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Philadelphia Union unable to hold lead up a man, settle for draw with Red Bull

The Union made it four straight draws

Carl Gulbish

CHESTER, Pa. — The Philadelphia Union earned a disappointing point at home against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening despite owning most of the second half’s momentum and playing a man up for the final 35 minutes.

From the opening whistle, both sides of supporters were in full voice with the soundtrack at Subaru Park reaching deafening levels of sound every save, tackle and pass.

After twenty minutes of back and forth pressing, the Union earned its first corner. After a well-placed ball from Kai Wagner made its way towards the goal, Red Bull keeper Carlos Coronel reached up to grab the ball, but lost it in the air. After a difficult scrum, Sergio Santos tapped the ball wide as he missed Philadelphia’s best chance that far.

The pairing of Wagner and Santos saw their second chance come in the 35th minute as a cross whipped in by the former just missed the head of Santos. The ensuing corner found its way into the hands of Coronel, who sent it straight to Andre Blake.

The remainder of the first half continued with an aggressive flow by both teams, though neither was able to break down the other’s backline. Red Bull crosses were met by the cleats of Jakob Glesnes, while the Union struggled to place shots on net.

It took the Union under two minutes from the start of the second half before Daniel Gazdag received a layoff from Sergio Santos in the penalty area just prior to a top corner strike from ten yards out from net. With its second shot on goal, the Union had taken a 1-0 lead.

Tensions exploded a few moments later, as an anticipated shoving match broke out, which resulted in two yellow cards awarded: one to Julian Carranza and another to New York’s Frankie Amaya. Minutes later, Dylan Nealis received his second yellow of the match for a late tackle on Santos and the Union went a man up with the lead in the 55th minute.

The Union took advantage of the situation. A quick attack led to a shot from Alejandro Bedoya that attempted to bounce into the net. Another wild sequence followed, which included an incredible run from Santos, blocked shots from Carranza and Nathan Harriel, and many requests for a handball in the box against Red Bull that went unheard. In the end, Red Bull escaped after an offside call.

Even with the tide against them, Red Bull responded in the 66th minute. Luquinhas struck a shot well from the six-yard box, and brought his team back from what seemed to be a free fall.

The Union made its first substitutions in the 70th minute as Jim Curtin brought on offensive players Jack McGlynn and Cory Burke for Leon Flach and Sergio Santos, in an effort to retake command of the game with 20 minutes left.

It appeared that Carranza had played the role of the Union’s hero, tapping a ball into Red Bull’s goal from just off the goal line. However, a video review showed Carranza in an offsides position, and the game stayed at a draw with seven minutes and stoppage time remaining.

The Union was unable to crack the Red Bulls’ five-man backline for the duration of the match, as attempts from Jose Martinez and Daniel Gazdag couldn’t find the net. After seven minutes of stoppage time, both teams walked off the pitch with one point.

The Union plays its next match against Inter Miami CF at Subaru Park on Wednesday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m.