Union earn road result at Red Bull Arena

Philadelphia Union drew 0-0 against New York Red Bulls Saturday night in front of 17,814 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

Jim Curtin stuck with the same eleven players that dropped the hammer on Real Salt Lake last week, with Marcus Epps retaining his spot on the right following a strong performance.

First half

A back and forth opening nearly tipped toward the home side when Florian Valot broke through the center and looked to have a clear look at Andre Blake’s goal. At the final moment, Auston Trusty and Mark McKenzie converged to clear the play. Red Bulls continued to press forward, and in the ninth minute Kaku danced around Ray Gaddis but saw his centering pass cleared by an alert Trusty.

The Union nearly broke through in the 11th minute, but Keegan Rosenberry was a moment late spotting Alejandro Bedoya’s vertical run and New York’s back line stepped quickly to leave Philly’s captain offside when the ball was played.

Kaku almost powered a loose ball into the Union net in the 13th minute, but Andre Blake was equal to the drive. After McKenzie stepped in front of Bradley Wright-Phillips to intercept a pass, the Red Bulls striker recovered the ball and stepped on it as Daniel Royer ran through to carry it toward goal. Trusty rotated across the field to intercept Royer’s pass, but the ball fell to Kaku at the top of the box, and the talented creator immediately released a curler toward the far corner, only to watch in disappointment as Blake flew through the air and held the shot well.

New York had another great chance in the 16th minute when Kemar Lawrence played a clipped ball to Wright-Phillips. The striker played a quick one-two, slid to McKenzie’s left and collected the ball in the box, turning his hips to aim a hard, low shot at Blake’s near post that skimmed inches wide.

In the 18th minute, Medunjanin had time to pick out Epps with a long aerial pass. The second year winger controlled the ball well, turned Kemar Lawrence, and caught all of his left-footed shot, only to see Ryan Meara palm it away at close range.

Eleven minutes later, Borek Dockal turned provider for Epps, slipping a well-placed throughball between Tim Parker and Lawrence. Epps was onto it in a flash, but he pushed the ball into the advancing Meara’s frame with Lawrence closing on the play from behind.

Second half

CJ Sapong started a play that created a penalty for the Union, but he could not bury the resulting kick. In the 52nd minute, Sapong chested the ball into Bedoya’s path, and the Union captain spread play wide to Fafa Picault. The winger took Michael Murillo up the left with a speed move, and his cross drifted back post to Epps, who fired a shot into Lawrence’s arm. Ted Unkel pointed to the spot, and Sapong stepped forward. The big striker sent Meara the wrong way but pushed his low shot around the post.

Three minutes later, New York tried to answer through Kaku, who intercepted Haris Medunjanin’s pass deep in Union territory and drove at the defense with runners on either side of him. McKenzie read the playmaker’s mind well and intercepted a pass to Wright-Phillips. The ball, however, was not ready to leave the box, and it fell to the Red Bulls striker. Wright-Phillips showed poise to play the ball wide to Royer, and Blake needed to be alert to protect his near post and push the tight-angled shot away.

Wright-Phillips was almost in himself moments later, but after Valot laid the ball into the box, Ray Gaddis darted in front of the Red Bulls’ talisman to create enough separation between him and the ball for Blake to step forward and claim it.

Jim Curtin introduced Ilsinho and David Accam as the second half wound down, looking to keep the pressure on the Red Bulls back four. Ilsinho pinned Lawrence deep on the right and Accam began finding space to isolate Murillo and Parker on the left. In the 81st minute, Bedoya sent Accam in behind, and he drove at Parker before laying off to Sapong just inside the box, but the pass was slightly ahead of the striker and Meara smothered the chance.

Cory Burke came in for CJ Sapong as the Union looked to secure a road point. In extra time, however, Red Bulls went on the attack, and nearly scored when Parker attacked a corner kick and saw it fall wide of the goal frame. In the dying moments, substitute Vincent Bezecourt clipped a short cross in to Wright-Phillips, and the striker took it off his chest with the game on the line. McKenzie, strong to the end, was up the Englishman’s back, and the resulting shot flew over Blake’s goal as the teams settled for a scoreless draw.

The Union return to Talen Energy Stadium Wednesday night at 7:30 PM to face a Chicago Fire team coming off a big 2-1 win over Orlando City SC. The Fire will be without midfielder Mo Adams who picked up a red card late in Saturday night’s win over Orlando.  

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