Union edge Red Bulls for first MLS playoff victory

Washington (AFP) – Mexican midfielder Marco Fabian scored the winning goal in extra time Sunday and the Philadelphia Union edged the New York Red Bulls 4-3 in the Major League Soccer playoffs.

Philadelphia advanced to an Eastern Conference semi-final on Thursday against MLS defending champion Atlanta United. That winner will meet Wednesday’s winner between Toronto and New York City for a spot in the MLS Cup Final.

Fabian, a former standout for Guadalajara and Eintracht Frankfurt before joining the Union this season, entered in the 103rd minute for Brazilian forward Sergio Santos and found the net in stoppage time just after the 105th minute in the first of two 15-minute extra sessions.

Fabian’s crossing pass nicked a defender and curled into the far upper side of the goal, giving the Union their first lead in five MLS Cup playoff appearances.

The Red Bulls became the first team to squander a two-goal lead and lose in the MLS playoffs since Columbus fell to Real Salt Lake in 2009.

New York seized the lead when Josh Sims, an English winger on loan from Southampton, scored in the sixth minute and the Red Bulls made it 2-0 on Tim Parker’s 24th-minute goal.

Alejandro Bedoya answered for the Union in the 30th minute but a blunder just before half-time gave the Red Bulls a 3-1 edge at the break.

Union goalkeeper Andre Blake ran into a defender trying to grab a centering pass and the ball deflected to New York’s Tom Barlow, who kicked it into an open net in the fourth minute of first half stoppage time.

But Philadelphia responded on Scotsman Jack Elliott’s header into the back of the net in the 52nd minute and equalized in the 78th minute on Fabrice-Jean Picault’s header off a Santos centering pass to force extra time.

In a later match, the Los Angeles Galaxy visited Minnesota United, with the winner to face Los Angeles FC on Thursday for a berth in the Western Conference final against either the Seattle Sounders or Real Salt Lake.

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