By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench
Saturday, May 15: Philadelphia Union 1-0 RBNY
Philadelphia Union: A. Blake; K. Wagner, J. Elliott, J. Glesnes, O. Mbaizo; L. Flach; A. Fontana (K Przybylko 58′), A. Bedoya (Q. Sullivan 91′); J Monteiro; S. Santos (M. Real 78′), C. Burke
New York Red Bulls: C. Coronel; A. Tarek (T. Edwards 36′), A. Long, S. Nealis, K. Duncan; S. Davis; C. Clark (D. Yearwood 76′), C. Casseres Jr; F. Amaya (O. Fernandez 54′; Fabio (C. Harper 76′), D. Royer (P. Klimala, HT)
Do you think it’d be alright
Quietly, almost surprisingly, the nation is returning to business as usual. Vaccinations are happening, masks are being shed. And then there’s PLACES. Remember places?! Well, I made the trip once again to Subaru Park (FKA Talen Energy Stadium) to see the Philadelphia Union host the New York Red Bulls. There’s still a lot of open space and social distancing, as well as masks. But there are people here. They are real and they are spectacular.
It’s no secret that I have a mild affinity for the Union. The stadium is in a great location on the Riverfront, their team has some great talent, not to mention impressive Academy products like Brendan Aaronson. And hey: They’re the current Supporter’s Shield winners. In another world, perhaps I would have followed them more closely and started writing about them. Red Bull fans overall, however, don’t have much of an opinion…
If I hadn’t blown the whole thing years ago
Things didn’t go well the last time I made the trip to Pennsylvania– late injuries and extra time goals sent RBNY out of the playoffs. Indeed, things have not improved for the Red Bulls against the Union since. Philly have won the last three meetings, and decisively so. Once that opening whistle blew for this latest matchup, it was clear there was more of the same on the way. There was a collision early on that took out Union goalkeeper Andre Blake, but he was able to stay on. Moments later, Union attacker Cory Burke opened the scoring with a tap-in past RBNY keeper Carlos Coronel in the 9′. Union came close to doubling in the 25th minute, but Coronel had regained his composure in front of the net by then.
If you don’t expect too much from me
Having just come off two home wins, and knowing road points are difficult in MLS anyway, this was nothing short of a crucible for the Red Bulls. And throughout the first half, the team was found wanting. They were run off their feet, closed down on the attack, and outsmarted regularly. An injury for Amro Tarek forced an early substitution for RBNY, with Tom Edwards making his debut. Polish international Patryk Klimala also made his first appearance, coming on at halftime for Daniel Royer.
You might not be let down
The second half proved to be a different story. There was more visible fight in the Red Bulls. The ball spent more time near the Philly net. Strikers Klimala and Fabio were off frame but determined to keep trying. RBNY manager Gerhard Struber kept pushing to make something happen, making the last two possible changes with a solid fifteen minutes left to the match. But a stoppage time sending off for Dru Yearwood dashed the hopes of the visiting team to find that leveling goal.
If I just crash here tonight
So I’ll get some sleep before heading home. And I will think about the Red Bulls’s chances for this season, now that there is some real evidence to work with. The pieces are coming together, but it doesn’t seem to all fit just yet. The past is gone, but something might be found to take its place.
Featured Image: @WhiteZinWench
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