With the New York Red Bulls missing key starters and with the looming possibility that the Union will be without Jack McInerney for a few weeks due to his getting called up to the U.S. Men's National Team in the CONCACAF Gold Cup , the Union's game at home against New York Red Bulls was seen as a must win. Luckily, thanks to two goals from Conor Casey, the Union delivered in a big way, routing the Red Bulls in emphatic fashion by a score of 3-0.
The action at PPL Park began with a wide open display of soccer. The Union appeared to get on the board first in the 4th minute but Conor Casey was slightly offside, otherwise nullifying what ended up being a rather sublime finish.
It would be no sweat off Casey's back, however, as just a few minutes later he would get on the board. After a corner was cleared away to Keon Daniel, he showed excellent awareness to pick out Sheanon Williams on the outside of the box. Williams then crossed to Casey in the box, and he made no mistake in heading it in to give the Union their only goal of the half.
The Union had a golden opportunity to go up 2-0 in the 18th minute. Daniel's shot deflected right to Jack McInerney who got a shot on goal but Luis Robles prouced an absolutely amazing toe save to keep the ball out of the net.
Controversy erupted in the 28th minute when Lloyd Sam was sent off with a red card after delivering a studs up challenge on a falling Danny Cruz. No one made much of a stink about it on the field, including the carded party himself, but much was discussed on Twitter about the play. The fact that Sam came into the tackle studs up instantly makes him susceptible to the referee's decision, and the red card was ultimately deserved. Cruz was injured on the challenge and would need to be subbed out in the 36th minute for Michael Farfan.
Not even a minute later it appeared Dax McCarty had equalized on a free kick, taking advantage of shambolic Union defending, but McCarty was half a step offside and despite the shoddy defense, the goal was rightfully nullified.
It was at this point that the Union went into a bit of a lull, but the Red Bulls never used their opportunities to threaten, and any opportunity they did have was negated by the official.
The second half began with a quick flurry from the Union. McInerney ran into the box and passed to Casey whose shot was saved by Robles. The rebound went to Sebastien Le Toux and faced with an open net, Le Toux flat-out. Le Toux had an interesting afternoon, he did a lot of good things on the wing today but that was a goal-scoring opportunity he almost assuredly would like to have back.
In the 55th minute, the Red Bulls took a free kick and caught the Union off a guard when it resulted in a cross in the box, but no one from the visitors would able to capitalize and the Union would clear. It was by and large an open match with the Union gaining most of the chances and in the 64th minute the Union would put the game out of reach. Le Toux crossed into the box to Daniel whose shot was saved by Robles, but Robles bobbled the rebound sending the ball right to Casey who scored his second goal of the game when he slotted the ball in the net with a desperately sprawling Robles in front of him.
Conor Casey would soon be taken off for Antoine Hoppenot, the Union's super-sub who would score the 3rd and final goal of the match off a beautiful cut back from Le Toux. The Red Bulls did have some opportunities in the dying minutes to put the ball in the back of the net and make it a match, but each time they failed. Fabian Espindola had an open shot but sent it over the bar, and Andre Akpan had a perfect opportunity for a headed goal but he sent it just wide instead.
McInerney was ultimately unable to get on the score sheet in what could be his final game with the Union before getting called by Jurgen Klinsmann for the CONCACAF Gold Cup beginning in two weeks. McInerney had a pair of golden chances, but each time Robles came up with huge saves to deny him. If there was any doubt before that the leading scorer in MLS is deserving of the call-up, he put those doubts to rest with a solid performance despite not getting any goals.
Up next for the Union is another prime time showdown against a team in second place in their conference. Dallas will be coming to town and that game will be seen at 5:30 on NBC Sports Network.