In a rivalry match that signaled the final turn toward the home stretch of the 2021 season, Philadelphia Union outplayed New York Red Bulls but settled for a draw in a tightly played midweek matchup.
Santos, whose directness and energy troubled Atlanta last Saturday, resumed his assault on opposing defenses. After picking off Dru Yearwood, Santos bullied his way to the endline and sought Kacper Przybylko in a crowded box. The home side had recovered well, but Santos had announced himself early.
Notably, Jim Curtin said midweek that Santos’ recent strong play was about game awareness putting him in good positions lately. That alertness was necessary for the Union opener. A corner from the left danced through bodies until it reached Santos inside the six yard box. Improvising, the Brazilian stuck out a knee and shoved the ball over the goalline.
As the 30 minute mark approached, the Red Bulls began finding space on counterattacks. First, Klimala chased a ball bound for the right endline to no avail. Yearwood also stumbled across a chance, lining up a long line drive that Blake wrestled out of the air.
Although Red Bull huffed and puffed, there were few true threats until Omir Fernandez put the home side on the board. Carlos Coronel’s long kick created confusion and Fernandez pounced with a vicious strike from the center of the box.
Philly took the blow but stuck to the gameplan, feeding Jamiro Monteiro and looking for quick counters with overlaps. However, they received another blow as the half ended when Jose Martinez was assessed a yellow card following a tackle and banter in the middle third. Martinez is now suspended for Sunday’s match against Columbus due to yellow card accumulation.
To start the second half, Winkelman Carmona replaced Cristian Casseres, Jr. as Red Bulls looked for a more dynamic presence coming out of midfield.
The two clubs, playing similarly aggressive, direct styles began to cancel each other out. The home side looked to isolate Martinez in transition while Philly began adding early crosses to the attacking arsenal.
Jim Curtin, seeing that his side would have more of the ball late, added Daniel Gazdag and Paxten Aaronson to the mix. Aaronson nearly snuck in at the back post on a corner kick, but the vertical nature of the game meant the technicians struggled to combine.
In the 85th minute, Kai Wagner was given a yellow card for coming in at an angle on Daniel Royer then Andre Blake was carded following his frustration with a corner kick call.
Aaronson became a presence in the final moments of the match, putting the ball through to Przybylko to create an opportunity as extra time rolled around.
Philadelphia Union closes out this latest three games in nine day stretch with a home clash against defending MLS Cup Champions, Columbus Crew on Sunday, October 3rd. Tickets for this Eastern Conference clash are still available and can be purchased by clicking here. Kick off from Subaru Park is set for 4 p.m. ET, with coverage on PHL17 and PhiladelphiaUnion.com.