Alvarez: “It feels good. My first goal in MLS – I'm so happy. We're winning, and we got a big three points.”
  • Aaron Maund made his RSL league debut, coming into central defense, the 19th player to start for the club this season. Maund had played in a U.S. Open Cup match vs. Charleston Battery.
  • “I thought he was super – super,” said Kreis. “It wasn't a perfect game. I thought he made a couple mistakes at the end where I thought he should be heading to players and headed to their players and caused us to have to look at second chances a little bit. Super, super reaction because the last time he played it was a bit of a struggle for him at home.”

PHILADELPHIA UNION
Philadelphia Union nearly made it three wins in a row, but FC Dallas struck back for a last-gasp equalizer to leave the teams in a 2-2 draw Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. Union sit in a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference with 26 points from 17 matches.

READ: McInerney puts goalless streak behind him, looks to USMNT debut

LAST MATCH

  • Union took the lead in the 20th minute in familiar fashion, when center back Amobi Okugo leaped to head home a Sheanon Williams long throw-in.
  • But FC Dallas struck back just three minutes later with a header of their own from a young center back, when Walker Zimmerman scored with a glancing backward header from a long free kick from Michel.
  • FC Dallas were reduced to 10 men in the 68th minute when Dallas midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson received a second yellow card. Union then took advantage in the 87th minute when Aaron Wheeler headed home a cross from Williams.
  • But after Williams cleared a Blas Pérez shot off the line in stoppage time, Pérez headed home the tying goal deep into added time when Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath failed to hold a free kick delivered into the box.
  • Union team manager John Hackworth made one change to the team that rolled to a 3-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls at PPL Park. Michael Farfan came into the team in place of Keon Daniel.
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis - Sebastien Le Toux (Chris Albright 90), Michael Farfan, Brian Carroll, Danny Cruz (Antoine Hoppenot 69) - Conor Casey (Aaron Wheeler 79), Jack McInerney.

TEAM NEWS

  • The draw concluded a three-game homestand for Union where they took seven of a possible nine points at PPL Park. They face a two-game West Coast trip this week, continuing on to Chivas USA following the match at Real Salt Lake.
  • “Extremely disappointed to lose two points in that fashion. It is a hard way to feel like you lost a couple points, but I wouldn’t say that we weren’t at fault,” said Union team manager John Hackworth. “I think the game should have been over. It was well over the allotted time that was shown on the clock, but you have to play until the final whistle in order to do that.”
  • Both FC Dallas goals came from set pieces; Union have now allowed six goals from deadball situations this season, tied for second-most in MLS with Chicago, behind D.C. United (8).
  • “You see that they didn’t score from the run of play, they scored from two set pieces,” said Okugo. “We kind of fell asleep; we should have protected the back line, protected the goal better. We tied, so we just have to pick it up for the next two road games.”
  • Right back Sheanon Williams recorded his first career two-assist game, setting up both goals vs FC Dallas,and has three assists in the last two games. Williams has a career-high six assists this season, his third in MLS; four of those have come on throw-ins.
  • Center back Okugo scored his third goal of the season, his second from heading home a Williams long throw-in.
  • “This reminds me of games last year against [D.C. United] where we dominated and dominated and next thing you know they get a late goal,” said Okugo. “The positive from this is that we didn’t lose it, but you hate to let any team get a point in your house – especially like that.”
  • Aaron Wheeler scored his first MLS goal in his second career appearance. He had come on for a late cameo role on June 5 vs. Columbus in his MLS and Union debut.
  • “Great goal obviously and fantastic service. That ball in from Sheanon was an excellent ball, but Wheeler does a great job getting up and, not only that, but he puts it down and towards the side netting. So excellent header for him,” said Hackworth. Said Wheeler: “I guess it’s what you would expect. I’m a prototypical big forward, center forward. The ball comes in, you just tuck it away with your head. It felt good.”