Union seeks to end losing streak
LET'S FACE IT, it's time to stop sugarcoating the obvious: The Union needs a win. With the playoffs looming, ties help little and even with games in hand, a loss still hurts.
LET'S FACE IT, it's time to stop sugarcoating the obvious: The Union needs a win.
With the playoffs looming, ties help little and even with games in hand, a loss still hurts.
The Union's last win over a league opponent came against tonight's opponent, New England, on July 17.
That's right - July.
Out of a possible 18 points in its last six matches, the Union has captured only three. In that time, the club added midfielder Freddy Adu, rid itself of top scorer Carlos Ruiz and was forced to insert backup goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
MacMath, this year's first round MLS SuperDraft selection for the Union, entered in the second half of Saturday's 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake after first-string goalie Faryd Mondragon broke his right ring finger. According to the team's website, Mondragon is expected to miss 4 weeks after successful surgery yesterday at Crozer-Chester Hospital.
"I believe we played a good game," manager Peter Nowak said regarding Saturday's loss. "We missed a couple of chances that we should have put away . . . but in some capacity, we still missed far too many of the chances we created. Either the final pass didn't come or was missed by a yard or two, so we have to get better with anticipating these chances. We are still pushing the game . . . but looking forward to these two games at home right now."
Just replay any Nowak news conference over the last 6 weeks and the recording will be the same: missed opportunities. Because of missed opportunities, the Union, which spent weeks atop MLS' Eastern Conference standings, currently sits fourth in the East, chasing one of four wild-card playoff spots.
In New England (4-11-11), however, the Union faces a team that, through injuries, has struggled with consistency. New England earned three points from a win only four times this season.
The club bolstered its attack by signing Argentine forward Milton Caraglio as its first-ever designated player and has seen dividends since his arrival (two goals in four matches), but Caraglio and the Revs have yet to improve upon a dismal road record (1-7-5). Revs forward Shalrie Joseph leads the club with seven goals, and his speed and quick shot make him a threat. Midfielders Benny Feilhaber and Pat Phelan will play, but Phelan will do so with a yellow-card warning from the Revs' last game against Red Bull New York. Also, goalkeeper Matt Reis is back for the Revs after nursing irritation in his right knee. Win, lose or tie, the Union will return to PPL Park Saturday to host the resurging Portland Timbers on short rest (7:30 p.m., The Comcast Network).
"As I said, we got to be smart, I think everything is in front of us from here out," Nowak said. "We can control our destiny by controlling the games we have left to play. This week will be very important . . . We need to focus and keep making sure that we go back to the way we played to start the season."
Bobby Rhine, a former player and current broadcaster for FC Dallas, died suddenly Monday night at age 35, reportedly of an apparent heart attack. Throughout yesterday, condolences were expressed via Twitter for Rhine and his family. Rhine played in 212 games for Dallas from 1999-2008, scoring 23 goals and adding 34 assists, making the franchise's record book in all three categories before moving to the front office and becoming the voice of FC Dallas for three seasons.
New England (4-11-11, 23 points) at Union (8-7-10, 34 points)
When: Tonight, 8
Where: PPL Park, Chester
TV: The Comcast Network, Galavision
Out for the Union: Faryd Mondragon, GK (broken right ring finger); Levi Houapeu, FW (left ankle strain)
Doubtful: Brian Carroll, MF (right foot sprain)
Questionable: Michael Farfan, MF (left knee contusion)
Out for New England: Sainey Nyassi, MF (right knee MCL sprain)
Questionable: Kheli Dube, FW (whiplash); Stephen McCarthy, MF (left shoulder subluxation)
Probable: Matt Reis, GK (left knee irritation); Milton Caraglio, FW (left groin strain); Kevin Alston, DF (left hamstring irritation); Franco Coria, DF (left knee MCL sprain).