Philadelphia Union vs. San Jose Earthquakes | MLS Match Preview

PHILADELPHIA UNION vs SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
Aug. 24, 2014 (WEEK 24, MLS Game #230)
8 p.m. ET (UDN; CSN-Phi; CSN-BA)

Two teams on the outside of the playoff race looking in meet Sunday evening at PPL Park. The Union recently saw a five-game unbeaten streak come to an end in Houston, but can move to within one point of the fifth-place New York Red Bulls with a win. The Earthquakes rebounded from a 5-0 drubbing by FC Dallas by earning a 1-1 draw against the Western Conference-leading Seattle Sounders.

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REFEREE: Ted Unkel. AR1 (bench): Brian Dunn; AR2 (opposite): Richard Gamache; 4th: Robert Sibiga
MLS Career: 9 games; FC/gm: 23.0; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 3; pens: 3

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SJ: Victor Bernardez, Sam Cronin, Steven Lenhart
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Maurice Edu, Fabinho, Raymon Gaddis … SJ: Shaun Francis, Jordan Stewart
DISABLED LIST: SJ: Tommy Muller
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Union 1 win, 3 goals … Earthquakes 4 wins, 6 goals … Ties 1
AT PHILADELPHIA (3 meetings): Union 1 win, 3 goals … Earthquakes 2 wins, 4 goals … Ties 0

2014 (MLS):
9/8: SJ 1, PHI 0 (Salinas 15)

  • The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play.
  • The Earthquakes won the lone meeting between the teams a season ago, a 1-0 win at Buck Shaw Stadium on Sept. 8, their second consecutive win vs. Union.
  • The only Union victory in the series, in six meetings all-time, came April 30, 2011 at PPL Park, a 1-0 victory. Union have never won at Buck Shaw Stadium.
  • Coaches record: Mark Watson vs. PHI: P9 W4 L3 D3 … Jim Curtin vs. SJ: first game

PHILADELPHIA UNION
Philadelphia Union saw their undefeated run put to an end after five games, falling 2-0 to the Houston Dynamo on Friday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. Union are in a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 27 points from 24 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Dynamo took the lead six minutes into the second half. Brad Davis released Giles Barnes down the left flank, and he drove a low ball across the face of goal. Will Bruin beat his defender to the ball and poked it home for the opener.
  • The Dynamo were gifted an insurance goal in the dying minutes of the match when Omar Cummings sent in a pass from the left and an unsuspecting Raymon Gaddis directed the ball past his own goalkeeper for an own goal.
  • Union interim manager Jim Curtin made four changes to the team that defeated the Montréal Impact 2-1 at PPL Park. Andre Blake came in between the posts in place of Zac MacMath, and Fabinho, Amobi Okugo and Pedro Ribeiro came into the team, in place of Sheanon Williams, Ethan White and Conor Casey.
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Andre Blake - Raymon Gaddis, Carlos Valdes, Maurice Edu, Fabinho - Brian Carroll, Amobi Okugo - Sebastien Le Toux (Conor Casey 76), Vincent Nogueira (Fred 72), Danny Cruz (Andrew Wenger 61) - Pedro Ribeiro.

TEAM NEWS

  • Union saw their five-game undefeated streak come to an end in the defeat in Houston. It was only the second league defeat for interim manager Jim Curtin in his eight games in charge.
  • “It was an even game, but at the end of the day we walk out of here with nothing which is disappointing,” Curtin said. “ … It turned out to be a one-play game like it often is in this building. Houston made a play to their credit to get the goal.”
  • Union were shut out at the attacking end for the first time since May 10, a span of 12 league games. They have been shut out on just four occasions this season.
  • Goalkeeper Andre Blake – the No. 1 overall selection in the 2014 SuperDraft out of the Univ. of Connecticut – made his MLS debut at Houston. He had played two games for Union in their run to the U.S. Open Cup Final.
  • “It’s a great feeling,” Blake said. “It’s just unfortunate that I didn’t walk away with a win or a tie. But, you know, you just have to go back to the drawing board and keep working.”
  • It was the first Union league game that goalkeeper Zac MacMath did not start since May 26, 2012, ending a streak of 80 consecutive league starts.
  • Curtin indicated MacMath could be back between the posts for the San Jose match, as new signing Rais Mbolhi is not yet ready to see action.
  • “Of course Zac wanted to play,” Curtin said. “He’s a competitor. It’s the only time of the year where I thought I could get Andre a game. I saw a window and he’s deserved a game to be honest.” Said MacMath: “It’s kind of become a certainty of uncertainty, so I’ve kind of gotten used to not knowing what’s going to happen each week. But I’m preparing the same as I would if I was going to be the starter each and every week."
  • Striker Pedro Ribeiro – the 15th overall selection out of Coastal Carolina University – also made his MLS debut, playing 90 minutes as the lone out-and-out striker.
  • “I’m definitely happy about the debut,” Ribeiro said. “But I’m definitely not happy with the result. Even though we had three tough games in the last week and most of the guys are pretty tired, that’s not an excuse.”
  • Fabinho made his return to the Union lineup following a four-match absence, coming in at left back and playing the full 90 minutes.
  • “We have to regroup and get back on track,” Curtin said. "We have seven of our last 10 at home, which is positive.”

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes gained a third consecutive draw on their travels, reaching a 1-1 result with Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday evening at CenturyLink Field. The Quakes are in eighth place in the Western Conference with 25 points from 22 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Sounders FC took the lead within seconds of the second-half restart. Set free by a through ball from Obafemi Martins from midfield, Chad Barrett came in alone on goal and calmly tucked the ball past an on-rushing Jon Busch and into the San Jose goal.
  • But the Earthquakes struck back in the 65th minute. Cordell Cato knocked a cross past a defender DeAndre Yedlin from the left and found Chris Wondolowski poaching on the back post to bundle home a simple tap-in for the equalizer.
  • Quakes head coach Mark Watson made three changes to the team that fell 5-0 to FC Dallas at Buck Shaw Stadium. Ty Harden came in at fullback for Shaun Francis, JJ Koval started in midfield for Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, and Tommy Thompson came into the team for the injured Matias Perez Garcia.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-1-1): Jon Busch - Ty Harden, Jason Hernandez, Victor Bernardez (Shaun Francis 80), Jordan Stewart - Atiba Harris, JJ Koval, Sam Cronin, Shea Salinas (Cordell Cato 46) - Tommy Thompson (Adam Jahn 87) - Chris Wondolowski.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Quakes saw their winless run reach three games with the draw, despite coming back for a point for the second consecutive road match (also drawing 2-2 at the LA Galaxy on Aug. 8).
  • “It was a great point. That's something we talked about after our last game and -having a good response to a very disappointing night,” said Quakes head coach Mark Watson. “I thought it was a good performance. Seattle is a tough place to play with a lot of quality players. I thought we created some chances and showed good discipline. We had to withstand some pressure at times but it was a very good performance on the road.”
  • Chris Wondolowski scored his ninth goal of the season, his fourth in seven matches since returning from the US national team and the FIFA World Cup. Wondolowski also has two assists.
  • “We come in and our mentality right now for today and throughout the rest of the year is just get three points. That's what we need,” Wondolowski said. “We still believe ... that we can make this playoff push and we need to start picking up three points, whether it's at home or on the road. To be honest, we'll take it right now.”
  • Tommy Thompson made his first career start in an MLS game, playing off striker Chris Wondolowski. Thompson had made his MLS debut the week before, coming off the substitutes’ bench.
  • “It’s clear to see that [Thompson] is a real quality player,” Watson said. “Overall, it was a great performance. He just turned 19, so he’s a young kid. It was his first MLS start, and didn’t seem overawed by the occasion at all. I thought he had a great night. Worked hard, had some great moments. He’s comfortable on the ball, he can go past people. He started a lot of good attacking sequences for us, and I think he’s got a really bright future.”
  • Cordell Cato came off the substitutes’ bench to start the second half, his longest shift since his last start, July 2 vs. Chivas USA. Cato recorded his second assist of the season, his first coming July 23.
  • JJ Koval made his first start since May 7, coming into a central midfield role and playing the full 90 minutes. He had played just 78 minutes in league match between the starts.
  • “This team, how we play, regardless of who’s in, who’s missing – we always go out there and try to give our best,” Cato said. “Guys like myself that are not playing a lot, we are ready. We don’t sit on the bench or sit in the stands on a daily basis and just say, ‘Oh, we’re not playing.’ We go to practice every day and we work as hard as we possibly can to make sure we’re prepared for an opportunity like this.”
  • Said Watson: “Cordell was good. We made the change at halftime and he was able to bring some energy. DeAndre Yedlin is a good player who makes a lot of good runs and I thought Cordell did that well. He had some good moments going forward and obviously delivered the cross to set Wondolowski up for the goal. He had a good night.”
  • In the buildup to the match, the Quakes suffered a significant injury blow when Matias Pérez García underwent arthroscopic surgery to fix meniscus damage in his knee. Pérez García is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.