Earlier in the season, the Philadelphia Union began a four-game winning streak by defeating New York Red Bulls. Now they are in the midst of a three-game losing streak following a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the very same New York Red Bulls.
The Union controlled play for the majority of the first half, earning themselves the lion’s share of chances while limiting Bradley Wright-Phillips to virtually nothing. Stick a pin in that, because it would not last for the rest of the match, but at the start of hte match the Union back line were shutting them down while their attackers created chances.
Two chances for the Union came from Chris Pontius, who given the way the match played out may regret not converting his first half chances. His first opportunity came by capitalizing on a botched Aaron Long clearance attempt. Long’s clearing attempt misfired and landed right in Pontius’s lap. Pontius got a shot on target, but Luis Robles made a nice save to deflect the ball away and out for a corner kick. The Union’s other major first half chance came during stoppage time and once again, it came from Chris Pontius. Pontius was in the box on a receiving end of a cross, however Pontius’s shot missed the net and the Union went into the half goalless.
While things seemed to be going well for the Union, the second half was a different story. Whereas in the first half, the Red Bulls’ best opportunity came from an Alex Muyl shot that Andre Blake had to make a strong save on, they took control in the second half from start to finish. BWP, who did not see many first half touches, instantly registered a couple chances at goal in the first few minutes of the second half, and things only went from bad to worse from there for the Union. In the 54th minute, Derrick Jones went in on Felipe with a studs up tackle. Referee Allen Chapman wasted no time in showing Jones red. Whether or not Felipe embellished a bit or not to draw the referee’s attention, the way the foul looked it’s the kind of tackle that Jones should stay away from because it’s always going to look bad and risk a red card if and when he misses the ball.
Down to 10 men, the Union were powerless against Red Bulls. The chances kept coming, and while the Union and Andre Blake were able to keep NYRB out of the net for sometime, they could not hold it for the full 90 minutes, and in the 87th minute they broke. 2nd half Red Bulls substitute Gonzalo Veron played the ball along the edge of the box to another 2nd half substitute Kemar Lawrence. Lawrence crossed it to Wright-Phillips and BWP had no problem latching onto the ball and slotting it past Blake to give New York Red Bulls the late lead.
And with the Union pressing hard for a equalizer in stoppage time, Red Bulls caught them and enacted a counter-attack. Once again it was Veron setting things up, this time he played it out to the Sal Zizzo. Zizzo played it across to BWP and BWP earned his second by easily tapping the ball in past Blake and into the net. That’s twice the Union backline allowed BWP too much time and space, and twice he burned them on it.
Up next for the Union, they will stay at home for another match against an Eastern Conference rival with this one coming Saturday night against D.C. United.