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‘Angry’ about not starting, Matt Real chips in first MLS goal off the bench

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Real has been passed over to start the past two games with Kai Wagner out injured

MLS: Philadelphia Union at New York Red Bulls Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

While the dance he had been planning for the celebration didn’t come to fruition, Matt Real scored his first MLS goal Sunday night to put an exclamation point on the first Philadelphia Union victory at Red Bull Arena in five years.

The 21-year-old left back was played into the box by Ilsinho in the 78th minute and was able to tuck a shot inside the far post to make it 3-0 for the visitors. It capped a night that began in frustration when he was on the bench for the second straight game.

“When I’m angry I play best,” Real said. “Obviously, I was angry. I wanted to come on and I know it was 2-0 but I said to myself ‘look I’m going to score, I’m going to get an assist or I’m going to do something to get someone’s attention.’”

With Brenden Aaronson opening the scoring in the first half, Real’s goal marked the first time two Union homegrowns scored on the same night. The three goals were also the most the Union have ever scored at Red Bull Arena in what was just their second win in the building.

“I’m happy I scored but I’m even more happy we got the three points,” Real said.

Real replaced Olivier Mbaizo — starting at left back for the second straight match — in the 77th minute, determined to make the most of the situation.

“For me, it just motivated me more and more to show coach that I thought he made the wrong decision,” Real said.

Curtin, who said last week that Real was being more reactive than proactive in the game against D.C. United, said he liked how Real has responded to criticism and his decision to not start him the past two games.

“There’s two ways you can do it, you can sulk and you can cry and you can pout or you can roll up your sleeves and step up and do your job,” Curtin said. “Matthew did that in the last game and he did it tonight and scored a goal.”