Philadelphia Union vs. Vancouver Whitecaps | MLS Match Preview
PHILADELPHIA UNION vs VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
June 7, 2014 (WEEK 14, MLS Game #129) 7:30 p.m. ET (TSN; TCN-Phi)
Philadelphia Union return home to face a rolling Vancouver Whitecaps FC when the clubs meet in an interconference clash Saturday evening at PPL Park. Union concluded their two-game southern California tour last weekend with a 3-0 win against Chivas USA. Whitecaps FC are coming off a famous victory in extending their undefeated run to six games, following their 4-3 victory at the Portland Timbers last weekend.
REFEREE: Jose Carlos Rivero. AR1 (bench): Jeff Muschik; AR2 (opposite): Danny Thornberry; 4th: Mark Kadlecik
MLS Career: 25 games; FC/gm: 27.2; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 8; pens: 13
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: VAN: Matias Laba
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Maurice Edu, Fabinho … VAN: Andy O’Brien
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: PHI: Michael Lahoud (Sierra Leone); Andre Blake (Jamaica) … VAN: Steven Beitashour (IRN); Carlyle Mitchell (TRI)
ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Union 2 wins, 2 goals … Whitecaps FC 1 win, 1 goal … Ties 1
AT PHILADELPHIA (4 meetings): Union 1 win, 1 goal … Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 1
LAST YEAR (MLS)
7/27: VAN 0, PHI 1 (Hoppenot 85)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- Union won the only meeting between the teams a season ago, a 1-0 victory July 27 at BC Place. There has not been more than one goal scored in any of the four meetings all-time between the clubs.
- Whitecaps FC have not won at PPL Park, with Union taking a win and a draw in the two meetings in Chester.
- Coaches record: John Hackworth v VAN: P1 W1 L0 T0 … Carl Robinson vs. PHI: first game
Philadelphia Union put an end to their losing run after two matches, rolling to a 3-0 win against Chivas USA on Saturday evening at StubHub Center. Union are in a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 14 points from 15 games.
- Union took the lead in the 28th minute shortly after Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was whistled for a rare delay of game infraction by referee Allen Chapman. Midfielder Martin Rivero was called for a handball inside the penalty area on the ensuing indirect free kick, and Conor Casey calmly converted from the spot.
- Union doubled their lead and Casey doubled his count in the 66th minute, as he headed home a well-timed cross from Cristián Maidana from the left flank.
- The result was complete 10 minutes later when Maidana drove the ball through Andrew Wenger’s legs from the left side of the area as goalkeeper Kennedy pleaded with the referees for an offside call.
- Union manager John Hackworth made three changes to the team that suffered a 4-1 loss to the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center. Fred, Conor Casey and Cristian Maidana all came into the team, in place of Brian Carroll, Leo Fernandes and Antoine Hoppenot.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-1-2-3): Zac MacMath - Raymon Gaddis, Amobi Okugo, Sheanon Williams, Fabinho - Maurice Edu - Fred, Vincent Nogueira - Danny Cruz (Zach Pfeffer 86), Conor Casey (Andrew Wenger 75), Cristian Maidana.
- Union concluded their two-game southern California trip with a win and a loss, ending a two-game losing run with the win vs. Chivas USA.
- After going the first 12 games of the season with no more than two goals scored in any game, Union have now scored three goals in two of their last four.
- Union kept a clean sheet for the first time since April 19, when they reached a scoreless draw with Houston. It was their third defensive shutout of the year.
- “Our performances all year have been better than our results show. So you got to get the results in order to get that confidence,” said Union manager John Hackworth. “Reporters were asking me during the middle of the week what we need to do and I was saying ‘look, we need to have a good game and we need to score a couple goals and we need to get a shutout.’ Nothing I can do in training or anywhere is going to replace what that experience is going to be in a league game.”
- Conor Casey scored his first two goals of 2014 – his ninth career multiple-goal game – in making his first start since May 10.
- “I’ve probably been a little tougher on him than I should have been, to be fair,” Hackworth said. “He probably deserved a shot earlier in the season to have more minutes but we challenged him and he certainly answered those challenges for sure. … I think he still has the quality to be a goal-scorer in this league. And you saw that.”
- Said Casey: “Hopefully we will be able to take the confidence with us this week. We need to follow this up with points at home too. We haven’t played well at home. We know that we are behind, point-wise, this season. We have played a lot of games and haven’t gotten a lot of points. We need to make sure, especially going into the break, that we follow this performance up with another good performance.”
- Veteran midfielder Fred made his first league appearance of the season, playing the full match in central midfield. It was his first start in MLS since June 11, 2011, when he was playing for D.C. United.
- “Fred has been playing really well in training,” Hackworth said. “We’ve wanted to try to get him into a game for the last several weeks but the situation didn’t present itself. With Brian Carroll having a little hamstring injury at the end of the LA game, it just opened up a spot. We constantly talk to guys that when the opportunity arrives, you have to make the most of it, and that was great for Fred.”
- Said Fred: “It’s been a year that I didn’t play the 90 minutes. Before the game, I was so excited to play, I felt like I was 20 years old. When I started playing, the football flowed in and I’m very happy. I feel a little bit older, they call me grandpa, but I [felt] great today on the field and I think I can help Philadelphia get to the top.”
- Cristian Maidana returned to the starting lineup after a one-match ban and scored a goal and added an assist, the first time in his MLS career he’s been involved in more than one goal in a single game.
- Hackworth said the experiment to try Aaron Wheeler at center back is over, and that he is now training again as a forward. Wheeler has made 11 appearances in central defense this season, eight as a starter.
- “I don’t think it’s fair to Aaron to have this conversation around whether he’s going to be a center back or a forward. He is a good pro,” Hackworth said. “He’s played some really valuable minutes for this club this year … It’s a fluid list right now because we honestly haven’t had the consistent play out of our center backs that you would want or expect at this point in the year. We’ve tried a lot of guys back there and it’s been a struggle.”
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC stretched their winning streak to six games in impressive fashion, coming away from Providence Park with a 4-3 win against Cascadia rivals Portland Timbers on Sunday evening. Whitecaps FC sit in fourth place in the Western Conference with 20 points from 12 games.
- The Timbers took the lead after just three minutes. From the right wing, Diego Valeri crossed to Maximiliano Urruti at the top of the area, and he unleashed a left-footed blast past Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted.
- But the visitors were ahead thanks to two penalty kicks. In the 16th minute, Erik Hurtado was tripped up by Diego Chara in front of the box, and referee Kevin Stott immediately whistled for a penalty kick, which was converted by Pedro Morales. Then in the 26th minute, Kekuta Manneh was clipped down by Pa Modou Kah, and Morales again coolly converted the spot kick.
- It was 3-1 for Whitecaps FC in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time when Hurtado collected a Morales cross and fired point-blank on Donovan Ricketts. The big Timbers ‘keeper saved the first attempt, but Hurtado bundled home the rebound from close range. Then it was 4-0 four minutes into the second half when Jordan Harvey let fly a curling left-footed blast after collecting a Morales cross from across the penalty area.
- The Timbers finally pulled a goal back in the 77th minute from a Gaston Fernandez header off a Valeri cross. Then the margin was cut to one with a wonderful goal in the 86th minute, as Fanendo Adi juggled a long ball in the box and popped it over a defender, who scored from an outstanding volley of his own inside the right-hand post, but that was as close as Portland got.
- Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made no changes to the team that reached a 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders FC at BC Place.
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-2-3-1): David Ousted - Nigel Reo-Coker, Andy O'Brien, Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey - Gershon Koffie, Matias Laba - Sebastian Fernandez (Omar Salgado 78), Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh (Russell Teibert 46) - Erik Hurtado (Darren Mattocks 66).
- Whitecaps FC extended their undefeated streak to six games, matching the club’s longest ever since coming to MLS, also going six games without loss last June 15-July 14 (5-0-1).
- The win was Vancouver’s first ever against Portland in MLS, after eight meetings between the clubs in the expansion class of 2011.
- Pedro Morales had a pair of goals and two assists, a pair of every Whitecaps FC goal. He has four goals andthree assists over the last four league matches, since missing the Real Salt Lake game on April 26 through injury, and five goals and four assists in the last five games over all competitions.
- “I brought him here to be a difference-maker and he certainly is a difference maker. Prior to [the Portland] match and certainly [then], he enjoyed the occasion,” said Whitecaps FC manager Carl Robinson. “He slowed it down when we needed to. A bit like Diego Valeri. He runs the show for them. It’s great to watch. As a young coach who wants to learn and wants to watch exciting players, there were a few exciting players on the pitch.”
- Said Morales: "[It was] a lot to do with work ethic and a ridiculous amount of running opened up some space for me. I'm just really happy with the way the team performed.”
- Erik Hurtado extended his goalscoring streak to three matches, his first three professional goals, all in his first three league starts of the season.
- “He’s been superb. His confidence level is sky-high at the moment and his work rate is phenomenal. He’s done that in front of his family,” said Robinson. “I was a little worried before the game that he had a lot of family here. When you do that as a young player, you go away from the things you’re good at. He didn’t do that. I thought his movement was excellent. He got his reward with a goal. His holdup play was excellent.”
- Jordan Harvey netted his second goal of the season, his first since hitting for the opener in the March 29 game vs. Houston.
- The three goals allowed by Whitecaps FC were a season-high. They have allowed multiple goals in five of their last six matches (13 goals in that time).
- “If you had said to me before the game would I take a 4-3, I would have. I know we’re a team in there that can score goals. What I’ve got to work on is the defensive side of this group,” Robinson said. “That’ll take time. The goals are great. I’ve said all along that I’d like to win 4-3 rather than 1-0. We’ve got to tighten up defensively.”