Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 1-0 New York Red Bulls

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Only a mere 310 days after their last home match victory (and first playoff victory) over the Red Bulls on October 20, 2019, the Union once again beat the New York Red Bulls at Subaru Park.

Starting off the match with more energy and enthusiasm in the first five minutes than all of last match, the Union had a few opportunities, but nothing truly threatening. Easily moving the ball around the pitch, the Union had no problems having the lion’s share of possession, while the Red Bulls seemed content to wait for any counter attacking opportunities.

But the Union struck first, getting revenge on their opponents who opened up the scoring last match. Ray Gaddis had a bit of space on the right sideline, taking it almost to the end line before getting a cross off right to Kacper Przybylko who was wide open to rocket it past Ryan Meara in the 31st.

The Red Bulls would try to counter, but brick wall Andre Blake would remain largely untested. Przybylko was all over the pitch in a great way, easily clearing a header from New York following a corner kick in the 45th minute, keeping a clean sheet for Philly at the end of the first half. Przybylko would almost have his second off a deflection off the head off Jakob Glesnes, but Meara made the diving save to keep it at 1-0 at the end of the half.

In an effort to shake up their offense, New York made two substitutions before the second half tap, bringing on Kaku and striker Tom Barlow. Neither would have much impact, but the desperation from the Red Bulls was growing as their chances on goal increased as well. They would be unable to convert due to the ever solid performances from the back line, particularly Mark McKenzie who had a big sliding save in the 76th. While Philly had the drive in the first half to get the go ahead goal, it was beginning to dissipate in the second half. The boys in blue were relying more on the counter attacks and giving the Red Bulls more possession at the hour mark, leading to the uptick in chances for their opponents.

They would not be completely without chances though, with Sergio Santos almost scoring off a possibly unintentional backwards flick from Brenden Aaronson just inside the box in the 66th. Przybylko would put it just over the crossbar one minute later following another set up from Aaronson. Later, a cross from Kai Wagner would find the head of an open Santos and go wide in the 80th. Knocking on the Red Bulls door through the end of the match, Philly would be unable to get a second and clinch their 1-0 victory.

The Union will once again be at Subaru Park on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., facing off against DC United.

Three points
  • Home inspiration? Maybe 310 days away from Subaru Park was an inspiration to the Union, but they came out swinging tonight. Hungry for a goal, Philly had an energy that was desperately missing against New England, and it paid off. It waned a bit at the start of the second half, but remained enough to keep control of the score.
  • Przybylko’s return? While Przybylko has struggled to get into the last few matches, he did a complete 180 tonight. From end to end, Kacper tucked one away, then kept his team in the lead with a quick clearance only 14 minutes later. This is the Friendly Striker/Striker Muffin we all love to see and need to show up this season. Hopefully this is the beginning of his return to form.
  • A quiet night. Only in that there were no fans in the stadium. It was an exciting match and a lively performance from the Union, but eerily quiet. While a bit unsettling for us up in the press box, the team pretty much has to say that they miss the fans at Subaru Park, but really, the team has been rather successful in crowdless matches. Not sure if that’s a slight to fans or a testament to the team…

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake; Raymon Gaddis, Jakob Glesnes (Jack Elliott, 74′), Mark McKenzie, Kai Wagner; José Martinez (Warren Creavalle, 78′), Alejandro Bedoya, Jamiro Monteiro, Brenden Aaronson (Ilsinho, 74′); Kacper Przybylko, Andrew Wooten (Sergio Santos, 58′)
Unused subs: Joe Bendik, Olivier Mbaizo, Matt Real, Anthony Fontana, Jack de Vries, Cole Turner

New York Red Bulls

Ryan Meara; Jason Pendant, Kyle Duncan, Tim Parker, Aaron Long; Jared Stroud (Kaku, HT), Cristian Casseres Jr, Sean Davis (c) (Mathias Jorgensen, 73′), Daniel Royer (Florian Valot, 73′), Marc Rzatkowski (Omir Fernandez, 80′); Brian White (Tom Barlow, HT)
Unused subs: David Jensen, Amro Tarek, Patrick Seagrist, Mandela Egbo

Scoring summary

PHL: Kacper Przybylko – 31′ (Ray Gaddis)

Disciplinary summary

PHL: Ray Gaddis – 36′ – Yellow (unsporting behavior)

PHL: Jamiro Monteiro – 51′ – Yellow (unsporting behavior)


  1. That’s the spirit. Yeah for Ray. Shutting out the noise.

  2. Delco Roots says:

    Good professional effort tonight. So glad to see Striker Muffin all over the pitch. Aaronson was conspicuously quiet tonight. We’ll need more from him to keep winning.

  3. In Tanner We Trust says:

    Let’s get the (slightly) negative out of the way first: McKenzie and Gaddis each had a nearly costly giveaway, and I wish our strikers would finish their chances a bit better. Other than that, no real complaints.
    The positive: Andre Blake at his best just makes the world a better place, doesn’t it? He’s been the best keeper in MLS by some distance. Gaddis was very good, with a nice assist being his best moment. That’s kind of all we need from him. An effort to get forward, and contribution to the attacking threat. Outside of that, his defense speaks for itself. Wooten didn’t make a giant impact, but he seems to be playing with more confidence, which is a good sign. McKenzie was great outside of the one mistake, and if Glesnes is a step down from Elliott, it’s very difficult to see clearly. Przybylko played very very well, as mentioned above, and we can only hope this is a start to a more consistent season than what we’ve seen so far.
    In conclusion, both teams played pretty well, which made for an entertaining match, but the U clearly wanted it more. Got the goal and put out fires. Well done!

    • Scott of Nazareth says:

      Can someone explain to me how/why Blake is not getting looks from Euro teams? Maybe because I see him so regularly and he’s on the Union I’m totally biased, but I have a hard time believing that he isn’t one of the best 50 keepers on the planet right now. What am I missing?

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        His distribution is a bit lacking and given his age he probably won’t get much better than this. That being said, it is somewhat surprising.

      • He can’t play the game with his feet. His distribution is non existent. Phenomenal shot stopper but you can’t POFTB with him and he doesn’t start counter attacks with his long distribution.
        This eliminates a large portion of euro clubs that aim to do one or he other.

      • His feet and ability to play the ball out……..

      • Section 114 (Former) says:

        He has a very complicated visa situation in the UK because Jamaica is so lowly ranked in the FIFA rankings. He basically can’t get permission to play in the English or Scottish leagues.

        I also suspect some subconscious racism when it comes to black goalies — think what we face in the US with black QBs — at least in some of the continental leagues.

      • Scott of Nazareth says:

        Interesting points – thanks for all the thoughts!

  4. Don’t know what PHL17 was thinking in first half having camera zoomed out so far in first half…it was like “hey we have superimposed graphics in stands, look at them!” Happily, someone noticed and the camera was correctly zoomed in for the 2nd half…As for game, wasted chances thankfully didn’t cost us (and Mckenzie’s goof didn’t cost us either)… Happy Kasper got his goal though…can’t say I’m overly concerned (other than finishing as usual), know we’ll steadily improve as season goes on. Overall, a solid 3 points. Beating the pink cows is always a good night!

  5. Kasper was all over the field played great “defense” on corner kicks and coming back to break up some midfield starts from NY.

    He needs to finish shots. He was set up perfectly 3 times and went 1 for 3. Great pass by Ray. Kasper just needed to walk it in. NY is a good “USL team” . Union should have buried them. Should have won 3-0. Defense cant be sloppy against Columbus or Toronto or when we play that caliber of team or we finish the season in 3rd or 4th place. Blake is playing his best season. If we can add another quality finisher the Union can take the next step forward. Better do it this season while they still have Aaronson and MacKenzie. Think most teams have figured out Ilsinio. Still miss Fafas speed and grit.

  6. OneManWolfpack says:

    A win is a win. 3 points is 3 points. I’m gonna chalk it up to still getting it together after playing in Orlando then having 2 weeks off, before starting back up vs NE, etc. That game should have been 3-1, 4-1 Union. Maybe I’m too harsh, but they should have had more goals. Regardless, like I said, I will take the points. They played a better game offensively than they did vs NE, so that is good. Nice to see Kacper get one. Aaronson has cooled off a bit since Orlando. McKenzie is definitely gone soon. Other than one glaringly, obvious mistake, he has been solid and smooth. Thought the Union handled the Red Bull press really well in the first half, but not so great in the second.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      I don’t think expecting more is an overreaction. It would have liked to put away more chances but a win is a win indeed. I think lost in everything was that Red Bull played pretty well offensively and had a pretty organized attack, so for us to put out fire after fire all night is a really good sign. It could be argued that we have the best Back 4 + GK in the league, and we just have to hope that the attack will gel eventually.

  7. Was thinking during the game that no team benefits more from the 5 subs rule than NJPC since their constant running around can tire them out late in the game and they benefit more than anyone from extra fresh legs.
    (And no one benefits less than the Union since Curtin doesn’t seem to want to use all 5 – Fontana for Bedoya would have been extra fresh legs for 10 minutes last night).

    • Jesus yes, Ale just looks gassed early these days. (In his defense, they measured him as having run over 7 miles??) And his perpetual frustration can’t be helping… I really think Fontana should get some minutes for him sometime soon, maybe even a start.

      But other than that, I liked Jim’s subs pretty well. He waited on bringing in Ilsinho, which was appropriate because it didn’t seem necessary. And he started Glesnes for Elliott, even though Jack’s been playing well, so maybe he’s (slowly) starting to learn about roster rotation??

  8. Good to see Kasper get back on the books. Having said that, how bad was RB’s defense leading up to that goal……Ray beating two guys down the right and Kasper having all kinds of space between the two CB’s…….that was quite awful on RB’s part……hey, a good squad capitalizes on that stuff……..another three points.

    • Aaron Long. National Team player. Slack jawed lack of attention to his back shoulder. Happens in nearly every game every weekend in this league as I watch more MLS these days then I care to admit. Remarkable how bad the defending is…. in an effort to front load ‘attacking talent’… and reason number one I so strongly defend Raymond Gaddis.

      • Yeah dude. I used to think LB’s were a commodity…which, in the MLS they still are, but quality CBs are also quite hard to come by in modern footy……..

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