Preview: Slumping Union eye East recovery vs. Revs

Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution

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PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
8 p.m. ET (Galavisión; TCN-Phi; CSN-NE)
Sept. 7, 2011 (WEEK 26; MLS Game 243)

Philadelphia Union and the New England Revolution will try again Wednesday at PPL Park, with the teams playing a fixture originally scheduled for Aug. 28 that was postponed because of Hurricane Irene. Union have played in the meantime, their winless streak reaching six games in a 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake on Saturday. The Revolution last played Aug. 20, their winless streak also hitting six games after they were hauled back into a 2-2 draw with New York.

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REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. SAR (bench): Greg Barkey; JAR (opposite): Craig Lowry; 4th: Andrew Chapin
MLS Career: 65 games; FC/gm: 24.4; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 22; pens: 18

INJURY REPORT: PHILADELPHIA UNION — OUT: FW Levi Houapeu (L ankle strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Brian Carroll (R foot sprain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Michael Farfan (L knee contusion) ... NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION — OUT: MF Sainey Nyassi (R knee MCL sprain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Kheli Dube (whiplash); MF Stephen McCarthy (L shoulder subluxation); PROBABLE: GK Matt Reis (L knee irritation); FW Milton Caraglio (L groin strain); DF Kevin Alston (L hamstring irritation); DF Franco Coria (L knee MCL sprain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: PHI: Keon Daniel (Trinidad & Tobago, at Barbados)
SUSPENDED: NE: Kenny Mansally (through Sept. 7)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: PHI: Danny Califf, Brian Carroll ... NE: Pat Phelan
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Danny Mwanga, Sheanon Williams ... NE: Ryan Cochrane, Franco Coria, Rajko Lekic, Kenny Mansally, Stephen McCarthy

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (3 meetings): Union 1 win, 6 goals ... Revolution 0 wins, 2 goals ... Ties 1
  • AT PHILADELPHIA (1 meeting): Union 0 wins, 1 goal ... Revolution 0 wins, 1 goals ... Ties 1
  • Carlos Ruiz, Carlos Valdes and Sheanon Williams all scored as Union rolled to a 3-0 win against the Revolution on July 17 at Gillette Stadium.
  • Union went undefeated against the Revolution in their inaugural season, the teams playing to a 1-1 draw at PPL Park, then Philadelphia taking a 2-1 victory in Foxborough.
  • Coaches record: Peter Nowak v NE: P15 W6 L4 D5 ... Steve Nicol vs. PHI: P3 W0 L2 D1

LAST MEETING

  • 7/31: NE 0, PHI 3 (Ruiz 12, Valdes 24, Williams 93+)
  • Union were ahead after just 12 minutes. Justin Mapp carved out a bit of space and crossed to Keon Daniel at the back post. Daniel headed back across the face of goal for Carlos Ruiz to acrobatically volley home from close range.
  • Philadelphia doubled the advantage after 24 minutes to complete another tidy piece of play. Kyle Nakazawa's free kick from midfield located Sebastien Le Toux outside the near post. Le Toux nodded the ball across the face of goal for Carlos Valdes to volley home his first MLS goal.
  • The Revolution were left a man down after 66 minutes when Benny Feilhaber was shown a second yellow card after a tackle on Ruiz.
  • Sheanon Williams concluded a fine night for Union by scoring in stoppage time, racing clear of the Revolution back line to run onto a pass from Danny Mwanga and stabbing the ball past goalkeeper Matt Reis.
  • NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-2-3-1): Matt Reis - Kevin Alston, A.J. Soares, Franco Coria (Darrius Barnes 46), Chris Tierney - Pat Phelan, Stephen McCarthy - Kenny Mansally (Zack Schilawski 79), Benny Feilhaber (sent off 66), Sainey Nyassi (Zak Boggs 46) - Rajko Lekic.
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-1-3-2): Faryd Mondragon - Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Danny Califf, Gabriel Farfan - Brian Carroll - Justin Mapp (Danny Mwanga 63), Kyle Nakazawa, Keon Daniel (Stefani Miglioranzi 79) - Sebastien Le Toux, Carlos Ruiz (Michael Farfan 73).

PHILADELPHIA UNION

Philadelphia Union played in the only game scheduled last weekend, their winless streak stretched to six games in a 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Union have 34 points from 25 matches on the year, in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • All the goals came in the opening 45 minutes. RSL opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Kyle Beckerman played a short corner to Paulo Junior, received the return pass and looped around the top of the penalty area before unleashing a wicked blast into the upper right corner that left Union 'keeper Faryd Mondragón helpless.
  • Beckerman again played a part as Real doubled their lead eight minutes later. Again from a corner, Beckerman this time picked out the head of Chris Schuler, and the towering center back easily guided a header past Mondragón.
  • Union cut the deficit in half at the half-hour mark. Justin Mapp broke free down the left side of the field, and delivered an early cross to Sebastien Le Toux, and he beat RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando with a first-time shot from the right side of the penalty area.
  • Union manager Peter Nowak made three changes to the team that suffered a 2-1 loss to the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Michael Farfan came in for brother Gabriel, and Amobi Okugo and Kyle Nakazawa started in place of the suspended Carlos Valdes and Keon Daniel, away on international duty.
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-3-1-2): Faryd Mondragon (Zac MacMath 46) - Sheanon Williams, Stefani Miglioranzi, Danny Califf, Michael Farfan - Sebastien Le Toux, Amobi Okugo, Justin Mapp (Roger Torres 68) - Kyle Nakazawa (Freddy Adu 59) - Danny Mwanga, Veljko Paunovic.

TEAM NEWS

  • Union saw their winless streak match the club record set during their inaugural season (July 31-Aug. 22). After allowing a season-high two goals just five times in the opening 22 games of the season, they have now allowed two goals in each of the last three.
  • "It was good we created situations. In some capacity, we still missed a couple chances we created. We've got to get better with anticipation, but I'm quite pleased with the performance because the tempo was high and we still pushed throughout the game," said Union manager Peter Nowak. "We have to work on those set pieces we gave up goals from. That needs to be improved."
  • The New England match starts a string of three consecutive games for Union, and four of the club's next five contests will be at PPL Park.
  • "We've got to be smart and not look back," Nowak said. "Everything is in front of us. We can control what we can control, and that's how the games in front of us will be played. As I said this week, it's very important to follow up with a performance we did (against RSL) and of course improve stuff we didn't do well. Also making sure we go back to like we started the season."
  • Goalkeeper Zac MacMath, the fifth overall selection in this year's MLS SuperDraft, made his MLS debut in the 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake when he came on at halftime for an injured Faryd Mondragón.
  • Mondragon suffered an extra-articular phalanx fracture to a finger in his right hand, and is expected to miss 2-4 weeks. He is scheduled to undergo surgery on Tuesday. The former Colombian international had played every minute of every competitive game in goal after signing in the offseason.
  • "I think Zac MacMath came in and he was calm and very secure," Nowak said. "I was pleased with the game from him. We'll see what the status is for Faryd, who is a very important piece to this team."
  • MacMath became the 17th of 18 players selected in the first round this year to appear in a league game. Only Eddie Ababio, selected with the final pick of the first round by defending MLS Cup champion Colorado, has yet to appear in a game this season.
  • Sebastien Le Toux scored his fourth goal of the season — but his first in open play — against RSL. Le Toux, who led Union in their inaugural season with 14 goals, scored his first three goals from the penalty spot.
  • "I think most of the season he was just unluckyStarting in Houston, he hit a couple of crossbars and lately even the game at home versus Dallas, he hit the post," Nowak said of Le Toux. "It's a combination of things. For us, for the group, it's not important. We have goals spread out. We're not relying on one or two guys, we're relying on the whole team. But it was good he scored a goal today and I hope he will continue to work this way."
  • For a second consecutive game after starting his Union debut, Freddy Adu came off the bench for about the final half hour.
  • "I think we need to give him time because we feel that he still needs to work on parts of his game ... fitness, game fitness, making sure that he is ready to play the full 90 minutes," said Nowak. Said Adu: "It takes a little bit of time to adjust to your teammates and work yourself into the team, but slowly and surely I've been able to do that."

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

The New England Revolution return to action after their winless streak hit six games in difficult circumstances once again, allowing a late equalizer for a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution have 23 points from 26 matches, now in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Milton Caraglio opened his MLS account after 15 minutes with the opener. Sent through by Benny Feilhaber, Caraglio bowled through three Red Bulls defenders before collecting his own rebound and tucking home at the second time of asking.
  • Caraglio doubled his haul eight minutes before halftime when he was able to coolly head home Kenny Mansally's service from a free kick at the back post.
  • Dane Richards pulled the Red Bulls within a goal eight minutes after the second-half restart. Tim Ream caught the Revs' high line out and sent Richards racing through on a breakaway, and he thumped home at the near post.
  • Mansally was sent off two minutes later when he saw a second yellow card for a wayward elbow, but Teemu Tainio restored level terms in manpower when he took down Shalrie Joseph from behind to pick up his second yellow.
  • But the Red Bulls still came away with an away point as Richards hit for his second of the game, grabbing the equalizer with three minutes to play as he thumped home Joel Lindpere's cross at the near post.
  • Revolution head coach Steve Nicol made two changes to the team that conceded a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo at Gillette Stadium. Bobby Shuttleworth started in goal for the suspended Matt Reis, and Rajko Lekic came into the team for Chris Tierney.
  • NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-4-2): Bobby Shuttleworth - Kevin Alston, Ryan Cochrane, A.J. Soares, Darrius Barnes - Zak Boggs, Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph, Kenny Mansally (sent off 55) - Milton Caraglio, Rajko Lekic (Stephen McCarthy 58).

TEAM NEWS

  • The arrival of Hurricane Irene forced a 17-day layoff between games for the Revolution. New England has not played since the match against Union was postponed on Aug. 28.
  • For the fifth time during the Revolution's current six-game winless run, they scored the first goal of the game. They have taken draws in four of those games.
  • "We've been fortunate that we've been able to take leads in the game and we just can't hang on to the lead. We just don't do enough to be happy at the end of the game," said Shalrie Joseph. "Another couple of points slip away, and in a couple of months we're all going to be sad because at the end of this day, we're not able to get into the playoffs."
  • Kenny Mansally became the ninth New England player to be sent off this season. The MLS single-season record is 11 red cards, seen by the MetroStars in 2000. Three times teams have finished the year with nine red cards: D.C. United in 1999, New York in 2002, and Miami Fusion in 2000.
  • Making his fourth consecutive appearance in the starting lineup, Designated Player Milton Caraglio scored for the first time in MLS.
  • "It's exactly what you want (from Milton Caraglio). He's a center forward and he held the ball up great. We had a huge difference just getting out with him and Rajko (Lekic) for the short time they've been together, they look as though they'll do well together, which is what you hope for," said Revolution boss Steve Nicol. "And obviously scoring two goals is great."
  • After missing three games with a fractured toe, Rajko Lekic returned to the Revolution starting lineup and paired with Caraglio for the first time.
  • "I think (the Caraglio and Lekic pairing is) huge. It's a big difference when you have two guys who can hold the ball and are a threat. It makes the opposition take a step back and obviously and gets us a step forward further up the field," Nicol said. "So what we've seen so far is pretty good and we're looking for it to get better and better."
  • Bobby Shuttleworth made his fourth start of the season between the posts for New England, coming in for the suspended Matt Reis. The Revolution have lost twice and drawn twice in Shuttleworth's four starts.
  • "I think there's been plenty of those games this season and this is definitely one of them. Getting a two-goal lead, in really every circumstance, you expect to get the three points," said Benny Feilhaber. "We didn't and that's really been the story this season: giving up points in the second half."
  • The Revolution will have French-born Monsef Zerka available for the Philadelphia match. Zerka arrived on a free transfer from Greek side Iraklis FC; he spent 10 years in France, from 2000-09 with Nancy and 2009-10 with Nantes, playing in Ligue 1 for five of those.
  • Although Zerka has operated as an attacking midfielder, second striker and winger in recent seasons, Revolution boss Steve Nicol said he expects to employ his new signing out wide. "He can play on either side," Nicol said. "He's got good experience. He'll help us."