Chester PA – The New York Red Bulls defeated the Philadelphia Union by a score of 2-0 at Talen Energy Stadium in front of 17,720 in attendance.
The last time these two teams met it was the Union ending their long winless streak, led by three goals from C.J. Sapong. Despite the Wednesday night Open Cup success of Jay Simpson up top with Sapong on a wing, as I predicted in Wednesday’s article, Union coach Jim Curtin opted to go with Sapong at striker with Chris Pontius and the speedy Fafa Picault on the wing. Red Bulls striker Bradley Wright-Phillips was certainly the player Philadelphia schemed defensively for, having scored three game winning goals against the Union in his past nine games.
The majority of the first half was spent in midfield, with neither team dictating play for any notable period of time. In the 22nd minute, it appeared the Union had scored but referee Allen Chapman deemed that Union winger Pontius had interfered with Red Bulls keeper Luis Robles, and the goal was called off. Red Bulls would have a golden opportunity of their own as Alex Muyl broke in the box off a counter attack, forcing a big save from Andre Blake.
In second half play, it was a 53rd minute tackle by Union midfielder Derrick Jones that changed the course of the match. His tackle into Felipe drew an immediate red card from Chapman, as the Philadelphia supporters raged in disagreement. In fairness to Chapman, Jones’ did go over the ball, but the replay showed that his foot actually rolled on top of the ball instead of intently going directly over it, something that would have been near impossible to notice in real time. It’s also difficult to tell how much contact Jones actually made with Felipe, who has now drawn an incredible five red cards from opponents (according to Union coach Jim Curtin). New York immediately piled on the pressure, forcing multiple saves from Blake and a header off the post by Alex Muyl.
The Red Bulls would finally deal the fatal blow in the 87th minute, as Bradley Wright-Phillips once again delivered the game winner from a Kemar Lawrence pass. Curtin brought on striker Jay Simpson for right back Ray Gaddis in an aggressive move. But Wright-Phillips would add another in extra time to send the Union faithful to the exits.
Player of the Match: Aurelien Collin – Collin did exactly what he needed to do against C.J. Sapong. He was physical for all 90 minutes. His persistent fouling did earn him a yellow card in the 84th, but that was a small price to pay for the toll he inflicted of Sapong, who was clearly just gassed and worn down by the late stages in the match.