The Philadelphia Union snapped a pair of streaks in a riveting 3-1 victory over the New York Red Bulls Wednesday night before a sellout crowd of 18,541 at PPL Park.
Not only did the Union halt a five-match unbeaten streak by the Red Bulls, but they also won for the first time at home since a 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution on March 15.
Philadelphia (5-8-7, 22 points) received goals from Conor Casey, Fred and Sebastien Le Toux and the frenetic response from the fans was inspiring. Among the faces in the crowd were Philadelphia Flyers’ standouts Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek.
“Great performance from our guys from start to finish,” Union interim manager Jim Curtin said. “It’s a result the fans deserved.”
The Union, who played without suspended midfielders Michael Lahoud and Amobi Okugo, struck first in the ninth minute when Casey notched his sixth goal of the season. Goalkeeper Zac MacMath booted the ball about 70 yards and Casey gathered it and passed to Andrew Wenger.
Wenger then sent a crisp pass toward the goal and Casey scored.
There was a scary moment in the 33rd minute when Cristian Maidana left the match with an injury.
Following the match, Curtin didn’t believe it was serious but added, “It’s too early to speculate.”
Fred replaced Maidana and scored in the 51st minute, directly in front of the River End. It was Fred’s first goal for the Union since the inaugural season of 2010.
“It feels so blessed today,” Fred said. “I didn’t expect Chaco to get injured. I feel so sorry for him. Everyone has to be ready to play.”
The Red Bulls (5-6-8, 23 points) made things interesting in the 60th minute when Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his league-leading 16th goal on an assist by Thierry Henry. Wright-Phillips has scored at least one goal in four straight games.
In addition, the Elias Sports Bureau noted that Wright-Phillips has set an MLS record for goals over a span of 12 games in one season with 15.
Philadelphia responded when Tim Cahill was whistled for foul in the box in the 68th minute. In the 69th minute, Le Toux converted the penalty kick for a 3-1 advantage. Le Toux improved to 11 for 11 in penalty kicks in his Union career.
The Union held on and celebrated three huge points against their I-95 rival.
“It feels like it’s been forever since we won at home,” goalkeeper Zac MacMath said. “We’ve played well for stretches in games but hadn’t been able to close it out. We finished it strong fashion tonight and I’m really happy for the fans.”
There won’t be much time to celebrate with a match looming Saturday night at the Chicago Fire.
Earlier this season on April 5, the Union also traveled to Chicago and battled the Fire to a 2-2 draw.
“We have a short turnaround,” defender Sheanon Williams said. “We can’t say, ‘We’re happy to get this’ and then go ahead and not play well at Chicago. We know we need to string things together.”
What did you think of Wednesday's performance? Leave a comment below.
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at email@example.com