CHESTER, Pa. -- The New York Red Bulls failed to clinch the Eastern Conference title on Saturday night at PPL Park as the Union came away with a convincing 2-1 win over their playoff-bound rivals.
First half goals from Fred and Michael Orozco Fiscal put the Union in the driver’s seat after 30 minutes with the Red Bulls only managing to pull one back early in the second half off of Danleigh Borman’s boot. Fred also cleared a ball off the line in stoppage time to preserve the Union's sixth victory of the year.
Philadelphia, typically the aggressor in home matches, had another strong start against the Red Bulls and it took the Union only eight minutes to open the scoring.
A corner from the far side was swung into the area. Veteran forward Alejandro Moreno got a head to it and his effort was deflected along the goal line by Danny Califf. It fell perfectly for Fred to smash home to give his team the 1-0 lead.
Twenty minutes later Philadelphia were able to double their lead thanks to another close-range tally. New York never quite cleared their lines from a corner and Stefani Miglioranzi had a pop from about 30 yards out. His shot deflected off a Red Bulls player right to Le Toux on the right side of the box. The Frenchman cooly squared the ball to Orozco Fiscal, who showed great control to slot it by Coundoul for the second goal of the match. It would go down as Le Toux’s 11th assist of the season.
With Philadelphia clearly owning the first 45 minutes, the Red Bulls made halftime substitutions that turned the tide, including bringing on another forward in Salou Ibrahim. Hans Backe’s side were able to quickly cut into their deficit as the second half got underway.
Some nifty passing down the left side of the pitch seemed to hypnotize the Union as Medhi Ballouchy thread a perfect pass across the middle for Borman, whose calculated finish from the top of the box trimmed Philly’s lead to 2-1.
The action went back and forth in the matches remaining minutes with neither team really able to create any serious threats on the opposing goal outside of the Red Bulls corner that was cleared off the line by Fred.
New York will welcome the New England Revolution to Red Bull Arena on the Thursday night ESPN Game of the Week as they seek to try and wrap up the East in the final match of the season. The Union, who finished with a 6-3-6 home record and 24 of their 31 points in Philadelphia, will again figure to play a role in the Eastern Conference title race as they close out their expansion season with a trip to Columbus.