Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Philadelphia Union 07-27-2013 - Preview

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MLS Regular Season
July 27, 2013
7:00pm EDT
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Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Philadelphia Union | MLS Match Preview

VANvPHI, 7-27-13

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VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
BC PLACE, Vancouver, B.C.
July 27, 2013 (WEEK 22, MLS Game #198)
4 p.m. PT (UDN; SNet Pac; TCN-Phi)

A pair of clubs currently sitting in playoff positions meet on Saturday afternoon when Vancouver Whitecaps FC play host to Philadelphia Union at BC Place. Whitecaps FC return home after their undefeated streak was put to an end last weekend in a 2-1 loss at the LA Galaxy, now sitting in fourth place in the Western Conference. Union are also in fourth place, in the East, following their scoreless home draw with the Portland Timbers last weekend.

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REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. AR1 (bench): Frank Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Mike Rottersman; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal
MLS Career: 157 games; FC/gm: 25.0; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 53; pens: 60

DISABLED LIST: PHI: Greg Jordan
SUSPENDED: PHI: Conor Casey (caution accumulation; through July 28)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: VAN: Gershon Koffie
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: VAN: Russell Teibert, Nigel Reo-Coker Ö PHI: Brian Carroll, Raymon Gaddis, Michael Farfan, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (3 meetings): Whitecaps FC 1 win, 1 goal Ö Union 1 win, 1 goal Ö Ties 1
AT VANCOUVER (1 meeting): Whitecaps FC 1 win, 1 goal Ö Union 0 wins, 0 goals Ö Ties 0

LAST YEAR (MLS)
3/31: PHI 0, VAN 0
*    The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play.
*    The teams have evenly split their three meetings all-time. Each team won 1-0 at home in Whitecaps FC's inaugural season of 2011; the teams reached a scoreless draw last year at PPL Park.
*    Coaches record: Martin Rennie v PHI: P1 W0 L0 T1 Ö John Hackworth vs. VAN: first game

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC saw their undefeated streak come to an end after six games, the LA Galaxy coming back for a 2-1 win Saturday evening at StubHub Center. Whitecaps FC sit in fourth place in the Western Conference with 32 points from 20 matches.

LAST MATCH
*    Whitecaps FC opened the scoring in the 19th minute. From the right flank, Lee Young-Pyo sent a sharp diagonal ball toward the middle that Russell Teibert redirected beyond LA's backline and into space. Camilo took it alone to the box and slotted past Carlo Cudicini.
*    The Galaxy were even 10 minutes later. Gonzalez headed Juninho's free kick into the goalmouth, it barely cleared the head of Gyasi Zardes' head and Jose Villarreal poked it home. The assistant referee's flag went up for offside, but the goal was allowed by referee Chris Penso as Zardes did not play the ball.
*    The winner came 12 minutes into the second half. A long ball from Todd Dunivant found Zardes streaking behind the Whitecaps' defense, and he caught up with the ball at the left byeline. Zardes stepped around a defender then beat Vancouver goalkeeper Brad Knighton at the near post from a tight angle.
*    Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie made one change to the team that defeated the Chicago Fire 3-1 at BC Place. Russell Teibert came back into the team in place of Corey Hertzog.
*    VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-1-2-3): Brad Knighton - Lee Young-Pyo (Tommy Heinemann 90), Johnny Leveron, Brad Rusin, Jordan Harvey - Jun Marques Davidson (Kekuta Manneh 62) - Nigel Reo-Coker, Gershon Koffie - Russell Teibert (Daigo Kobayashi 76), Kenny Miller, Camilo Sanvezzo.

TEAM NEWS
*    Whitecaps FC saw their six-game undefeated run come to an end in the loss, the longest unbeaten streak in the club's MLS history.
*    "It's disappointing we didn't keep our unbeaten run going. We've been on a good run, we've been playing very well and now we need to get ourselves back to doing that next week," said Whitecaps FC coach Martin Rennie. "We've got a home game against Philadelphia and we need to get on another run. We've had a lot of tough games and we've done pretty well in them but tonight wasn't as high a standard as we're used to and it's disappointing."
*    Camilo Sanvezzo maintained his leadership atop the MLS Golden Boot standings with his 13th goal of the season. Sanvezzo has scored 10 goals in the last eight games.
*    "This team is playing a more attacking style and it's given us more opportunities to score goals," said Kenny Miller. The team is playing with some very, very good players in the midfield and [Gershon] Koffie and Nigel [Reo-Coker] have been good players for us in the middle. They provide us with really good service by getting the ball into the right areas and we take advantage of that."
*    Whitecaps FC conceded multiple goals for the first time since the 4-3 home win vs. New England on June 15. They had conceded three goals total in the previous five games.
*    "I think we played well, with the amount of opportunities they had I felt like we were able to stay in the game and it was nice for us to get a lead at the beginning and I don't think we played as well in the second half as we would have liked to," said goalkeeper Brad Knighton. "I felt like we were too open at times and against the likes of LA, they're going to take advantage of that and they sure did. Ö But credit to everyone, our backline has been very good these last five or six games."
*    Russell Teibert returned to the lineup after missing three matches while on national team duty with Canada, coming into the wide right attacking role in place of Corey Hertzog, who had started all three games.
*    Lee Young-Pyo recorded his third assist on the goal. His last came June 8 vs. Seattle ñ when he and Russell Teibert also collaborated on a Camilo goal, the first in his current eight-game run.
*    "If you look at the game as a whole, the best team won on the night," Miller said. "There's no doubt about that. We never quite got to the level of performance we've shown both at home and the road of late. So it's one that we'll have to take it on the chin and move on to next week and make sure we get back to winning ways."

PHILADELPHIA UNION
Philadelphia Union completed a two-game homestand with another result, reaching a scoreless draw with the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening at PPL Park. Union sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 31 points from 21 matches.

LAST MATCH
*    Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts finished with four saves, including a couple from close range. The Timbers also saw Union hit the post a couple of times and the crossbar once. Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath also finished with four saves.
*    The match was delayed for nearly an hour right at the end of the halftime break because of lightning.
*    Union team manager John Hackworth made one change to the team that came back for a 3-1 win against Chivas USA at PPL Park. Jack McInerney came back into the team in place of Leo Fernandes.
*    PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis - Sebastien Le Toux, Michael Farfan (Leo Fernandes 68), Brian Carroll, Danny Cruz (Fabinho 79) - Jack McInerney (Antoine Hoppenot 82), Conor Casey.

TEAM NEWS
*    Philadelphia Union saw their home undefeated streak extended to six games in the scoreless draw. It was their second attacking shutout in the last three games, after being blanked just once in the first 18 league contests.
*    "I thought defensively, we were good throughout the whole night,: said assistant coach Rob Vartughian, who filled in for the suspended John Hackworth. "The first half, we chased the game a little more than we would have liked to and didn't get a hold of the ball, we didn't make passes to keep it. The guys were tired, but I think the guys came out of the locker room after difficult circumstances with the weather and the delay and we had a good second half. We were happy with that."
*    Said midfielder Danny Cruz: "I felt that we had the majority of the good chances; they had one real good one there in the second half, but overall, I think we're happy with our performance. We obviously wanted three points, but we just played a team that only has two losses, and we came out feeling like we were a pretty good team against them."
*    After missing three games while on international duty with the USA, Jack McInerney returned to the lineup, partnering Conor Casey in attack.
*    "I think it's a tough game for forwards, especially in the first half. Just because we had to chase it a little more than we would have liked," Vartughian said. "When you finally get on the ball after defending for a bit, guys are tired and it's hard to connect passes and make plays. So, I thought Jack did fine. He was good in training when he came back. It just wasn't an easy game to get them involved with for our side."
*    Leo Fernandes was not in the first XI after starting three consecutive matches, but came off the bench for the final quarter of the match.
*    Goalkeeper Zac MacMath recorded his sixth shutout of the season, his first since keeping back-to-back clean sheets June 5-30 vs. Columbus and New York. He has 17 shutouts in his career, the most shutouts before the age of 22 in MLS history.
*    "I think this was one of my best games of the season, right up there with Chicago [on May 11]," MacMath said. "It's something to build on. Hopefully I ñ and the team ñ can continue to have strong performances like this." Said Brian Carroll: "I thought he was very decisive and commanding in his plays. He came up huge a couple of times and was solid the rest of the match."