Photo Cred: Philadelphia Union
The Union kicked off their season with 7 points, which is the best start in Club History. The Boys in Blue looked to keep the unbeaten streak alive with a trip to Yankee Stadium. Check out our Match Report from today's Eastern Conference battle vs NYCFC!
Harriel, Glesnes, Elliot, Wagner
Bedoya, Martinez, Flach, Gazdag
Jasson, Martins, Callens, Amundsen
Rodriguez, Moralez, Talles Magno
First Half Summary
The Boys in Blue welcomed Carranza back into the lineup, as he missed the San Jose match with a Red Card suspension. Mikael Uhre was not on the bench, which was expected. Curtin said they were going to be cautious with his return to the pitch, and it looks like he will have to wait until at least next game to see some time. Finally, it looks like the Right Back spot is Nathan's for the time being. With him playing as solid as he is, I don't see that changing anytime soon.
Although it was a quiet first five minutes, Blake was tested early. New York City moved the ball from right to left, and a close-range shot from Talles Magno forced Andre to the floor. Blake was able to stop the ball with his left hand and foot, but a bit too close for comfort early on from the Philly defense.
Union had their first dangerous chance in the 10th minute. A good ball was sent to Santos in the box, and he pushed the ball toward Johnson. Sergio didn't get his shot off on time, and NYC kept themselves out of danger. Would have liked to see Santos take a chance after the first touch.
The Union then found the back of the net in the 12th minute. Philly earned a free kick, which was redirected by Carranza. Bedoya found the ball on his right foot, and he sent a confident shot passed Johnson. Great to see some early goals from the Captain, as he already has two in this young season. Bedoya looks to be in top notch shape, which will be crucial if the Union want to compete for the MLS Cup.
The usual back and forth you'd expect from the tiny pitch continued over the next 10 minutes, but the Union earned another dangerous chance in the 24th minute. Carranza was brought down just outside of the box, and Jack Elliott's shot was stopped by the wall. It ricocheted back to Jack, and his second chance was calmly saved by Johnson.
A huge moment came in the 28th minute. Rodriguez brought down the ball in the box, partially with his left hand. He then beat a charging Blake and found himself alone by the goal. Jack Elliott was attempting to catch him, but he stumbled and brought down Rodriguez with his hand. This was initially called a foul and Red Card, but VAR was soon required. The head official determined that it was a handball from Rodriguez first, which negated anything after the fact. The correct call was made, despite the loud boos from the New York fans.
The shift in momentum carried on into the Philly offense. Bedoya fed Nathan on the right side of the pitch, and Nathan sent a PERFECT cross in front of the box. Daniel continued his run and easily sent the second goal into the back of the net. What a great moment from Nathan, who is continuing to show why he deserves the starting spot. 2-0 at Yankee Stadium in the 33rd minute? Feels weird to say that.
Three minutes of stoppage time were added to the half, and the Union almost entered the locker room up 3-0. A corner kick was headed to Santos, who put it in the back of the net. After a quick review, it was determined that Sergio was offside. What an incredible lead that would have been, but Philly will gladly take a 2 goal lead into the half.
Second Half Summary
The first ten minutes of the half were uneventful, but it was good to see that Philly didn't give up an early goal. They gave San Jose a few chances within the first few minutes of their second half, and I was concerned that NYCFC would take advantage of any chances.
A very solid moment during the 62nd and 63rd minute. First, Bedoya had an excellent slide tackle and appeared to stare down his opponent after. It was hard to tell from the television angle, but it was still a great play from the Captain. Moments later, a high-flying ball was travelling into the back of the net, but Harriel defended the line and leaped up for the clearing header. Without a doubt, Nathan kept New York City off the board.
We got a bit heated in the Bronx after a seemingly routine play. Andre Blake grabbed the ball by the goal line, but his foot stepped out of bounds. Andre had the ball tucked into his left side at the time, and Castellanos took a swipe for the ball. Andre didn't appreciate the gesture, and neither did his teammates. Wagner, Santos, and Jose came storming in, and the scuffle began. Castellanos and Wagner exchanged shoves, and several players had to hold back Brujo and Sergio. Surprisingly, no one was booked, and play continued. Needless to say, these teams have a bit of animosity built up between each other.
We had already seen Burke enter the match for Carranza, and Quinn Sullivan was the next sub for Curtin. He replaced Sergio Santos. Considering Sergio had just played a full match, I was happy to see Jim take him off the pitch. His injury history is a concern for the club, and they really need to keep him healthy all year.
NYCFC did their best to get back into the match, but even with 7 minutes of stoppage time, they couldn't escape the shutout. The Philadelphia Union earned their first win at Yankee Stadium, while also grabbing first place in the Eastern Conference. The Boys in Blue are now unbeaten in four matches and have won three consecutive games. A nice feeling entering the break, as their next contest is not until April 2nd against Charlotte.
- Mike Barrera (mbarrera1323)