The Philadelphia Union come to Red Bull Arena on May 24th, looking for their first road win against the New York Red Bulls. We caught up with Eugene Rupinski, Managing Editor of the Brotherly Game (BG) to get some insight from the enemy camp.
OaM: Fernando Aristeguieta has been one of the most consistent players for the Union in 2015 and has earned a call up to play with Venezula's Copa America side. Will he be missing on Sunday, and if so, what impact will it have?
BG: No doubt, Aristeguieta has been one of the few bright spots of what's been an otherwise dismal season. Having him called up for Venezuela was good for him but bad for the Union, whose second leading scorer is Own Goal.
Aristeguieta may or may not be back on Sunday, and if he's back he most likely will only be a bench option. I'd look for Conor Casey to get the nod up top over Sebastien Le Toux.
OaM: The goalkeeper situation is Philadelphia is well documented, but how has it played out recently? Is it something that can be easily exploited by the Red Bulls?
BG: The Union have had seventeen goalkeepers in six seasons. Let that sink in for a second. The goalkeeper situation stands as so: Zac MacMath is out in Colorado all year no matter what. Raïs M'Bolhi is awaiting transfer this summer to an as of yet unidentified suitor. Andre Blake is undergoing a meniscectomy on his right knee (he had the same procedure on his left knee at the beginning of the season) and is out until July-ish. John McCarthy is back from dealing with a concussion, but he's taken a backseat to Bryan Sylvestre. Sylvestre was signed on a short-term loan from the Carolina Railhawks and has played rather well for the Union. He got a clean sheet against D.C. United last week, so he's a capable fill-in.
If you're looking to exploit this, look no further than the patchwork defense in front of Sylvestre. While the unit looked solid against DC, they were torched by the Vancouver Whitecaps for three goals. The defense routinely broke down, and Sylvestre was left to fend for himself on the goals. I think the Red Bulls can absolutely exploit this weakness and make for a long afternoon for the visitors.
OaM: The Union have never won at Red Bull Arena, is there a reason to think Sunday will be any different?
BG: On any given day, any team is capable of beating another. The Union were able to upset a very good DC team last Sunday, so there's no reason to think they couldn't do the same against the Red Bulls.
That being said, just because they could doesn't mean they will. The Union have been awful and the Red Bulls have been dominant this season. While I'd love nothing more than for the Union to return with their first win at Red Bull Arena, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they returned with their eighth loss of the season.
Predicted Union Lineup: Sylvestre; Fabinho, Marquez, White, Williams; Carroll, Nogueira; Ayuk, Maidana, Le Toux; Casey
Predicted Score: 3-1 Red Bulls
You can read my side of the conversation at the Brotherly Game.