With a playoff berth secured, Red Bulls defeat the Union in return home

PORTLAND, OR - SEPTEMBER 18:New York Red Bulls players celebrate Kyle Duncan's goal during the game between the New York Red Bulls and the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on September 18, 2019, at Portland, OR. (Photo by Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

Harrison, New Jersey — Having clinched a playoff spot for the tenth consecutive season, the New York Red Bulls return home to Harrison to face the Philadelphia Union on Sunday. Third place in the Eastern Conference standings, the Union fell 2-0 to the Red Bulls, who jumped up the standings.

The Red Bulls return home

The Red Bulls return home following a two-game road trip to the Pacific Northwest. The team balanced a disappointing 4-2 loss in Seattle with a decisive 2-0 win against the Portland Timbers. Defender Kyle Duncan, who scored his first Red Bulls goal in Portland, made another start back home.

Just three minutes in, a cross from Tom Barlow was well tipped away by Philly goalkeeper Andre Blake. Ten minutes later Blake was called into action again, this time pushing away a good effort from Daniel Royer. But the pair of chances were the only real threat New York offered in the first 30 minutes of play, a stark contrast to its outings in Cascadia.

Barlow Breaks Through

New York finally got the breakthrough goal in the 32nd minute. Following another good save from Blake, Barlow was on hand to tap the ball home from close range. His third of the season, Barlow has proven to be another example of the development offered by the Red Bull system. Although New York had the upper hand through the remainder of the first half, they did not add to their lead going into the tunnel.

Second Half Pacing

The second half offered little from either side. Red Bulls anager Chris Armas pulled midfielder Sean Davis in favor of Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra. Combined with another late appearance for Bradley Wright-Phillips, this choice seemed to favor vision over speed. The physicality of 1v1 play increased in the second half, including a booking for RBNY midfielder Marc Rzatkowski.

A chance came for Royer on a set-piece at the 70th minute, but Kaku’s corner glanced off his head but went wide. Wright-Phillips also enjoyed some opportunities near goal, but could not complete.

The final substitution for the Red Bulls brought in Alex Muyl. Known for his work rate on and off the ball, Muyl challenged for the ball seconds after coming on. He unsettled the Union, drawing fouls and forcing them wide.

The teams battled it out through six minutes of stoppage time, with Royer making a late strike to double the lead. This is the second consecutive game in which the Austrian has added to the scoreboard late in the match.

What’s Next?

The Red Bulls will host DC United on Sunday in their final regular-season home match of the season.

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