The Philadelphia Union entered Yankee Stadium with hopes they’d be able to rebound from last week’s disappointing loss at Rio Tinto. But instead, this afternoon’s tilt against New York City FC just ended in more disappointment for the Union, where a 1-0 second half lead culminated with a 2-1 defeat.
Pre-game lineups saw a surprise for the Union, as Josh Yaro returned to the bench for this first time this season, fully recovered from his shoulder injury suffered in training. Warren Creavalle also got a rare start in the midfield this afternoon with Alejandro Bedoya away on international duty.
The match began as a rather sloppy back-and-forth affair, which given the incredibly small size of the Yankee Stadium pitch did not come as much of a surprise to anyone watching. The best scoring chance of the first half came from New York City, who had two incredible opportunities in the span of a few seconds. Alexander Ring fired a shot from the box that rattled off the bar and bounced right to David Villa whose shot was somehow parried away by Andre Blake. While Blake himself could not keep the ball out of harm’s way, Fabinho managed a clearance to keep the match level at nil.
With both teams entering the locker room tied at 0, the second half began tilted toward New York City’s direction, although the Union did generate an early second half chance. Chris Pontius forced Sean Johnson into a necessary save immediately after he obliterated some dude into the smithereens, while at the other end Blake and the cross bar came up with the necessary saves to keep the match knotted at zero.
The scoring finally commenced in the 69th minute. C.J. Sapong played through a nice ball to Fafa Picault whose run consisted of a nice turn inside resulting in a nice shot that beat Sean Johnson to put the Union up 1-0 as a nice celebration followed.
Despite having the lead, Jim Curtin’s side soon faced some, perhaps based on the way the match had been going up to the Picault goal, not so unexpected adversity. In the 74th minute, Blake needed to come up huge in order to keep the Union in the match and in the running for what would have been a vital three points. Jack Harrison’s run got past Fabinho and Medunjanin allowing him to tee-up David Villa. Villa’s shot was parried away by Blake with an excellent leg save, and then on the immediately ensuing rebound attempt by Ring, Blake regained himself to set up yet another excellent save, this time by diving to his left and stopping the ball in its tracks on the ground.
The Union’s run of good fortune would soon end, though. In the 80th minute, with Richie Marquez marking him, Maxime Chanot latched onto the end of a Maxi Moralez corner kick. Moralez launched a header past a helpless Blake and into the net to even the score at 1 apiece with just 10 minutes left.
And then, five minutes later, disaster struck for the Union. Once again off a corner kick, except this time the ball got batted around the box for a bit until Villa was able to get a shot off. Blake made the save, but the rebound found its way to Alexander Callens and this time Blake could not make the save off the rebound. Callens buried it, and New York City left the match 2-1 victors and all three points that the Union badly wanted from this match.
Up next for the Union, they get a week off for the international break before resuming play in two weeks back at Talen Energy Stadium where they will re-encounter New York Red Bulls, the team that the Union got their four-game winning streak started against last month.