This is a series that has been topsy-turvy over the course of the 2+ years of existence. This is why you have to be ready for a match like this. This is why you expect something this screwy to go on when a side like Philadelphia is not having a good season, but New York is. All of those records get thrown out the window when these two sides meet up and the distance is so small.
It was a sluggish start to the match for the Red Bulls in the first fifteen minutes, but out of nowhere they struck first in the 17th. It was their first shot on goal in the match as Roy Miller sent a looping ball towards Mehdi Ballouchy who made a fantastic run. Once he got into the Union area, he made a quick stop and a trailing Joel Lindpere was available. Ballouchy fed Lindpere, who entered the area and placed a hard rip into the top of the net and it was one nil to the Red Bulls. It was nearly the same spot that got Lindpere’s first goal at the Home Depot Center.
But a wild sequence left New York behind with nearly an entire half to play. As the Union enjoyed the better of the play in the first half behind a feisty Freddy Adu, Lionard Pajoy got free in the area. A cross from Adu allowed Pajoy to convert the equalizer in the 31st minute. The big Colombian got his second of the game came in the first 22 seconds of the second half as lazy defense from the Red Bulls allowed Pajoy to score and gave the Union a one goal lead.
But between these goals, the Union went down a man. Adu was sent off in the 43rd minute on a dubious second yellow for simulation in the area. This brought his fantastic day to an end, and left the Union shorthanded for over a half.
Adu picked up a yellow very early on a reckless challenge on Roy Miller from behind, with some thinking the challenge was worthy of a straight red. His second booking came as Adu went down in the area, and referee Jorge Gonzalez ruled his falling as simulation. It seemed harsh, but Gonzalez was in a good position to see Dax McCarty’s challenge on Adu.
Since Markus Holgersson arrived, he has looked nervous and lost in his first season here in MLS. But since he was given the Captain’s armband when Thierry Henry got injured, his confidence has grown. He equalized the match in the 68th minute, with a header off a corner from Brandon Barklage. Keon Daniel had position on Holgersson, but once he was moved to the backend of his marker, Holgersson had time and room to put his head on it.
Ten minutes later, it would be Kenny Cooper who puts the Red Bulls ahead for good. A looping ball from Rafa Marquez confused both MacMath and Michael Farfan. The ball bounced between both of them, and Cooper touched the ball past MacMath towards the end line. He tapped in his ninth of the season, equaling Henry’s team leading mark.
Ryan Meara came up with a fantastic save in second-half stoppage time to prevent the Union from getting the game tied again. That gave the Red Bulls their first win in three tries at PPL Park and a four game winning streak. It looks like the slow start has spurred this side on the fast track to first.