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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Red Bulls-Union: Lineups and pregame observations

UNION (4-2-3-1)
Wenger-Maidana-Le Toux
Bench: McCarthy, Lee, McLaughlin, Pfeffer, Sapong, Fred, Ayuk.

New York Red Bulls (4-2-3-1)
Bench: Reynish, Lade, Jean-Baptiste, Richards, Davis, Obekop, Abang

- Jim Curtin has stated that he’s not a fan of making changes after a win. So after the Union’s win last week against D.C. United, the manager’s changes are limited to necessity. Curtin will again go with Brian Sylvestre, who didn’t make a save in earning the shutout over D.C. as well as sticking with Brian Carroll and Conor Casey, the veteran fulcrum that helped spearhead a victory that ended a four-game losing streak.

- The changes are enforced at the back, where Maurice Edu (yellow-card accumulation) and Ray Gaddis (ankle) are absent in addition to the ongoing injury to Steven Vitoria (groin/knee). That forces Richie Marquez into the fray for his second MLS start and third appearance to pair with Ethan White, while Fabinho is on the left and Sheanon Williams flips back to the right.

- That backline will have a ton of pressure to withstand against the midfield trio of Sacha Kljestan, Lloyd Sam and Mike Grella. Combined with Dax McCarty’s ability to break up attacks and Bradley Wright-Phillips’ tendency to punish mistakes, the Union have to be clinical in burying chances when they arise, which falls particularly on Casey and the struggling wingers.

- The flipside is that the Union have holes they can exploit in the New York defense. Roy Miller pairs centrally with Karl Ouimette, with both Damien Perrinelle and Ronald Zubar out and Matt Maizga on international duty. That’s a defense that the Union should be able to score against.

- The key player for the Union today could be Vincent Nogueira. He’s surrounded by players not particularly skilled in keeping possession or completing passes. That puts a huge onus on the Frenchman to do that and make sure the Union can both push for goals and restrict New York possessions. 

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