Philadelphia Union vs. Real Salt Lake | MLS Match Preview
PHILADELPHIA UNION vs REAL SALT LAKE
PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
April 12, 2014 (WEEK 6, MLS Game #46)
4 p.m. ET (UDN; WPVI-6abc; KTVA-ABC)
Philadelphia Union return home to face a real interconference test as Real Salt Lake come calling on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. Union head back to Chester after coming away from the Chicago Fire with a 2-2 draw last weekend. Real are still undefeated on the young season after five matches, following their scoreless draw at Sporting Kansas City last weekend in a rematch of MLS Cup 2013.
REFEREE: Alan Kelly. AR1 (bench): Adam Wienckowski; AR2 (opposite): Brian Dunn; 4th: Silviu Petrescu
MLS Career: 1 game; FC/gm: 40.0; Y/gm: 5.0; R: 0; pens: 0
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Union 0 wins, 5 goals … Real 2 wins, 9 goals … Ties 4
AT PHILADELPHIA (3 meetings): Union 0 wins, 2 goals … Real 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 3
LAST YEAR (MLS):
7/3: RSL 2, PHI 2 (Gil 75; Morales 97+ -- Le Toux 13; Casey 76)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- The teams have played to draws in each of their last two meetings, over the last two seasons. They reached a 2-2 tie at Rio Tinto Stadium a year ago.
- Union have never defeated RSL at home, the teams having played to draws in each of three meetings all-time at PPL Park, including a scoreless result in the last meeting there in 2012.
- Coaches record: John Hackworth vs. RSL: P2 W0 L0 D2 … Jeff Cassar vs. PHI: first game
Philadelphia Union recorded their second draw in as many matches, the Chicago Fire hitting for a late equalizer to leave the teams in a 2-2 tie Saturday afternoon at Toyota Park. Union are in a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with six points from five games.
- The Fire took the lead in the 16th minute. Quincy Amarikwa won the ball on the left flank before squaring invitingly for Mike Magee, who swept home from close range.
- But Union were level in the 32nd minute through a fortuitous equalizer. Vincent Nogueira saw his right-footed drive deflected by Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, but right into the path of Maurice Edu, who was able to take the simplest of finishes.
- Less than seven minutes later, Union held the edge. A dangerous, left-footed in-swinging free kick from Leonardo Fernandes on the right evaded everyone in a crowded penalty area and sailed inside the far post.
- The Fire found an equalizer with just four minutes remaining, when Juan Luis Anangono rose highest to head Magee’s deep free kick past Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath and into the back of the net,
- The Fire could have won it at the death in the sixth minute of second-half stoppage time, but Magee saw his penalty, and follow-up, saved by MacMath after Anangono had been fouled in the area by Aaron Wheeler.
- Union manager John Hackworth made two changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the Montreal Impact at PPL Park. Leo Fernandes and Conor Casey came into the team, for Cristian and the departed Jack McInerney.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Raymon Gaddis, Amobi Okugo, Aaron Wheeler, Fabinho (Sheanon Williams 46) - Brian Carroll, Maurice Edu - Sebastien Le Toux, Vincent Nogueira, Leo Fernandes (Corben Bone 78) - Conor Casey (Antoine Hoppenot 87).
- For the second time in as many matches, and the third time in five games all season, Union conceded an equalizing goal in the 80th minute or later.
- “It’s disappointing,” goalkeeper Zac MacMath said. “That’s two games in a row we’ve given up a goal in the 80th-plus minute and that’s something we need to continue to work on. Going forward, you can’t give up goals like that.”
- Union’s two goals were the most they have scored in a game this season, after scoring one goal in each of their first four contests. It was the first time they’ve scored multiple goals in a game since last Aug. 10, a 2-0 win vs. D.C. United, a span of 15 games. They have yet to be shut out this season.
- Maurice Edu scored his first MLS goal since April 5, 2008, when he was playing for Toronto FC. Edu has six career goals in MLS.
- “If you don’t shoot, you don’t score. … Something I think not just for myself, but for all of us to do is try to get some more goals. Take some pressure off the strikers if we can get some more goals from midfield,” said Maurice Edu. “Leo [Fernandes] did well with his free kick and I think there’s a lot more goals in this team in general. Hopefully we will see that next weekend.”
- Leo Fernandes scored his second goal of his MLS career, putting in a free kick that sailed through the mixer untouched and nestled inside the far post. Fernandes has been involved in three of Union’s six goals this season.
- “Disappointed we could not get three points. We were fortunate to get the one point at the end. Zac made a huge save,” Fernandes said. “It was a good performance overall but we have to learn how to hold on to the lead. It is happening too often this early in the season.”
- After coming off the substitutes’ bench the week before, Conor Casey made his first start of 2014, playing the target striker that had been filled by Jack McInerney until his trade to Montreal.
- “It was good for Conor to get back. He did a lot of work today, to help us,” said Union manager John Hackworth. “Unfortunately I don’t think we provided him the type of service that was necessary. That was tough because we are not a team that likes to play and dump balls into the box so we are trying to play.”
- Zac MacMath recorded his first penalty kick save in his MLS career. Overall, five of seven penalty kicks against him have been scored; there was a miss by D.C. United’s Dwayne De Rosario on Aug. 19, 2012 (hit crossbar).
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake continued their undefeated start to the season, playing to a scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City in an MLS Cup 2013 rematch on Saturday evening at Sporting Park. RSL are in second place in the Western Conference with 9 points from 5 matches.
- RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella was called upon to make nine saves, and was also saved by the woodwork on a Dom Dwyer opportunity midway through the second half. Sporting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg was forced to make just one save as Real managed only four total attempts at goal.
- Sporting finished the game a man down after defensive midfielder Oriol Rosell was sent off in the 83rd minute by referee Armando Villarreal for a tackle on Devon Sandoval.
- RSL head coach Jeff Cassar made three changes to the team that cruised to a 3-0 win against Toronto FC at Rio Tinto Stadium. Jeff Attinella came in between the posts in place of Nick Rimando, and Rich Balchan and Abdoulie Mansally started at fullback in place of Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Jeff Attinella - Rich Balchan, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Abdoulie Mansally - Luis Gil (Luke Mulholland 55), Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy - Javier Morales - Olmes Garcia (Devon Sandoval 72), Alvaro Saborio.
- Real remain one of two still undefeated teams on the season following their return trip to Sporting Park, reaching a third draw in five games this season.
- It was a second consecutive clean sheet for RSL, who have now not allowed a goal in 236 minutes, the longest shutout streak in MLS this season.
- “This isn't a replay of the final. This is a game that's going to help us get back to the final. And I think with this kind of result, that just builds our confidence to be a solid confident team, both defensively and on the road in a tough place,” said RSL head coach Jeff Cassar. “It felt like a playoff game but these are the kind of games that get you back to the playoffs.”
- With Nick Rimando injured following midweek national team duty in the USA’s 2-2 draw with Mexico, Jeff Attinella made his fifth career MLS start. His first came in the lone regular season meeting with Kansas City last year, a 2-1 RSL loss.
- “He commanded his box. We have a ton of confidence in Jeff and he has been training extremely well this year, playing extremely well,” said Cassar. “We talked earlier in the week about opportunities and taking your opportunities and running with them. Jeff did that.”
- There was another injury suffered on international duty, as Tony Beltran suffered an ankle sprain and missed the SKC match. Neither Rimando nor Beltran are expected to be available for the Philadelphia contest.
- "It's something you try and not worry about too much. These guys take care of their bodies. On Nick's injury, he didn't take a tackle or anything. Tony just took a little knock and he should be back next weekend,” said Cassar. “We don't prepare for those things and representing your country is an unbelievable honor. We would never want to hold them back from that.”
- Along with Attinella, defenders Rich Balchan and Abdoulie Mansally made their first starts of the league season. Olmes Garcia also made a second consecutive start with Joao Plata still out injured.
- “We feel confident sliding guys into certain spots and we've shown that last year and we are prepared to show that again this year. We have had a couple freak little injuries and some guys have had to step up and they played well,” said midfielder Ned Grabavoy. “And without question, our energy and commitment level was great because the soccer wasn't there for the most part on the night, and we dug in and battled for it.”