Thursday, June 20, 2013

Match Preview: We're All Going to Philly!

PPL should be rocking on Sunday
As the Red Bulls and their fans (all eight busloads+ of them) get ready to trek down I-95 to Philadelphia on Sunday, we thought we'd do something a little different this week and exchange thoughts on the game with Union blog The Union Dues. They should have my view on the state of the Red Bulls coming into this big rivalry game up on their site in the next day or two, so keep an eye out. 

In the meantime, Union fan John Rossi has been kind enough to provide us with his preview, direct from the City of Brotherly Love:

The Union will host the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, in a match being billed as, “Keon Daniel’s Going Away Party.” Here's to a safe, permanent trip! While this is Daniel’s last game before Gold Cup duty, it is believed that this is Jack McInerney’s penultimate match before he travels to prepare for the same tournament. While Daniel, might (read: hopefully) be riding pine, McInerney will likely make a difference from a starting role this weekend.
The Union will lineup in their usual 4-4-2, with this being a likely lineup: MacMath; Gaddis, Parke, Okugo, Williams; Cruz, Kleberson, Carroll, Le Toux; Casey, McInerney.
The defensive unit has been shaky all season, with MacMath struggling particularly. RBNY should be keen to float crosses upon crosses into the boxes, causing the Union netminder to panic, and eventually revert to a fetal position at some point in the second half. The back four also do not deal with late runners very well, and the Union’s right side, which features Sheanon Williams and Amobi Okugo, is very vulnerable to a delayed run out of the midfield.
While the backline has been bad (24 GA, tied for 3rd worst in MLS), the midfield has arguably been worse. The lack of creativity and cohesiveness makes you wonder (did somebody say “wonder”?) how Jack McInerney is leading the Golden Boot race. Brian Carroll has been the most consistent Union player in the middle of the park this season, but he’s seen much better days, and is beginning to slip. His more attacking-minded counterpart; however, has not been much better. Carroll’s played alongside Mike Lahoud, Keon Daniel, Leo Fernandes, and Kleberson, with only Kleberson being able to link the midfield with the frontline. As for the wingers, there is one thing you can expect: Danny Cruz. Cruz is a mainstay in Hackworth’s lineup, and is a lock to start when healthy. While he is unable to cross a ball into the 18, he sure can run, and he will make his marker work. As for the right side, Le Toux has shown some creativity this year, and could get the nod there.
The Union has had no problems up top this year, mostly in part to Jack McInerney. No matter how quiet a game he’s having, he’ll probably grab a draw-saving goal in the dying minutes of the game. He doesn’t seem to have a permanent partner; however. Casey seems like the obvious choice, but Le Toux will occasionally get a start because of Casey’s fitness issues. Since the club is coming off a long break, though, I don’t see why Casey would be on the bench.
I think the Union will struggle on Sunday, so I’ll be putting my money on a 2-1 RBNY victory.
There you have it. Union fans are not a hugely confident bunch at the moment, but given the tightness of most of the previous games between these teams at PPL, the Red Bulls' recent poor form and the long layoff between league matches, this one is really unpredictable.

Damn you sexy!
One piece of wonderful news before we start packing our coolers for the bus ride to Philly: the Red Bulls' brand spanking new training facility in East Hanover, NJ has finally opened its doors. Mike Petke says that the world-class facility should leave players with "no excuses" for underachievement, but didn't we hear that when Red Bull Arena opened?

In any case, it looks quite nice in the photos the team has provided. Hopefully it gives the boys an added boost going into this Sunday's game.

If you are among those making the trip to Chester, be safe and make some noise! If not, good luck listening to Taylor Twellman.

Finally, thanks again to the good folks at the Union Dues for the match preview. Hopefully we'll see a good one.

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