MLS Match Preview: Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution
PHILADELPHIA UNION vs NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
March 16, 2013 (WEEK 3, MLS Game #21)
5 p.m. ET (UDN / TCN-Phi / CSN-NE)
The New England Revolution make the trip the East Coast to take on Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. Union return home off their first victory of the new season, a 2-1 win against the Colorado Rapids in a game delayed a day by snow. The Revolution got their new season off on the right foot last weekend, defeating the Chicago Fire 1-0 on the road.
REFEREE: Jose Carlos Rivero. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Adam Wienckowski; 4th: Hilario Grajeda
MLS Career: 8 games; FC/gm: 26.4; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 4; pens: 4
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (7 meetings): Union 4 wins, 13 goals ... Revolution 0 wins, 7 goals ... Ties 3
AT PPL PARK (4 meetings): Union 2 wins, 8 goals ... Revolution 0 wins, 6 goals ... Ties 2
LAST YEAR (MLS):
7/29: PHI 2, NE 1 (Adu 59; McInerney 90 – Sene 12)
9/1: NE 0, PHI 0
10/6: PHI 1, NE 0 (McInerney 73)
- Union are undefeated in seven meetings all-time with the Revolution, with four victories.
- Union won both meetings at PPL Park a year ago, after reaching draws at home in their first two meetings with New England over their first two seasons.
- Union had won on both trips to New England before the teams played to a scoreless draw at Gillette Stadium last year.
- Coaches record: Jay Heaps vs. PHI: P3 W0 L2 D1 ... John Hackworth vs. NE: P3 W2 L0 D1
Philadelphia Union went on the road for the first time in the new season and came away with a win, defeating the Colorado Rapids 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in a match delayed a day due to a blizzard.
- Union drew first blood in the 34th minute. Sébastien Le Toux’s corner kick found an unmarked Amobi Okugo in the box, and he easily headed home at the back post.
- The home side pulled even in the 68th minute. Jamie Smith took Deshorn Brown’s pass just outside the box on the right and curled a beautiful strike around and over goalkeeper Zac MacMath’s outstretched hands and into the far corner of the net.
- But 11 minutes later, Union caught the Rapids on the counterattack. Jack McInerney took a beautiful through ball from Antoine Hoppenot on the right and slotted the ball past goalkeeper Pickens and a sliding Drew Moor inside the far post for the decisive strike.
- Union team manager John Hackworth made two changes to the team that fell 3-1 to Sporting Kansas at PPL Park to open the season. Danny Cruz and Jack McInerney came into the team in place of Michael Lahoud and Gabriel Farfan.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-1-3-2): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis - Brian Carroll - Danny Cruz, Michael Farfan (Michael Lahoud 78), Keon Daniel (Gabriel Farfan 64) - Sebastien Le Toux (Antoine Hoppenot 71), Jack McInerney.
- After a difficult trip and a day’s delay because of the blizzard that dropped more than a foot of snow on the Denver area, Union were able to come away with a first victory of 2013.
- “We’re a team that likes to push the game,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “We like to press, if you watched last week. But with us being here now for two days, sitting in a hotel, dealing with the storm, dealing with the weather and the delays, it was going to be a lot to ask for us to come in and take the game to them.”
- Amobi Okugo scored his first MLS goal in his 55th career league appearance, in his fourth season.
- “I know [assistant coach Rob Vartughian] and Amobi have been talking about him actually scoring on that for a long time, and he just barely missed one last week,” Hackworth said. “It was a really good finish. We executed and got the play we wanted. And he was also excellent on defense today. He had a very key block late in the second half that was probably going on goal. And those kind of critical moments are massive for us right now.”
- Making his first start of the season after coming on as a 70th-minute substitute in the opener, Jack McInerney picked up where he left off last season with his first goal of the year. McInerney led Union with eight goals in 2012.
- “He was huge for us,” Hackworth said of McInerney. “He was really good in the preseason and he came on and played well last week and he certainly deserved the start. He was doing everything. It was a massive effort on his part.”
- Conor Casey was not able to figure in the victory against his former club, unable to go after suffering a hamstring injury in his late substitute shift in the season opener.
- “We really thought he would be fine,” Hackworth said. “By Wednesday, we were planning on him training on Thursday and playing. But these things sometimes take a little while and this one wasn’t good on Thursday. So we couldn’t bring him.”
- Antoine Hoppenot once again reprised his super-sub role, coming on in the 71st minutes and setting up the game-winning goal. In his rookie season, he scored four goals and added an assist, all after coming on as a substitute.
- “I was able to turn and face the defenders, and he (Jack McInerney) made a great run across, and I just put it in his path. He’ll finish those most of the time,” said Hoppenot. Said McInerney: “Antoine did a good job holding up the ball, and he beat his defender. I made up a run, he put up a perfect pass and it stopped right in-front of me and it was an easy finish.
- Despite carrying a broken nose suffered during the match, Danny Cruz was able to last the full 90 minutes. Sebastien Le Toux also took a heavy knock to the ankle during the match, forced to come off after 71 minutes.
- Gabriel Farfan suffered a hamstring strain in prematch warmups, which put him on the substitutes’ bench to start. When he came on, Hackworth “moved him around and played him in three or four positions in the midfield, trying to find a place where he could help us.”
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution got their new season off to a fine start, defeating the Chicago Fire 1-0 on Saturday evening at Toyota Park.
- The lone goal came shortly after the hour mark. After a misclearance was back toward the Fire penalty area, Juan Toja controlled the loose ball at the top of the box and laid the ball back to Kelyn Rowe. He looped the ball to the far post over the pulled-up Chicago backline, where Jerry Bengtson was lurking and calmly able to finish his header.
- First-round draft pick Andrew Farrell was given the start at right back and new signings Kalifa Cisse and Jose Goncalves were slotted into midfield and central defense respectively.
- NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-4-2): Matt Reis - Andrew Farrell, Jose Goncalves, A.J. Soares, Kevin Alston - Lee Nguyen, Clyde Simms, Kalifa Cisse, Donnie Smith (Kelyn Rowe 53) - Jerry Bengtson (Chad Barrett 90), Juan Toja (Diego Fagundez 79).
- The Revolution won their season opener for the first time since 2009, when they started the campaign with a victory at San Jose.
- “It was a hard fought battle. I thought we did a lot of good things, with a couple of mistakes here and there that led to a lot of their chances. Overall it was pretty solid,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. “We were sharp defensively and thought we had a couple more chances, maybe after we scored the first one – I thought we could have had another one. I liked the way we finished the game The guys were fighting for every inch.”
- Kelyn Rowe was not able to start after battling tendinitis in his knee throughout the week leading up to the match, but after coming on in the 53rd minute he set up the game’s lone goal.
- “I think Kelyn [Rowe] came in and changed the game, and he showed a little bit of class in terms of receiving the ball, finding the gaps and of course setting up the goal,” said Heaps. “It's my job, whether I play 20 minutes or 90 minutes, to make an impact and do something for the team,” Rowe said.
- Juan Toja was given the start in an underneath striker role behind Jerry Bengtson, his first start for the club since arriving late last season.
- “You saw Juan [Toja], and how difficult he is to cover because he’s kind of a hybrid player. His movements are herky-jerky, it’s tough,” said Heaps. “Jerry [Bengston] was really good. He battled and worked hard and he arrived in a lot of places.”
- Matt Reis was given the start in goal, and became just the third player in MLS history to make one appearance in at least 16 different seasons. Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was the first; he was joined by Colorado Rapids midfielder Pablo Mastroeni in the season’s first weekend.
- “Matt has shown he’s kept that level since the end of last year to the beginning of the season,” said Heaps. “For me, that save is exactly what we need from a goalkeeper. They really didn’t have much, and they had the win so Duka unleashes one and Matt stays with it and makes a great save.”
- The first overall selection in the SuperDraft this season, rookie Andrew Farrell made his professional debut, playing 90 minutes at right back
- “He certainly looked comfortable and I think that’s one of the most important things,” said Heaps. “What I really liked was his pressure in the game. He won a lot of balls and played some very good balls forward.”