Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 4-3 New York Red Bulls

Philadelphia Union stormed back from 3-1 down to defeat the New York Red Bulls 4-3 in extra time at Talen Energy Stadium on Sunday for their first ever playoff win. Marco Fabian scored the game-winner in stoppage time of the first half of extra time.

Josh Sims gave the Red Bulls the lead in just the 6th minute, beating Andre Blake from 20 yards with a low shot. Tim Parker doubled the lead in the 24th minute when he tapped in from close range after the Union couldn’t clear a New York corner. Alejandro Bedoya pulled a goal back in the 30th minute, slamming a shot past Robles from 12 yards out. But Tom Barlow would make it 3-1 just before halftime, tapping in from close range after Blake flapped on a deep free kick.

The Union would storm back in the second half, with Jack Elliott nodding in after the Red Bulls couldn’t deal with a Union corner kick. Fafa Picault tied the game in the 78th game, rising highest to head in Sergio Santos cross before Fabian won it in extra time.

Union striker Kacper Przybylko didn’t recover from his foot injury to make the match day squad so Sergio Santos and Andrew Wooten partnered up top in a 4-4-2 for Jim Curtin’s Union. Brenden Aaronson was preferred over Marco Fabian in the attacking midfield role.

New York was on the front foot from the first whistle and opened the scoring in just the 6th minute. Elliott’s clearance was poor and intercepted by Marc Rzatkowski just before midfield. He played a quick pass into Kaku, who knocked the ball into the path of Sims. Sims pushed the ball onto his right foot and drove a shot into the lower right corner beyond Blake from 20 yards.

The Red Bulls doubled their lead in the 24th minute. Blake came for a New York corner kick and failed to get a hand do it. The ball ricocheted in the box to Parker and the defender scuffed a shot in off the left post from six yards out.

Philadelphia pulled a goal back in the 30th minute. Haris Medunjanin’s free kick from deep on the left somehow evaded everyone as it came into the box and fell to Bedoya on the back post. The midfielder took a touch to settle and fired a low shot into the far corner of the goal to cut the deficit to 2-1.

The Red Bulls then almost found a third in the 39th minute. Tom Barlow pushed the ball onto his right foot from the right side and rifled a shot over Blake that rang straight off the crossbar and out.

New York netted their third goal right before halftime. Rzatkowski sent a long free kick into the box that Blake again came for, this time running into Mark McKenzie and failing to catch, only for the ball to fall to Barlow at the back post to tap in for a 3-1 halftime lead.

The Union pulled a goal back just after halftime in the 52nd minute. Sergio Santos met Medunjanin’s free kick from the left side with a thumping header that hit square off the crossbar. The rebound fell to Elliott, and he nodded in from close range off the left post.

Philadelphia equalized in the 78th minute. Santos did well to get in behind the New York backline before the Red Bulls could partially clear. Santos would find the ball again on the right side and deliver a delightful cross just in front of Luis Robles that Fafa Picault out-jumped Tim Parker for to head in for the tying goal.

The Union would have a golden chance to find a winner in the 3rd minute of stoppage time. Medunjanin’s recycled cross after a cleared corner kick found Picault at the back post, but Robles made himself big and denied the hard shot from close range.

Philadelphia took their first lead of the match in the 2nd minute of stoppage time of the first extra time period. Marco Fabian latched onto a long cross from Picault on the left side near the end line. He pushed the ball back onto his right foot and looped a cross-come-shot into the far corner of the net over Robles.

New York would push for a late equalizer, but the Union dug deep to hold on.

The announced attendance was 18,530, the ninth sellout of the season. Philadelphia will advance to play 2nd seeded Atalanta on Thursday in Atlanta (8 p.m.).

Three points

  • Union win! Union win! The Philadelphia Union have won their first ever playoff game.
  • Marco: Marco Fabian has not lived up to the hype but delivered in the biggest moment of the season, scoring the goal that secured the win.
  • Andre Blake: The Union overcame one of the worst performances of Blake’s career to beat the Red Bulls. The man responsible for keeping the Union in games for so long had probably his worst half of soccer since arriving in Philadelphia. He probably should have saved Sims shot from distance and then completely flapped at two balls into the box that led to the other two Red Bulls goals.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Mark McKenzie, Jack Elliott, Ray Gaddis, Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya (Warren Creavalle 111′), Jamiro Monteiro, Brenden Aaronson (Fafa Picault 72′), Andrew Wooten (Ilsinho 62′), Sergio Santos (Marco Fabian 103′)
Unused Subs: Joe Bendik, Matt Real, Aurelien Collin

New York Red Bulls

Luis Robles, Tim Parker, Aaron Long, Rece Buckmaster, Kemar Lawrence, Josh Sims (Alex Muyl 29′), Kaku (Sean Davis 70′), Daniel Royer (Brian White 97′), Marc Rzatkowski, Cristian Casseseres, Tom Barlow (Bradley Wright-Phillips 84′)
Unused Subs: Sean Nealis, Sean Davis, Connor Lade, Ryan Meara

Scoring summary

NY: Josh Sims – 6′ (Alejandro Romero, Marc Rzatkowski)
NY: Tim Parker – 24′ (Daniel Royer, Alejandro Romero)
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya – 30′ (Haris Medunjanin)
NY: Tom Barlow – 45+4′
PHI: Jack Elliott – 52′
PHI: Fafa Picault – 78′ (Sergio Santos)
PHI: Marco Fabian 105+1′ (Fafa Picault)

Disciplinary summary

PHI: Jamiro Monteiro – 36′ (unsporting behavior)
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya – 58′ (unsporting behavior)
NY: Tim Parker – 107′ (unsporting behavior)
NY: Christian Casseseres – 113′ (unsporting behavior)

86 Comments

  1. el Pachyderm says:

    .
    I coined it. It’s archived and mine— all mine- My Precious.
    .
    So Union!

  2. We won. Down two goals. Ale put the team on his back. Then the impossible happened. I gave up. If you didn’t, I applaud you. The crowd was ready; the boys weren’t. It was cold and wet and ended spectacularly.
    Just amazing resilience.
    Fabian cemented his Kleberson-like legacy.

  3. What a game! Thought all three of RB goals were on Blake, even with the giveaway on one of them. Despite that, they showed heart and determination and got it done.
    .
    [insert well-deserved applause here]
    .
    If they had lost, I would have written a letter about the three no-calls on handballs in the box just for the sake of catharsis.

  4. For many of us with Comcast, we were unable to watch the game. Instead we got to see a rainbow screen of “no signal” from the 1-0 score until the last 3 minutes of extra time.
    .
    So damn frustrating.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    The best game that we couldn’t see…

    • Hopefully Comcast/ESPN2 does a better job on Thursday night…

    • Craig Schenck says:

      I know. What a frustrating disappointment to missed a great game.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who missed such an amazing game. But also frustrated because many great fans also missed our greatest win yet.

    • Not funny thing. On my way to the 1st Union Home Playoff game in 2011, my car breaks down on 476. Yesterday afternoon, Comcast prevented me from viewing yet another Union Home Playoff game.

      Hopefully, Thursday will be different.

      • Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much with the 2011 game. Just one more indication that Nowak had lost his mind.
        .
        It was similar to yesterday in that the Union gave up an early goal.

  5. I was there. I was in the River end, giving the boys the [email protected]$t they deserved as they walked off the field at halftime.
    .
    They proved my doubts wrong, and I loved every minute.
    .
    There will be time in the next few days to point out the weak links, but for now…
    .
    We celebrate as we should.

    • Penso deserved a fair amount of that [email protected]$t too.

    • Amen to both. I was booing from the river deck. So frustrating. At half I had no faith that they’d be able to score 3 to win. I love being wrong!

    • Rob & SOB: Glad the gang gave the wakeup jeer cheer. The whole stadium heard it and it spoke for everyone for obvious reasons. Even Curtin credited SOB for saying what needed to be said to get them to do just that.
      *
      Winning goal for the 12th man.

  6. OneManWolfpack says:

    I was there too. Most engaged and loud crowd since the Open Cup Final all those years ago. Absolutely insane they came back from being down two goals… TWICE!!
    .
    Playing with house money now. Go to Atlanta and shock the world!!!
    .
    PS – Lot A is starting to be paved. Yup. You read that right. A section is already paved and the equipment is parked in the lot. 10 years and it’s finally happening!! What a time a time to be alive!!! What a game!!!

  7. The portion that Comcast deemed that I could see was high pressure, controlled and aggressive like so much of the early part of the year. What a phenomenal, fun and impressive result. Thanks, boys. On to burning through Atlanta!

  8. Couldn’t make to to Philly for the game so the next best thing is sitting in my favorite watering hole in the Village with a bunch of very SALTY Red Bull posers and watching them go from ecstasy to utter despair! Way to go UNION!!! DOOP!!!

  9. O captain my captain crunch is gone says:

    Holy $hit was that incredible! Would have been a lot nicer had Blake not been the Red Bull’s player of the game. Those 10-13 field players played their asses off and wtf was with the officiating!!!! What is VAR for? I know I should be happy but these guys don’t stand a chance if our goalie is smoking spliffs like he’s still in Jamaica. Well F’ing done men!!!! So nice to see wet, dejected NY fans leaving our stadium.

    • PhilinWilmington says:

      I think Curtin’s closing remarks in the press conference speak volumes about the culture of this club. They’ll never have the biggest names or the most expensive roster, but they will have heart and be players that fans can relate to and truly root for as players and people.

      It’s fantastic to watch a club like that play good soccer and also learn how to persevere through patches of bad soccer by working harder and playing better soccer.

      Reminds me of a Phillies roster that won a championship. Also reminds me of an Eagles roster that won a championship and penned a memorable little tune not too long ago.

      Well done Union.

    • +1 haha

  10. I am in Hilton Head, missing this weekend after 7 yrs a STH.
    .
    I was the loudest guy in World of Beer despite our game (one screen) being drowned out by 100 other people watching pointy ball (20 screens).
    .
    Glad I stayed with it and ordered that second pitcher.
    .
    Kimmie the Waitress (just a stuggling college student) was “wow factor” compensated for getting the game on screen for me.
    .
    “Seriously? Soccer”?
    .
    “Yes. Y’know ACTUAL football?”
    .
    The withering look she shot me told me we were going to be good buds by the time the game was over, win or lose.
    .
    What a deliciously agonizing 2.5 hrs! I was G-rated obnoxious the entire time.
    .
    Congrats Union! And F U commercial ball fans. Guess all those Cialis ads really help keep you from getting too excited about any potential build up of excitement in YOUR games.
    .
    CONGRATS TO THE BOYS IN BLUE!
    So proud to be your fan win or lose…But WINNING is a LOT of fun!!!

  11. What a game! Glad I wasn’t thrown out of the stadium for the cursing I was giving the AR at the end of the first half. The officiating was an embarrassment to the league and until it improves, there is no way the league can be considered anything about 3rd rate.
    .
    That being said, it was a great atmosphere at the game and glad the team was able to rally back despite Kacper’s absence. Curtin made the right subs at the right times and things worked out well in the end.
    .
    Hoping they can go 3 games this season against Atlanta without a loss.

    • TotalFanboy says:

      At the end of the first half, I’m in the stadium like “We’re getting MLS’d. It’ll be a miracle to win.”

      At the end of the game, “We got MLS’d and still won!?” Total awe. I have no voice today.

  12. The only thing that can come close to this euphoria is if we f*cking crush the cowgirls.

  13. OneManWolfpack says:

    And another thing… It’s cliche to bitch at the ref I know but Penso was absolutely awful. So many missed handballs. Letting teams play is one thing, but he was just bad. Whatever. In the end it luckily didn’t matter, but he really was bad. There were a few things he called / didn’t call that I was just left completely baffled.

  14. I would argue that Blake trucking the guy right after the second goal and knocking him out was the spark that woke the Union up! Did not agree with the Blake criticism thee, if anything Medujanen was the problem!

    • Blake was definitely bad this game but they pulled it out at halftime.

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      Medunjanin was statistically the best player on the pitch Sunday.

    • watch the highlights. blake is fucking terrible repeatedly.

    • Blake made ~5 errors in the first half. Indecisive on every cross in the box and failed to punch out or catch balls he did get to. I liked Curtin mentioning in the post game conference how many times Blake has single handedly saved us points, and miraculously every other player was able to bail him out this time.

      Wooten is garbage, i cannot believe he was given the start over fafa. Am I missing something?

      • Fafa, like Ilshinho, is better off the bench when his pure speed can work against a tired defense.

  15. Guts and glory. What a win. I was so furious after RB goal#2, I turned off my TV and took a stroll around the house. Contemplated smashing the TV. Giving up Union fandom for good. Started composing in my mind the sour post I would make on this site and who to hold accountable. Turned on the TV for Bedoya’s goal and stuck with it for the remaining 90 minutes. Such a great win. 100 percent deserved.

    Biggest winners are the fans. They looked and sounded fantastic. So glad they were treated to a fantastic match.

    • TotalFanboy says:

      The mood at Talen changed after Bedoya’s goal. You could sense it. We willed them back into it. Even the third goal wasn’t as deflating as it should/could have been.

  16. WE WON
    JAmes “WSSM” James WAS HERE NFOR OUR FIRST PLAYOFF WIN!

  17. Obviously many guys deserve their props, but Sergio Santos absolutely ran his ass off all game. Wonderful performance by him when the team needed him- shame he didn’t get a goal.

    Also an absolute shame that the Philly area fans apparently couldn’t see it. I live in Florida and had no problems so it must have been a local issue.

  18. What a match. I was cursing up a storm at half time, and dancing a jig at the end. I cringed when I saw Penso was going to be the Ref., but somehow this team still overcame him. Just one hell of a gutty performance from the whole team.
    .
    Jim Curtin. G** Dammit, Jim Curtin! As a Union fan I am PROUD to have Jim Curtin as the coach of the Philadelphia Union. Thanks again Jim, you are a good coach and a better man.

    • +1…and most of my cursing was literal and directed straight at the AR standing at midfield when the Cows scored their 3rd goal.
      .
      As someone who has supported Curtin for his entire tenure here, I’m glad the team has turned things around despite several setbacks this season (not getting as much as we expected out of Fabian and losing Burke for most of the year being the primary ones).

    • +1. Ginger Jim is da man!!!!

  19. In Tanner We Trust says:

    So I missed most of the game, which was horrible. Every time signal returned, it seemed we added another goal, which wasn’t so horrible. Would’ve loved to enjoy the moment fully, but truthfully I’ll just take the win. That’s all that matters. Just win. Same with the ATL game. I know we’re not expected to win, but I feel strangely very optimistic. Well done guys. Well deserved.

  20. Little noted, nor long remembered says:

    Best game from Gaddis in over a year. Not useless in attack, and broke up some critical plays that could have ended it early.

    Always around the ball, and played his position as he should have.

    Went the entire way……and for a change didn’t make me cringe.

    MotM in the truest sense of the word.

    • +1 We were in the bridge end, and he was late playing a ball to Bedoya who then yelled at him. He played with his hair on fire the rest of the match!

  21. An improbable 3-1 half-time lead by the New York Red Bulls turns into an improbable 4-3 victory by Philadelphia Union. Union digs Andre Blake out of a hole.
    *
    This easily could have been a loss, but gutsy performances by individuals made the difference. Scoring goals takes athleticism and focus and sometimes luck, all of which appeared tonight. A side note here — when Ilsinho is on the field, the entire Union offense plays better.
    *
    Now, before the Atlanta game on Thursday, the defense and Blake need to caucus briefly make certain we don’t have two defenders and Blake all crashing into one another at the penalty spot on a ball no forward is near. Work it out guys.
    *
    Our defense has the habit of playing long balls. Kick and run against Atlanta means a 3-0 loss.
    *
    Only four MLS teams gave up fewer goals than Atlanta. Something has to happen in the transition from defense to midfield for the Union; too many Union defenders watching their 50 yard passes bombing up the sidelines.
    *
    Those wingbacks are going to need to come forward strategically at certain points, or Atlanta will dominate the midfield and control the game. I think some of this may be that since Jim was a defender, he doesn’t give his wingbacks enough permission to go forward on the offense, certainly something is wrong when we see many long balls out of the back line under no pressure. Yeah, Union forwards are tall, but the hold up play isn’t that great, and possession is more likely to be retained by working the ball forward.
    *
    Other than this, kinda crazy game with a lot of strange back and forth and no possession by either team. This looked a little like a high school match in that regard (sorry guys) but only when Ilsinho comes on do the Union seem to start knocking the ball around some.
    *
    Most players (especially defenders) have the body language of wanted to get rid of the ball. Insinho is the complete opposite — he wants the ball and thinks he’s going to score every time he gets it.
    *
    Looking forward to the Atlanta game. Atlanta has the edge, but Union are good set piece team — tall powerful forwards, dangerous in the air, and Insinho, Picault dangerous dribblers.
    *
    Union lacks speed at defense, but having more guys back doesn’t necessarily help you there.

    • I think a lot of the long passing was to counter the high press. I’d rather see them send a 50/50 ball downfield then to play around too much in the back and lose it to a breakaway. I don’t think anyone presses as much as NJ so hopefully the Union will play more controlled.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        100% agree with both of you. When you have 2 high-press teams, things turn chaotic.

      • Chris Gibbons says:

        The long balls were definitely for the high press. RBNY had 4-5 guys in the Union end and the Union only had 4, so the long ball gives them a chance to have numbers 40 yards up the pitch. It’s not always pretty, but it’s logical in that scenario.

      • Agreed you guys got it right. I’d also give more credit on the ‘controlled’ part too. Strategic long ball isn’t ‘kick and run’. Jack Elliot for example can place many long accurate passes. It’s a skill his teammates know and incorporate.
        *It isn’t pretty but effective depending on what the backfield sees ahead of them and especially when it leaves the pressing team bypassed and caught behind the ball. It can mess with the heads of finesse passers and midfielders because it unsettles their preferred play and positioning and makes them more conservative about pressing.
        *The trick is intelligent and accurate long ball and I liked much of what I saw with it yesterday.

    • TotalFanboy says:

      NYRB was playing a very compressed field. I pointed out to my son at one point that both teams were squished into about 20 yards in the middle. Simple answer to that type of tactic is to kick it into space and run onto it. They weren’t gonna catch Sergio or Fafa.

  22. So happy to be at this game, I’m happy everyone bailed out Blake too, he’s human. What more can you ask for from Bedoya. I’d love to be back here in 2 weeks.

  23. John Mastrippolito says:

    A fantastic show of heart from this team. Against the officiating, against the apparent bias towards New York…Usually, I would reserve these opinions after having watched the DVR broadcast of the game after getting home…to confirm the hand balls and apparent video replays but unfortunately, my Comcast DVR on FS1 was mostly unwatchable to confirm my live viewing suspicions.

    But all praise to the crowds tonight, and mostly to the heart and effort put out by this gutsy, never give up team of gutsy, hard working players that made me proud to be a season ticket holder for my sixth year.

    This team is different. And this team is going to do something special. Now go kick Atlanta’s as*!

    • Forgetting the imbalance in calls (18-12 in fouls) and the lack of VAR. The number of times Penso “warned” the cows for time wasting without giving them a card was ridiculous. Every time the Union had a free kick it seemed someone would kick the ball away and then someone else would just stand over it and not back off.

  24. I don’t like Penso’s refereeing style. He finished playing soccer his Junior year in high school, when he was 16 — never played at the adult level. He’s a former TSA and State Police guy who thinks as long as an on-field brawl doesn’t break out, he’s done his disciplinary job. He’s an American-style MLS referee that lets a lot of questionable play go by with no-calls.
    *
    Even though he’s done a ton of games and was at one time a FIFA active referee, it’s clear he’s not going to do any more international matches because he doesn’t understand fouls very well, and because of this, his game management suffers. Union vs. New York was typical in this and by the end of game was getting very chippy. So he has to start issuing yellow cards because he has no “foul headroom” left.
    *
    So, because he doesn’t call enough fouls early enough in the game, the roughness of the play keeps increasing, and smaller players like Aaronson get shoved off the ball a lot in what in many leagues around the world would be whistled as “pushing.” In MLS, apparently it’s quite legal to straight arm people (pushing) and grab them (holding) as long as you only do it a little bit — except in the rule book there is no mention of exemptions for only fouling a little bit.
    *
    If we don’t watch out we’ll soon be saying “I went to a wrestling match and a soccer game broke out,” like what happened in the National Hockey League (“I went to a fight and Hockey Game broke out.” ) Eventually, the NHL had to instruct their referees to apply the rules and not allow all the “clutch and grab.” MLS may need to do the same now in order to preserve the goal scoring potential of the game. It’s really no fun to go to a match and see forwards mauled with everything short of a WWF body slam.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Luckily there is so little real defense played in the league goal scoring will continue to not be a problem.
      .
      Point noted though. Excellent commentary.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Biggest problem for me was Penso didn’t seem like he wanted to influence the game AT ALL. He let everything go… multiple handballs, fouls, etc. He didn’t want to be “Geiger type” who inserts himself. That’s all well and good, but yesterday he needed to make the calls that were there… no matter if he “inserted himself” or not. Therefore, you get the chaos that was yesterday.

      • He still managed to call 30 fouls…60% of them against the Union.
        .
        My biggest issue was the time wasting and multiple warnings. Issuing a card when the ball is already dead and someone is preventing a restart is NOT influencing the game, it’s keeping the game going.

    • Thanks for the analysis, and I’d only add that the RB flopping paid off for them for 3/4 of the game, and then it appeared Penso realized it and we clawed back some questionable calls in the 2nd half. I’d rather see more(ANY!)calls for embellishment.

  25. Someone has listed NYRB’s head coach as ‘Dead Man Walking’ this evening on NYRB’s wiki. Says it all on their end. Very satisfying for the day’s result.

  26. RESPECT …..Won in Philly style. Each player had everyones back here. Even when they were down 3-1. Bedoya truly carried the team and pushed them to their limits. Contributions from everyone. Never gave up and once they got the second goal everybodys energy level just soared. What a comeback a signature game for sure. This team has character. It made my 10 years supporting them worth it to see them win at home in front of a sold out crowd. DOOP!

  27. DOOP DOOP DOOP. I can type it but not say it because my voice is gone. With three little boys and coaching duties of my own, that was the first game I went to all year. Ugly weather, but enduring belief: freaking rainbows. Let’s go.

  28. Wow! The stadium was absolutely electric yesterday! There is no way that the crowd didn’t have some effect on that game.
    *
    I had to reschedule a conference call because I have no voice today…
    *
    Despite his struggles, Blake had the PLAY OF THE GAME – knocking out Sims, whose pace and skill killed us in the previous match and looked to be on his way again.
    *
    For the first time in months, the Union actually looked dangerous on corners. That set play where Kai Wagner uncorked a laser was sweet!

    • gonna note this comment on corners. had they actually finished on them, we may not have needed heroics to finish them off. that flurry of corners late in the first was encouraging before the gut punch goal at the end of the half.

    • That kind of “play of the game” is for people who don’t respect the game. Just shouldn’t be celebrated at any level…its just sport.

  29. Looks like FS2 is replaying the game tomorrow night at 6:30pm, although only listed as 2 hours in length, so probably skipping parts. Hopefully we won’t get the colored stripes I’m seeing now as I try to rewatch. (And it looks like Comcast was having issues in general last night as my wife was watching TBS later in the evening and had similar issues.)

  30. Great game! A few points i haven’t seen mentioned:
    – I’ll give Fafa the MOtM. When he came in the pace and intensity of the game picked up for the Union. Fafa, Santos and Montiero were running past everyone.
    -Best game I’ve ever seen Gaddis play.
    The red Bull fans were unbelievably obnoxious. Not just in the stadium but in the parking lot before the game.
    -Can someone explain to me how that goal towards the end was offsides?

    • I believe that they went back and called offside on Monteiro on the first pass that started that break. At least that’s what they made it seem like on the TV feed

    • On the initial pass to — I think it was Fabian to Fafa — Fafa was pretty clearly offside. There were several more passes before the goal because the linesmen now let play continue for eventual VAR review, so it was probably tricky for anyone in the stadium to ID the moment the first pass took place.

      • Richard Myers says:

        I was at the game. Some of the worst officiating I have seen at any level. The head referee allowed a good deal of physical play, especially pushing on balls in the air.

        On the play that you mentioned, I thought that Fafa was offside, but my seatmate thought he was onside. The one thing I do know is that the AR on that side was way out of position, probably 15 yards upfield, so he had no chance at getting it right. After the goal, I could see the AR and head referee communicating about the potential offside call, but there was no stoppage for VAR review.

        What bothered me the most was in 2nd half, a Red Bulls defender tugged the jersey of a Union player right in front of the AR and head ref–no call. I thought that was supposed to be a point of emphasis. And the allowed hand balls, obvious ones, were ridiculous.

      • The replay on TV was pretty clear that he was offisde, but I completely agree with you. The official let Santos, in particular, get mugged all night. It was really poor.

      • I could be wrong, but I thought the offside call on the field was actually on Monteiro (who put the ball in the net). The AR was way down by the 6 yard box when he put the flag up. The offside rule actually requires the attacking player to not be behind the second-to-last defender (the last defender is usually the goalkeeper). This looked like the rare occasion where the attacker got behind the goalkeeper, and so even though there was a Red Bull defender on the goal line, Monteiro was flagged offside for being in behind the second-to-last defender, Robles, at the time the ball was played to him.

      • At first I thought the same as Tyler and was going to write that but I just checked the 4 minute highlights on the Union website and looking at that, it appeared Monteiro was even with the keeper and one defender was deeper.

      • As far as jersey tugs go, according to Warshaw on the MLS Instant Replay video, it is no longer illegal for someone to tug on a jersey inside their own box if it is during stoppage time in an elimination game. I think that must be rule 18 in the lawbook.

    • Red Bull supporters lost all respect from me (not that they had much to begin with) when Sims was flat on the ground being attended to and they started the “You’re not singing over there chant”. I’m sorry, when any player is down, especially the way he just wasn’t moving, that is just rude but when it is your own player and the other team’s supporters are trying to show respect, that is just vile.

  31. Well done by Tyler….that’s what I thought as well. Not sure if Fafa was off at the beginning of the play, but your analysis with Monteiro was spot on. Is Tyler available to do a clinic for high school referees, who miss that call all the time?

  32. Was at this match (I got literally the last 2 tickets available in 127!), and… after that 3rd goal, I was ready to give up on this team forever. But what. A. Comeback. And well-deserved too, as they were by FAR the better team after the initial 25 minutes. I screamed myself hoarse. Not only is it great having a team that won’t quit, but the fact that they are so offensively potent means lots of DOOPing!

    Miscellaneous notes:

    My MOTM — and I can’t believe I’m saying this — is Ray Gaddis. He did SO much stuff that doesn’t show up on the scoresheet, and his offensive play was a revelation. If the dude could play like that on a consistent basis, I would say there is no need to replace him.

    I am glad Curtin defended Blake after the match. Pretty sure none of us have ever seen him play like that, and frankly, I don’t expect ever to see it again.

    I don’t generally bother complaining about refs unless they’re really awful (e.g. the guy who did the Union match in Atlanta last year). But Penso was truly awful. Wouldn’t review what was clearly a handball (and probably more than one!), let guys get fouled all over the place, let RB players lie around on the pitch forever instead of getting them off to the sideline… truly a terrible performance.

    I am going to say once again, as I have been saying for weeks, that THIS TEAM DOES NOT BELONG IN A 4-4-2. That is especially true with Kacper not playing. Our midfield was absolutely bossed for the first half of the first half. And if you look at the first RB goal, you’ll see that maybe Blake should’ve done better… maybe Wagner should’ve given him a little less space… but why was the dude that free in the first place?? You guessed it… because of Medunjanin playing “finger defense” instead of getting back quickly. We will get crushed against Atlanta if we don’t line up with someone next to Haris.

  33. Center ref was awful….there were two occasions that warranted VAR

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