Behind a collective team performance, Union snap streak of losses to New York
And just like that, the slump is over.
Whatever dark cloud covered the Union attempted fortunes against rival New York was lifted on Sunday in front of a sellout crowd at PPL Park.
Conor Casey's brace powered the Union to a 3-0 win over a 10-man Red Bulls side, the club's first win against the Red Bulls since April 9, 2011.
Philadelphia jumped into second place in the Eastern Conference, pulling level with their I-95 rival on 25 points.
"It feels great," said striker Antoine Hoppenot, who sealed the win with his 88th minute goal. "All week we preached about how big of a game this was, not only because it gave us a chance to take second place, but because this is New York. This is our rival. We know how important it is to the fans, and for us it's just as important."
It had been two years since Philadelphia had earned a single point against New York.
The Red Bulls outscored the Union 11-to-3 in five straight wins over the course of those 26 months.
That included wins of 3-2, 3-0, and 2-0 last season. New York had won back-to-back games at PPL Park and three straight games at Red Bull Arena, including a 2-1 win on March 30 of this year.
"Obviously going back to last year, it wasn't the best year," Jack McInerney explained. "I think we could have gone into New York this year and got a result, but things didn't fall our way. "I think we expected ourselves to win at home today, so that's not much of a surprise to us. I think we sent a message around the league today."
"It feels great, it feels like you finally beat your big brother in one-on-one," added center back Amobi Okugo. "We looked at the tape from the prior games and we looked at the tape from their recent games and we know they're a beatable team. Luckily everyone clicked tonight and it was a great win."
Playing down a man following Lloyd Sam's 28th minute sending off, New York did not muster a single shot on goal.
The Union evened the season series at one win apiece, with the rubber match scheduled for August 17 at Red Bull Arena.
"I think we put it on even terms," manager John Hackworth said. "The way that we approached it within our team, our goal of this year is to make sure we're competitive in these individual series, so now it's even. I think the last game of the season against them is going to be a huge one."
Jack McInerney said the club "sent a message" in its win over New York Sunday. What do you think? Leave us a line in the comment portion below.
Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at email@example.com