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Red Bulls 2-1 Union: I-95 derby summary

Peter Novak wants to score goals. Despite the memorable defensive errors that have littered the Union’s brief history, Novak continues to field an aggressive lineup in away matches. After a solid turn at right back against Toronto, Arrieta is asked to slot into the middle of defensive with Danny Califf suspended. Shea Salinas steps into the left back role with an eye toward putting pressure on the suspect Red Bull defense. Chris Seitz retains the starting goalkeeper job and the question on most Union fans minds: Has anyone seen this guy make a real save yet?

Neither goalie was called into action much in the first half. Roger Torres found himself in positive positions on the left, but too often he was looking for the cute ball across instead of challenging Coundoul in net. The Red Bulls spent much of the first half working the ball wide, with new signing Nielsen giving Jordan Harvey early trouble. After an extended period of Red Bull pressure, the Union held possession for much of the middle portion of the first half. Torres shot well over from thirty in the 21st while Salinas began exploring the offensive third in the 24th minute, although he and Torres struggled to put dangerous balls into the box.

Le Toux scored his fourth of the season

But after a poor clearance, the Union were lucky when Ibrahim laid a ball back to Lindpere, who blazed a twenty-two yard drive… into Ibrahim’s face. The ball looped over Seitz’s goal, much to the relief of the away fans high in the Red Bull second level.

This sparked the Red Bulls to life. Within the space of five minutes, Harvey and Salinas cleared chances out of the box under pressure from Juan Pablo Angel. The period of pressure culminated in an open shot for Angel from the right side of the box. The Red Bull striker aimed low and far post but Seitz was down quickly to smother the shot and prevent a rebound.

In an effort to contain the Red Bulls wide players, Novak moved Torres into a more central role, giving Salinas space up the left wing. The tactical change forced the Red Bulls to attack more centrally and the last five minutes of the half cemented the first half stalemate.

It wouldn’t last long. Torres was replaced by Zimmerman at the start of the second half but before he could make an impact, it was 1-0 Red Bulls. In the 50th, a high lofted ball into the box seemed to leave Seitz in a quandary. By the time the Union keeper made the decision to come out and challenge, it was too late. Ibrahim had an easy header while Jordan Harvey caught a face full of Seitz’s fist.

It was another head-in-hands moment for Union fans, as a lot of good work was undone by a defensive error. So far this year, the Union have shown great resilience after going down. It was important for the skill players to create some quick chances, and Fred took the initiative. Given space through the middle, Fred drew the defense and played Moreno into space down the right. Moreno made a strong run into the box before playing a perfect low ball to the far post for Le Toux to finish, his fourth goal of the year.

We said Peter Novak wanted to score, right? After tying the game, the Union manager immediately put Danny Mwanga into the mix and turned to a 4-3-3 formation. Like Zimmerman before him, Mwanga had no time to impress before the Union were again behind after a poor defensive play. Orozco mistimed his jump in the box and a lofted ball from the left struck his arm for an obvious penalty. Seitz guessed left, but Angel’s shot was hard and in the corner.

The Red Bulls immediately made two defensive subs, bringing on Ubiparipovic for Nielsen and Borman for Roy Miller. The Union were pushing for an equalizer when Petke brought down Orozco for the game’s only caution. Undeterred, the Union finally got a period of pressure on the Red Bull net with three corners in the 74th and 75th minutes. On the second, Moreno desperately tried to finish as he lay prone with the ball bouncing between his legs.

The last good chance for the boys in navy and gold came in the 83rd. Seventeen year old substitute Jack McInerney found space at the back post and Fred found him. McInerney’s open header was well wide, however, and The Union dropped to 1-3 on the season.

After the match, Chris Seitz walked over to the Union fans in attendance and gave them a round of applause. It might be the last time he has a chance to do that as the team’s starting goalie.

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