Demolition Derby. Sunday afternoon on ESPN. Prime time game. 90+ degree weather. All of this combined was sure to make a great game at Talen Energy Stadium. The Philadelphia Union faced off against their I-95 rival New York Red Bulls. The Red Bulls themselves find they are in an unfamiliar position. They are below the playoff line with 20 points. That hasn’t happened very often in recent years. The Union are second to last in the Eastern Conference on 16 points. Three points for either team here is crucial. After beating the Harrisburg City Islanders last Wednesday, the team needs to build on that, granted easy, win. Here’s how both team lined up.
Red Bulls: Robles/Perrinelle;Murillo;Collin;Long/Kljestan;Adams/Royer;Muyl;Felipe/Wright-Phillips
Demolished: Philadelphia Union Fall to New York Red Bulls
Before the game, the Union honored one of its former players and named him an honorary captain for the game. French midfielder Vincent Nogueira made a return to Philadelphia for the rivalry match. Nogueira left the team approximately one year ago this month due to mental health issues related to homesickness. He joined RC Strasbourg in Ligue 2 in France and helped them gain promotion to the top flight league Ligue 1.
The game started off as expected extremely chippy. Both teams conceded a decent amount of fouls to each other in the first ten minutes of the match.
The 20th minute was the first big chance of the game. After an errant header landed back at the feet of Chris Pontius, he put a shot on net and was miraculously saved to the side by Luis Robles. The game would stay 0-0.
Seven minutes later, Pontius saved the ball from going out and found Ilsinho. He curled the ball across the net to try and find Fafa Picault. Picault was ultimately bodied and the cross was headed out of bounds. The subsequent corner kick led to nothing.
The 54th minute finally brought a card into the game after many fouls. The Union’s Derrick Jones saw a red card after a reckless challenge. The sending off was a valid one and Jones was visibly upset with himself afterwards. It was a tough break for the homegrown 18-year-old.
In the 62nd minute, an Alex Muyl header nicked the post and bounced right at Bradley Wright-Phillips. Any other day he would bury that rebound in the back of the net, but today wasn’t that day. He whiffed on the ball and the Union punted the ball far out of bounds. Nothing was giving in for both teams
It was a special day for a certain player for the Union. Marcus Epps, a rookie out of University of South Florida, made his MLS debut for the club coming on in the 70th minute. He made his club debut earlier last week when he started in their Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup match against Harrisburg City Islanders. He scored in that game as well.
In the 78th minute, a Haris Medunjanin free kick snaked its way through the penalty box. Both Oguchi Onyewu and Fafa Picault had a chance of getting a foot on it. Both missed marginally and the ball would travel out of bounds.
But the deadlock would break a little while later in the 86th minute. Kemar Lawrence would cross the ball on the ground into the box to Wright-Phillips who put it into the back of the net to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The heart break wouldn’t stop then for the Union. Almost the same exact goal happened in the 90th minute, as a cross on the ground met the foot of Bradley Wright-Phillips for his second in four minutes. The Red Bulls lead now extended to 2-0, and that’s how the game concluded.
The Union have another home game next week against D.C United who are last place in the Eastern Conference. Once again, both teams will need three points.