Major League Soccer’s fifth round is an all-Saturday affair, with eight matches set for kickoff over about nine hours later today. Among the top matches … :
Philadelphia Union at New York Red Bulls (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC SN):
By Week 5 in MLS, we should have some reasonable hold on all 19 league sides, on what they are all about.
But, truly, does anyone know what to make of Philadelphia and New York at this point?
The Red Bulls and that pancake-stacked roster have certainly looked like a strong team during points of this young season. Like when they took it to D.C. United over 90 minutes earlier this month at Red Bull Arena. Gave the visitors from down the coast a proper dressing down, the Red Bulls did – in every way possible except in the final result, which finished as a scoreless draw.
Very strange, that one.
Bottom line, it’s getting harder to see New York as a strong team, as an Eastern Conference contender, when they sit winless after four matches. Mike Petke seems to be doing things right, but geez, fellows, win a game already!
On the other hand, this match has “get right” stamped all over it for Petke’s club, which has dominated the I-95 series since Philly clambered aboard the Good Ship MLS in 2010. The Red Bulls won all three matches over the Union in 2012 and stand 5-2-0 all time in the series.
Philadelphia is equally as mysterious in 2012, a young club on the rise, one that has checked off some nice results despite being obviously flawed in some spots.
John Hackworth’s team stunk up the joint for about 60 minutes in a season opening loss at home to Sporting Kansas City. They didn’t look very good a week later in Colorado – but earned a great result in a 2-1 road win. Very strange, that one
Jack McInerney scored in the victory at Colorado, and that kid has got something. Still fairly raw at 20 years old but blessed with tremendous strikers’ instincts, McInerney (pictured above) already has 14 MLS strikes.
Hackworth will have new signing Jose Kleberson available – but the Brazilian veteran will not start in this one.
Of course, there’s also Sebastien Le Toux, who would love nothing more than to stick it in the Red Bulls ears; he’s happy to be back in Philly, site of Le Toux’s best years, but cannot have been thrilled to have been jettisoned from Red Bull Arena in the off-season.