What a fantastic match that was played at Red Bull Arena this past Saturday Afternoon. The expansion Philadelphia Union coming up north on the New Jersey Turnpike to face the New York Red Bulls in what is to be a fantastic derby hopefully for years to come.
The first forty-five minutes was exceptional football being played. Tons of action back and forth as both sides had so many attacking chances. If it wasn’t a 4th minute strike by Sebastien LeToux that was eaten by Bouna Coundoul, it would be a 7th minute blast just bending wide of the far corner from Salou Ibrahim. Even with Ibrahim down on the ground in the 28th minute in the area, he took a Joel Lindpere rip off his shoulder and goes wide.
The attacking would continue in the second half and it would be the Red Bulls getting on the scoreboard first. 50th Minute struck on the match clock as Jeremy Hall gets the ball in the midfield and sends a cross towards goal and leaping in the air to put a head on it was Salou Ibrahim and gets it past Chris Seitz for his first of the season and the one goal to nil lead for RBNY. But a bit of a break down in defense from the club allows the Union to equalize nine minutes later.
Alejandro Moreno would attack down the near side and got into position to cross the ball. Even though all the defenders for the Red Bulls did come back unfortunately for Jeremy Hall he lost LeToux at the far post and a hard smack equalized the match. For the Frenchman its his fourth of the season and he has put in four of the first five goals in the Union’s first season in Major League Soccer. But this is an expansion side that will make some mistakes and for Union defender Michael Orozco it was a big mistake.
66th Minute the ball was crossed into the area from the near side by Joel Lindpere. Orozco was covering Juan Pablo Angel and as he tried to leap in the air to head the ball down, he brought his left arm up. Unfortunately for Orozco he committed the handball inside his own area. Kevin Stott ran to the spot and pointed for a penalty. Angel rips the spot kick inside the near post to give the Red Bulls that one goal lead back.
There was a second attempt by the Union to level the match at two. Corner for Philadelphia and a strange deflection off a Red Bull defender pinballed off the near post and a frantic couple of seconds in the 75th minute almost went in, but somehow the ball was cleared away. After three minutes of second half stoppage time Kevin Stott blows his whistle and the Red Bulls are undefeated at home in three straight matches.
For former U-20 US National Team & Union Keeper Chris Seitz, this was a better performance for him since the start of the season. I believe we all know the potential he’s had since being the backup for Nick Rimando at Real Salt Lake. He has finally earned his chance to start for a club and we have seen him bobble or butcher a couple of save attempts that accidently went into his net, or gave the opposition a free shot. But I have to say that he looked much better & calmer than his previous three matches.
For the Red Bulls Danish midfielder Brian Nielsen played his first match in MLS after a little more than twenty-four hours arriving at Newark Airport. He played 67 minutes and got a taste of MLS. He looks strong down the left flank, great crossing ability & is fast bringing up the ball. He is only 23 years old and it seems he is a player for the future of this club.
Well folks within a two day period these two sides will meet up again on Tuesday night, April 27th in a US Open Cup Qualifier and it will be held at Red Bull Arena 8:00PM. Hans Backe has said he will give some of his rookies a chance to play like Tony Tchani who was drafted in the first round of this years past MLS Super Draft. But for the Red Bulls, four wins in their first five matches with 12 points. Top of the east and hopefully they will advance to the next Open Cup Qualifier at home against the New England Revolution.