The Philadelphia Union take home a road point after a scoreless draw against the New York Red Bulls.
Union starting XI: Blake; Gaddis, Trusty, McKenzie, Rosenberry; Bedoya, Medujanin; Picault (Accam 70’), Dockal, Epps (Ilsinho 64’); Sapong (Burke 82’)
NYRB starting XI: Meara; Lawrence, Long, Parker, Murillo; Adams, Davis; Royer (Muyl 73’), Kaku (Bezecourt 90’), Valot (Rivas 83’), Wright-Phillips
Union manager Jim Curtin stuck with the same starting lineup that provided a win against Montreal last week. NYRB manager Jesse Marsch trotted out his usual lineup except for goalkeeper. Luis Robles sat out with a knee injury, giving Ryan Meara a chance to play.
The Red Bulls were by far the more dangerous team in the first half. The Union’s back line had some shaky moments, but NYRB was unable to take advantage. Andre Blake was also instrumental in keeping the half scoreless.
Once again, Marcus Epps showed why he is in the lineup instead of David Accam. In the 18th minute, Epps took a shot over Meara’s leg, but Parker was on the goal line and got his head on the ball before it went in. In the 30th minute, Epps was on the receiving end of a great pass from Borek Dockal. When Epps approached the goal on a breakaway, Meara came out to challenge him, made himself big, and got in the way of the shot.
But despite that, the Red Bulls controlled the run of play for most of the half. The young Union defense made some mistakes, but the Red Bulls could not take advantage. It looked like the Red Bulls might have gotten on the board on a goal by Bradley Wright-Phillips in the 33rd minute, but he was rightfully ruled offside. The Union were fortunate to maintain a clean sheet going into halftime.
The Union came out looking sharper in the second half, pushing the ball into the final third. They had their best chance in the 53rd minute, when a Kemar Lawrence handball in the 18-yard box gave the Union an opportunity with a penalty kick.
And they blew it. Meara broke the opposite way of C.J. Sapong’s shot, but the ball went wide of the net.
The Union got a scare in the 62nd minute when Andre Blake knocked down Daniel Royer in the penalty area, but Royer was called offside, sparing Blake from having to defend a penalty shot.
The Boys in Blue kept the pressure on for the rest of the game, but could not break through. In the end, they will be happy about taking a point from a red-hot team riding a four-game winning streak.
- Dockal had another good showing. He might have this MLS thing figured out by now.
- Epps also had another good outing. He deserves to see more minutes going forward.
- Daniel Royer was a nuisance against the Union all night, and I was happy to see him subbed out in for Alex Muyl in the 73rd minute.
- The Union played better as the match wore on. It would be nice to see that become a trend.
- Earnie Stewart is rumored to be the frontrunner for the US Men’s National Team General Manager. It will be interesting to see how the Union would deal with his departure. Some fans would be happy, but I don’t think I would be.
The Union now return to Talen Energy Stadium to take on the Chicago Fire on Wednesday.