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Union beat the Red Bull in first home game in 310 days

31st minute goal holds up despite missed opportunities to pad lead

Ray Gaddis sends in the cross that set up the game winning goal against New York Red Bulls in a 1-0 win on August 25, 2020
Photo by Carl Gulbish

CHESTER, Pa. — A 31st minute goal from Kacper Przybylko held up as the winner in a 1-0 victory for the Philadelphia Union over the New York Red Bulls in their first game here since last October.

Przybylko got on the end of a wicked cross from Ray Gaddis for an easy tap-in for his second goal of the season and 17th in a Union jersey and Andre Blake and back line were able to keep their second straight clean sheet and extend their scoreless streak to 200 minutes dating back to the MLS is Back semifinal in Florida.

Head coach Jim Curtin made three changes to his starting XI from the scoreless draw in New England with Kai Wagner returning from injury, Andrew Wooten earning his first start of the season and Jakob Glesnes spelling Jack Elliott.

Playing in front of an empty Subaru Park — their first game since the stadium was renamed — the Union were able to stretch the Red Bulls defense down the right side and eventually made them pay for not adjusting to the game plan when Gaddis sent in a cross that found Przybylko wide open in front of goal for the finish.

“The cross was brilliant,” Przybylko said. “It was the perfect cross.”

The goal was the first for Przybylko in five games in all competitions but it wasn’t the only highlight reel play for him on the night. Just before the break, he had a chance off a corner denied by a strong reflex save from Ryan Meara and then cleared a ball off the line in his own net from a Red Bull corner.

A rare mistake from McKenzie nearly led to a Red Bull goal in the 60th minute but Andre Blake was barely troubled to make one of his three saves on the night with the ensuing shot.

Seven minutes later a back heel from Przybylko and a dummy from Brenden Aaronson in the box nearly sprung Sergio Santos for a goal in the first of a flurry of chances to close the game out. Santos’s shot did little to trouble Meara and Przybylko moments later was on the receiving end of an Aaronson feed he wasn’t able to get on frame. Santos had another chance to redirect a Wagner cross in the 79th minute but it went wide of the mark.

“The Red Bulls always bring out our best effort” Curtin said. “Our players rose to the occasion and got a good win against a good team.”

The Union last played in Chester against the same Red Bulls team and picked up their first playoff win on October 20, 2019. The circumstances were of course much different Tuesday night with the stadium empty and fans only represented by cardboard cutouts the Union’s foundation sold for $40. The River End was completely covered by large tifo.

“We lose a little bit of an advantage with no fans here but we are comfortable playing on this field,” Curtin said. “I am really happy where this team is at and we are going to grow each game.”

The Union will have another quick turn around for their next game when they welcome D.C. United to Chester on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.