There was no Ilsinho magic in this one.
Andre Blake spilled a relatively routine stop of a Josh Sims cross that led to a tap-in goal for Tom Barlow in the first half and the Philadelphia Union never recovered, falling 2-0 at Red Bull Arena on Sunday night.
The shutout was the Union’s fourth in their last five games on the road.
Playing with the lead from the Barlow goal in the 32nd minute, the Red Bulls proved a challenge to break down with the Union chasing the game in the second half. Even inserting subs Sergio Santos, Ilsinho and Marco Fabian to the attack — going to a 3-5-2 when Fabian replaced an injured Mark McKenzie — couldn’t provide an answer, despite some painfully close chances.
The second half chances included a near bicycle kick from Kacper Przybylko in the box that fell to Santos for a shot Kemar Lawrence blocked with his face and a Przybylko attempt in the box off a cross from Ilsinho was saved by Luis Robles and cleared out of danger by Tim Parker. Before falling behind, Alejandro Bedoya had a bid for a goal in the first half cleared off the line by Aaron Long in the 17th minute.
As the Union kept pushing for a goal, a Red Bulls team that looked content to concede possession continued to look the more dangerous side and nearly doubled the lead in the 76th minute when Kaku rocketed a shot Blake was able to stretch to get a hand on and tap over the bar for a corner. Blake also had to dive to his left to make a stop on a Sims shot from distance seven minutes earlier.
Kaku and Bradley Wright-Phillips were both brought in around the hour mark and provided the spark they needed to make it two wins in a row for the Red Bulls after a Wednesday night victory in Portland. Wright-Phillips set up the second goal with a pass in the box to Daniel Royer deep into stoppage time to seal up all three points and move the Red Bulls into fourth place.
The Union finished the night with 60 percent of the ball, but were outshot 17-8 for the game. It was the sixth time this season the Union have been shut out on the road, which includes their 2-0 loss to the Chicago Fire last month and 4-0 losses to Montreal Impact and Real Salt Lake in July.
It came on a night when NYCFC dropped points in a 1-1 draw at FC Dallas and ahead of a Wednesday night date at Avaya Stadium in San Jose.
That leaves the Union — which clinched a home playoff game with results from Saturday night — six points back of first place NYCFC and two points shy of second place Atlanta United. NYCFC hosts Atlanta United on Wednesday and visits New England Revolution before coming to Talen Energy Stadium in the season finale on October 6. Atlanta has Montreal on the road and New England at home to finish the season.