New York Red Bulls vs. Philadelphia Union | MLS Match Preview
NEW YORK RED BULLS vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.
August 17, 2013 (WEEK 25, MLS Game #225)
8 p.m. ET (NBC SN)
It's a massive match in the Eastern Conference as the New York Red Bulls meet Philadelphia Union for a third time this season, Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena before an NBC Sports Network audience. The teams are separated by just a single point in the table - and either could be atop the division by the end of the weekend with a victory. The Red Bulls return home following a 2-0 loss at the Columbus Crew last weekend, while Union rebounded with a 2-0 home win against D.C. United.
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. AR1 (bench): Eric Boria; AR2 (opposite): Corey Rockwell; 4th: Jorge Gonzalez
MLS Career: 152 games; FC/gm: 24.0; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 32; pens: 45
DISABLED LIST: PHI: Greg Jordan
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NY: Tim Cahill - PHI: Amobi Okugo, Danny Cruz
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Jamison Olave - PHI: Brian Carroll, Raymon Gaddis, Michael Farfan, Jeff Parke, Sheanon Williams
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (9 meetings): Red Bulls 6 wins, 14 goals - Union 3 wins, 10 goals - Ties 0
AT NEW YORK (5 meetings): Red Bulls 4 wins, 7 goals - Union 0 wins, 2 goals - Ties 0
3/30: NY 2, PHI 1 (McCarty 55, Henry 81 - Casey 61)
6/23: PHI 3, NY 0 (Casey 7, 64; Hoppenot 88)
* The teams are meeting for the third time this season. They reached a 1-1 draw March 30 at Red Bull Arena, then Conor Casey scored twice and Antoine Hoppenot added a third in a 3-0 Union victory June 23 at PPL Park.
* The Philadelphia win in the last meeting snapped a five-game winless streak vs. New York. All three Union victories lifetime in the series have come at PPL Park. The Union goal in the first meeting this year snapped a 287-minute goalless drought in the series.
* Coaches record: John Hackworth vs. NY: P4 W1 L3 D0 - Mike Petke vs. PHI: P2 W1 L1 D0
LAST MEETING (MLS)
* Union opened the scoring after just seven minutes. A corner kick was cleared, but the ball made it out to Sheanon Williams at the edge of the box. He then sent in a cross that found a streaking Conor Casey to head into the back of the net.
* The match truly turned in the 28th minute, when the Red Bulls' Lloyd Sam was shown a straight red card by referee Baldomero Toledo for going studs up on Philadelphia's Danny Cruz.
* Union finally took advantage in the 64th minute. Keon Daniel saw his shot from the top of the box saved by goalkeeper Luis Robles, but Casey took a nice touch after latching onto the rebound and fired home a left-footed shot.
* Antoine Hoppenot sealed the win for Philadelphia with an 89th-minute goal, finishing off a counterattack by stroking home a Sebastien Le Toux rolling pass from the right side of the box.
* PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis - Danny Cruz (Michael Farfan 36), Keon Daniel, Brian Carroll (Matt Kassel 91+), Sebastien Le Toux - Conor Casey (Antoine Hoppenot 73), Jack McInerney.
* NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-1-3-2): Luis Robles - Brandon Barklage (Kosuke Kimura 46), Heath Pearce, Markus Holgersson, Roy Miller - Dax McCarty - Lloyd Sam (sent off 28), Eric Alexander, Jonny Steele (Fabian Espindola 67) - Thierry Henry, Peguy Luyindula (Andre Akpan 83).
NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls had their undefeated run put to an end after four games, dropping a 2-0 decision to the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Red Bulls are now in second place in the Eastern Conference with 38 points from 24 matches.
* The Crew opened the scoring in the 61st minute after referee Allen Chapman adjusted Red Bulls defender Jamison Olave shoved a Crew player in the penalty area on a set piece, and Federico Higuain made no mistake with the spot kick, beating goalkeeper Luis Robles with a shot down the middle.
* The home side secured the full points in the 76th minute. Wil Trapp hit Higuain with a through ball behind the defense, and the Argentinean lofted the ball over an onrushing Robles with a classy chip from outside the area.
* Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke made one change to the team that defeated Sporting Kansas City 3-2 at Sporting Park. Peguy Luyindula started up top in place of Thierry Henry.
* NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Brandon Barklage, Jamison Olave, Markus Holgersson, Roy Miller - Eric Alexander (Ruben Bover 81), Ibrahim Sekagya, Dax McCarty, Jonny Steele (Marius Obekop 70) - Fabian Espindola, Peguy Luyindula (Andre Akpan 71).
* The Red Bulls were coming off back-to-back victories for the first time in league play since winning four in a row from April 20-May 8.
* "We didn't come with quite the right mentality and as a result we kind of put ourselves behind the 8-ball," said Red Bulls assistant coach Robin Fraser, who performed the bench duties with Mike Petke suspended after being dismissed at Sporting KC. "To be fair, we hung in there and we were plugging along and trying to find our way forward."
* The Red Bulls were also shut out for the fourth time in their last five league matches, having lost three of those. Their only goals scored on the road since May 11 came in the 3-2 win at Sporting KC.
* "I'm just really surprised by how the second half went," said Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles. "The first half we came out with a gameplan. We knew we were on the road and we didn't want to sit too far back at times and we did, but that was the way the game dictated it. In the second half, once the penalty got called on us, it just completely changed the whole scope of the game."
* Said right back Brandon Barklage: "We are very disappointed. Once again on the road, I don't thnk we came out 100 percent effort."
* After 10 consecutive league starts, Thierry Henry did not feature for the Red Bulls after suffering from an Achilles tendon inflammation.
* "I fully expect Thierry to be available this weekend, 100 percent," said Petke. "It was something that I was aware about all [last] week. I didn't know exactly what was going to happen and then on Thursday, we made a precautionary decision. It was acting up and we went with it."
* The Red Bulls could also receive a welcome addition as Tim Cahill has returned to full training, after suffering a knee injury in the July 27 match vs. Real Salt Lake.
* "That's a phenomenal sign, obviously. Judging by (this week's) performance. I'd expect a very good possibility that he'll be available but we still have three practice sessions to go," said Petke.
Philadelphia Union returned to their home winning ways, taking a 2-0 decision against D.C. United on Saturday evening at PPL Park. Union sit in third place in the Eastern Conference with 37 points from 24 matches.
* Union opened the scoring in the 35th minute. Right back Sheanon Williams sent in a high-arching cross that Sebastien Le Toux flicked on to the foot of Conor Casey, who managed to control the ball between defenders and poke it past D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid in one motion.
* Casey then sealed the win in the 75th minute when he calmly slotted home a cross from the left flank from Fabinho, who had been freed on the edge of the area from a pass by Le Toux.
* Union team manager John Hackworth made two changes to the team that dropped a 2-1 decision to the Chicago Fire at PPL Park. Fabinho started at left back in place of Raymon Gaddis, and Keon Daniel returned to the midfield in favor of Michael Farfan.
* PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Fabinho - Danny Cruz (Michael Farfan 69), Keon Daniel, Brian Carroll, Sebastien Le Toux (Michael Lahoud 90) - Jack McInerney, Conor Casey (Aaron Wheeler 85).
* Union won at their PPL Park home for the first time since July 12, after a draw and a loss in their previous two home matches.
* "It was a must-win," said striker Conor Casey. "We were playing against an Eastern Conference team that has struggled this year and has had some injuries coming into this week. Regardless, we haven't dropped two in a row yet this year and we were playing at home. It was a must-win and it was great that we were able to come away with the points."
* Casey collected his second two-goal game of the season. It was the eighth time in his MLS career he's scored multiple goals in a game.
* "He scores two goals, fantastic. What he did early in that game changed a little bit of it by dropping deep in the midfield and giving us the ability to play into him, off of him, it changed things for us at the start of that game," said Union manager John Hackworth. "So really happy for him and he continues to do those things. I have said it all along, I am really glad we have him."
* Sebastien Le Toux played a part in both Union goals and now leads MLS with 12 assists. It was his third game this season with two assists.
* "Clearly we are a team that likes to man the flanks if you will, but I think for me when we push Sebastien a little inside and we cut Conor back and that really opened up things," said Hackworth. "We had kind of gone down that left early and often and the one time we went back to the right with it actually opened up the whole field for us on the left so it was good to see we went down both sides."
* With Raymon Gaddis out of the starting lineup in a league match for the first time this season after suffering an injury vs. Chicago, Fabinho came in at left back for his first MLS start.
* "F·binho had a good game for us; he gives us a different look on that left side for sure," Hackworth said. "His service is excellent and he gives us options. Ray has still had such a stellar season, and when he comes back, we will have some difficult choices."
* Fabinho collected his second assist in MLS play, having appeared in the last five league matches. "He's a great player," center back Amobi Okugo said. "We all welcomed him with open arms. When he came in, he wasn't shy or anything. And you can see that with his play. He doesn't try to play safe like he's nervous. He came in and bombed down the left."
* Sheanon Williams collected his eighth assist of the season, tied for third among the MLS assist leaders and the most among defenders in the league this season.