The Union (9-9-9) have been hovering around playoff position for the past month, but Saturday is a chance for the team to firmly entrench themselves into the mix against their rivals, the New York Red Bulls.
The Red Bulls (9-10-8) are coming off an impressive 1-0 victory over top-ranked D.C. United Wednesday. The Union hope their fresh legs can be used as an advantage against the fourth-ranked Red Bulls Saturday.
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“Across all sports, playing New York is always a bitter rivalry,” said manager Jim Curtin. “We don’t like each other very much and it would be a big deal to take both games against them on our field. We expect them to bring a full squad, but a tired squad [Saturday] and we’ll be ready for them.”
Veteran forward Sebastien Le Toux has been simply sensational in guiding the Union back to prominence. He’s had three goals and four assists in the Union’s past five matches. At 30 years old, his health as well as the teams as a whole will be very important down the stretch.
“We’re healthy at a good time,” said Curtin. “Not only are we healthy, but guys are now fit to play 90 minutes. It’s been a benefit for us to be playing in what feel like playoff games now for the past several months. We dug a deep hole early on and we’ve fought our way out of it.”
The Union will look to stop Thierry Henry, who once again has shown how dangerous he can be in 2014. He has eight goals to go along with 12 assists, where he ranks fourth in the MLS.
“They’re a handful,” said Curtin. “They’re dynamic, they come forward in waves and if you look at their team overall, as Thierry [Henry] goes they go. He’s not a guy you can shut down and in 90 minutes he’s going to get his chances. We need to locate him all over the field.”
Saturday’s match against the Red Bulls will air at 3 p.m. on NBC Sports.