The win was the Union’s first in Red Bull Arena since 2015. The Union faced the Red Bulls with the same starting XI as in Tuesday’s match against Columbus with the exception of Jakob Glesnes in for Jack Elliott in the center back pairing with Mark McKenzie. Olivier Mbaizo made his second consecutive start at left back for the injured Kai Wagner, who’s still recovering from an injury suffered against the Red Bulls 12 days ago.
McKenzie, Brendan Aaronson, and Kacper Przybylko all made their 35th appearances for the club. The biggest change for the Red Bulls was the absence of Chris Armas, head coach and longtime teammate of Union coach Jim Curtin. Armas, who was let go on Friday following the Red Bulls loss to D.C. United, had a 29-21-11 record with two berths in the MLS Playoffs, but the team is 3-4-2 in 2020 and struggled as of late. Bradley Carnell made his coaching debut as the interim head coach for the Red Bulls. Carnell joined the club as an assistant in March 2017. Carnell, a former South Africa international with 42 caps and 300 professional appearances, mostly in the Bundesliga, previously served as an assistant with the Orlando City Pirates in the South Africa Premier League.
The Red Bulls started five new players since their last game against the Union, including Amro Tarek in for injured Aaron Long in the center back and Tom Barlow playing alone up top with Kaku behind him.
The Union matched the Red Bull energy in the opening minutes, absorbing a number of initial attacks, some from uncharacteristic Union mistakes. Kacper Przybylko had the game’s best chance in the opening fifteen when a broken combination with Sergio Santos ended with his volley over the bar. The Red Bulls had their best chance in the 16th minute after McKenzie’s giveaway led to Red Bull possession, but Brian Royer struck his free chance from close range over the bar.
Przybylko had another chance in the 25th minute when Santos broke free down the right side, setting up a two-on-one against Tim Parker, but Santos’ pass was behind Przybylko and Kyle Duncan recovered in time to poke the ball away. The Union suffered a blow shortly after when Santos went out with a hamstring injury. He was replaced by Andrew Wooten.
The Union struck first when Brendan Aaronson finished a quick combination down the right from Ray Gaddis to Wooten to Alejandro Bedoya. Bedoya, cut the ball across to Aaronson at the top of the box. Aaronson’s shot curled past Meara’s reach and dinged the inside post for his 6th career MLS goal.
The second half started with the Red Bulls controlling possession and creating a number of chances that left the Union scrambling. Royer had an opportunity poked away in the opening minute, and Jakob Glesnes cleared away a dangerous cross minutes later. Barlow had a good look from short distance after Duncan’s first time cross in the 60th minute, but the Red Bull striker scuffed his shot and the ball rolled wide of the post.
Przybylko doubled the Union lead in the 69th minute after another beautiful combination down the right side. Aaronson found Bedoya streaking into the box, and the Union captain slipped Wooten through behind the defense. Wooten cut the ball back to Przybylko, who calmly tucked it home. The goal was Przybylko’s 20th for the Union, which puts him 6th among the club’s top goal scorers.
Matt Real scored his first MLS goal in the 77th minute, extending the Union’s lead to 3-0. Anthony Fontana won the ball from Omir Fernandez that fell to Ilsinho with space facing goal. Ilsinho slipped Real into the box and the Union defender beat Meara to the far post. Anthony Fontana nearly added a fourth when his full volley from the top of the box was tipped over the bar by Meara. The Union saw out the game in the final minutes to secure the shutout.
“It’s not often you come into this building and take points,” Curtin said after the game. “Obviously a 3-0 win has to rank as our best performance ever here.” Curtin mentioned the importance of responding positively to the team’s loss against Columbus and navigating the emotion in the game’s early minutes. He was pleased with the way his team defended the penalty area, especially his center backs Mark McKenzie and Jakob Glesnes, who Curtin said played near perfect games. But he also praised his team’s offensive performance. “Brendan finds a good pocket in what we call the green zone, and the shot that he hits is a special one.” Curtin was also pleased with his team’s transition goals that killed off the game in the second half. “I’m proud of everyone for the 3 points,” Curtin said. “It’s a big win.”
The Union are back in action at Subaru Park next Saturday when they host the New England Revolution. The Union and Revolution tied 0-0 back on August 20.
PHL: Aaronson 36’
PHL: Przybylko 69’
PHL: Real 77’
Blake, Gaddis, Glesnes, McKenzie, Mbaizo (Real 76’), Martinez, Bedoya, Monteiro (Ilsinho 61’), Aaronson (Fontana 76’), Santos (Wooten 29’), Przybylko.
Unused Subs: Bednik, Elliot, Ngalina, Turner, de Vries
New York Red Bulls
Meara, Duncan, Egbo (Pendant 67’), Tarek, Parker, Stroud (Fernandez 56’), Casserés Jr., Kaku (White 82’), Valot (Yearwood 82’), Royer, Barlow (Jørgenson 67”).
Unused Subs: Jensen, Tetteh, Nealis, Mines