Sekagya’s gaffe leads Union to late draw vs. Red Bulls

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

CHESTER, PA – The New York Red Bulls looked well on their way to securing their ninth point in three matches, but defender Ibrahim Sekagya had other ideas.

Losing his marker, the Ugandan defender tripped Pedro Ribiero from behind, awarding Philadelphia a crucial penalty in extra time.  Former Red Bull Sebastian Le Toux lined up the shot and beat Luis Robles on the far left of goal for the tying and decisive draw.

“Second half, I don’t know what happened. We really couldn’t put too many passes together,” head coach Mike Petke noted after the match.  “We were bunkered in. I think we frustrated them for the most part. At the end of the day, before it happened, maybe I’m excited. Maybe we didn’t play the best, but we had three points and that’s why it’s so frustrating to have that second PK called. Again, not saying it was or wasn’t — I don’t know. But we tied; we’re still ahead of them. And we’ll move on to Seattle.”

The 2-2 result keeps New York undefeated in their past three matches (2-0-1, seven pts.), bringing them to 38 points (9-8-11), a point from third place in the East and a point above fifth place Philadelphia.

After an hour-long weather delay, the Red Bulls came out strong against Philadelphia’s depleted starting XI. Peguy Luyindula opened the scoring in the 35th minute, drawing a penalty in the box off of an Ethan White infraction, and beating Zach MacMath to the far left post.

A red-hot Thierry Henry continued his torrid streak, hammering a one-timed shot from a Chris Duvall feed into the hands of a diving MacMath.  The force of the attempt skimmed the ball past the Union keeper to double their lead.  It was also Henry’s 50th goal as a Red Bull.

Ribeiro made sure the celebration was short lived, breaking past his defender and beating Robles to cut New York’s lead in half at the break.

Petke made two key substitutions in the second half, taking out Henry in the 55th minute for young Ruben Bover and inserting Saer Sene for the recently returned Tim Cahill.

With both of their DPs out of the picture, New York’s attack slowed, allowing Philadelphia to challenge.  Luis Robles made several key saves to preserve the Red Bulls’ lead, including a point blank rejection of Maurice Edu late in the match and a great reaction save to stop a dangerous Andrew Wegner attempt in the 83rd minute.

Just when the Red Bulls looked destined to collect their ninth point in three games, defender Sekagya turned back the team’s fortunes with a clumsy challenge on Ribiero.  Le Toux did well to convert, robbing New York of two invaluable points.

“Obviously right now, we’re pretty emotional because we thought we should have won that game,” Petke said.  “We have to sit back and evaluate our week. We had three difficult opponents, three conference opponents, everyone was in the mix, it’s not like we were playing someone at the bottom of the table. If we can maintain that for the rest of the season, we’re going to be in pretty good position.”

The Red Bulls looked strong and played smart for the third consecutive match.  They now look ahead to a quick turnaround towards Canada as they face the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo on Wednesday for their second CONCACAF Champions League encounter.

New York Red Bulls 2, Philadelphia Union 2
September 13, 2014
MLS Regular Season
PPL Park, Chester, PA

Scoring Summary:

NY: Peguy Luyindula 5 (penalty) 36

NY: Thierry Henry 9 (Chris Duvall 1) 40

PHI: Pedro Ribeiro 1 (unassisted) 41

PHI: Sebastien Le Toux 12 (penalty) 92+

 

Disciplinary Summary:

PHI: Danny Cruz (caution) 30

NY: Tim Cahill (caution) 63′

NY: Luis Robles (caution) 69′

NY: Ruben Bover (caution) 81

 

New York Red Bulls (9-8-11, 38 pts.): Luis Robles, Chris Duvall, Ibrahim Sekagya, Jamison Olave, Armando, Eric Alexander, Dax McCarty, Lloyd Sam, Peguy Luyindula, Thierry Henry (Ruben Bover 55′), Tim Cahill (Saer Sene 75′)

Substitutes not used: Ryan Meara, Richard Eckersley, Kosuke Kimura,Eric Stevenson, Ian Christianson

Philadelphia Union (9-9-10 37 pts.): Zac MacMath, Fabinho, Ethan White, Maurice Edu, Ramon Gaddis, Danny Cruz (Sebastien Le Toux 49′), Brian Carrol (Vincent Nogueira 70′), Amobi Okugo, Andrew Wenger, Fred (Cristian Maidana 61′), Pedro Ribeiro

Substitutes not used: Andre Blake, Brian Brown, Carlos Valdes, Sheanon Williams

Referee: Allen Chapmen
Referee’s Assistants: James Conlee, Matthew Nelson

4th Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Attendance: 18,091