Union Eager to Face New York
The waiting has been the hardest part.
After a 2-1 loss at Toronto last Thursday at BMO Field, Philadelphia Union understood there would be a nine-day layoff until their next game.
They were ready to play the following day.
“We all wanted to get back out there,” said defender Michael Orozco. “Even being a man down for a while, we still felt like we had control of the game. It was a tough loss. Having to wait is tough. We feel like we’re ready for this game. We are excited to play again.”
Philadelphia Union (1-2-0) will get that chance Saturday at Red Bull New York in a 4:00 p.m. matchup at Red Bull Arena.
New York, a club that finished last in Major League Soccer a season ago, is much, much improved. They’re coming off a 2-1 victory over FC Dallas last Saturday, which led them to a 3-1-0 record, good for nine points. The Red Bulls hold a three-point lead over Kansas City and New England in the Eastern Conference.
Juan Pablo Angel, the Red Bulls all-time leading scorer, notched his 49th and 50th goals against FC Dallas. Angel secured the victory with a penalty kick in the 90th minute.
“We know New York is a much improved club,” Orozco said. “We have to come out with a lot of intensity and get control of the game. I think we are very much looking forward to getting on the pitch again.”
This really holds true for goalkeeper Chris Seitz.
The 23-year-old Seitz -- who had made only seven total MLS appearances before this season -– hasn’t played up to his potential through three games this season. But he’s as confident as ever. And so is the club.
“We’re only three games in, and the games have been a learning experience,” Seitz said. “The club has placed a lot of confidence in me. I’m not thinking about what happened in the last game. I’m taking it right to the next game. I do look at a lot of film to learn from my mistakes. My confidence is great. We’re working hard as a unit and we’re going to be alright. We have to stay on an even keel through every practice and every game.”
Every game is vital. But this particular one may mean just a bit more to forward Nick Zimmerman, who was left unprotected by the Red Bulls and picked up by Philadelphia Union in the expansion draft.
Zimmerman played in 11 games and started seven for New York last season.
“This is one of those games where you want to win it and you’ll do anything you can to win it,” Zimmerman said. “I’ve been trash-talking a little bit with some of the guys. Really, when you step out on the field, you’re focused solely on the game. For those 90 minutes, you’re in a battle. After the game, you can talk to the guys and have some fun trash-talking. But during the game, it’s all business on the field.”
Through three games, Philadelphia Union Team Manager Peter Nowak has been pleased. He has seen plenty of offense, which isn’t always the case for an expansion team. He has seen a physical style of play, which he likes, although he’ll look for better discipline going forward. He has also seen team chemistry, another characteristic that can often elude first-year teams.
“We all care about results,” Nowak said. “We need to come with that mentality of making the right plays at the right time of the game. We have to remember that we are an expansion team. I’ve been very pleased to see how the guys are working on their own without us. They are more demanding from themselves. That’s the right mentality to have without me having to preach it to them. I don’t need to convince them they can win games. They have to convince themselves. I like very much what I have been seeing from them.”