Union match reports

Match Report: Philadelphia Union 2-2 New York Red Bulls

After an hour and a half delay to the start of the game, the Philadelphia Union left it late on Saturday afternoon, but when Ibrahim Sekagya cut down Pedro Ribeiro in second half stoppage time, Sebastien Le Toux stepped up and buried the penalty, giving his side a share of the points. Two early mistakes looked to have doomed the Union, with Ethan White conceding a penalty to Peguy Luyindula, and Zac MacMath fumbling a Thierry Henry shot into his own net.

But Ribeiro responded two minutes after the Red Bulls went up 2-0, charging down a Jamison Olave clearance and halving the deficit. From that moment until the final whistle, the Union were on the front foot, though it was not until nearly the final kick of the ball that Le Toux dragged the Union level.

“Even if we didn’t get the penalty at the end, I was proud of our guys tonight,” Union interim manager Jim Curtin said after the game. “A lot of guys had very good games that haven’t been called upon a ton recently.”

First Half

With his eyes firmly on Tuesday’s Open Cup final against Seattle Sounders, Curtin rested six regular starters with Carlos Valdes, Vincent Nogueira, Cristian Maidana, Conor Casey, Sebastien Le Toux, and Sheanon Williams all looking on. In the midfield, Brian Carroll returned to partner with Amobi Okugo behind Fred, with Pedro Ribeiro getting the nod up top.

Out wide, Danny Cruz replaced Le Toux and nearly earned an assist in the first minute when he got behind stand-in left back Armando and fired a cross into the box. Andrew Wenger did well to attack the cross, but sent his open header spinning past the near post.

The Union found their defensive shape early, and with Okugo and Carroll patrolling the center of the pitch, the Red Bulls were reduced to pumping long balls forward to the largely isolated tandem of Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill.

But with neither team able to create consistent offense, referee Allen Chapman handed the Red Bulls their first big chance in the 35th minute. After trying to split the double team of White and Ray Gaddis and losing possession, Peguy Luyindula went to ground theatrically as Edu slid over to make the defensive play. Replays showed Luyindula reaching back to grab White before throwing himself to ground, but Chapman saw the pair intertwined and pointed to the spot. The Frenchman stepped to the spot and sent MacMath the wrong way, earning the first lead of the match.

Two minutes later, Chris Duvall found Thierry Henry at the top of the box to make it 2-0. While his shot was well struck, it was straight to MacMath. However, in the wet conditions, the Union keeper misjudged the flight of the ball, fumbling it into his own net to double New York’s advantage.

Rather than lay down and wait to regroup at halftime, the Union almost immediately struck back.

Racing away up the left flank, Andrew Wenger sent in a cross that went straight to Jameson Olave. But the Colombian defender failed to spot the onrushing Pedro Ribeiro as he measured his clearance, and the ball crashed off the rookie and back into his own net forRibeiro’s first MLS goal.

Second Half

The Union were forced into an early second half change when Olave brought down Cruz in full flight, rolling the winger’s ankle. Sebastien Le Toux replaced Cruz as the Union pushed forward for an equalizer.

However, it was New York that nearly grabbed the next goal moments later when a sloppy giveaway from Fabinho sent Tim Cahill in behind Maurice Edu. Threatening to run in alone on MacMath, White took the perfect angle, flying across to make the critical intervention.

Cristian Maidana was the next to join the action, replacing Fred after 61 minutes. And with centerback Armando deputizing at left back, Maidana quickly found all the space he could possibly want up the Union’s left flank.

The Argentine nearly set the table for Ribeiro to level the scores in the 67th minute, but Olave made a sliding, last-ditch tackle in front of his goalkeeper.

The pressure continued to mount from the home side, with Edu the next to go close. When the Union’s third substitute Vincent Nogueira picked out his run into the box, Edu took the ball down off his chest and smashed a rasping volley on target. Luis Robles reacted very quickly however, beating away the shot, and then looking on thankfully when Edu couldn’t direct a follow up effort on goal.

Ruben Bover nearly took advantage of a stretched Union side in the 78th minute when he got in behind the Union defense, but White again reacted quickly with an important and well-timed tackle.

Wenger nearly found the equalizer in the 84th minute. Having drifted inside of Armando, Wenger’s header from Fabinho’s cross was labeled for the side netting, but Robles was again very quick to get hands to the ball and beat away the effort.

With the game creeping into added time, it didn’t seem like it would be the Union’s night, but when a ball was played over Sekagya’s head, Ribeiro didn’t give up the chase. The Union rookie took possession of the ball before being felled in the box by the recovering defender.

Le Toux calmly walked to the spot before sending Robles the wrong way to score the equalizer and keep his 100 percent penalty record intact.

With the point secured, the Union can put their league play aside and focus their attention on Tuesday night’s Open Cup Final against Seattle Sounders at PPL Park.

Curtin said of the Cup final against Seattle, “They’re flying on all cylinders. We respect them but we don’t fear them. My group is not scared. We will be ready to go on Tuesday, we’re excited for it.”

Philadelphia Union
Zac MacMath; Ray Gaddis, Ethan White, Maurice Edu, Fabinho; Amobi Okugo, Brian Carroll (Vincent Nogueira ’70); Danny Cruz (Sebastien Le Toux ’49), Fred (Cristian Maidana ’61), Andrew Wenger; Pedro Ribeiro
Unused substitutes: Andre Blake, Brian Brown, Carlos Valdes, Sheanon Williams

New York Red Bulls
Luis Robles; Chris Duvall, Jamison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya, Armando; Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Peguy Luyindula, Eric Alexander; Tim Cahill (Saer Sene ’76), Thierry Henry (Ruben Bover ’55)
Unused substitutes: Richard Eckersley, Eric Stevenson, Ryan Meara, Kosuke Kimura, Ian Christianson

Scoring Summary
37 – NYRB: Luyindula (penalty)
39 – NYRB: Henry (Duvall)
41 – PHI: Ribeiro
90 – PHI: Le Toux (penalty)

Discipline Summary
30 – PHI: Cruz (caution)
63 – NYRB: Cahill (caution)
69 – NYRB: Robles (caution)
81 – NYRB: Bover (caution)

Referee: Allen Chapman

Philadelphia Union New York Red Bulls
13 Attempts on Goal 3
4 Shots on Target 2
6 Shots off Target 1
3 Blocked Shots 0
9 Corner Kicks 0
29 Crosses 3
3 Offsides 3
8 Fouls 15
1 Yellow Cards 3
0 Red Cards 0
353 Total Passes 456
75% Passing Accuracy 79%
45.2% Possession 54.8%
48 Duels Won 45
51.6% Duels Won % 48.4%
15 Tackles Won 16
0 Saves 2
11 Clearances 40


  1. I think Chapman is running for mayor of New York. Maybe I didn’t see things perfectly from the stands, but that seemed like the most one sided officiating I can remember. When Cruz was given his card, it seemed like there had been several NY fouls that were just as vicious but went unpunished (including one where Henry took out Cruz).
    I would also say that thanks to NBC Sports, this was one of the worst experiences I ever had at PPL. They thought it would be a good idea to put a microphone in the front of our side of section 127 which blocked our view of a portion of the field. After sitting in our seats for 5 years, this was the first time we ever had an obstructed view of the field from row C. It would be nice if the fans who pay for their seats were treated with more respect.

  2. You know, I am really proud of this team tonight. After going down 2 goals, to battle back and earn a draw agasinst a surging Red Bulls team is, mission well done.
    I think based on the starting lineup JC would have been pleased with a draw truth be told. I think the move to the starters in 2nd half was smooth as it keeps a flow going with the team, yet provided substantial rest for some key players on a field that would have felt like playing two games instead of just one– for all those of you who have played on wet fields or slugged through 9 or 18 holes of golf on a wet course. Tiring Tiring Tiring.
    I like Pedro. I see hugh upside to his game. I liked Brian Carroll tonight- efficient, clean, a constant- well nearly constant prescence for Henry to contend with. And about Henry, many do not like him- but he is a beautiful footballer- a genius of disguise. Beautiful footballer. So smooth in every way.
    McMath’s foul up, in light of the many keys saves this season, on a wet field, meh- it sucked but he rallied and the team recovered.
    Okugo as always was excellent.
    Lastly, did anyone see Edu run the WHOLE length of pitch after getting caught way up field when turning over ball? He is fast and smooth and a terminator- Ran Ran Ran like liquid gunmetal to break up the break– back on his own 18.
    Oh dear men of Philadelphia- how I would revel in the hoisting of that trophy– only to hear nothing about it on talk radio- let it be all our little secret. Oh dear men of Philadelphia- go forth and be victors on Tuesday in the most meaningful game in Philadelephia soccer history that I cannot watch on TV nor travel to see. Oh Dear men of Philadelphia!

    • Given the weather, I thought it was especially smart of Curtin not to risk injury to guys like Maidana and Nogueira while the field was still really bad in the first half.

  3. You know who else is a football genius? Mr. Vincent Nogueira 😉

    • he is. hard to decide my favorite part of his game. tonight it’s the torque he generates with his arms in turning with the ball- spot dead rotation swivel of hips stop pick up the dime- move on…
      you would be hard pressed to find someone for your kids to better model.

      • The guy has ridiculous balance on the ball. Also stands at five feet seven inches tall: the ideal height for a midfield player.

  4. Yo whoever this English commentator is, he must be for the Pink Cows. really annoying I have to say…

  5. I could have sworn I saw Comcast promoting they were going to broadcast Tuesday’s game on Comcast Network.

    • Gee a phillies team that is terrible, but winning now that it doesn’t matter in the least or a team capable of winning only the second major trophy in a city since ’83- unless you consider the Philadlephia Soul a few years back.
      Please Comcast, step in and save soccer from itself.

    • UnitedPenn13 says:

      They are going to broadcast it. A relative of mine works for Comcast SportsNet and told me yesterday (Friday) that they agreed on a deal with GoalTV to broadcast it on Comcast SportsNet.

  6. Nogs looks crisp again. See you all Tuesday! Union Union.

  7. You know..I was sitting here thinking when Maidana and Nogs were put in “why? The match seems decided.” But Nogs in particular was fantastic and clearly a class of his own at the end. It seemed more than justified that we drew that match especially with most of our starting XI in there. With that said…I’m VERY happy with the way curtain rotated our squad going into the USOC final. That’s how a team should do if. Today firmly supplanted me into camp curtain!

  8. O.k I need some help here. René Meulensteen served under Sir Alex Ferguson, yet when Alex Ferguson retired he named David Moyes as his successor. Should that, make us question René Meulensteen as a candidate? Now, David Moyes the guy Sir Alex Ferguson named as his replacement, was himself replaced after just one season. I am glad, that I am not Nick Sakiewicz.

    He has to deal with all of us, I mean if Jim Curtin continues on his current form, how do you not promote him? Of course if he chooses to promote him and he comes up a bad egg half way through next season, we will be there to remind him of the other candidates? that were available.

    So, as some of the other readers here have suggested Nick Sakiewicz safest move is to bring in Meulensteen or Moyes leaving Curtin to be the under study. Which brings us back to the original question who do you choose to be the big brother/mentor for Coach Curtin?

    P.S. Great game today and is it Tuesday yet? Go UNION !

    • You should question Meulensteen because of that and because he was awful everywhere he went after United. He’s not cut out for the top job.

  9. I honestly believe that the pink cows know that the Union could have been up 3-0 by half time if the ball had bounced for them. Wenger’s header would have gotten things rolling. Even with that starting lineup the Union had the better chances. They are so confident. I’ll admit I was pissed when I saw the starting XI. It will be so awesome when the Union win the US Open cup and terrorize the glamour teams in the playoffs. The Union will turn this league upside down an show Garber and the elitist posers and snarky media snobs where they can ALL stick it⚽⚽⚽!

  10. When I saw the line up I thought “Oh man this game is gonna end up as a tie.” And it did, just not in a way I expected.
    Rainy weather is truly Zac Macmath’s Kryptonite.
    The Philadelphia Union were called for 8 fouls and one Yellow card. The Red Bulls got called for 15 fouls and 3 yellow cards. Stop it with the ref bias.
    Both penalties could go either way but it you call one you gotta call the other.
    Back to work

    • I have to disagree with you on the ref bias. One of the cards was for time wasting and although Cahill’s is listed as persistent fouling in the box score, it looked to me like it was for dissent, so it was only one yellow in the run of play for each.
      New York was called for so many more fouls because they were playing a much dirtier game. And there were at least 2 instances of New York players kicking the ball that was at head level with a Union player right there. In past games, Union players have received cards for doing that. New York didn’t even get called for a foul.
      Maybe Chapman wasn’t biased, but he was bad. When a team has 3 attempts on goal the entire game, it usually means they’re spending a lot of time defending and committing fouls. In this case, a lot of those fouls weren’t called.

  11. The Union put out a lineup gunning for 1 point with eyes clearly on Tuesday. It would have been very easy to drop this game and call it unfortunate but necessary. Great job by our boys to get that 1 point.

    Ribeiro is a big part of this team’s future. He’s got a lot to learn and he’s not the smoothest, but you don’t often find guys with his combination of size, strength, and skill.

  12. What is wrong with the drainage system under the pitch?
    Why doesn’t the crew squeegee the puddles completely off the pitch?
    Why didn’t someone loan Christian Maidana a Phillies cap to wear during his interview (the previously recorded segment shown on the big screen during the rain delay)?

    • While we’re asking questions, why wouldn’t the Union acknowledge that the Taney Dragons were at the game?

      • What??!!! I had no idea the Taney kids were there. Even if you look at it from a pure business perspective, that’s a missed PR opportunity for the Union.

      • Because of the rain delay…its the same reason they did not parade out with the kids in the beginning of the game…time did not allow it…especially since the game was national televised.

  13. Outside of a few chances, New York didn’t look like they belonged with our B side, let alone the team after the three substitutions. A draw was ok, but the Union deserved more after all those chances.

    • I’d say RBNY, a bit more fatigued than the U, and without the MLS top scorer, were slightly fortunate to earn a point against a mostly reserve squad. A dive was rewarded with a PK, and NY made the most of it in the first half. In the second half, it was nearly all Philadelphia. RBNY GK was truly man of the match. Furthermore, even with the sloppy pitch, the overall play was not bad-looking from a neutral perspective, which is a positive for MLS and NBC.

  14. There was a lot to like about the match under the circumstances. Ultimately we got a result & rested key players for Tuesday. And those clearly were the two objectives. JC has a high soccer IQ & he gets the most out of his men. But what are we looking for in a permanent manager? There will be important personnel decisions to make (like GK & Casey). Tuesday & the rest of the season will tell us how JC manages a team with much higher expectations. Ideally he learns under a seasoned manager with a pedigree for a few seasons and succeeds him. If the franchise needs a better vision and direction than it has had, is JC really ready & able to give it?

  15. 29-3 on crosses, 9-0 on corners, 1 goal (wenger to ribeiro, but that was cleared into the net, not placed there). Not. Good. Enough.

    • Agree about the set pieces. Phew that was maddening- mostly.

    • I agree, yet, most of those came in the second half when RBNY was desperately defending, and their GK was playing his ass off. I’m mostly OK with it, except for the sucky corners. They need to stop hitting sucky corners.

      • yeah that’s what I mean. It’s one thing to see unconverted opportunities and another to see the over hits and near post flubs. Or the 22 yard attempts fly 35 feet over- see Fred or was it Fabinho.
        a work in progress. Maidana has pretty good delivery usually. I’m always okay with his saunter to the flag.

    • Too many crosses near post. There has to be more variety. We have players who can run at the back post while Casey is near post.

  16. I was ok with the tie! Not only did our manager show HE wants the cup…but his understanding of team
    management. I am ready for Tuesday! And because JC is focused on the cup our team will be ready too! Go U!

  17. Listen everybody there was no national anthem before the match so I’m not even sure that the result counts. . . Could someone please check?

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