Union pick apart ten man New York Red Bulls 3-0

IMAGE, NEWYORKREDBULLS.COM

Conor Casey has long been considered a Red Bull killer.

Sunday afternoon, he reminded New York why.

The burly Philadelphia Union forward exposed a makeshift Red Bull backline, scoring a brace and leading the home side to a 2-0 victory over a ten-man New York side. The win gives Philadelphia three points, tying them with the Red Bulls for second in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand.

“The red card obviously killed us,” New York Red Bulls coach Mike Petke explained. “Ironically, I thought we played some of our best soccer movement wise, getting out of the back to the final third when we had ten men at points in the second half, which is hilarious to me.”

New York was slow to come out the gate after a three week layoff. The loss of Tim Cahill and Jamison Olave forced them to piece together their backline. Brandon Barklage received a surprise nod at right back over Kosuke Kimura. Markus Holgersson and Heath Pearce reunited in the middle and a returning Roy Miller took the left.

The result wasn’t what they had hoped for.

After having a fourth minute goal called back by the sideline official, Conor Casey made sure he got it right three minutes later. Following a well-defended corner, Casey rushed the box like a bull, heading a cross past Robles for the early lead.

New York had a glimmer of hope in the 17th minute. Thierry Henry was clearly clipped in the box, but the referee waved off the penalty call.

“From my angle, it was aggravating because he beat three people and it looked like there was contact,” Petke said. “But that’s the game, you know?”

The Union answered back with a dangerous one on one between league-leading scorer Jack McInerney and Robles. The Red Bulls keeper got a leg on his shot, denying the red-hot striker an 11th goal on the season.

While the team’s defense continued to implode, Lloyd Sam only made matters worse with an ill-advised studs-up stomp on Danny Cruz. The play earned him a straight red – and an earful from team captain Henry.

Reeling, the Red Bulls managed their best opportunity of the match minutes later. Henry sent a perfect dead ball into the box, finding a streaking Dax McCarty in the middle. The diminutive midfielder buried a header, but the goal was called offside.

New York began the second half on a back foot once again. By the time they stabilized, the Union were there to stop their momentum.

Casey loomed large once more, following a ball in the box off of a sloppy rebound from Robles. The big man showed off his fancy footwork, cutting back on his defender and slotting his attempt home from near range.

An Antoine Hoppenot goal in the 88th minute sealed the match and closed the door on New York’s chances.

“I thought at times in the second half, a lot of the times, we were good I thought,” Petke said. “The way we moved the ball, the way we got out, the way we created opportunities. As a competitive coach, I have to sit down before I say who played well. As a team they did some good things, some things I liked but it was tough.

“Overall, it’s a bad loss for us but there were positives to take in this one.”

“We just have to give them credit,” team captain Thierry Henry conceded. “They started better than us. They went one nil up, we went down to ten men, but it also doesn’t mean we have to lose 3-0. We created, but we lost.

“I don’t think it was anything about three weeks or not because before we left, we were on a run and we lost at home. I don’t think so. Give them credit. We will see them at home again and we will have to fight. It is always complicated but we will see what we can do.”

The Red Bulls now look towards a vital Sunday afternoon home match against the Houston Dynamo. The Orange are currently 5th in the Eastern Conference, two points behind New York with a game in hand.