Ray Gaddis and the Philadelphia Union are in the midst of one of their busiest stretches of the season, playing three games in eight days. Coming off a draw against Salt Lake City last Saturday, they are set to visit the New York Red Bulls this evening before coming home for a match versus Houston on Saturday. The seemingly tireless WVU Soccer product Ray Gaddis is ready for it.
The Union are 1-1-4 thus far on the season and Gaddis — now in his third season — has played in every minute and has grown as a player. He earned a spot on Sports Illustrated’s Team of the Week coming off a strong performance against the Columbus Crew three weeks ago.
“I’ve grown tremendously,” Gaddis said. “I feel that I’m calmer throughout the game and I read everything a lot quicker. My defending is very good now, not just 1 on 1, but collectively, as a back four, I (think) it’s been good.”
Coming off the tie against Salt Lake City, Gaddis knows that you learn what you can from that match, but you can’t dwell on it.
“We have to take it one day at a time,” he said. “We got through (Saturday) and now we look towards Red Bull. Our perspective is take it one day at a time and one game at a time.
Tonight, the Union have a tough test ahead, despite New York’s winless record. The Union have never won at Red Bull Arena in six matches played. All time, the Union are just 3-7-1 against the Bulls, but split the three games they played last season. It’s a developing I-95 rivalry between the two clubs, and Gaddis savours every opportunity to play a nearby foe. (Backyard Brawl anyone?)
“That’s what it’s all about,” he said. “A chance to play against a rival right up 95 is great. I know they’re going to be up for it and we’re going to be up for the task at well. Should be a tremendous atmosphere with the fans from both sides getting into it as well.”
The match kicks off at 7:30 at Red Bull Arena tonight.