Tom Barlow nudged in a loose ball in front of goal in the 32nd minute for an important opening goal as Philadelphia Union fell 2-0 to New York Red Bulls in Harrison, New Jersey Sunday evening. Daniel Royer got the second as the final moments ticked away.
A messy first half meant shots were difficult to come by, and Red Bulls continually looked to penetrate up the right before finding Royer in 1v1s with Ray Gaddis. Josh Sims came in and out of the match but appeared dangerous around the box when he had time to dribble at defenders.
The Union looked to build with Haris Medunjanin deep between the center backs, and New York sat off while playing a high line before pressing whenever the ball moved to Gaddis or Kai Wagner. When the Union’s moves were successful, they ran Ale Bedoya and Fafa Picault in behind down the right.
In the 11th minute, Picault found Przybylko down the right channel and the big striker played a low cross just in front of Brenden Aaronson. Three minutes later, Red Bull responded when Sims got behind Medunjanin and found Royer for a vicious shot that Andre Blake parried.
Philly’s best chance of the first half came in the 16th minute when a quick restart put Picault in behind. He rounded Robles but the keeper threw up a paw to knock the ball away from goal. Picault recovered and hit Bedoya at the top of the box. Aaron Long sprinted across to clear the ball off the goalline.
The Union came close again in the 31st when Bedoya broke through the center, chested down a long throughball and played back to Przybylko, who blasted over.
Countering down the right, Sims put in a low cross that Blake went low to catch and knocked onto the feet of Barlow, who tucked it home for a 1-0 lead.
In the second half, neither team could generate momentum or chances. Jim Curtin turned to Sergio Santos and Ilsinho while Chris Armas threw on Kaku and Bradley Wright-Phillipis. In the 71st minute, Royer nearly scored on a set piece, but there was little to suggest either team could create a sustained threat.
New York slowly began to wrestle control of the match from the visitors in the 72nd, and Sims found Wright-Phillips at the top of the box for a deflected shot that spun wide of the goal.
On the ensuing set piece, the ball was half-cleared but played back into the box where Wright-Phillips whipped a turnaround shot directly at Blake.
Mark McKenzie left with an injury and Jim Curtin turned to Marco Fabian while moving to a three back shape with Medunjanin almost as a stopper in front of Elliott.
In the 83rd minute, Monteiro flipped the ball into the box where Fabian headed it across to Przybylko. The pass was just behind the striker and he stretched but only tapped it into space. Santos sprinted in and unleashed a right-footed strike that pinged off Kemar Lawrence’s head and wide.
New York broke with numbers and a deflected shot wrong-footed Blake, but the Union goalie was quick off his line to intercept Alex Muyl’s attempted centering ball Kaku.
In the 89th minute, the Union pressured the Red Bulls goal after Santos earned a corner. After a half-clearance, Medunjanin played Ilsinho in behind and he clipped the ball across the goal to Przybylko. His shot created chaos in the center and nearly went in before Red Bulls lifted it out.
As the match wound down, Red Bulls finally got a security goal when Wright-Phillips centered for Royer to blast home past a scrambling Blake.
The match ended 2-0, with neither team looking like the better side on the night. The Union are back in action on Wednesday night when they face off with San Jose Earthquakes at 11:00 p.m. ET on PhiladelphiaUnion.com in the Philly area and on LiveWell Network.