On a blustery, but pleasant fall afternoon – 65 degrees with 10+ mph winds out of the west with occasional gusts in the 20s – the Philadelphia Union (11-13-9, 42 pts, 6th place Eastern Conference) welcomed the NY Red Bulls (15-9-9, 54 Pts, 1st place) for the final MLS regular season match – preview. The match would continue the Union’s bad run of play down the stretch as they easily lost to the Red Bulls 2-0.
Union Starting XI: 4-2-3-1
1 GK Andre Blake, 12 D Keegan Rosenberry, 4 D Ken Tribbett, 16 D Richie Marquez, 33 D Fabinho, 2 MF Warren Creavalle, 11 MF Alejandro Bedoya (C), 6 MF Roland Alberg, 18 MF Eric Ayuk, 25 MF Ilsinho, 14 F Fabian Herbers
Red Bulls Starting XI. 4-2-3-1
31 GK Luis Robles, 92 D Kemar Lawrence, 78 D Aurelien Collin, 55 D Damien Perrinelle, 25 D Chris Duvall, 11 MF Dax McCarty, 8 MF Felipe Martins, 13 MF Mike Grella, 16 MF Sacha Kjestan, 19 F Alex Muyl, 99 F Bradely Wright-Phillips
Looking at the starting line-ups above it appeared as if the Union were resting players it thought needed it in advance of the inevitable first round playoff game, and most of the match they looked like a bunch of guys who had not played together much. The Red Bulls played most of their starters as they would have a first round bye and according to head coach Jesse Marsch post game, they were using this game as a dress rehearsal and it showed.
Except for a few counter attacks by the Union easily defended by NY, the Red Bulls pretty much controlled the play most of the first half and what felt like an inevitable first goal was scored by Wright-Phillips (24) – he would go on to win the MLS Golden Boot – on a breakaway past Tribbett, and then an easy chip and putt past Blake in 26′. The last 15′ of the half the U seemed to respond and earned a few corners, but no real chances resulted from them and the TOP was just about even 50.5 to 49.5 in favor of NY. NY did outshoot Philly 6-2, neither of the U’s shots on target, while the Red Bulls had 3. The first Yellow card of the match went to NYRB ‘s Mike Grella in 22′, followed quickly by same to Ilsinho in 23’. Another Union yellow card was given to Creavalle as the last man seen by the ref in a tussle with McCarty, in stoppage time.
Brian Carroll came in for Creavalle to start the 2nd half. Head Coach Jim Curtin later said Creavalle had some bruised ribs.
It looked like the Union were energized early in front of the SOB’s in the River End as they had a few chances including two close in ones as Ayuk whiffed on a bicycle kick and Alberg hit the side post. Unfortunately it was not enough as the defense let them down once again as too many Red Bulls were unmarked in front of Blake who had no chance to stop Muyl’s point blank shot in 58′ The next real chance by Union came in the 84′ but Ayuk’s blast was knocked over the crossbar by Robles. He had to make a few other not as tough saves down the stretch, but as so often late in this season, Philadelphia just could not find a way to finish in front of the goal. Unfortunately for the second week in a row they could not score a goal at home as more than a few boos were heard, especially when Curtin came out after the game to address the fans. He commented on this post game by saying ” I’m the one they are booing not the players. It’s Philadelphia. I still see this as a good team ready for the ‘real’ season.” He had started the presser saying “It starts with me. We’ve had a difficult end of the season. We’re not happy about it.”
Two subs in 62′ NY sub Omer Damari for Grella; Union Sub Tranquillo Barnetta for Ilsinho. Barnetta who is heading home to play next season got a very nice ovation. Herbers went out for C. J. Sapong 76′. New York used it’s last subs 79′ Gonzalo Verón for Wright-Phillips 79′ and Sal Zizzo in for Muyl in 88′
There were two Yellow cards in the second half; 54′ to NYRB Perrinelle and to Tribbett 78′
It has been announced that the Union will play in Toronto on Wednesday. ESPN2’s coverage starts at 7:30 but at this time we do not know the actual kickoff time. Stay tuned to Pattisonave.com for a preview and coverage of that one as the Union head to the playoffs for only the second time in franchise history, last achieved their second season in 2011.
As we have not determined yet which of our staff will do theses games, I will take this opportunity to once again thank PattisonAve.com and the Philadelphia Union for this great opportunity to type at you all, and we all hope for much more keystrokes this season as well as looking forward to next. I will be back for sure covering Temple Football as they continue their season with the goal of repeating as AAC East Champions and more.