The playoffs are finally here! The Union earned the second spot in the Eastern Conference, and they hosted the New York Red Bulls. AATSports was Live at Subaru Park for the match, check out our recap below!
Wagner, Elliott, Glesnes, Powell
Bedoya, Martinez, Flach
Gutman, Nealis, Reyes
Duncan, Davis, Yearwood, Edwards
Fernandez, Casseres Jr.
First Half Summary
What an electric atmosphere at Subaru Park. The building was shaking with anticipation, and as expected, the away fans filled their section well. It absolutely felt like a playoff match. Two changes into the lineup today, Mbaizo and Miro were out, Powell and NJ product Paxten Aaronson earned the start! After the match, Jim stated that Miro and Mbaizo were in the league's health protocol, but he would not provide anymore information.
Had an injury almost immediately for Philly. Looked like Jose knocked knees with another player, and he gingerly got up after a few moments on the field. The Red Bulls then earned their first corner, but it ultimately went out for a goal kick.
Red Bulls controlled the first five minutes, and the Union weren't able to cross midfield. A dangerously close free kick came in the 6th minute, to the right of Andre. Fortunately, the Jamaican keeper was able to intercept the cross without issue.
First real threat for the Union came from Alvas Powell. The Jamaican defender found a ricocheted ball by the top of the box, but his powerful strike was somehow kept out of net. Great opportunity there.
The ref made his presence felt in the 13th minute. Kacper was quite visibly brought down from behind about 30 yards away from net, but the official did not blow his whistle. After looking at the review, it was obvious he had missed one there.
Union earned their first corner in the 14th minute, but it was easily cleared out by the New York defense. Regardless, Philly was beginning to make their presence felt on the offensive side of the pitch.
The first yellow card in the match came after Yearwood gave Paxten a hard tackle in the 15th minute. The two sides then began to chirp back and forth, as tensions began to build.
Both sides had their moments in the offensive third, but no real test came to either keeper as we entered the 30th minute.
Tensions had been building, and Alvas and Fernandez soon exchanged shoves in front of the NYRB fans. As you'd expect, TRE started a F**k the Red Bulls chant. Great atmosphere in Chester!
The back and forth continued, and the ref only gave a minute of stoppage time. Both teams entered the locker room scoreless.
Second Half Summary
Second half started off with a quiet five minutes, but a yellow card was shown to Gutman in the 51st minute. Seemed to be for something that was said to the official.
Another yellow card came a minute later, as NYRB fouled Powell, and Edwards was shown a card after he kicked the ball away in disdain. New York was a little emotional to start the half.
A close chance came in the 57th minute. Kacper gave Daniel a nice pass into the box, but he ultimately lost control of the ball. It then found Paxten at the top of the box, but his right footed shot was just wide of the net. What a moment that would have been for the Homegrown.
Sergio Santos was Curtin's first sub. He relieved Paxten in the 61st minute. What a solid performance from Aaronson, but it was certainly time for Santos to come on.
A couple of corners were earned by the Union as the 71st minute approached. Their 71st minute try gave Leon Flach a chance to poke one in on the near post, but it wasn't a good enough touch from Leon.
Jose had been chirping all afternoon, and he was pulled away from a Red Bull player as they exchanged words in the 74th minute. Needed him to stay composed, but he was given a yellow from the ref.
Another yellow was issued in the 79th minute. Jose was leading the counter attack, but Reyes brought down Martinez hard. No doubt from the head official, he immediately showed the card.
Wow. Santos had a great run into the box just after the 80th minute, and Kacper sailed a point blank shot over the top of the net. Moments like that are why KP gets a lot of hate. Can't miss that chance.
KP was soon taken off the pitch for Burke, and McGlynn replaced Flach.
The 90th minute approached, and the sideline official showed five minutes of stoppage time. Both teams continued to make their push for the first goal, but this one could not be settled in 90 minutes.
Extra Time Summary
The first real threat from either squad came in the first 5 minutes of extra time. NYRB was able to get one v one against Andre, but he did enough to push it away. Blake always seems to have one big moment per match, and it was needed there.
13 minutes of extra time passed, but neither team tested the net (besides the earlier moment). You could certainly see the fatigue setting in a bit, and the temperature began to drop in Chester. The first 15 minutes then came to a close, with the score still 0-0.
The second 15 minutes began, and Sergio Santos almost had his moment. Burke did well to force his way into the box, and Santos was alone in front of the keeper. Somehow, Coronel came up with a huge save to keep Philly off the board.
Ale was seen limping a few times in the match, and the captain was finally relieved for Bueno. In the post match press conference, Jim said he almost brought in Ilsinho, but his staff convinced him to sub Bueno. What a good choice there.
Subaru Park let out a huge gasp after a great NY chance. NYRB did well to get a low shot on net, and it just barely grazed the far post. The shot had beaten Andre, and somehow these teams kept missing their chances.
ANOTHER missed chance from Philly. Sergio did well to flick the ball to Cory's right foot, and his shot somehow went wide right. From looking at the replay, it does appear that the NY defender was able to poke it away, but it ultimately went for a goal kick. That said, Burke was in noticeable pain after the contact, and he remained on the pitch for several minutes. He was ultimately able to get off the ground though, and was not replaced.
Then it happened.....
3 minutes of stoppage time was awarded, and it looked like the match was going to go to Penalty Kicks. Glesnes then found the ball about 25 yards away, and with the crowd yelling "SHOOOOT", the Norwegian Center Back sent his team into the second round of the playoffs. Check out the goal below!
Philly closed it out 1-0, and they move on to the second round. It was an incredible ending to a hard-fought match, and the electricity that ran through that stadium was awesome. A night the Union faithful will never forget.
- Mike Barrera (mbarrera1323)