It was without question a very ugly game. It was far from the Union's best performance of the season. But thanks to the back line and MacMath, the Union were able to hold on for a 0-0 draw at Red Bull Arena, their first ever road points against New York Red Bulls.
The first half was a rather slow affair not consisting of a lot of good chances. Anything New York Red Bulls built up was ruined by poor finishing and anything the Union built up was ruined by the inability to connect on crosses and passes.
Perhaps the best first half opportunity for the New York Red Bulls came in the 36th minute. It was ultimately muffed, but the threat was there when Roy Miller sent a cross into Eric Alexander, only to have Fabinho get in the way, forcing Alexander's header to float harmlessly wide of the net.
The best opportunity for the Union came in the 39th minute when a Keon Daniel long ball found Conor Casey in the box. Casey got a shot off, but it was ultimately blocked by ex-Ugandan international Ibrahim Sekagya.
The second half featured much the same of the first half with perhaps a quicker tempo to it. The first chance of the half went to the Union came in the 59th minute when Fabinho crossed a ball that saw Luis Robles dive and punch it away only for the ball to land at Jack McInerney's feet at the top of the box. Unfortunately for him, his goalless streak continued as he could only mishit the shot badly.
The New York Red Bulls had been getting the better looks through the match, but they were frequently stymied by the Union back four led tonight by Amobi Okugo and Zac MacMath who performed very well in goal despite never having to make any saves of the spectacular variety.
The Union's best scoring chance and the best scoring chance of the match came in the 73rd minute. Conor Casey launched a long-range shot that was blocked up in the air but it found a sitting Sebastien Le Toux at the top of the box. Le Toux turned, fired, and with much ferocity the ball hammered the crossbar bouncing out to an offside Antoine Hoppenot who managed to do everything wrong and miss an open net before he saw the linesman's flag.
MacMath's only blemish came in the 84th minute during a New York Red Bulls corner. MacMath stretched to swat the ball away, missed it, allowing the ball to go to Tim Cahill's head but Cahill could not put a solid head on it and the ball fluttered harmlessly away for a goal kick.
Both teams had one last chance in stoppage time to break through and take all three points. Keon Daniel found Antoine Hoppenot who dribbled in the box and generated a shot that went high. One minute later, the Red Bulls earned themselves a corner and Thierry Henry sent it in to Brandon Barklage who headed it down towards goal but MacMath was able to scoop it up.
That would be the last opportunity of the match, and the game would end as it began: goalless. Thanks to other results in MLS, the Union found themselves dropping to 4th place in the Eastern Conference. The good news on the standings side is the Union are currently 5 points clear of 6th place New England Revolution, who have one game in hand, and 7 points clear of 7th place Chicago Fire, who have two games in hand.
After the match, this happened.
A guy just ran on the field and got absolutely leveled. Perhaps the most exciting moment of the evening.— Philly Soccer Page (@phillysoccerpg) August 18, 2013
@JustinF_LB I wish. It wasn't even a security guard. It was the fireworks guy protecting his pyrotechnics. BOOM!!— Philly Soccer Page (@phillysoccerpg) August 18, 2013
Next up for the Union is another road trip, this one to Foxborough, Massachusetts and Gillette Stadium where they will take on New England Revolution in another Eastern Conference battle with possible playoff implications in the standings.