Match Report / Union match reports

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

Photo: Ron Soliman

The Philadelphia Union returned home after a gut-wrenching (but hardly surprising) midweek 4-3 loss to the Chicago Fire at Soldier Field. The Union saw the return of players from both injury and international duty, as Damion Lowe returned from Copa América and Alejandro Bedoya joined the ranks of the healthy again. Tai Baribo also returned to the starting lineup after back spasms kept him out of the Chicago match.

The second-to-last place Boys in Blue were seeking to break a franchise first ever five-game losing streak and also secure their first win in eight games. A win would be only their third home win of the MLS season, the last coming more than two months ago on March 30.

New York came into the match on a four-game unbeaten streak, though only one was a win, over Toronto FC. The fifth place Red Bulls came into the game with a 9-8-4 record.

The return of Lowe saw a change of formation, as the Union lined up in a 5-3-2. Jakob Glesnes captained the team and was joined by Jack Elliott and Lowe as the three centerbacks were bracketed by Kai Wagner and Nathan Harriel. Daniel Gazdag centered the midfield, flanked by Leon Flach and Jack McGlynn on the left and right sides, respectively. Chris Donovan started up top again, and was joined by Tai Baribo. 

The final saw the Union break their losing streak, but the Boys failed to win a third home game as the match ended in a 0-0 draw.

First half

Neither side had particularly great chances throughout the start of the half, with the Union content to pass the ball back in an attempt to find holes on the sides, while New York was content to follow Chicago’s playbook and try to chip the ball over the Union’s back line.

The third minute saw poor defending from the Union almost allowing the Red Bulls to jump out to a lead, as a stranded Rick watched a shot go wide. After some nice lead-up play, McGlynn saw a shot parried over the bar in the 7th minute, leading to a corner. Gazdag took a boot to the face in the 10th minute, but no card was given. The resulting free kick from about 40 yards was headed wide by Glesnes.

Another defensive breakdown in the 13th minute saw New York chip a shot at a tough angle over Rick but also over the crossbar. Lowe snuffed out a breakaway in the 22nd minute that saw Rick hesitate on whether he should come off his line. On the other hand, a misplaced Lowe pass led directly to a shot on goal in the 34th minute, which was deflected out for a corner.

The final five minutes of the half saw the Union create some chances, as Gazdag beat his man to endline in the 44th, only to see his cross cleared. A few seconds later Donovan had a header go over the bar. Baribo had two shots blocked in 46th minute as the half drew to a close.

Second half – More of the same

The second half started more upbeat than the first, with both teams probing for gaps up the middle. New York started the better of the two teams, with a shot from just outside the six yard box forcing Rick into a foot save, leading to a corner which was easily dealt with by Harriel.

Quinn Sullivan replaced Donovan in the 55th minute and the Union started to look more dangerous. Moments after Sullivan came on the field, Gazdag and Baribo both had shots saved by Carlos Coronel. A nicely taken corner led to an Elliott header without much power behind it and directly at Coronel. Sullivan was not afraid to take his chances, driving from midfield into the offensive end before a rifling a shot from the corner of the 18-yard box that went wide, but showed pace and desire.

A few moments later at the other end Lewis Morgan split his defenders and got behind the Union’s line, only for his hard first touch to fail him as the ball went out for a goal kick.

In the 74th minute Sullivan got in behind the New York defense, but instead of taking a one-time shot, drove in goal and shot wide into the side netting. The Union continued pressing as the match went on. Wagner won a corner in the 77th minute, which was headed over the goal by Harriel. The 79th minute saw Bedoya replace Flach.

The Union survived a major scare in the 86th minute when New York shot wide of an open net, and moments later Rick stood tall and made a great save in the 88th minute. The Red Bulls continued pressing and dominated the final few minutes of regular time. The 93rd minute saw Elias Manoel get half a step past Glesnes and force Rick into a diving save. 

The game ended the way it started — somewhat unsatisfactorily in a 0-0 draw. The Union escaped with a point but probably did not convince many of the doubters in attendance.

Three points

Andrew Rick – The 18-year-old rookie thrust into an unenviable position stood tall and made the saves required him, earning him and the team a clean sheet.  

“Stopping the bleeding” – As Jim Curtin pointed out in the press conference, the team was able to stop the bleeding. A nil-nil draw was probably not the result the team hoped for, but it certainly stemmed the run of bad results. 

No Curtins for Jim – While few probably feel Curtin’s job is truly in danger (yet – partly because of how instrumental he was in signing Cavan Sullivan) another loss would have raised more questions about whether a change is needed. 


Philadelphia Union (5-3-2)
Andrew Rick, Jack Elliott (Olivier Mbaizo 90 + 1′), Jakob Glesnes (C), Damion Lowe, Nathan Harriel, Kai Wagner, Daniel Gazdag, Jack McGlynn, Leon Flach (Alejandro Bedoya 79′), Chris Donovan (Quinn Sullivan 55′), Tai Baribo  

Unused Subs: Oliver Semmle, Jeremy Rafanello, Markus Anderson

New York Red Bulls (4-4-2)
Carlos Coronel (C), Noah Eile, Andres Reyes, Dylan Nealis, John Tolkin, Lewis Morgan, Cameron Harper (Sean Nealis 81′), Wikelman Carmona (Dennis Gjengaar 71′) Ronald Donkor, Daniel Edelman, Dante Vanzeir (Elias Manoel 71′)

Unused subs: Kyle Duncan, Cory Burke, Julian Zakrzewski, Ryan Meara, Aidan O’Connor, Bento Estrela

Referee –  Filip Dujic

Discipline summary

NY – Daniel Edelman – yellow card (foul) – 45 + 2′

PHI – Alejandro Bedoya – yellow card (foul) – 87′



  1. I was there. BO-RING. The only thing not hot was the U offense. Numerous missed opps in close. They defended reasonably well, and got lucky a couple of times not to be scored on.

  2. Donovan is not an MLS-quality soccer player. The team was much more dynamic and dangerous when Sullivan came on.

    McGlynn and Harriel were announced as Olympians. Sucks for Quinn but maybe it’ll motivate him to finish the season strong.

    The other 10 players don’t pass Flach the ball bc he is incapable of doing anything dangerous or even maintaining possession. Can’t wait til Martinez is back and Flach can go back to the bench.

    I thought Elliott, Glesnes, Harriel, and Wagner all played well. Even Lowe was ok. So maybe this game will get the defense back on track.

  3. Thought they played fairly well. It’s amazing what happens when a team starts to get back some of the 6-7 players they were missing.
    Thought Rick looked more confident in goal compared to his first start against Charlotte. Communicated well with the backline for the most part.
    Red Bulls are a good team. This is a good result. Something to build on.

  4. You had the feeling it was going to happen in the last 10 minutes.

  5. Henry Scobie says:

    I watched the match on Apple TV and I give a lot of credit to Andrew Rick – oftentimes the backline left him out to dry and he Blaked the opponents’ shots with much poise and aplomb as an 18 year-old. Kudos to him.

    I am a fan of Quinn Sullivan and despite his inability to score I admire his creativity and drive to make something happen, even if the outcome is fruitless. Perhaps it is a loser trope but I admire someone who fails to do over someone who succeeds at doing nothing at all.

    The pachyderm in the room here is the stifled KSU protest by some Union toady who I am sure earned his paycheck by confiscating their banner protesting the ownership and their milquetoast treatment of this club as maybe two levels higher than some flipped oceanfront mansion in Avalon turned for a tidy six-figure profit. Union Season Ticket Members are timeshare members and nothing more. We finance this chardonnay-sipping stronzo as he grants us in his magnanimity the possession of one water bottle in the middle of a heat wave.

    I am wide awake to these shenanigans. All I want is a club that evokes pride and togetherness. The Union have failed.

    • I came here to wax-poetry on the banner bullshit and read your comments and have nothing to add. Beautiful and Brilliant.
      This is the league many many people champion.
      I’ll add only, this…..MLS is a virus which has infected US Soccer. One can live with a virus. But one is never truly healthy.
      “Till the day I die. Till the day I die.”

  6. At least we didn’t lose. Yay. For a young fresh guy, Rick did well tonight, a bright spot for my low expectations this season.

  7. To paraphrase Dany Higginbotham last night ….. The Union Management has not taken the extra step to take the team to the next level when they were so close. They refuse to spend money wisely when there are obvious needs on the first team to
    to take them to the next level. Someone posted earlier this week that when Atlanta lost Almada the Atlanta management announced they knew it was going to happen and they have already been working on replacing him with a quality player during the summer transfer window. When the Union lost Carranza all we heard was the sound of crickets chirping….. There are some of you who have posted that you are ok with the “5 year cycle scenario” of build , peak ,decline, rebuild. peak. ( I think that was 5 sometimes my math can be as bad as my spelling.) I don’t believe that plan makes most fans very happy. This organization is the Edsel of the MLS. Eventually they will no longer fool anyone in the Premier League or other top flight teams by luring them with diamonds in the rough that rarely become polished gems. The first team will be firmly planted the bottom half of the MLS as they are certainly entering the decline phase of the “5 year cycle.” Sugarman is committed to this team for one thing his PROFIT not winning a championship.
    I guess he talks a good game and throws on the

    supporters scarf at town hall meetings for season ticket holders and fund raisers. I am not disputing that he is a good businessman. His investment is growing and he is making money and lots of it. However like any good businessman When he sees that his investment may be reaching the tipping point he will sell.

  8. I posted the Atlanta GM comment. I am jealous of an owner that really wants to win and sees sports as entertainment. What luck we get an owner that cares about neither of those things. Oh and here’s another quote from Forbes that the Union value increased to $575 million, up from $240 million four years ago. Since he cant spend that until he sells, this is a plea to sell, take your money and get us an owner who cares about soccer, entertainment, winning and his or her fans. #Sugarmanout!!

  9. paulcontinuum22 says:

    If the team were as cutthroat in playing games as was the sign police in the stands, maybe the U wouldn’t be in next to last in the East and 26th (?) out of 29 overall

  10. Deez Nuggs says:

    I am not a Donovan fan. But I do have to give credit for creating a couple really good chances. I thought Baribo had another strong outing. If he gets better service where he’s not surrounded by pressure he’ll be banging them in.
    Most important thing for this game was to stop conceding. They did. It’s a start. But too small a sample size to build much hope that it continues.

  11. Andy Muènz says:

    Gave away my tickets and watched the Union 2 online. Good to see Cavan get his first goal.

  12. Great to see Tannenwald’s Jul 6 article in the Inquirer name drop Mark Evans, the Union vice president of season tickets, premium sales, and fan services, for protest sign removals in the Suppoters Section during the match and in 2015. I hope he enjoys his Monday emails amd social media replies.
    . . .
    I also enjoyed seeing a fan replying to his article replying that 2SP is allowing tailgate protest signage.
    . . .
    Of course, management too the extra right step by threatening the Suppoters Section groups and lying about general fan sentiment.
    “Though the statement referenced actions of past years, the organization said it aimed to “not do anything that would put the SoB, as an organization, “at risk,” and “there is not one answer or course of action that would reflect what all of our Membership Base wants done.”
    Pfft. Fans anywhere want a serious ownership/management commitment to winning. Threatening them to STFU and eat shit or die leads to empty stands.

    • A thoughtful comment – I’ll add this… all while ducking — because it is bound to ruffle feathers.
      Sons of Ben ‘appear’ just naive enough to think it remains relevant in the grand scheme of a single entity franchise model closed system.

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