Early goal, penalty call once again haunt Red Bulls in loss to Union


CHESTER, PA. — Early goals allowed and a plethora of penalties against have sunk the New York Red Bulls throughout the 2014 campaign.

Both curses made their appearance against the Philadelphia Union.

Red Bull killer Conor Casey led the Union with a goal in the ninth minute while teammates Fred and former Red Bull Sebastian Le Toux chipped in to beat back New York 3-1 in front of 18,541 fans in Chester.

The win puts Philadelphia one point away from overtaking the Red Bulls (5-6-8, 23 pts.) in the Eastern standings (5-8-7, 22 pts.).

“We created a lot of chances,” said Red Bull midfielder Lloyd Sam after the match. “It’s a game we could have took more from but the timing of giving away the stupid penalty when we had them on the ropes is what changed the game.”

While the penalty call certainly halted New York’s momentum, they did little to prevent Philadelphia from taking a commanding lead through most of the encounter.

Casey opened the scoring eight minutes into the match, capitalizing on the Red Bulls’ inexperienced backline. Casey played a give and go with Andrew Wenger. Taking advantage of space in front of the net, the former U.S. Men’s National Team pool player shook off rookie centerback Matt Miazga and beat Luis Robles to the far post.

Sam tried to find the immediate answer to the goal, but Zach MacMath did well to stop the Englishman on their one-on-one.

From there, Philadelphia followed Casey’s lead in the opening 45 minutes, pushing the Red Bulls into their defensive half. New York failed to generate a single threatening moment, save for a Tim Cahill header that was called offside.

While the homeside showed well, they did suffer a big loss with playmaker Cristian Maidana limping off the field late in the half.

His substitute — former MLS standout, Fred — showed a touch of class in his limited minutes. The returning A-League playmaker found himself netting a critical goal, taking a well touched pass by Casey into space, and beating Robles on a blast to double the Union’s lead.

Bradley Wright-Phillips cut the lead in half with his league-leading 16th goal on the season. Leftback Ambroise Oyongo sent a brilliant long ball into the attacking area. Henry collected the pass, created space, and dished the ball to Wright-Phillips, who calmly slotted the ball far right.

As New York finally began to pressure the Union, the Red Bulls’ defense once again imploded. This time, it was Eric Alexander caught in the box, taking down Maurice Edu for the penalty call. Robles once again guessed correctly on the ensuing kick, but like so many others, Sebastian Le Toux simply powered his shot past the Red Bulls’ keeper for the goal.

For one, Cahill was not too pleased about the entire sequence.

“I already won the header regardless of what was going on behind me,” he explained. “If they will call penalties for holding in the box, then there will be a penalty every time there is a corner.”

Wright-Phillips had a goal called back on an offside, but even that would be too little to late for a Red Bulls’ comeback.

After the match, Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said the match may have been effected by fatigue.

“You could tell in the warm up we were a bit tired,” Petke noted. “As you saw in the first half, we had three or four guys come in to the centerbacks real close to collect the ball and just having a little bit of fatigue. At the end of the day, we had countless opportunities. To be honest with you, it’s tough for me to say.”

New York last played on Saturday at home against the Crew in an impressive 4-1 win. That being said, the Union also played a weekend fixture, losing a lead en route to a disappointing 3-3 draw against Colorado at PPL.

Fatigue or not, Petke was honest in assessing just how much the Red Bulls lost in the midweek fixture.

“Out of all the Philly teams I’ve faced, I felt this was the most vulnerable team I faced,” he began. “This was the team that was most ripe to take points. Individual defending mistake on the first goal. Two individual mistakes in the second and the penalty kick. I am not too happy with the penalty kick, but what can you do.

“It’s our first loss in six games, I believe, so we move on.”

New York complete their three game sprint with a showdown against Western Conference minnows the San Jose Earthquakes at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, July 19th at 7 p.m..

  • Thanks Dave – Could you ask Mike at the next press conference – If he thinks it is fatigue and they are down 3-1 in the 69 why wait to sub until 80 87 and 89. Makes no sense when 2 guys he put in had 9 minutes the prior game. Show some fight.