Preview: Le Toux, Vancouver return to Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA UNION vs VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
March 31, 2012 (WEEK 4, MLS Game #30)
4 p.m. ET (WPVI-abc6; SNET Pac)
Looking to turn around their early start, Philadelphia Union return to PPL Park to meet Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday afternoon. Union have suffered defeat in each of their three outings this season, last a 1-0 loss at the Chicago Fire last weekend. Whitecaps FC are still unbeaten and unscored upon this year, following a goalless draw with D.C. United at BC Place last weekend.
REFEREE: Elias Bazakos. SAR (bench): Claudio Badea; JAR (opposite): Corey Parker; 4th: Jose Carlos Rivero
MLS Career: 20 games; FC/gm: 26.2; Y/gm: 2.6; R: 5; pens: 2
- PHILADELPHIA UNION - OUT: FW Krystian Witkowski (concussion); PROBABLE: DF Chris Albright (L groin strain)
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC -- OUT: FW Etienne Barbara (groin strain); FW Darren Mattocks (R shoulder burn); MF Michael Nanchoff (L heel contusion); DF Alain Rochat (L knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: GK Brian Sylvestre (R knee surgery); PROBABLE: FW Camilo Sanvezzo (R quad strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: VAN: Bryce Alderson, Russell Teibert (CAN U-23)
- ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Union 1 win, 1 goal ... Whitecaps 1 win, 1 goal ... Ties 0
- AT PHILADELPHIA (1 meeting): Union 1 win, 1 goal ... Whitecaps 0 wins, 0 goals ... Ties 0
LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/26: PHI 1, VAN 0 (Ruiz 77)
6/18: VAN 1, PHI 0 (Rochat 12)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- Each team won 1-0 decisions at home in Vancouver's first season in MLS last year.
- Coaches record: Peter Nowak vs. VAN: P2 W1 L1 D0 ... Martin Rennie vs. PHI: first game
Philadelphia preview Whitecaps clash
Philadelphia Union remained without a point on the young season, falling to a third consecutive defeat, this time a 1-0 loss to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Union are tied for ninth place in the Eastern Conference.
- The Fire took the lead in the 28th minute. Marco Pappa took the ball on the right flank and danced out of a couple of tackles before putting in a cross that Dominic Oduro headed home inside the near post.
- Union boss Peter Nowak made one change to the team that lost 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids at PPL Park. Roger Torres came into the team in place of Sheanon Williams.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (3-1-4-2): Zac MacMath - Chris Albright (Jack McInerney 80), Carlos Valdes, Porfirio Lopez - Gabriel Gomez - Keon Daniel, Roger Torres (Gabriel Farfan 46), Brian Carroll, Michael Farfan - Danny Mwanga (Josue Martinez 65), Lionard Pajoy.
- Union, who had never before lost the first two games to start a season, are the only team with a 0-3-0 mark at this point. Philadelphia is riding a club-record six-game losing streak over all competitions.
- "It's never easy to look at the standings after the game, it's not easy for the guys in the locker room, and it's not easy for the guys on the coaching staff," said Union boss Peter Nowak. "That's our job to give them a little confidence. They are pushing very hard. I can't say one bad thing about the effort."
- With Sheanon Williams away on international duty, Roger Torres came into the team in his place as Nowak remained with three in the back and Gabriel Gomez as a deep-lying midfield screen who would drop into a back four.
- "The little change with Sheanon Williams and he always gives us a little stretch and speed on the wing; maybe we played a little too narrow and shallow, but like I said the effort was there," Nowak said.
- Gabriel Farf·n made his season debut, coming on to start the second half in place of Torres.
- "It was nice to see the field. Obviously we want to work off of this. We want to do work off every single game we play," Gabriel Farf·n said. "We did have a lot of possession, a lot of plays going forward. We need to build on that, we need to work hard during the week and improve next week."
- Union were also held without a goal for the first time this season. Last year, Philadelphia did not a lose a game after scoring first (10-0-6), a mark that went by the wayside in the season opener. Union were 1-8-6 last season when conceding first.
- "They did a good job with that, trying from different angles to score the tying goal," Nowak said. "What we need to do now is believe it. We are a very good team, young but very good. We have the quality to win the games. That's my job right now to inject the confidence and the security that they are still a good team."
Former Union stars discuss return to Philly
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC remained undefeated to start their second MLS season, returning home and gaining a scoreless draw with D.C. United on Saturday evening at BC Place. Whitecaps FC still sit atop the Western Conference with 7 points from 3 games.
- Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Joe Cannon stayed unbeaten on the season, called upon to make three saves in keeping a second clean sheet on the season. There was also a combined goal-line clearance from striker Davide Chiumiento from a Hamdi Salihi header in the 67th minute.
- D.C. United goalkeeper Joe Willis wasn't called upon to make a single recorded save for the game, Vancouver's best chance an Eric Hassli header that flew into the outside netting at the half-hour mark.
- Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie made no changes to the team that claimed a 1-0 win against Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center.
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-2-3-1): Joe Cannon - Lee Young-Pyo, Jay DeMerit, Martin Bonjour, Alain Rochat (Jordan Harvey 57) - Jun Marques Davidson, Matt Watson - Camilo, Sebastien Le Toux, Davide Chiumiento (Long Tan 86) - Eric Hassli.
- Vancouver has opened the season with three consecutive shutouts - the team did not record back-to-back shutouts in their entire inaugural MLS season, when they had five total. The MLS record of minutes to start a season without allowing a goal is 421, set in 2007 by the New York Red Bulls.
- "I don't think that you get too comfortable with it, but you're pleased that the things you're working on are working," said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. "What we need to keep working on and keep improving on as whole team. I think it's important that we're all working on not giving up goals."
- After being forced off before halftime at Chivas USA, Joe Cannon returned between the posts to record his second clean sheet on the season.
- "We've almost matched last year's total. It's a good start for us, and it's good for our confidence. But at the same time, it would have been good for a win," Cannon said. " ... I felt this week was a little more challenging. I didn't get a full week of training, and then I had two days off - and the sessions near the end of the week were lighter. I rested well and felt good out there, and I'm looking forward to get back to full training this week."
- Vancouver was shut out for the first time this season. In their inaugural MLS season they scored 35 goals, fewest in the league.
- "There's lot of room for improvement, but when you're not connecting in all those areas, you want to make sure you're hard to beat," Rennie said. "Sometimes, when you're not doing those things, you lose a sucker punch at the other end. Who knows? That point could end up being important for us in the long run."
- Said Davide Chiumiento: "We did easy mistakes. Last balls, easy passes - everybody did easy mistakes. Even easy one-twos, or balls we put on the inside; we made bad decisions and bad passes. At this level, you have to play well and make good passes, otherwise it's difficult to score."
- It will be the first game against his former club for Sebastien Le Toux, who was traded by Philadelphia to Whitecaps FC in the offseason after leading that club in scoring each of the last two seasons.
- "I left my emotions there when I got traded. All the fans know that I respect them so it's just going to be fun seeing all the faces that I saw during my two years," Le Toux said. "You don't really think about what's around you, you think about the game and the goals and that's what I will be thinking of. After the game, I will enjoy it with my friends and family over there."
- Whitecaps FC concluded the United match with at least one player born in eight different countries (Argentina, Brazil, China, England, France, Japan, South Korea, and the United States). Vancouver has players born in 17 different countries on their roster this season - most in MLS.