Union ready to take Red Bulls by horns

Martinez and the Union have two straight games against teams in their conference.

The Philadelphia Union have won three league matches in a row for the first time in franchise history.
Winning a fourth straight, however, will be a daunting task.

The Union travel to Harrison, N.J., Saturday afternoon to face the formidable New York Red Bulls, who feature the likes of Thierry Henry and former Union forward Sebastien Le Toux. Coming up with three points at Red Bull Arena won’t be easy.

“It’s one of the ‘Clasicos’ — games that you always have to win, especially for us, given that we have two straight games against teams in our conference,” said Union forward Josue Martinez. “These are points that we need to get in order to make the playoffs, which is what the team strives for.”

The Union earned their first playoff berth last season and then fell to the Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Philadelphia struggled at the beginning of this season, but have rallied. If the Union (6-9-2) can pull off a victory against the Red Bulls (10-5-5), that could have a lasting impact.

“I think we’re all excited about this challenge,” said Union defender and captain Carlos Valdes. “It’s not an easy place to play. We have to come together as a club. I think we’re confident. We have a lot of trust in each other.”

New York is tough to defeat at home, as evidenced by its 6-0-3 record. For the Union, it’s about executing on both ends of the field.

“We are working very hard every day and you can see the results,” said forward Antoine Hoppenot. “We’re going to keep working like crazy to improve. It would be great to come away with a win Saturday. We’re going to do our best to make that happen.”



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