Union match reports

Match Report: Philadelphia Union 3-0 New York Red Bulls

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union pounded a listless New York Red Bulls side 3-0 on Sunday behind a dominant performance from Conor Casey at a sold out PPL Park.

With the victory, the Union are level with New York at 25 points, tied for second most in the Eastern Conference.

Missing Juninho and Jamison Olave to suspension and Tim Cahill to injury, the Red Bulls needed to conjure the quality or creativity to beat an inspired Union side. They didn’t do it. Olave’s enforced night off was of particular worry for the Red Bulls with neither Markus Holgersson or Heath Pearce able to deal with the strength of Casey.

After having a goal called back for offside, Casey made no mistake in the 7th minute, powering home a towering header. With the Union on the front foot, Lloyd Sam’s 28th minute red card provided even more space for the home side.

The Union were unable to make the most of their chances until the second half, when Casey doubled the advantage, tucking home a rebound after Luis Robles failed to hold Keon Daniel’s initial effort. With New York frustrated and beaten, the Union poured forward. Antoine Hoppenot grabbed the Union’s third, smashing home Sebastien Le Toux’s clever cutback to wrap up the contest.

First Half

With a layoff following their 3-0 drubbing of Columbus, John Hackworth named an unchanged starting XI as he looked for a third consecutive home victory. His team responded well to the challenge of the rivalry, nearly jumping into the lead in the first 4 minutes. After holding off Holgersson, Jack McInerney laid the ball into Casey’s path, where he finished beyond Luis Robles. Unfortunately for the Union, Casey had made his run from an offside position.

The Union did not make the PPL Park crowd wait long for a legal opener, with McInerney nearly grabbing the lead for his side in the 7th minute, when he tried to touch home following Casey’s flicked header, but his effort was deflected over the bar.

On the ensuing corner, Le Toux’s delivery was cleared only as far as Daniel, who settled and played Sheanon Williams up the left flank. Cutting back onto his preferred right foot, Williams’ cross found Casey in the middle of the box, and his thundering header left Robles with no chance.

New York were shocked by the early goal and the high pressure from the Union. Amobi Okugo and Jeff Parke maintained a high line against Thierry Henry and Peguy Luyindula, forcing the New York attackers back near the midfield stripe to get any freedom from the Union defense.

But the attacking touches for New York were few and far between as the Union continued to push the tempo. Okugo could have doubled the advantage when he rose highest on a corner kick, but could not get enough on his header to direct it goalward. Moments later, McInerney beat Roy Miller up the line and whipped a ball into the area that had the Red Bulls scrambling, only to see Le Toux pull his effort just wide.

Henry looked to force the issue at the other end, racing passed Brian Carroll with ease before throwing himself to ground under the attention of Okugo. The Union defender pleaded his innocence, and referee Baldomero Toledo allowed play to continue.

At the other end, Robles kept his team in the match, denying McInerney with his trailing foot after the Union striker had latched onto a deflected shot from Daniel. Okugo again won the header on the corner that followed, but again could not find the target.

It was one way traffic for the hosts, and the Red Bull midfield was struggling to keep possession. Forced into duty at center midfield, Eric Alexander could not get a touch on the ball as the visitors continued to absorb Union pressure.

Already controlling the match, the Union found themselves up a man after 28 minutes. After failing to control a ball, Danny Cruz raced into a challenge with Lloyd Sam to recover it. As the two came crashing together, the studs of Sam’s right boot crunched down onto the ankle of the sliding Cruz. Before Toledo could render a decision, his assistant referee was patting his back pocket, signalling for the red card which the referee produced.

Minutes later, Cruz’s ankle injury proved too painful, and Michael Farfan entered the match.

Despite being up a goal and a man, the Union struggled to maintain their pressure following Lloyd’s ejection, sitting deep and allowing the Red Bulls their chance to get back in the game. In the 37th minute, Dax McCarty had the ball in the back of the net off of an Henry free kick, but the Union were spared by the assistant referee’s flag.

Second Half

After failing to put the match away in the first half, the Union roared out of the gates in the second stanza, nearly doubling their advantage within two minutes. Farfan began the play, beating the Red Bulls defense with a sharp through ball to McInerney. Spotting Casey at the top of the box, McInerney cut his pass back for his partner, but Robles got his body behind the shot. He could not hold onto the effort however, but Le Toux was unable to direct his follow-up chance inside of the near post.

Having entered for Cruz, Farfan looked to be playing with a similar energy as he harassed substitute Kosuke Kimura off the ball twice in the early stages of the half. With room to roam against 10-man New York, Farfan drifted centrally and began to set the table for his teammates. As New York pressed forward, Farfan found consistent success switching fields to Le Toux, who was getting the better of Miller going forward.

At the other end though, New York nearly leveled the score. Taking a quick free kick, Henry played Jonny Steele up the line where he squared across the face of goal. Okugo was alert to the chance though, sliding in to block off cross and then quickly rising to his feet to clear his lines before a shot could be taken.

Much like when Toronto found a goal while down a man during the Union’s recent visit to Canada, New York began to play with more belief and Williams had to be alert to snuff out Henry’s chance after he and Luyindula exchanged passes in the final third.

Then, as if on cue however, Casey struck again just after the hour mark to give the Union a two-goal cushion.

It was another wide ball from Farfan that began the play, with Le Toux’s service into the box finding Casey. Taking the ball down off his chest, Casey laid off to Daniel, who had an open look on goal. His shot was straight at Robles, but the Red Bulls keeper failed to corral the ball, spilling it into Casey’s path. With Pearce caught ball watching, Casey took a touch past the defender before rolling the ball into the back of the net.

The Red Bulls heads began to drop, but the Union’s appetite did not. Le Toux remained the catalyst, serving in chance after chance from the right wing. Substitute Antoine Hoppenot got himself in on Robles but could not find the finish after McInerney again got in behind before missing his effort under pressure from Holgersson.

Andre Akpan came closest to pulling one back for the Red Bulls in the 84th minute after beating Parke to the near post, but he hammered his header wide. Let off the hook by the missed chance, the Union attacked again, but Robles again robbed McInerney from close range.

While it was not McInerney’s day to get on the score sheet, Hoppenot grabbed the Union’s third goal moments later. Having sent Le Toux up the wing, Hoppenot followed his pass, sprinting forward to get into the box. With McInerney’s run taking both center backs with him, Le Toux cut back for the late arriving Hoppenot who buried his shot, sending the Union to their second consecutive 3-0 victory at home.

The Union deprived New York of a single shot on goal and have won three straight at home, outscoring their opponents 7-0. They play Dallas next Saturday at 5:30pm for a second consecutive nationally televised game.

Philadelphia Union
Zac MacMath; Sheanon Williams, Amobi Okugo, Jeff Parke, Ray Gaddis; Sebastien Le Toux, Brian Carroll (Matt Kassel ’90), Keon Daniel, Danny Cruz (Michael Farfan ’35); Jack McInerney, Conor Casey (Antoine Hoppenot ’73)
Unused Substitutes: Chris Konopka, Aaron Wheeler, Roger Torres, Leo Fernandes

New York Red Bulls
Luis Robles; Brandon Barklage (Kosuke Kimura ’46), Markus Holgersson, Heath Pearce, Roy Miller; Lloyd Sam; Eric Alexander, Dax McCarty, Jonny Steele (Fabian Espindola ’67); Peguy Luyindula (Andre Akpan ’83), Thierry Henry
Unused Substitutes: Ryan Meara, Connor Lade, Michael Bustamante, Ruben Bover

Scoring Summary
7 – PHI: Casey (Williams)
64 – PHI: Casey
89 – PHI: Hoppenot (Le Toux)

Discipline Summary
28 – NYRB: Sam (ejection)
42 – PHI: Farfan (caution)

Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Attendance: 19013

Philadelphia Union New York Red Bulls
17 Attempts on Goal 8
9 Shots on Target 0
5 Shots off Target 5
3 Blocked Shots 3
8 Corner Kicks 3
13 Fouls 7
18 Open Play Crosses 11
3 Offsides 1
1 First Yellow Cards 0
0 Second Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards 1
38 Duels Won 41
48% Duels Won % 51%
415 Total Pass 417
81% Passing Accuracy % 79%
50.2% Possession 49.8%


  1. Great summary; great win; one for the ages! Let’s hope we can now build some momentum and keep on winning. Good to see that we are not a 1 pony show with Jack leaving. Defense looked now and then a bit chaotic but cleared the ball with gut and 110% desire when it arrived in the box. Was great that this game was on ESPN (and that I could watch it in Houston, where I am on business).

  2. That was the most fun I had at a Union match in a long, long time.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    Good start to this tough stretch of the schedule. First time since games 2 and 3 that they haven’t followed up a win with a loss the next game. Still don’t know why Henry didn’t get a card for the flop he took in the box. It really didn’t look much different than Adu’s against NY last year.

  4. Jaap Stam says:

    WOW….. great game. We were ‘on them’ from the first whistle. I don’t care that RBNY was missing 3 starters and down a man. Any time you beat a team with Thierry Henry it’s saying something. I’ve been down (way down!) on Coach Hack all year but I cannot argue with results. 2nd in the East and 5th overall? I’ll take it, thanks very much. Congrats to all the players and coaching staff. Ballsy!!!

  5. UnitedPenn13 says:

    Damn that was fun to watch

  6. We are now 3 and 0 when Cruz starts on the left….

    • Any word on his injury? If he’s out and Daniel and Jackmac are at the gold cup, we’re gonna need some of the youngsters to step it up.

  7. Its nice when every member of the team shows up to play. No one had a bad game

  8. Great team effort. Lots of creativity on offense and double teaming on defense. Too many chances left unfinished.

    With Daniel on international duty, I hope Torres will get some real playing time.

  9. Great effort and win by the Union. It was great to finally beat NY as it’s been so long.

    I was sweating things out until we got our 2nd as we had so many chances, but couldn’t convert.

    It’s great to be tied for 2nd in the East, but since things are so tight, we’re only 5 pts out of 7th. Awesome win, but still a ton to do.

  10. Great One says:

    First off, how great a feeling to wake up on Monday and have the team be in second place. This time last year there was no hope, and now this. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things that may not be done correctly, but things could be much worse.
    Great team effort yesterday. Even taking into account the red card, it was nice to see the defense have less shaky moments, other than Theirry Henry taking advantage of Brian Carroll. Btw how freaking good is that guy still?
    The Danny Cruz conundrum continues. It’s so hard with this guy bc he has SO much energy and creates plays and is just all over the field, but…he can never finish them. Le Toux’s service continues to be regulatory, but is it me or has he lost any finishing touch? Keon Daniel… what else can I say? He played a little better yesterday, and may have been better than Carroll whose names wasn’t called much. He definitely played better on the left than the middle, but he just kills plays, plain and simple.
    Marfan finally had a game where he looked alive again, excellent to see, especially with Jac Mac and Keon gone, and if Cruz is hurt. Marfan will be pivotal over the next month and he HAS TO play well.
    Great all around game, and a huge win. Certainly fun to watch. Does anyone know when/if for sure Jack will be leaving or when Gold Cup camp starts?

    • Someone on twitter quoted him as saying that even if he gets called up he still plans on playing against Dallas next week

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        When I spoke with him after, he said that he will still be around for the Dallas game.

  11. That was my first game of the year, and it was certainly a lot of fun. The Union dictated the game from the start. Yes, RBNY was missing a few starters, but the Union were missing Kleberson and had to make an early sub with Danny Cruz’s injury.
    I thought everyone played fairly well. Even Keon had a few nice passes. I like his ability to switch fields, especially when Le Toux is on the right. It was a shame Cruz got hurt since he was putting together a decent effort. I think putting him on the left has been a good move.
    I guess my one gripe might be McInerney’s finishing. I know his game is based placement shots, but he should’ve smashed the shot that Robles kick saved. Also, he could have rounded the keeper on the other good chance he had. I was glad to see Hoppenot score a goal. Having all of our strikers in good form has really been a nice surprise.
    I’ve been down on Hackworth, but credit must be given for how he’s assembled the team. He gambled on Casey, and it’s definitely paying dividends. Casey’s been active and his reading of the game is fantastic. If we can get some defensive reinforcements, we could be looking at a legitimate playoff team.

  12. My biggest surprise was how well jack played off the ball. I know hes done this some throughout the year but this was truly transforming for the game It shows what the value is of having a guy leading the golden boot race. he draws the other teams attention and opens up acres of space. also I didn’t see much pouting at the lack of getting a goal which IMO he has displayed throughout the season at times. that shows maturity and is what he needs to take the next step forward.

    I don’t think le toux has lost his touch I just think he is doing what the team needs. supplying service to jack and hop and casey. Thats his true greatness. he adapts unselfishly to what the team needs. IMO this was his best overall game in the midfield. he actually played some defense and stayed out wide which is rare for our midfield.

    Also how good did it feel to beat the red bulls depleted and down a man as they were with all the dough they spend. now we just need to keep it up.

  13. JediLos117 says:

    John Hackworth is not a professional coach.

  14. Southside Johnny says:

    Yippee ki yay! We rode the bulls hard! I’m starting to see a team out there rather than 11 players. So happy to see a much improved Marfan. Really good to see the big man finding the net and I think he, Jack and Seba are truly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Jack and Seba made outstanding runs to spread, stretch and generally confound the defense while the three of them found each other consistently. Antoine owes Jack and Seba a dinner. I don’t remember Zac dropping any balls or wandering out. There were some beautiful tackles from Amobi and Jeff not to mention a terrific overall game from Sheanon at last. Gaddis held his own for the most part while Carroll handled Henry remarkably well. Cruz and Daniel did what they do pretty much as well as they ever do. All in all, a glorious day on the river.

  15. And, may I add, Keon did not suck. He’s improved over his early season non-form, which is damning him with faint praise, but he did look good on a few sequences. Hope he keeps improving.

    • He is still taking way too many touches (especially in front of goal)

      • He still looks like a high school kid who has moved to the next level and thinks he ha a lot of time on he ball. With the exception that he made the leap a while ago and should know better. He did play better, but is still very frustrating.

  16. Philly Cheese says:

    So used to writing criticisms, nice to be positive for the week. Good overall play, agressive movement. Finishing may need work, but at least shots were fairly consistently on frame, unlike many other games. It would be a shame if Jack did not get Gold cup call because he didn’t score Sunday.

    • If he doesn’t get a call because he didn’t score this this week then I lose a little faith in klinsman. The same would be true if he only got called up because he scored a hat trick this week. What klinsman wants to see is maturity and determination both of which jack showed this week so if he doesn’t get the call its just not his time yet.

  17. Great to see a good performance. Hopefully, they can be consistent.

  18. Hey guys, don’t want to rain on the parade, but gotta put this game in perspective. I’m thrilled we kicked their butts up and down the field, but they were missing THREE of their best players AND they were down a man for 3/4 of the game. We did beat them up like we should, but it wasn’t a fair fight. We are an avg team at the moment. No star creative midfielder except when Kleiberson plays. Jack with all his goals does not score many quality goals, still misses those gimme goals, but Conor is the man. Jack still has time though at 20. Conor does great for his role in the forward position. He was a great addition by Hack! I’m still thrilled we have a team to cheer for, but i also want to believe we have a team good enough to win it all. Not there yet.

  19. The Black Hand says:

    I don’t know if this Jeckyll or Hyde, but I like it. It has been a long time since we have seen our club look dominating and the fact that it came against Red Bull makes it all the sweeter. Missing players, or not, we owned NYRB! It could of, and probably should of, been 6-0. Hell of a week!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *