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Game Changers: Second half heroes

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Here’s what played into the Philadelphia Union going down two goal before the half as well as coming back to get the draw against the New York Red Bulls.

Philadelphia Union vs New York Red Bulls Photo Gallery Trey Madara / Brotherly Game

1.) Ken Tribbett for Joshua Yaro - Is there a such thing as a center back controversy? Perhaps not, but this is a decision that deserves scrutiny. It boils down to who you want to pair with Richie Marquez: Ken Tribbett brings a physical presence and the ability to go up against big forwards and win aerial duels, while Josh Yaro brings speed and the ability to push the midfield up further. The New York Red Bulls only really have one aerial threat in their attacking players in Sacha Klejstan - the rest of the players are more skill and system guys who don’t pose much of an aerial threat. Conventional wisdom would have started Yaro, however Ken Tribbett got the start. You know what happens next:

Tribbett tries to dribble out of the back, but Mike Grella pressures him straight into Bradley Wright-Phillips, who picks his pocket. Wright-Phillips lays it off for the wide open Sacha Klejstan, who puts it past a helpless Andre Blake to give Red Bulls the lead.

2.) Just off - It would be a recurring theme that the Philadelphia Union were offside often, perhaps no other instance as critical as this:

This was one of eight instances of the Union being offside on the night. They have to be more cognizant of where they are on the field. Of all of the gripes I had with the refereeing, calling the Union offside was not one of them.

3.) Stacking the deck of cards - The calls seemed to favor the Red Bulls all night, and sure - some of that could be my own bias. But I’m pretty sure this is a card-able offense:

I’m also pretty sure this was not a card-able offense.

It will be very interesting to see if these incidents are re-visited by the MLS Disciplinary committee. The one good thing for the Union is that after Ilsinho was sent off, the team actually seemed more dangerous than they had with 10 men. This was in large part due to...

4.) Fabian Herbers was a boss - At times this season, Herbers has looked lost - like a guy fresh out of college playing with seasoned pros. Sunday night was not one of those times. Herbers was like a caged animal let loose on Red Bull. He fought for every ball including the one that started this play:

Herbers fought for the ball and kept the play going, and it lead to Sal Zizzo committing the foul in the box. Sapong didn’t miss from the spot, and the Union were back in business.

Herbers also got the assist on the play that drew the Union level.

Herbers won the ball and then proceeded to cross it to the streaking Pontius, who buried the ball in the back of the net. This was Herbers’s best game yet, and hopefully a glimpse at the player he is set to become.

5.) Robles saved the Red Bulls - Another opposing goalkeeper gives the performance of the season to keep up with Andre Blake. Luis Robles stood on his head to keep the Union from pulling out the win.

Fair play to Robles, although take note of who had the ball at the beginning of the video.