High stakes for both sides when Union travel to Red Bull Arena this weekend


Any Philadelphia Union-New York Red Bulls match is anxiously anticipated.

This one looming Saturday could be extra riveting.

The Union enter this match with a 2-1-0 record but also with the knowledge they’re 2-6-0 all-time against New York and 0-4-0 at Red Bull Arena.

The Red Bulls enter this match with a shocking 0-2-2 mark.

Just to make things more intriguing, the Union formally announced the acquisition of Brazilian international José Kléberson, though it’s unlikely he’ll travel to New York. He’s expected to join the Union Thursday or Friday.

When these two I-95 rivals meet up, the level of play rises on the pitch.

This time, the stakes are high for both clubs, so the intensity could reach a fever pitch.

“We haven’t talked about it but the players have talked about it,” manager John Hackworth said of the rivalry. “When you hear things like that, I know I don’t have to go and reinforce those messages. If players are saying those things, that’s what you want. It’s good to know that a guy like Michael (Lahoud), and I know I heard it from Jeff (Parke), (Brian Carroll), Sebastien (Le Toux), that this is a really important game for us.”

At stake for the Union is a three-match winning streak.

At stake for the Red Bulls is trying to avoiding a winless start in their five matches.

“New York and Philadelphia is always a big game,” said Union captain and midfielder Brian Carroll. “The intensity is a little bit higher and it can get a little bit chippy. We’ve been playing well and want to keep it going.”

On Oct. 27, the Red Bulls blanked the Union, 3-0, ending their season.

ReadA look at the series history between the Union and Red Bulls

Could there be a carryover effect from that match?

“I think we all remembered what happened,” said Union defender Sheanon Williams. “It was not the way to end a season. We made a lot of changes since then, and we are moving in a real good direction. We’ve had some good success and we want to keep working hard and improving. But when you play New York, there is a higher level of play. We are rivals and want to win. We haven’t had much success at New York and it would be great to keep going like we have.

“We have to execute and play consistent for 90 minutes. If we do that, we have a good chance to get points.”

For defender Jeff Parke, getting ready to face New York for the first time is exciting.

“New York-Philly, that’s cool and something I’m looking forward to,” Parke said. “I’m from the Philly area and I’m very much excited about playing this game. I’m sure our supporters will be there in full force and it should be a lot of fun.”

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com 

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