RBNY, Philadelphia renew rivalry at PPL Park
Chester, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Red Bull New York and the Philadelphia Union will renew their rivalry on Wednesday when the two sides meet at PPL Park.
New York comes into the match on a five-game unbeaten streak, flying high after a 4-1 demolition of the Columbus Crew at Red Bull Arena on Saturday.
Thierry Henry was the star of the contest as the Frenchman had a hand in all four goals, scoring one and assisting on the remaining three.
"I would love to get Thierry out in the 60th minute of many games to rest him with games coming up, but shows having him on the field, he's always a threat," Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said after the match. "I mean his performance tonight, purely on scoring opportunities and assists, is world class and that's why he is on the field game in and game out."
Bradley Wright-Phillips continued his scoring tear by grabbing the opening goal of the game, giving the Englishman 15 goals on the season.
It would be easy to say that Wright-Phillips has exceeded expectations, but Petke knew what type of player the Red Bulls were acquiring when they signed him.
"That's a tough question answer. He's sitting on 15 goals and we have 17 games left. Perhaps he has exceeded some expectations," Petke said. "We knew where he came from, we knew a bit about him and we were hoping we could get goals from him and he's really on a great tear.
"He's playing better, as well, and I don't think he gets enough credit for it. He is playing the position a lot better. I said there's a price to pay when playing with Thierry Henry up front, he likes to go all over the place and we want him too. Fabian (Espindola) last year, the lone striker up there, and (Kenny) Cooper before. It's not easy, and they have developed such a great relationship, those two, there's trust there. I think to say that Bradley scored 15 goals without giving a lot of credit to Thierry, as his partner. But this is the guy we hoped we'd get and I'm glad he's on this streak now."
The Union have claimed just one win over the Red Bulls in their last five meetings, leaving Philadelphia with all to do against its Eastern Conference rival on Wednesday.
Philadelphia will also be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing home draw on Saturday. The club held a two-goal advantage against the Colorado Rapids, but a red card to Michael Lahoud saw the Union squander the lead to settle for a point in a 3-3 draw.
"It's going to be a process," interim manager Jim Curtin said. "We have to learn how to win."
The Union have had difficulty all season maintaining second-half leads, and Saturday's draw dropped their home record to 1-2-5 this term.
"We just need to tighten things up and keep our composure in the right way," Union midfielder Brian Carroll said. "We were up a goal, down a man and we let it slip away. It's tough to take right now. We just know we have to tighten up down the stretch and close games differently."
07/15 16:06:53 ET