MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, May 13, 2012
(All times Eastern)
New York (6-3-1) at Philadelphia (2-5-1), 12:30 p.m.
Chester, PA (Sports Network) - PPL Park has not been kind to Red Bull New
The Red Bulls have yet to claim a point at the Philadelphia Union's home
stadium, but Sunday could mark the end of that streak as they carry a strong
run of results in Chester, Pennsylvania.
After failing to keep a clean sheet through its first seven games, New York
appears to have found a sound defensive formula - the team has claimed three
consecutive wins, all by a 1-0 scoreline. The Red Bulls are riding a 293-
minute shutout streak into Sunday tilt at Philadelphia, the sixth-longest
streak in MLS this season.
What's been most impressive about the defensive turnaround has been the lack
of experience at the back. Head coach Hans Backe looks set to hand the reins
over to those players who have earned their stripes.
"Brandon Barklage now has played three games and you can say after three games
that he has a future as a right fullback," Backe said. "He defends phenomenal,
he's quick, he's very composed in the attacking game.
"Of course I'm surprised that a player like Tyler Ruthven has never played in
an MLS game before, playing for Atlanta. Connor Lade coming from the Academy,
doing so well. I was quite worried before when we got all these injuries."
Rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara has been a revelation this season as well. The
Fordham University product allowed 14 goals through his first seven
professional games but has not conceded since.
"For a young back line and a young goalkeeper, three 1-0 wins in a row, you
can't ask much more than that," said Dax McCarty, who himself has been in top-
form in recent matches.
On paper, it would appear that the Red Bulls are in a strong position to claim
another shutout this weekend as they go up against a Union team that has
managed just five goals through eight games this season and has been shut out
a total of four times.
Philadelphia is coming off of a 1-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink
Field last Saturday, a match in which the Union only recorded one shot on
"With a rookie goalkeeper in there making his first start, we talked about
putting balls in the box and testing him and putting shots on frame and
getting numbers forward," said Union assistant coach John Hackworth. "And we
continued to struggle a little bit with that, so we're disappointed."
The Union will face another rookie goalkeeper Sunday, so it will be
interesting to see how they adjust their strategy.
05/11 17:58:38 ET