Winless at Red Bull Arena, Union look for a way

Connor Casey and the Union take on the Red Bulls. The Union are winless at New Yorks home stadium.
Connor Casey and the Union take on the Red Bulls. The Union are winless at New Yorks home stadium.
Posted: August 18, 2013

Red Bull Arena has not been the most congenial of venues for the Union.

They are winless at New York's home stadium, 0-5-0 all-time on the road against the Red Bulls.

The Union (10-7-7) will look to change that this Saturday as they travel to New York for an 8 p.m. kickoff in their final regular season matchup with the conference foe. The teams split two prior meetings this year.

"It's an arena and a team that when we've gone up there it hasn't been the most hospitable to us," Union manager John Hackworth told reporters Wednesday.

The Red Bulls (11-8-5) are second in the Eastern Conference, just a point ahead of the Union.

On June 23, the Union cruised past the Red Bulls, 3-0, at PPL Park. New York took the season's first meeting, 2-1, in March after a late go-ahead goal by French forward Thierry Henry.

"Everything from the atmosphere to the players they put on the field, and the way they go about their business every game," Union forward Aaron Wheeler said of the challenges of playing in Red Bull Arena, located about 30 minutes from downtown Manhattan in Harrison, N.J.

Henry missed New York's most recent game, a 2-0 loss to Columbus last Saturday, with an injured Achilles. The Red Bulls captain is expected to return to the lineup against the Union, along with Australian midfielder Tim Cahill, who hasn't played since injuring his right knee July 27.

New York was riding a four-game unbeaten streak prior to dropping its match in Columbus. The Red Bulls went 3-0-1 and netted 11 goals over that span.

"Our expectation is that we're going to get everything from them," said Hackworth.

"With them getting all their guys back and looking to go, they know they need this game at home," added Wheeler.

With New York's bolstered lineup and the Union's history at Red Bull Arena, Hackworth expects his club to be labeled the underdog for Saturday's contest - as it has been in many cases this season.

And that's all right with the Union manager, whose team is 3-1-1 over its last five games.

"We like it. We'll take it," Hackworth said. "We'll try to use it to our advantage."

Union at New York Red Bulls

Saturday, 8 p.m. Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J.

TV: NBC Sports Network.

Records: Union 10-7-7, 37 points. Red Bulls 11-8-5, 38 points.

Union on the road: 4-4-3.

Red Bulls at home: 7-2-2.

Goals for: Union 36, Red Bulls 36.

Goals against: Union 32, Red Bulls 31.

Last MLS outing: The Union defeated visiting D.C. United, 2-0, last Saturday. New York lost, 2-0 at Columbus.

This season: The Red Bulls won at home against the Union, 2-1, on March 30. The Union won, 3-0, at PPL Park on June 23.

About the Union: Conor Casey, who has nine goals, has scored three in the two games against New York . . . . Sebastien Le Toux leads MLS with 12 assists. . . . Jack McInerney, who hasn't scored a goal in his last seven games, is tied for the MLS lead with five game-winning goals. . . . The Union have already matched their win total from last year with 10 games remaining. . . . Keeper Zac MacMath has a 1.33 goals-against average and eight shutouts and has played in all 24 games. . . . Defender Ray Gaddis, who missed last week's win over D.C. United with an ankle injury, has returned to practice, but team manager John Hackworth calls him "questionable" for this week. . . . Gaddis was replaced at left back last week by Fabinho, who made his first start and contributed an assist.

About the Red Bulls: Keeper Luis Robles has a 1.29 goals-against average and seven shutouts and has played in all 24 games. . . . The Red Bulls said Tim Cahill (knee) could return as soon as Saturday and are optimistic that star forward Thierry Henry (Achilles) will be ready for the Union. Both missed last week's 2-0 loss to Columbus. . . . Midfielder Lloyd Sam (knee) also missed the Columbus game but returned to train on Tuesday. . . . Defender Kosuke Kimura (concussion), who also missed the Columbus game, won't play against the Union. . . . The loss to Columbus snapped a four-game unbeaten streak.

- Marc Narducci

Contact Mike Still at Follow him on Twitter @MikeStill12.

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