Red Bulls earn first win of the season v. Union

IMAGE, NEWYORKREDBULLS.COM

The New York Red Bulls are winless no more.

After victory escaped them through six matches to start the season, the Red Bulls found the net twice and held on, beating the Philadelphia Union 2-1 in front of 14,768 fans at Red Bull Arena.

“It feels like my first win, but in actuality, it is this year,” head coach Mike Petke said. “It’s good to get the monkey off our back … It’s good to get that win.”

New York now move to 1-2-4 (7 pts.) on the season, while Philadelphia matches their record with the loss.

After a back and forth open to the match, New York poured on the pressure in the second, culminating in a Thierry Henry goal. Roy Miller, who enjoyed another solid night at left back, dragged his defender to the corner of the box and flicked a heel pass towards a wide open Henry for the first goal of the night in the 57th minute.

New York would double their lead ten minutes later. Eric Alexander found Lloyd Sam in the box who headed the feed past Union keeper Zach MacMath for the second, and decisive goal of the evening.

The Union found a lifeline minutes prior to the 80th. Late-game substitute, and traditional Red Bull killer Conor Casey tested New York’s backline and sent a ball in on Robles which took a deflection in the box. A Maurice Edu shot was met by a sliding Ibrahim Sekagya, who got his hand on the attempt, earning Philadelphia the PK — and the defender, a red card.

While Luis Robles guessed correctly, Sebastian Le Toux’s shot managed to roll under New York’s red hot keeper to cut the lead in half.

Even a man down, New York were able to shutdown the Union offense and close the match out for their first win.

“It was coming,” captain Thierry Henry said after the match. “We were creating a lot in some games, even today, although I think the first half wasn’t the best, but we did what we had to do in the second half.”

The victory came at a price. Sekagya will not be available against the Houston Dynamo next week. Perhaps more concerning — Henry left the match with achilles problems after absorbing a vicious tackle. Asked of how his leg feels, the team captain simply said, “bad.”

Nevertheless, New York have a full week to prepare for their next match; a home encounter against Houston next Wednesday night.