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Red Bulls vie for rare road win vs. Union
The New York Red Bulls have lost six straight on the road while the Philadelphia Union's past two matches, both away from home, ended in defeat.
Fortunately for the Union, they will be home Sunday afternoon to play New York (6-7-2) after a two-week break from MLS play for both teams.
The Red Bulls' 1-6-0 away mark is weighing heavily on them, said Union coach Jim Curtin.
"They're going to want to put on a very good performance in our building," he said. "They've stressed all week improving on the road.
"They have a great roster. They're well-coached. They're organized. They high press. There's no secret to that."
The game will be a preview of the Round of 16 match in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Red Bull Arena on June 28 after each team recorded victories in the tournament last week.
It sets up an intense stretch between them, especially in the eyes of the Union (4-6-4), according to New York coach Jesse Marsch.
He knows Philadelphia gets fired up to face the Red Bulls, even if the feelings aren't reciprocated. The Red Bulls have stronger rivalries with fellow MLS originals D.C. United and New England and, of course, New York City FC.
"We're a bigger rival to them than they are with us," Marsch said of the Union. "We have to understand that, and understand that when we play them we have to be up for them the same way we are for our biggest rivals.
"Is there blood and bad blood in it? Yeah. They've knocked us out of the Open Cup before and then we have them in the Open Cup a couple of weeks later. We know what to expect down there. Their fans don't like us. We'll have a big showing of our fans down there."
The Union are 5-4-2 at home all-time vs. New York in the regular season.
Philadelphia won the first MLS meeting this season, 3-0, at home on May 6 when C.J. Sapong scored three goals in 11 minutes for the first of four straight wins.
Union midfielder Alexander Bedoya is questionable for the rematch because of an injury while New York will be without injured defender Connor Lade. Also, midfielder Mike Grella (quadriceps) and defender Kemar Lawrence (illness) are questionable for the Red Bulls.
Grella was injured in Wednesday's Open Cup win against New York City.
Updated June 17, 2017