Wagner, McGlynn, Bedoya, Harriel
Lowe, Elliott, Glesnes
Luquinhas, Amaya, Barlow, Fernandez
Tolkin, Nealis, Reyes, Harper
First Half Summary
The Union were missing both Jose Martinez and Jesus Bueno due to suspension from the Toronto game. To make matters worse, Leon Flach injured himself in the same match, and he will be out to receive surgery on his groin area. The short-handed Union got creative with their lineup and seemed to put out a strong starting XI before today's highly anticipated rivalry match.
The Union had a solid start, but it was the Red Bulls who took advantage within the first 15 minutes. Fernandez took a shot on goal, but his initial strike was stopped by Lowe. Unfortunately for Philly, it went right back to Fernandez and he sent it easily into the net. Once again, the Union failed to keep their opponents off the board. In a game where the tensions would run high, you didn't want to be chasing the match at home.
Thankfully for the sold out crowd, the Union didn't let the deficit change their approach. Philly continued to be aggressive and matched the intensity from their guests. Finally, their hard work paid off just before the half hour mark. Jakob Glesnes was in the box for a Kai Wagner corner kick, and the rebound off Coronel's clearance went right to his feet. Jakob sent in the equalizing goal and shifted the momentum back to Philly.
Things continued to go the Union's way just before the 45 minutes were reached. Union were pushing toward the opposing net, but Nealis caught a Union pass with his left arm. The ref was quick to issue him his second yellow card, which removed the defender from the match. This is typically a good thing for most teams, but the Union have always struggled to put away teams when up a man. Specifically, we dropped points against Red Bulls last year when they were given a red card as well. We just hoped that it wouldn't be Deja vu tonight in Chester.
In the 5 minutes of stoppage time, Union countered and again found the back of the net. Bedoya's cross took a favorable deflection from Uhre, which gave Julian a clear chance at goal. Although it initially looked like Julian had stayed onside, VAR showed that Carranza was beyond Tolkien on the back line. No goal, but a strong end to the half from Philly.
Second Half Summary
The second half was started by an injury scare for Philly. Uhre was sprinting down the right side of the field, but he stopped short on his run and began to limp. Curtin immediately began to warm up his forward reserves, as Uhre continued to show signs of injury while he stayed on the pitch. After the game, Curtin thinks Uhre stepped on the sprinkler area of the field and rolled his ankle a bit. Thankfully, it doesn't seem to be a serious knock for Mikael.
Uhre fought his way through discomfort, and the Union finally took advantage of their man-up advantage. A free kick was awarded to Philly, and Kai's cross was perfectly placed for a diving Damion Lowe. The Jamaican international put the Union up 2-1, but Philly didn't stop there. Just moments after the restart, Union took control of the ball, and Bedoya crossed the field to Wagner. Kai's cross was then one-timed by Julian, and the Union found themselves up by two goals before the 60th minute. We finally saw that killer instinct from the Union to start this half.
Next, we saw the newest Union player for considerable minutes. Uhre was replaced by Tai Baribo. Although he made his Union debut in Leagues Cup, it was only for a few seconds at the end of the match. Jim has mentioned that Baribo is still in "pre-season" form, but it looks like he's shown enough in training to finish out this rivalry match. After the game, Curtin seemed pleased with Tai's performance, but knows there's work to be done as the season comes to an end.
Kai Wagner wasn't finished with adding to his assists total. He turned the Red Bulls over and then threaded a perfect ball to a surging Gazdag. Daniel went 1v1 against Coronel and easily rolled one into the net. Unfortunately for Philly, Gazdag immediately reached for his right knee and was soon replaced by Rafanello. A bittersweet moment for the Union, who now held a 4-1 lead. When speaking with Curtin, he did seem optimistic that Daniel was ok, but they will be waiting the test results to confirm Gazdag's status.
Philly killed off the match, and Julian was replaced by Sullivan as the final sub from Curtin. The Union earned a much-needed 4-1 victory after Wednesday's embarrassing effort against Toronto.
After the match, Curtin highlighted the crowd backing the players throughout the game, even after they gave up the unfortunate first goal. Jim went on to applaud players like Glesnes who had a great bounce back game after his subpar performance in Toronto. He also mentioned that Lowe had been away for a death in the family, and he returned and stepped up in a big way for us this evening. When we went into the locker room, Kai Wagner stated that this was the best win of the season. The All Star Left Back also provided us with an update on his status for next year. Looks like he will be out of Philadelphia. Credit to our own Jose Nunez for inquiring last night with Kai.
The Union now take a break until mid-September. Considering how many games this team has played in so far, this couldn't have come at a better time before the final playoff push.
- Mike Barrera (Mbarrera1323)