After winning two games in a row, the Philadelphia Union are set to face off against their toughest test yet, New York Red Bulls.
The Ins and Outs
Philadelphia Union (4-2-5) @ New York Red Bulls(7-0-3)
When: Saturday at 7 PM Eastern – Red Bull Arena (Harrison, New Jersey)
Where to Watch: PHL17
PRO Referees: Head- Ted Unkel, AR1- Kathryn Nesbitt, AR2- Adam Wienckowski, 4th– Guido Gonzales, VAR: Dave Gantar
Coaches: Jim Curtin (Philadelphia Union) – Jesse Marsch (New York Red Bulls)
Let the Good Vibes Roll
After two straight wins, the Philadelphia Union are just one short of a winning streak, and will have their hands full with a big rivalry match against the New York Red Bulls. The match is set to pit a strong Red Bulls side facing a hot Union side. Much of the truth of the last few wins for the Union will be found on Saturday night. While their impressive victories in Montreal and home against Salt Lake were nice, do they mean anything?
The fans will surely hope so, as the team makes the short trip to Harrison. The Red Bulls have a strong side, and will likely have goalkeeper Luis Robles back for this match. Rumors are following the side from New Jersey with American Starlet Tyler Adams, and Manager Jesse Marsch possibly headed to Europe. The Union has their own rumors as Earnie Stewart may be tabbed to take the United States Men’s General Manager position. Both sides will have a lot out in the open as they face off.
Not a lot seems likely to change for the Union. Cory Burke will be back from his red card and could factor at forward. CJ Sapong played ok in his first game back from injury, but many will hope the Jamaican forward gets another chance to play. The wings will be interesting with Fafa Picault having strong performances, and Marcus Epps and Ilsinho both netting goals. At this point in the season, David Accam may be the sides 4th best winger.
On the defensive side of things, Mark McKenzie had a strong second straight start at Right Center-Back. While the matchups may dictate who gets the start each week, the homegrown player has impressed. Jack Elliott is a strong option depending on what the side wants to do. The other big question is left back with Ray Gaddis having a second strong performance, and Fabinho a great offensive option.
Keys to the Game
The key to the game will be switching the ball from side to side. The Red Bulls like to press and you have to find the space where they are not. Keep the ball in your possession, and do not make mistakes. This game may be the biggest test of the young back line all season. They will need to limit mistakes, and get the balls to the wings quickly and efficiently.
Player to Watch: Marcus Epps
Marcus Epps had an impressive performance against Real Salt Lake and will likely get another chance to perform against Red Bulls. His speed and agility have worked in ways that David Accam’s has not. He could have scored two goals against Real Salt Lake if not for a small technicality called being offside. He could be a big reason the Union could have an impressive road trip to New Jersey.