Preview: New York Red Bulls at Philadelphia Union



With acquisitions shoring up the Red Bulls’ roster for the MLS stretch run, New York will have revenge on its mind as the club visits PPL Park for the only time this regular season.

The Red Bulls have been hard done by two painful home losses to the Union, the last a brutal penalty kick defeat at Red Bull Arena ten days ago. With newly-signed Shaun Wright-Phillips officially on the roster, New York’s high press should benefit from extra depth. The Red Bulls, despite statistical dominance against Philadelphia, has been unable to beat the Union’s counter.

Can New York get their Philadelphia monkey off its back?


Match Information:
Saturday, August 1st at PPL Park, 7:00p ET kickoff
TV/streaming: MSG/MSG GO (For Optimum subscribers)
Audio streaming:
Referee: Armando Villareal

Record, GF/GA, Division and League Position, Recent League Form:
Philadelphia: 22 points from 22 matches, 28GF/37GA, 9th in the East/19th in MLS, WDWLL
New York: 29 points from 19 matches, 29GF/23GA, 3rd in the East/t-9th in MLS, WWLWW


Philadelphia’s front line v the Red Bulls’ defense
CJ Sapong vs. Roy Miller, Damien Perrinelle, Young Matt Miazga, and Connor Lade (and Luis Robles)

CJ Sapong (7G/3A) has flourished in Chester, and should exceed his career-high nine-goal season of 2012 for SKC. Sapong sat out the Union’s Open Cup win at New York on the 21st with a red card suspension, but scored in May in the league at Red Bull Arena. He scored last week at DC before Philadelphia imploded, surrendering a two-goal lead late. Aristeguieta and Casey come off the bench for the Union.  The Red Bulls’ backline has only conceded four times over the last five league matches, including two shutouts.  With Kemar Lawrence taking a break after his superlative Gold Cup, Roy Miller returns to the starting lineup. It should be no surprise that Perrinelle and Miazga will start in the center, and Lade will continue on the right. Anthony Wallace may play as well. Robles will once again guard the net.

Advantage: Even


New York’s attack vs. the Union backline:
Bradley Wright-Phillips vs. Fabinho, Maurice Edu, Ethan White, and Raymond Gaddis (and Brian Sylvestre)

Despite BWP’s recent penalty troubles, New York’s striker (8G/6A) has picked up three goals and two assists in his last four league matches, and the Red Bulls have scored ten times over the same period.  Wright-Phillips will be buoyed by the signing of his older brother to the squad. Philly’s defense couldn’t hold up a two-goal lead at DC last week, and has conceded five times in the club’s last two league outings. Of course, the Union nearly shut out the Red Bulls twice this season, allowing only Lloyd Sam’s 94th minute goal in the Open Cup match. Philly’s bunker has been very effective against New York, and should the Union score first on Saturday, the Red Bulls can expect the same. Captain Maurice Edu is joined in the center by Ethan White, who has started the last two Union matches.  Fabinho had an assist in Philly’s May win at RBA, and Gaddis’ last MLS point (as assist) came exactly a year ago . Silvestre gets another shot at New York in net after backup John McCarthy dominated the Red Bulls in the Open Cup.

Advantage: Philadelphia

The Midfields:
Sebastien LeToux, Brian Carroll, Christian Maidana, Zack Pfeffer, and Eric Ayuk Mbu vs.  Mike Grella, Dax McCarty, Sacha Kljestan, Felipe, and Lloyd Sam

New York will benefit from an injury to key midfielder Nogueira. The Union is 0-6 without the French sparkplug this season. Just arrived to Philadelphia is Swiss international Tranquillo Barnetta, who fashions himself as a defensive midfielder.  Barnetta may see action in the second half.  Christian Maidana had both assists in Philly’s win over the Red Bulls on May 24thAyuk Mbu scored in the Open Cup match. Mike Grella has been told that the left wing spot is his to lose, despite the signing of Shaun Wright-Phillips, who will surely make his Red Bulls debut as a substitute on Saturday.  McCarty played a strong half at the MLS All-Star game on Wednesday.  Kljestan will look to build on his golazo at Orlando. Felipe may find himself a lineup victim after imminent signing Gonzalo Veron joins the club.  Nevertheless, the club needs him as a two-way player this week.

Slight Advantage: New York

The Coaches:
Jim Curtin has New York’s number, and called the Open Cup win the “biggest win in club history.”  Jesse Marsch has to tune the sharpness of his squad, who could have scored four of five goals in that match. Both coaches have to work in new additions to their respective squads while maintaining team chemistry.

Advantage: Even


The Red Bulls know that they should’ve won both matches against the Union this year. Philadelphia surely knows how to weather New York’s attack.  The Red Bulls has scored 15 goals in ten road matches in 2015. The Union has scored 14 times in ten home games. Philadelphia has conceded eight times in the last fifteen minutes of matches. The Union hasn’t been shutout in eleven outings. New York has only beaten Philadelphia once over the last five league matches played in the series. The Red Bulls’ last win at PPL was on October 27, 2012, a 3-2 win (Lindpere, Holgersson, Cooper) in the regular-season finale.  New York supporters will travel in large numbers on Saturday. The forecast is for clear skies and a sticky 84 degrees at kickoff.

Advantage: Philadelphia

For the first time this year, the Red Bulls will score on Philly, who will be a bit lost without midfield talisman Nogueira.  SWP will come on late and provide a massive lift, assisting on Lloyd Sam’s clincher. This time, statistics don’t lie. New York wins 2-0.

  • Andrew Bissonette

    I think its hilarious how you give the distinct advantage in more sections(which I couldn’t disagree with your analysis more, as usual) and then say the Red Bulls will win 2-0. If you’re going to write a silly analysis of the match at least have it make sense.