After Tropical Storm Elsa delayed the showdown in New Jersey for 30 minutes the latest chapter in the rivalry kicked off with both sides nearly getting the opening goal within the first 10 minutes. Inside the opening minute, the hosts saw a quick build up from Brazilian playmaker Fabio sending a centering pass to the top of the box that Olivier Mbaizo stuck out a foot before the pass was completed to Cristian Cásseres Jr.

Moments later Union fans got their first taste of Daniel Gazdag at the top of the formation with Kacper Przybylko. The friendly striker drifted out wide and connected with Leon Flach to spark a Union counter attack at the midfield stripe. Reading the Red Bull defense, Flach threaded a pass for Gazdag but the Hungerian’s first goal was denied by former Union keeper Carlos Miguel Coronel.

Filling in for two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake, homegrown goalkeeper Matt Freese stood strong between the sticks when he was tested in the 17th minute. Recognizing the run from Patryk Klimala, Freese came off his line to deny the scoring chance by the hosts and fire up the Union defense.

As the minutes ticked up so did the rivalry play with Jamiro Monteiro getting the rough side of a shoulder to shoulder tackle from Dru Yearwood that had shouts for a cards of a different color in first half stoppage time as the defender received a caution. With one last chance before the halftime whistle, the Union nearly grabbed the goal but saw the ball pinball around the box and denied at the near post by a defender.

After a messy first half allowed the Red Bulls to keep Philly from controlling the match, Jamiro Monteiro came out determined to make an early impact. Collecting the ball from Mbaizo, Monteiro twisted his hips to open a gap to shoot and sent a frisbee of a shot toward the near post, nearly wrong-footing Coronel.

The Red Bulls, however, were finding a rhythm in transition. After Mbaizo was caught in the center of the pitch, Flach hit the afterburners to prevent a three-on-two breakaway. In the 57th minute, however, a miscommunication between Glesnes and Freese led to a red card on the latter and a penalty kick for Red Bulls. Joe Bendik entered the match for Daniel Gazdag, but he could not stop Klimala’s clean penalty finish.

Down a man, the Union continued to push forward as Przybylko held the ball up and the fullbacks and midfielders took turns sprinting up in support.

Carmona, Klimala and Frankie Amaya hunted an insurance goal on every counterattack, but Philly showed incredible resilience in back to keep the match in reach.

As Sergio Santos entered the match, Jim Curtin pushed his side for more. Pushing Wagner forward and encouraging Monteiro to find space out left, the Union head coach showed his side he still wanted more, and they responded. Monteiro’s curling cross from the left fell slightly short of Przybylko, and Red Bulls looked unable to exercise any control over the match despite their man advantage.

In the 82nd minute, Omir Fernandez almost looped a pass over the defense but Wagner cut off the runner and Bendik played the ball long the other way. Przybylko competed hard in the air and spun away in anger after Kyle Duncan became the latest in a long line of New York players to stop, drop, and roll.

In fact, Tolkin had gone down outside the field of play mere moments later when Bedoya quickly restarted play and found Mbaizo for an endless, loopy cross. Santos was active in the box, moving into space and arranging his feet before angling a header across the goal, off the far post and into the net.

It was a moment of brilliance for a player looking to expand his influence as the busiest stretch of the season looms.

As the 90th minute ticket past, Santos drew a foul on the left side of the box but Monteiro’s free kick ballooned out of play.

Newly confident, Santos was equal to two men and the Red Bulls rarely looked to have a numerical advantage. The Union’s Brazilian striker sliced through the left channel and unleashed a low drive that Coronel fell to his right to save.

With the three-game roadtrip behind them, the Boys in Blue return to home for a showdown against I-95 rival, D.C. United. Kick off from Subaru Park is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 17th with tickets on sale now.

Eastern Conference Semifinal Tickets on Sale Now!

Subaru Park is hosting an Eastern Conference Semifinal battle as Philadelphia Union welcomes Nashville SC in the 2021 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs on Sunday, November 28th at 5:30 pm ET. Tickets are going fast so get yours today so that you don’t miss this one!

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