Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls
2017 MLS Regular Season
Talen Energy Stadium – Chester, Pennsylvania
Saturday, May 6 | 7 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE
Neither team can necessarily come into this match-up, one that some might consider a rivalry, resting on its laurels. The New York Red Bulls come into the weekend smarting from a road loss, 2-0 to Sporting Kansas City at Children's Mercy Park. And sure, they've been known to flub such road tests.
But to be totally frank, it really can't get much worse for the Philadelphia Union. While last season saw them sitting near the top of the standings around this time last year, currently just about the worst of the worst. They're tied four points with the Colorado Rapids, but they've played eight matches to the Rapids' seven, with a 0-2-2 record both home and away that makes them the only MLS side without a win in 2017.
And yet, Union sporting director Earnie Stewart just expressed confidence in his squad, saying they're not ready to make major changes just yet. In any event, something's gotta give with Philly as soon as possible, and a home match is the place for them to prove there's some life left.
Just how bleak is their winless streak? It's been more than 250 days since the team last celebrated a victory; back then Tranquillo Barnetta was still on the team. There's no doubt it's going to be a hot topic when the team soon hosts a season ticket-holder town hall.
Alright, now that the worst news is out of the way, let's look at a few bright spots. Rather than just fold, they managed a 0-0 draw at the LA Galaxy this past Apr. 30, and a road point in a hostile environment is a good enough starting point for a turnaround. After that match, head coach Jim Curtin praised his side's defensive organization and ability to keep a clean sheet: "We're only going to get points if we're able to do that."
Some Union youngsters also point towards a brighter future. Both midfielder Derrick Jones and winer Fafa Picault have distinguished themselves at their respective positions, even if some vets find themselves at "a loss for words" about Philadelphia's current fortunes.
- Suspensions: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – D Joshua Yaro (shoulder surgery), M Maurice Edu (left ankle/left tibia surgery recovery); QUESTIONABLE – M Ilsinho (illness), D Richie Marquez (illness), GK John McCarthy (concussion), D Ken Tribbett (left ankle sprain)
Projected starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Andre Blake – Ray Gaddis, Jack Elliott, Richie Marquez, Fabinho – Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin – Chris Pontius, Roland Alberg, Fafa Picault – CJ Sapong
Notes: Philadelphia has only won four of their ten regular season home games against the Red Bulls (4L-2D). They haven’t beaten the Red Bulls at home since July 16, 2014 (2L-2D in the four home games since).
New York Red Bulls
The Red Bulls don't necessarily get to come into this haughty, considering they're fresh off a loss. They're also, over the past year or so, famously not too great at preserving leads on the road. In fact, they've lost three consecutive road games, and if they make it a fourth, they'll manage a losing streak they haven't suffered since 2010.
Still, their current record finds them with 16 points, second in the East just behind Orlando City SC. This puts hem head and shoulders above their opponents in form – and what's more, the loss during the week partially came because head coach Jesse Marsch decided to rest some of his best vets for this test. Though they both wound up subbing in during their match vs. Sporting Kansas City, Marsch left both Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan out of the XI that night. That means they'll likely feel rested for Saturday – and extra dangerous.
- Suspensions: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – D Gideon Baah (broken leg - out for season), QUESTIONABLE – D Aurelien Collin (abdominal strain), M Mike Grella (knee injury)
Projected starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Luis Robles – Connor Lade, Aaron Long, Damien Perrinelle, Michael Amir Murillo – Tyler Adams, Felipe – Alex Muyl, Sacha Kljestan, Daniel Royer – Bradley Wright-Phillips
Notes: Felipe is the most fouled player in the league so far this season with 32. Only four other players have been fouled more than 20 times.
The Red Bulls hold the edge in this series, which spanned 19 matches to date before this season.
- Overall: Philadelphia Union 5 wins (24 goals total) … New York Red Bulls 11 wins (33 goals total) … Ties 3
- At Philadelphia: Philadelphia Union 4 wins (16 goals) … New York Red Bulls 4 wins (17 goals) … Ties 2
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Assistant Referees: Cameron Blanchard, Jonathan Johnson
Fourth Official: Ted Unkel