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New York Red Bulls Win 3-2 in Dramatic Match Against the Philadelphia Union

(Photo by Catalina Fragoso - Double G Media)

(Photo by Catalina Fragoso – Double G Media)


The New York Red Bulls, fresh off of qualifying for the MLS Cup playoffs and the knockout rounds of the CONCACAF Champions League, returned home to face the Philadelphia Union. Playing an opponent who had given them a tough time this season, the Red Bulls were handed a tough match, filled with dramatics on both ends of the pitch. It was the home team, though, who reigned supreme at the end of the night, winning 3-2 off the back of a momentous day for captain Dax McCarty.

Making only one change from last week’s win over the Montréal Impact as an injured Daniel Royer was replaced by Mike Grella, the Red Bulls were on the back foot early on. Philadelphia were ruling the match, keeping the New York defense busy. The away side were able to capitalize on their early successes, grabbing the go ahead goal just 14 minutes into the match. Chris Pontius was able to find Fabian Herbers on the edge of the penalty area, and he was able to slot the ball home easily past Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles and into the bottom left corner of the goal.

The goal served as a wake up call of sorts for New York, as they were instantly charging to the other side of the field, looking for an equalizer. Many opportunities fell to the home side, including a chance for Bradley Wright-Phillips with Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake out of his net. The Union, though, were holding their own through Blake’s important plays, as he was able to excellently deal with Wright-Phillips outside of his box, and save a Grella chance from close range just minutes later.

The Union were dealt an injury blow in the 30th minute, when defender Josh Yaro was carried off after a head injury after an altercation with Blake and Aurélien Collin. After the match, Philadelphia head coach said the scene was “not good.” “He is standing upright and walking around,” he added, “but he was out of it.”

Blake continued his stellar game well into the end of the first half, saving yet another Grella opportunity. Just as it seemed Blake was unbeatable, Sacha Kljestan broke his usual routine of assisting goals and scored one instead, shooting from the edge of the area, sending it past multiple players for the equalizer.

New York came back from where they left off, as they grabbed the go-ahead goal through none other than Wright-Phillips. McCarty found his teammate in a good position, and he outran the Union defenders to shoot past Blake for his 21st goal of the season, leveling him with New York City FC’s David Villa.

The Union were able to complicate the match, as Pontius headed a ball into the back of the net just ten minutes later for 2-2. New York, though, were eager to get back ahead.

Challenging for a third goal, it was captain McCarty, who added a goal to his two assists in the 66th minute. Kljestan added a league-leading 17th assist of the season and found McCarty’s head, sending the Red Bulls ahead yet again.

The final part of the match saw both sides take their opportunities. Wright-Phillips was close to another goal in the 71st minute, missing a ball at the far post. Philadelphia, though, were dominating in the dying minutes. New York were conceding set pieces, and the Union were testing the home defense. It was Robles, matching Blake’s earlier heroics, saving a Pontius bicycle kick eight minutes before the end.

All of the Union’s attempts were not enough to steal points from New York, who added another three points to their total. Following Toronto FC’s loss to DC United, the Red Bulls now sit atop of the Eastern Conference with two games left to play.

Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch spoke after the match about the dramatics, saying “I think we got stronger as the game went on.” He was in good spirits, saying “I believe in this group. I trust them.”

New York next face the Columbus Crew on Sunday, October 16, in their final home match of the regular season.

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Pardeep is the New York Red Bulls Beat Writer for while also covering other soccer teams and events.
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