Via Last Word On Soccer, by Kevin Drastura
The New York Red Bulls have finally halted their road woes. In a very hot and humid game, they managed to squeak out a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union. After seeing the match go scoreless for 86 minutes, the Red Bulls eventually broke the dead lock. Bradley Wright-Phillips netted both goals for the Red Bulls as Philadelphia struggled to defend down the stretch after a red card by Derrick Jones in the 53rd minute put Philly down to ten men.
The Red Bulls hadn’t won on the road since the season opener in March against Atlanta United FC. They had lost six straight on the road up until this match and ended a horrendous goal drought of well over 500 minutes. BWP’s goals came just five minutes apart in the 87th and 92nd minute.
New York Red Bulls Top Philadelphia Union 2-0
Three Things I noticed
Subs Made an Impact
Jesse Marsch made all the right subs in this match. Kemar Lawrence came in at the start of the second half for an apparent Aaron Long ankle injury. Lawrence suffering from an undisclosed illness gave the team more threat on the wing. He would notch the assist to BWP’s first and ultimately game winning goal. Gonzalo Veron had an equally big impact as a sub. Veron came on in the final ten minutes of the match and immediately helped the attack. His pace caused several openings in the ten-men Philly side and led to a few half-chances. Despite not scoring or assisting on a goal, the dynamic of the game changed completely with his presence. Sal Zizzo, the third and final sub, contributed with the assist to the second goal of Wright-Phillips.
Tactical Changes Coming
The subs had a big impact on the game. However, the biggest move came when Marsch moved Sacha Kljestan into a deeper spot on the pitch. This move saw Felipe move into the number ten role, while Kljestan moved back and partnered with Tyler Adams in the defensive midfield. The change had an instant impact as Kljestan was able to kick start several Red Bull counter attacks from this deeper role. It gave the Red Bulls the quick transition from a turnover they had been severely lacking this season. With the success it saw in this match, Marsch maybe tempted to use it going forward.
Short Match Turnaround
These two teams will only get a slight break from each other. In ten days, they will meet in the Round of 16 in the U.S Open Cup. This will be the third straight year the two teams will meet in this competition. The past two times saw the Union taking both from the Red Bulls. The match will certainly be chippy as both are poised and hungry to advance the the quarterfinals. This will come just three days after the Red Bulls face New York City FC for the second time in a span of ten days. With this short turnaround the Red Bulls will certainly need to utilize their full roster to avoid being knocked out by Philly for a third straight year in the U.S Open Cup.