The unbeaten streak is over. Coming into this game riding an eight-match unbeaten streak, the Philadelphia Union fell to New York City FC 3-2 in Yankee Stadium following a failed Union comeback attempt.
The match started extraordinarily bleak for the Union. Without the recently departed Vincent Nogueira, starting double pivot midfielders Brian Carroll and Warren Creavalle struggled maintaining possession of the ball. As a result, City were able to slice and dice the Union leading to their two first half goals.
The first goal came in the 8th minute. An R.J. Allen cross to the top of the box found Thomas McNamara, however McNamara scoffed the opportunity. But his scoffed ball rolled right to the foot of Chelsea icon Frank Lamaprd, making his first start of the season for City. Lampard slotted it past a charging Andre Blake giving City a 1-0 lead.
The Union consistently found themselves on their back foot throughout the first half, struggling to generate possession and opportunities. And in the 21st minute, the Union paid for it again. RJ Allen stripped Brian Carroll of the ball giving himself a break at goal. Creavalle and Ray Gaddis attempted to catch him, but using the embarrassingly small Yankee Stadium pitch to his advantage, Harrison quickly got himself in an advantageous area of the pitch before Gaddis could effectively close him down. Harrison laid the ball off to David Villa who fired past Blake for his MLS leading 11th goal of the season.
With things not getting much better and the Union leaving the pitch for half time down 2-0, things appeared bleak and would only become bleaker. Stepping up to take a free kick near the top of the box early in the second half, Italian soccer legend Andrea Pirlo stepped up and blasted one past Andre Blake to put City up 3-0.
Only a few minutes later the Union were gifted a penalty when from New York City Jason Hernandez quite clearly fouled Fabian Herbers in the box. To add to his misery, referee Silviu Petrescu decided that Hernandez had complained a bit too much and showed Hernandez yellow for his efforts, a detail that would come into play later in the match. Roland Alberg confidently stepped up to the spot and struck the penalty kick past Josh Saunders, making the score 3-1.
In the 85th minute, the Union saw their fortunes turn around when Hernandez picked up his second yellow card and the ensuing red that followed, sending City down to 10 men for the rest of the match. The Union were quick to take advantage a couple minutes later, earning a corner against a team that earlier in this season conceded four corner kick goals in a single match. The corner kick found the head of Brian Carroll however Carroll's header deflected off the head of NYCFC center back Frédéric Brilliant who put forth a brilliant header past his own keeper and into his own net, pulling the Union within a goal with his own goal. If Carroll's header was not directed on goal, Brillant's certainly was, and it was a moment the defender would rather soon forget. Or send to another manager as a striker's audition.
The Union would try to generate opportunities for an equalizer in the closing minutes, but most resulted in David Villa counter-attacks that he either missed wide or got denied by Blake. And in the end, the effort just was not enough to overcome the drastic 3-goal deficit.
For the first time eighth games, the Union were defeated, and now they will have to figure out how to course correct without Nogueira on the roster. Up next for the Union is a Wednesday night affair with the dreadful Chicago Fire at Talen Energy Stadium.