The New York Red Bulls return to MLS regular season action Sunday when they take on the Philadelphia Union for a 5:00 PM kick off at PPL Park (Watch live on ESPN). This match marks the second of three meetings scheduled for the 2013 season, as each team continues to vie for the top seat in the Eastern Conference.
For Philly, fresh off a friendly against Harrisburg and U.S. Open Cup elimination at the hands of D.C. United, Sunday’s match presents a solid opportunity for the club to gain three big points that would lock them in a two-way tie with the Red Bulls for second place. In their last regular season match on June 5, the Union pieced together a three-goal shutout win over the Columbus Crew, as they’ll take a three-game unbeaten streak into this weekend’s clash.
As for the Red Bulls, the match against Philly provides an opportunity to get back on track. The loss to Vancouver on June 1 brought the club’s eight-game unbeaten streak to a halt, something that has only marinated more and more over the last few weeks. Couple that with elimination from the U.S. Open Cup on June 12, and New York is ready to get this show back on the road.
“It is going to be up to us to make sure that we can grab the three points,” said Red Bulls captain, Thierry Henry. “…it won’t be easy because they are a good team, but we need to go back on a good run.”
In the previous match between the Red Bulls and Union, a Mar. 30 meeting at Red Bull Arena, New York came out on top in a 2-1 victory thanks to Dax McCarty and Henry each opening their 2013 accounts. The outcome marked New York’s first victory of the season, and Mike Petke’s first as an MLS head coach.
The three short months since then have reflected positively for both teams in the standings, as the Red Bulls profited greatly from the aforementioned unbeaten streak, and Philly has inched ever closer to the top off a 22-point, 6-5-4 record. But that’s not the only area where the Union has seen progress. Philadelphia striker Jack McInerney has also propelled his way to the top of the MLS Golden Boot race off 10 goals, tying him with Montreal’s Marco Di Vaio for first place. Although New York did manage to keep him off the score sheet earlier this season, McInerney is not a player they plan on ignoring once kickoff rolls around this weekend.
“We need to know where we are after the game against Vancouver and see how we can play against Philly,” Henry said. “As I said to you, McInerney is on fire, you know Conor Casey is doing well too, [Sebastian] Le Toux also, so, we’re going to have to be aware of that and make sure that we can go out there and compete.”
Be sure to check out a few more storylines surrounding this match in our What to Watch For segment, and of course, catch all the action this Sunday when the Red Bulls take on the Union at 5:00 PM on ESPN.
If you’re not taking the trip down to PPL Park to cheer on the Red Bulls in person, then be sure to join us at Pier A in Hoboken for our Outdoor Viewing Party. All the info you need can be found on our Pub Partners page.
The Red Bulls return to Red Bull Arena Sunday, June 30, for a 2:00 PM kick off against the Houston Dynamo. All fans in attendance will receive a free T-shirt to take part in the first ever Red Bulls Red Out. Various sizes are available. Get tickets now by logging on to Red Bulls Ticket Central, or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.