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

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

First-half goals from Sergio Santos and Omir Fernandez canceled each other out on Wednesday night, leaving Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls to share the points at Red Bull Arena.

Jim Curtin made just one change to the lineup that dominated Atlanta 1-0 on Saturday.  Alejandro Bedoya returned from a calf injury, pushing Daniel Gazdag out of the starting XI.

Sergio Santos opened the scoring in the 18th minute for Philadelphia.  Jamiro Monteiro whipped in a corner kick, just missing Jakob Glesnes at the near post.  The ball bounced around in the six yard box for a moment before falling to Santos, who tapped home for his fifth goal of the season.

The Union almost made it 2-0 off a vicious counter in the 36th minute, with Santos running into space and playing an inch-perfect pass to Kacper Przybylko. His pass found a wide-open Monteiro at the penalty spot, but ex-Union man Carlos Coronel did well to slap aside the one-time finish.

At the conclusion of the play, the flag went up for offsides on Przybylko, and the Red Bulls eqalized off the ensuing free kick.  Coronel smashed it long and into the Union box, where Omir Fernandez outfought three Union defenders to claim the ball.  He turned and ripped a powerful finish past Andre Blake.

Just before halftime, Jose Martinez picked up a yellow card for, during a dead ball, pushing a Red Bulls player in the back of the neck right in front of referee Alex Chilowicz.  It was a deeply foolish thing for Martinez to do, as he’ll now be suspended for the Union’s next match.

The second half offered little to write home about.  Both teams pinged the ball around franticly in the middle third of the field, generating a lot of back and forth but no real danger.  Both teams resorted to long-distance shots that stung goalkeeper palms or went wide of the net.

Santos had the ball in the back of the net again in the 73rd minute after a lovely move started by a Leon Flach flick. But the assistant referee adjudged Santos offside on the flick, and — though it looked like a tight call — no video angle clearly showed the attacker onside, so VAR did not overturn the call.

Daniel Gazdag and Paxten Aaronson came on for Santos and Bedoya for the final 15 minutes of action.  That action consisted mostly of Union players picking up yellow cards, with Blake and Jack Elliott picking up needless cards for dissent.

Philadelphia return to the pitch this weekend, when they welcome Columbus Crew to town.  Kickoff from Subaru Park in Chester is at 4 p.m.

Three Points

  • (Early) goals change games.  Santos’s 17th minute opener was the earliest goal the Union have had in a road game all season.
  • Composure. Jose Martinez is too good and too important to get suspended for something as stupid as pushing a guy in the neck right in front of the referee.  And the whole side could do to take a deep breath rather than screaming at the referee from the first minute of the match to the last.
  • Big picture. It goes down as dropping points from a winning position, but a road draw here is a fine result for the Union, who remain in good shape in the Eastern Conference race.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Olivier Mbaizo, Jose Martinez, Leon Flach, Alejandro Bedoya (Paxten Aaronson 74′), Jamiro Monteiro, Sergio Santos (Daniel Gazdag 74′), Kacper Przybylko
Subs: Matt Freese, Alvas Powell, Stuart Findlay, Jesus Bueno, Quinn Sullivan, Jack McGlynn, Davo

New York Red Bulls

Carlos Coronel, Andrew Gutman, Sean Nealis, Kyle Duncan, Andres Reyes, Dru Yearwood (Danny Royer 74′), Sean Davis, John Tolkin (Tom Edwards 87′), Cristian Casseres Jr. (Wiki Carmona 46′), Patryk Klimala (Frankie Amaya 74′), Omir Fernandez (Tom Barlow 58′)
Subs: Ryan Meara, Caden Clark, Youba Diarra, Cameron Harper

Scoring Summary

PHI: Sergio Santos – 17′
NYRB: Omir Fernandez – 37′ (Cristian Casseres Jr.)

Disciplinary Summary

PHI: Jose Martinez – 45′ (other reason)
NYRB: Kyle Duncan – 52′ (foul)
NYRB: Andres Reyes – 65′ (foul)
PHI: Kai Wagner – 85′ (foul)
PHL: Andre Blake – 86′ (dissent)
PHL: Jack Elliott – 88′ (dissent)


  1. Is Bedoya still a starter on this team? This is a yes or no question.

    • No. Off the pace from the first minute. But I love Roy Kent.

    • Wracked Opinion says:

      At this point, my eyes say unfortunately no, James. I.M.H.O. the Union need to field a player with more quickness, speed, plus skill in this position.

      Another ‘yes, or no’ question might be “does Martinez actually ENJOY getting suspended”? The way… and frequency… that he commits inane fouls surely leads me to believe so.

    • No. Shouldn’t have been a starter from after the first month of the season when it was obvious his legs had gone.

    • No he shouldn’t. Funny how Jim said they played their best game of the year on Saturday WITHOUT Bedoya then proceeds to start him the next match. Jamiro should be in that spot.

  2. Feels like 2 points lost given that they should have been able to score multiple counterattack goals. 4+ months since they’ve won on the road and they still have 5 more road games.
    Can’t believe how bad the game feed was, missing one of the goals and then having no decent angle to show if Santos was offsides on the goal that got called back. Just embarrassing but I guess that’s the Dead Bull organization for you.

  3. Again why so late for subs? Curtin is a pro. I’m not.
    But why leave BOTH Flach and Martinez in for the WHOLE game? At some point left side 8 needs to be a goal threat.
    Unlike Flach, Sullivan has proved he can score.
    We should have gone for that at some point.

  4. Agree Pete…this is points dropped! Thought the U were a bit better all game. And the second half the Union needed some better ideas in the final 3rd. Also the Martinez yellow was terrible. And the ones by Elliott and Blake were brought on by frustration. But still no need for that. The U need to get Martinez to control the extra curricular activity to help keep him on the pitch! The Union need him on Sunday…not warming the bench!!

    • I’m thinking that if Martinez didn’t already have a yellow, he may have gotten one for the tackle on the end line late in the game where Dead Bull got a free kick (and that one was positional rather than frustration).

  5. The only thing worse than MLS Soccer in a totally empty stadium is when the game turns into a foul fest & the referee imposes himself into the game….not much to say about that game otherwise. They got a point so that’s cool- but… phew… an old fashioned NFC East battle.
    3” and a cloud of dust soccer.
    In other news, an observation. In the 96th minute Kacper tried to get Paxten into space deep in right channel and I’m here to argue, his brother- busts it to get on that ball first before the closing defender. Paxten pulled up. That’s a difference that will need to be addressed as he moves along here a bit or maybe can not be addressed. Either way, he had a chance to isolate a defender 1v1 and maybe make something happen in a game he had not had any real significant measure in. I hope the leadership noticed it and uses it as a teachable moment.

    • More like a new fashioned NFC East battle. An old fashioned NFC East battle (1970-1995) was usually a well played slugfest between two good teams, not like last night which wasn’t very well played.

  6. How Sullivan cannot come on for Kacper and McGlynn for Flach even for 15 minutes is mind blowing. Fontana also frozen out?
    Do the German players have something in their contracts that they have to play 90 minutes. His game management is troubling and he takes off Santos probably our best player (Injury precaution I know).
    I know its easy to quarterback but geez you bring 20 players. I believe we have 5 subs and you make two late ineffective ones.
    Frustrating to hear about a good effort all the time, how moving the pieces and play some good soccer.

    • Taking Kacper off for Sullivan means you have 6 midfielders and 0 forwards on. With Kacper starting to get hot, I think keeping him on was right, but he can’t keep going back to get the ball when there are 3 or 4 Union players in front of him. He has to be the one going towards goal.

      • Chris Gibbonds says:

        This is the most crucial thing, Andy. Kacper wants the ball, and his midfield isn’t getting it to him in good spots often enough for him to trust that they’ll do it again. As a result, he’s linking play too much (which he’s actually pretty good at in the final third) instead of getting onto the end of balls (which he’s also pretty good at, so long as they’re not aimless crosses).

  7. By memory only, no confirming research, that is Gazdag’s and Aaronson’s first exposure to the meaning of a Red Bull Match, away.
    Both are being taught what MLS means in intensity and effort.
    Before 2019 Jim Curtin probably does not make those substitutions at all, he is learning to train up next year’s players, even as he is trying to make the playoffs for this year.
    Six years ago there is no way he takes that risk.

  8. In Tanner We Trust says:

    1) RB didn’t deserve their goal, and we should have won despite poor roster management.
    2) Speaking of, so much to complain about. How many times do we have to see Monteiro at the 10 before Curtin makes all the tactically challenged Union fans hate Monteiro? Has it already happened yet?
    3) I’m surprised no one has said it yet, but Martinez and the RB player he slapped are friends from the Venezuela team. He clearly thought his friend flopped and gave him a hard time about it. I get that the ref doesn’t know who your friends are and he shouldn’t do it but people are acting like he’s some unhinged lunatic.
    4) I love Bedoya but it’s time he be relegated to a time share with Flach. They can’t be on the field together.
    5) Anyone who’s more tactically aware than I am, has Gazdag been playing as a 2nd striker when he replaces Sergio? If so, that’s ridiculous.
    6) Kacper still doesn’t scare opponents, no matter what minor hot streaks he has. He doesn’t create his own chances, ever. Even Burke is capable of that sometimes. We want to see Davo.
    7) The big “extra important” rivalry game is over. We have 8 games left, and playoff positioning isn’t nearly as important as keeping everyone fresh after a long year. We want to secure a home playoff game, but it’s time to see rotation. Keep giving Aaronson minutes. Give Sullivan and McG the minutes they have earned. We’re all still rooting for Fontana to succeed, and I’m not sure how much more ineffective he’d be as a late game 10 compared to Gazdag and Miro. Give Davo and Bueno time on the field! Why sign Davo to a team option deal if the team is going to have no clue what he offers???

    • 1. Why did the Union deserve their goal any more? Both were poor defensive plays. Dead Bull goal was at least a skilled individual play to finish rather than just a tap in.
      3. I think the ref saw it as a way of showing dissent more than an attack on the player. My issue was that he was accepting dissent on one side but not the other.
      7. Right now there’s not a lot of difference between playoff position and not making the playoffs. The Union are in a 4 way tie for 4th with 8th place Montreal being 3 points out of 3rd. Saving grace is the Union have a game in hand on everyone else in the top 9 and it is against Cincinnati, but it is during the international break. My guess is that the Union will be missing a lot more players than Cincinnati and they haven’t won on the road since May.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        I should have clarified the first point. Their goal came right after we had earned a corner. Kacper was incorrectly called offsides and Monteiro’s shot was saved behind. Instead of us having a corner and continuing our momentum, we give up a goal at the other end. And as for 7), I know the margin for error is slim but if we can’t use Davo and Bueno in our playoff push what’s the point of signing them? Same with the kids, my argument for rotation means less of Bedoya and Flach at the 8s. And from what we’ve seen, that’s not sacrificing quality. Fontana is the only real stretch but he’s only a year removed from an incredible hot streak. I think he deserves a chance to get minutes off the bench.

  9. I’m going to take a break from complaining about Curtin’s roster and subs to complain about the commentating. Danny Higginbotham is so insightful I think he deserves a coaching staff position. On the other hand…is JP Dellacamera even a soccer fan? Everyone seems to love him but he seems like a complete bonehead to me, he actually reminds me of the commentator from Best in Show. I was shocked during the Womens World Cup to see he was included and ever since have felt like I am in a bizarro world where everyone else hears something else when he speaks.

    • J.P. is milk toast bland. He was the best the U.S. had at one point, but that was a while ago. He often makes the wrong call on stoppages, saying a ball went out when it was a foul or vice versa. I’ll take him over Leno. Danny is better than Tommy was but not great. He’s repetitive and explains the obvious. For me they both become background and allow me to concentrate on the match. Which I find less intrusive than say Tommy, or broadcast teams from other regions. In the end they are both fine and better than what we could have.

    • I think one of the issues is that they are in the studios in Philadelphia rather than at the game for road games so they sometimes have to guess what the ref is actually signaling (throw-in vs foul). I’m usually not paying as much attention when listening to them calling a home match since I’ve already seen the game once live, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was improvement when they are actually in attendance rather than watching a feed.

      • Yeah but don’t they get the same feed we do? If I can determine the correct call, so should J.P. And I think it’s just J.P., not Danny. I remember earlier this year when J.P. called one thing and Danny quietly corrected him without making a big deal out of it. I could chalk it up to checking his notes or being distracted by something else if it was a once in a while thing. It happens at least once or twice a game. Again though, he’s probably way better than the alternative.

  10. Thoughts:

    – The game was there for the taking to get 3 points. Sigh. With so many road games to close out the season, a winnable one like @NYRB with empty seats feels like a missed opportunity.

    – Despite the draw, the Union still look a lot better than they did during the July-August period. They generated some great looks in open play, looked sharp on the counter, and tactically altered RB’s back line. Let’s keep the momentum going.

    – Beating a dead horse at this point, but Bedoya looks like he belongs in a mens league… that ball from Mbaizo that he couldn’t get to on the end line looked so bad.

    – At this point, Gazdag should be relegated as a permanent sub, or a starter against weak teams like cinci. At this point in the season, we need to be firing on all cylinders. Let him train and get ready for a fresh start next year.

    – Aaronson showed his youth tonight with some bad giveaways, timidness, and spacing. That’s okay just an observation.

    – Mbaizo… another sloppy performance… chance for Harriel?

    – No Davo, Bueno, or Fontana… what role do they have at this point?

    – Would like to see Flach take over at the 6, and Martinez subbed off when he’s in a mood to pick up dumb yellows.

    – Fernandez on RB has some skills…let’s acquire him!


  11. OneManWolfpack says:

    If you want a 1-1 draw – with that lineup – that’s how you get a 1-1 draw. Winnable points dropped.

  12. Unpopular opinion of the day: Martinez may be “one of the best in the MLS” at his position as per last night’s broadcast, but I’m really just about done with him. Talent is useless when it can’t be reliably depended upon. If a key player around whom you build your team is inconsistently available, whether due to injury or suspension, your entire plan is out the window and the entire team will sputter. Case in point, this season. The most frustrating thing is, the whole problem is immaturity. So easily controllable, he needs to grow the hell up and harness the anger so it is useful in ways other than childish off-ball antics and overly aggressive tackles.

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