Preview: Red Bulls travel to Philly looking to avoid Knockout Round
PHILADELPHIA UNION vs NEW YORK RED BULLS
PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
October 27, 2012 (WEEK 33, MLS Game #315)
1:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
Philadelphia Union conclude their 2012 season with a derby match against the New York Red Bulls in a game that will have a massive effect on the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Union bring a close to their season off back-to-back road losses, coming off a 2-1 midweek defeat at Sporting KC. The Red Bulls can finish anywhere from third to fifth in the Eastern Conference depending on their result and the Chicago-D.C. United match later Saturday afternoon, having played to a scoreless draw with KC in their last match.
REFEREE: Chris Penso. AR1 (bench): Adam Wienckowski; AR2 (opposite): Jason Cullum; 4th: Jose Carlos Rivero
MLS Career: 31 games; FC/gm: 22.3; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 7; pens: 11
INJURY REPORT: PHILADELPHIA UNION - OUT: DF Bakary Soumare (R knee menisectomy recovery); DOUBTFUL: DF DF Sheanon Williams (L ankle peroneal/Achilles strain); DF Gabriel Farfan (R ankle stress reaction); QUESTIONABLE: MF Danny Cruz (L big toe sesamoid stress fracture); PROBABLE: DF Chris Albright (illness) ... NEW YORK RED BULLS - OUT: DF Brandon Barklage (L plantar fascia injury); GK Ryan Meara (L hip surgery); MF Lloyd Sam (R knee PCL injury)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
FINED NEXT YELLOW CARD: PHI: Gabriel Farfan, Gabriel Gomez, Jack McInerney Ö NY: Connor Lade, Joel Lindpere
ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Union 2 wins, 6 goals ... Red Bulls 4 wins, 9 goals ... Ties 0
AT PHILADELPHIA (3 meetings): Union 2 wins, 5 goals ... Red Bulls 1 win, 4 goals ... Ties 0
5/13: PHI 2, NY 3 (Lindpere 17; Holgersson 68; Cooper 78 ñ Pajoy 31, 46)
7/21: NY 2, PHI 0 (Cooper 43, 58)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season.Kenny Cooperís late goal capped a wild win for the Red Bulls in their first meeting this season, a 3-2 victory May 13 at PPL Park, then Cooper scored twice for a 2-0 New York win July 21 at Red Bull Arena.
- Before the Red Bulls win in the opening encounter this year, the home team had won the first four meetings lifetime between the clubs. Each team claimed 1-0 victories at home in their meetings of a year ago.
- Coaches record: Hans Backe vs. PHI: P6 W4 L2 D0 Ö John Hackworth vs. NY: P1 W0 L1 D0
- Both goals came from the same source on either side of halftime. In the 43rd minute, Joel Lindpere fed Connor Lade with a pass down the left, and the rookie hit a pinpoint cross that Kenny Cooper rose to and headed home.
- It was deju vu not long after halftime. Lade and Thierry Henry combined on the left flank before the Frenchman whipped in a ball that Cooper finished with his head, doubling the lead in the 58th minute.
- NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-1-3-2): Bill Gaudette - Brandon Barklage (Jonathan Borrajo 16), Markus Holgersson, Wilman Conde, Roy Miller - Dax McCarty - Sebastien Le Toux, Joel Lindpere (Mehdi Ballouchy 87), Connor Lade - Kenny Cooper, Thierry Henry.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Amobi Okugo, Gabriel Farfan - Michael Farfan, Josue Martinez (Antoine Hoppenot 60), Brian Carroll, Michael Lahoud (Gabriel Gomez 59) - Lionard Pajoy (Roger Torres 72), Jack McInerney.
PHILADELPHIA UNIONPhiladelphia Union suffered a second consecutive defeat on the road, this time a 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday evening at Livestrong Sporting Park. Union are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 36 points from 33 games.
- Shortly after coming on as a substitute, Jacob Peterson gave Sporting a 40th-minute lead. Racing forward on a counter, Kei Kamara drove a low cross behind the Union defense from the left wing and Peterson one-timed the ball past Union 'keeper Zac MacMath.
- Union were able to equalize through an opportunistic play in the 53rd minute. Danny Cruz drew a penalty-kick foul on Matt Besler at the top of the box, but SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen sprawled to his left to stop Michael Farfan's low shot from the spot. But substitute Antoine Hoppenot dashed in from the top right of the area and buried the rebound.
- The match-winner came in the 82nd minute. Kamara capped a long run through the Union defense with a well-placed through ball into the area, and C.J. Sapong blasted it home to secure the top seed in the East for Sporting.
- Union interim manager John Hackworth made two changes to the team that fell 3-1 to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Gabriel Gomez and Keon Daniel came into the side, in place of Sheanon Williams and Freddy Adu.
- PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Raymon Gaddis, Amobi Okugo, Carlos Valdes, Michael Lahoud (Chandler Hoffman 84) - Brian Carroll, Gabriel Gomez (Antoine Hoppenot 46) - Danny Cruz (Jimmy McLaughlin 73), Michael Farfan, Keon Daniel - Jack McInerney.
- Union head into the season finale looking to end a two-game losing slide. They havenít lost three in a row in league play since early May, when they had two three-game losing skids in the seasonís first nine weeks.
- "We have to recover. This has been our second game in four days. Weíve got some tired bodies in there - mentally and physically. We're a little banged up - weíve got some injuries. Weíve got to regenerate. I know we will be ready for New York on Saturday," said Union manager John Hackworth.
- Missing fullbacks Sheanon Williams and Gabriel Farfan to injury, Hackworth shifted Michael Lahoud to left back and installed Gabriel Gomez in the center of midfield with Brian Carroll.
- "To his credit, Gomez played well in the first half but we felt like Kansas City was playing a high line and we thought we could go behind them with Antoine's speed," Hackworth said. "We pushed Jack [McInerney] up along next to him. It was a little bit of a gamble but when youíre down 1-0, youíve got nothing to lose."
- Super sub Hoppenot has appeared in every league match since making his MLS debut on May 26, all but two of those as a substitute. He scored his fourth goal in his rookie season ñ all after coming off the bench.
- "We knew we just wanted to get the ball forward and into their half. We felt we were playing too much in our half too much the first half," Hoppenot said. "Our center midfielders did a great job pushing the ball up and creating chances and finding us. Cruz did a great job drawing the penalty and fortunately I was there to rebound and score."
- Jack McInerney had scored in a club-record four consecutive matches but saw that streak end, hitting the woodwork with a late attempt.
- "We were unfortunate to not get at least one more goal in there. Jack McInerney hits the post on a header inches away from Nielsen in the first half," said Hackworth. "It's tough. Itís disappointing but at the same time I thought we played well and well enough to get a result here. Itís kind of been our story the whole year."
- While Union were not able to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs for a second consecutive season, they can have a real effect on the playoff future of the New York Red Bulls in the match.
- "New York is a rivalry game. We haven't beat them this season so we have to give the home fans something to remember going into offseason and to build into next season," said defender Amobi Okugo. "We have to get out of this slump that we've been in with two road losses and it's going to be good to end the season at home against one of our rivals."
NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls concluded their 2012 home campaign by clinching a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs, playing to a scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, with 54 points from 33 games.
- Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was credited with five saves on the evening in recording his league-leading 15th shutout of the season.
- Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles made just one stop, but it was a vital one, as Kei Kamara headed a beautiful cross from Graham Zusi on target in the 86th minute only to see Robles keep it out with a great reaction save.
- Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe made four changes to the side that fell 2-0 to the Chicago Fire at Red Bull Arena. Connor Lade and Rafa Marquez came into the back four for Brandon Barklage and Wilman Conde, and Teemu Tainio and Lloyd Sam started in midfield in place of Jan Gunnar Solli and Joel Lindpere.
- NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-1-3-2): Luis Robles - Connor Lade, Rafa Marquez, Markus Holgersson, Heath Pearce - Teemu Tainio - Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill, Lloyd Sam (Joel Lindpere 77) - Kenny Cooper, Thierry Henry.
- The Red Bulls come into their regular-season finale having been shut out in back-to-back games for the first time all season.
- "It's definitely one of the better games so far we have played over 90 minutes," Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe said. "That intense, a lot of energy, many, many chances to score. We shouldíve won the game 3-, 4-0. Ö I must say Iím very pleased with our performance today."
- Said Dax McCarty: "This is a confidence booster for us. You never want to saw that about a draw because you always want to win a game. But I thought we dominated, I thought we totally had the game. I donít think they wanted any part of us tonight. We kind of game them a taste of their own medicine."
- Backe said his back four Connor Lade, Markus Holgersson, Rafa M·rquez and Heath Pearce is likely the one that will play out the remainder of the Red Bullsí year, with Brandon Barklage out to injury and Wilman Conde missing due to personal reasons.
- "Brandon is probably, definitely out for the [Philadelphia] game, maybe the rest of the season," Backe said. "Wilman will be out at least one week more. The way the [defense] played today, it looks like itís the back four we have to use."
- There was also an injury blow in midfield with Lloyd Sam out for the rest of the season with a knee injury suffered late in the KC match.
- "Lloyd Sam is out for the season, unfortunately," said Backe. "Knee injury, I donít know the exact diagnosis but heís out, definitely.î Said Jan Gunnar Solli: ìPlaying from wide area, heís a guy whoís creative and a fun player to watch. He has the skills to take on people one-against-one, heís not afraid and heís very offensive in the way he thinks, so of course thatís going to be a big loss for us."
- Sam was making his second start in three matches. "We have Jan [Gunnar Solli], we have Dax [McCarty], we could switch a little bit and play Roy [Miller] in a wide position, Joel [Lindpere], even Connor Lade could be an option," said Backe. "We have four or five options. ... If we need pace from the wide position, [Sebastien Le Toux] is definitely a guy who can play wide even if itís not his best option. He will always do a good job for us there."
- Rafa M·rquez returned to the starting lineup for the first time since he was forced to leave in the first half of the draw in New England on Sept. 22. M·rquez also made his first start in central defense since July 15 in Seattle.
- "When Rafa plays at the back he calms everybody down," striker Thierry Henry said. "He gives the ball over [to] the strikers, coming out, passing game, pinging the ball to the right, pinging the ball on the left, playing me behind. Thatís quality. Iíve said it, thatís the key. If Rafa is fit and plays the way he was playing at the back, everybody can calm down and he has the ball and he can play well for us."
- With M·rquez coming into central defense, Heath Pearce shifted to left back after featuring primarily as a center back since his arrival from Chivas USA.
- "Obviously, it's a position that I'm familiar with and to go back to that position and playing next to Rafa Marquez makes it really easy," Pearce said. "He plays a style that I play when I play left center back. I know that I can commit and stay tight on the guy in front of me because heís covering behind me. Anytime you have a guy like that you're playing next to with the experience that he has, it makes it pretty easy to do your job and you donít have to worry so much about whatís going on around you. You can focus on the task at hand and thatís winning your individual battle."
- Making his third consecutive start, goalkeeper Luis Robles kept a clean sheet for the first time in MLS play, New Yorkís first shutout since Aug. 10 in a 2-0 home win vs. Houston.