Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls | MLS Match Preview
PHILADELPHIA UNION vs NEW YORK RED BULLS
PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
July 16, 2014 (WEEK 19, MLS Game #168)
6:55 p.m. ET (ESPN2/Deportes)
Philadelphia Union will be looking to return to their winning ways in a crucial match in the Eastern Conference when they play host to the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday evening at PPL Park. Union haven’t won in back-to-back matches under interim manager Jim Curtin, hauled back into a late 3-3 home draw by Colorado over the weekend. The Red Bulls have gone five games now without loss in league play, coming off a masterclass 4-1 home victory against the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening.
REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. AR1 (bench): Corey Parker; AR2 (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: Mark Kadlecik
Toledo MLS Career: 175 games; FC/gm: 25.3; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 61; pens: 65
SUSPENDED: PHI: Michael Lahoud (through July 16); Amobi Okugo (through July 16)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NY: Lloyd Sam
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Maurice Edu, Fabinho, Raymon Gaddis … NY: Thierry Henry, Armando, Jamison Olave
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (11 meetings): Union 3 wins, 11 goals … Red Bulls 7 wins, 16 goals … Ties 1
AT PHILADELPHIA (5 meetings): Union 3 wins, 8 goals … Red Bulls 2 wins, 7 goals … Ties 0
FUTURE MATCH: 9/13: Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls, 3 p.m. ET
4/19: NY 2, PHI 1 (Henry 57; Sam 67 – Le Toux 80)
• The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Thierry Henry and Lloyd Sam scored goals 10 minutes apart midway through the second half to lead the Red Bulls to a 2-1 win, April 16 at Red Bull Arena.
• The Red Bulls are 5-0-1 in home games vs. Philadelphia, having outscored Union 9-3, and also won a U.S. Open Cup game there in 2010.
• The Red Bulls had won their last two visits to Chester before Union took a 3-0 victory there last June 23.
• Coaches record: Jim Curtin vs. NY: first game … Mike Petke vs. PHI: P4 W2 L1 D1
• The Red Bulls took the lead in the 57th minute. Eric Alexander fed a streaking Roy Miller on the overlap on the left flank, and he squared a ball to an unmarked Thierry Henry, who side-footed home from the center of the area.
• Ten minutes later, the Red Bulls doubled their lead. Alexander dribbled towards the goal line before clipping a ball to the back post, where Lloyd Sam was lurking, and he nodded home with a powerful strike.
• But 10 minutes from the end, Red Bulls defender Ibrahim Sekagya was sent off by referee Ricardo Salazar after seeing the ball hit his flailing arm as he dove to a block a shot in the box. Sébastien Le Toux converted the resulting penalty to cut the lead in half, but the home side held out from there.
• NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Kosuke Kimura, Jamison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya (ejected 78), Roy Miller - Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Peguy Luyindula (Tim Cahill 63), Eric Alexander - Bradley Wright-Phillips (Armando 80), Thierry Henry (Jonny Steele 90).
• PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Raymon Gaddis, Amobi Okugo, Aaron Wheeler, Fabinho - Maurice Edu, Vincent Nogueira - Leo Fernandes (Michael Lahoud 76), Sebastien Le Toux, Cristian Maidana (Antoine Hoppenot 76) - Andrew Wenger (Conor Casey 66).
Philadelphia Union saw their home winless streak extended to seven matches, the Colorado Rapids hitting for a pair of late goals to pull back into a 3-3 draw Saturday evening at PPL Park. Union are in a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 19 points from 19 games.
• The teams exchanged goals in a two-minute span to open the scoring. In the 16th minute, Union fullback Ray Gaddis picked out Conor Casey with a perfect cross to turn home, but Dillon Serna made two cuts to the inside then beat Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath with a low, driven shot just inside the post for the Rapids' equalizer.
• Union then took the lead with goals on either side of halftime. Sheanon Williams sent a glancing header off a Cristian Maidana corner kick perfectly in the side netting for a 31st minute lead, then Andrew Wenger put the Union up 3-1 in the 74th minute, tapping in through traffic after Amobi Okugo snuck a cross through the box.
• But the match changed dramatically Michael Lahoud was shown a red card after a high challenge, and Dillon Powers converted the resulting penalty kick in the 79th minute.
• Then Deshorn Brown capped the comeback seven minutes later with a terrific turn on a Gabriel Torres pass and a rocket just inside the post. Amobi Okugo was shown straight red by referee Sorin Stoica while walking off the field after the final whistle.
• Union interim manager Jim Curtin made one change to the team that fell 2-1 to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium. Ethan White came into central defense for the suspended Maurice Edu.
• PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Raymon Gaddis, Ethan White, Sheanon Williams, Fabinho - Michael Lahoud (ejected 76), Amobi Okugo (ejected 94+) - Cristian Maidana (Aaron Wheeler 82), Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Cruz (Andrew Wenger 69) - Conor Casey (Brian Carroll 80).
• Union saw their home winless streak extended to seven matches, now 0-2-5 since opening the home campaign with a 1-0 win vs. New England on March 15. The MLS record is 10 consecutive home games without a win, set by the Chicago Fire in 2011.
• “Up until the red card, I thought we had one of our best performances. We created three goals. It felt comfortable, as I’ve said, but in MLS you have to finish games. You have to close things,” said Union interim manager Jim Curtin. “There is a feeling of trying to please the fans. Our players know it’s a real thing and we haven’t won here in too many games in too many weeks. In 18 weeks, somebody said, we haven’t won a game at home in league play, which is unacceptable. It’s a tough thing. They feel that pressure, and we were close tonight to ending that, and we should have ended that, but we didn’t.”
• Union have scored three goals in five of their last seven games – but have just two wins and two ties (eight points of a possible 15) to show for the offensive production.
• “Nights like tonight are the games you look back on at the end of the year and say, “Oh, if we could have done this.” But I’m a big believer in your record says who you are, and unfortunately, this is who we are, a 3-3 scramble, all over the place game against Colorado,” said Curtin. “Not really sure how to win and it’s going to be a process. You have to learn how to win.”
• With Maurice Edu suspended, Ethan White made his first league appearance with Union, coming into central defense alongside Sheanon Williams with Amobi Okugo remaining in central midfield.
• “Ethan was excellent, as excellent as you can be as a center back when we give up three goals. He would rather win and have a bad performance because that’s how he is; he’s a competitor and I was very happy with how he played,” Curtin said. “He stepped into a tough spot here. It was his first start here and he was very good on the field.”
• After scoring against Colorado, Conor Casey has five goals for the season – all coming in the last five matches. He has six goals in the last six games in all competitions.
• Andrew Wenger scored his first goal since April 12. Wenger has come off the substitutes’ bench in each of his last five appearances; his last MLS start came May 17.
• It will be all-change in the deep-lying central midfield spots for Curtin as both Okugo and Michael Lahoud were sent off in the Colorado match – the duo had started all three games there together since Curtin took over the coaching reins. Vincent Nogueira has not featured under Curtin due to injury.
• “Probably not the way we wanted to or preferred to ease him in, but we’ll still look at a couple options we can go to, but we’ll take a look at it and have a quick turnaround on Wednesday at home again,” Curtin said. “A lot of good performances went to waste. That’s what it felt like. A lot of really good performances by guys really went to complete waste. It’s tough.”
NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls stretched their undefeated streak to five matches, strolling to a 4-1 win against the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls are in a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 23 points from 18 matches on the season.
• Thierry Henry set up the Red Bulls first goal of the game in the 17th minute, receiving a defense-splitting through ball from Eric Alexander before hitting a square pass to Bradley Wright-Phillips for a simple finish.
• The Crew pulled back level in the 39th minute, poking an effort from a bouncing ball past New York goalkeeper Luis Robles from right at the top of the area.
• Henry then put the Red Bulls back in front himself just before halftime, stroking a rebound into the top corner of an unguarded net from the top of the area after Wright-Phillips saw two efforts denied at close range by Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark.
• Henry then returned to his role as provider, setting up Lloyd Sam for a close-range finish in the penalty area with a through ball in the 56th minute. His service then finished off the match in stoppage time, freeing Eric Alexander for a breakaway, after the Crew's Bernardo Anor was sent off in the 85th minute with a second yellow card.
• Red Bulls boss Mike Petke made one change to the team that played to a 2-2 draw with the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Bobby Convey came into the midfield in place of Ibrahim Sekagya.
• NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Chris Duvall, Jamison Olave, Matt Miazga, Ambroise Oyongo - Lloyd Sam, Tim Cahill, Eric Alexander, Bobby Convey (Dax McCarty 61) - Bradley Wright-Phillips (Ibrahim Sekagya 82), Thierry Henry (Andre Akpan 90).
• The Red Bulls have now gone five games without a loss (3-0-2) since losing three consecutive games May 10-24.
• “Middle to the end of the first half we were all over the place, it looked like two separate teams, again. We were getting dragged everywhere and we had guys going forward and not necessarily getting back in the timely fashion I would preferred,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. “But in the second half we were getting behind the ball a little bit because they were looking for the tie, and they needed two goals, but we were very organized.”
• Bradley Wright-Phillips maintained his lead in the MLS Golden Boot standings with his 15th goal of the season. Wright-Phillips has 14 goals over the last 11 league games, since April 23.
• “He is playing the position a lot better. I said there's a price to pay when playing with Thierry Henry up front, he likes to go all over the place and we want him to. ... It's not easy, and they have developed such a great relationship, those two, there's trust there,” said Petke. “I think to say that Bradley scored 15 goals without giving a lot of credit to Thierry, as his partner. But this is the guy we hoped we'd get and I'm glad he's on this streak now.”
• Thierry Henry recorded three assists in a game for the second time in his MLS career. Henry ended the weekend as the league leader with nine assists. It was the third time since coming to the league that Henry had been involved in four goals in a game.
• “There’s not many people that can go out on the left and play like a winger, drop back and play like a central midfielder,” said Wright-Phillips. “We’re lucky to have that and it’s very unselfish of him to do that. He’s got the ability to play up front and get a bag full of goals. It’s very unselfish of him and I’m enjoying it.”
• Said Petke: “I would love to get Thierry out in the 60th minute of many games to rest him with games coming up, but shows having him on the field, he's always a threat. I mean his performance, purely on scoring opportunities and assists, is world class and that's why he is on the field game in and game out.”
• Lloyd Sam netted his second goal of the season, his first since April 16. Eric Alexander had a goal and an assist in the same game for the third time in his MLS career, but the first since Sept. 16, 2010, when he did it for a second time in his rookie season with FC Dallas.
• “We came in at halftime and he was just irate. In a way it was good because we took it out on the team in the second half,” said goalkeeper Luis Robles. “Obviously that was vintage Thierry. When he plays like that there’s not a defense in the league that’s going to be able to stop him. To everyone else’s credit they were where he wanted them to be so he could make those passes. Of course we got some good finishes. Eric put it away, Lloyd got unlucky, he could’ve had two, he hit the post and of course Bradley is on fire. You guys know as well as anyone when our offense is on it’s really tough to compete with us.”
• Dax McCarty returned to the Red Bulls squad, coming on as a substitute for the final 29 minutes after missing three consecutive league matches through injury.
• “I told Dax last year and this year that if he were to embrace that role as a true traditional holding midfielder, it's a dying art, it really is. You look around this league at who is holding true midfielder; Kyle Beckerman. You look back in the day; there was a number of them that I played with. And that is, to me, what will elevate him to the next game,” said Petke. “To do those selfless acts of just working things up and starting that attacks, and I thought he did really well when he came on.”