CHESTER, PA – On a wet day in the shadow of the Commodore Barry Bridge, Marco Fabian and the Philadelphia Union hosted the New York Red Bulls. This first of two playoff games on the second day of the post-season, Philadelphia was the higher seed. The regional rivals battled it out for the chance to face Atlanta United in the Eastern conference quarterfinals.
Marco Fabian Extra Goal Leads Philadelphia Union Past Red Bulls
Southampton Sims Scores
The Red Bulls came out with everything they could offer. Daniel Royer and Tom Barlow led the attack. RBNY put the pressure on from the opening whistle. In just the 6th minute, newcomer Josh Sims found space just under Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.
His first for New York, he adds to an impressive array of players across the roster to score this season. Philly tried to respond immediately, but Alejandro Bedoya was caught offside. Undaunted, the Union held strong and stayed on the attack. In the 21st minute, Barlow advanced on goal but could not score. He tried again a minute later but send the ball over the net.
Defender Tim Parker double the lead in the 24th minute. His header in the commotion following a corner kick bobbled into the net. A moment later, Sims had to be taken off the field for an apparent head injury. Homegrown midfielder Alex Muyl entered in his place.
Philly Pulls One Back
In the 30th minute, Bedoya put the Union back in the match. His laser shot skidded across the face of the goal and in. New York worked to control the middle of the park for the remainder of the first half. The forced substitution meant the Red Bulls would have to regroup tactically. But Tom Barlow settled the team just before the half with a third goal.
Second Half Shocks
With both sides more subdued out of the tunnel for the second half, it was unclear what would happen next. Union defender Jack Elliott broke through the fog in the 52nd minute with a goal that put Philly in range to level the score. The game grew increasingly physical.
Union manager Jim Curtin looked to Ilsinho from the bench in the 63rd minute to get that leveler. RBNY manager Chris Armas was forced to make another substitution when Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra was injured in the 68th minute.
Fafa Picault nicked the ball into the net to tie the game, bringing Talen Energy to life again. With extra time looming, RBNY held on into the five minutes of stoppage time.
Extra Time Emergence
The additional substitution allowed by extra time brought in Brian White for New York. Coming off injury, White was making up for lost time with his workrate on and off the ball.
For the Union, Marco Fabian entered as substitute. He became the difference maker just as the first half of extra time ended with a ball lofted into the far side of the goal. Although a final goal from Union was called offside, Philly had what it took to advance in the playoffs. They face Atlanta United for a midweek matchup.
Last Words on Red Bulls
This entire season, the Red Bulls have been their own worst enemy. Their determination to shake off a signature style of play has been nothing but disaster. Inconsistency in lineups, tactics, and grit spelled the end of the Red Bulls season that everyone could have predicted. Change is on the horizon at Red Bull Arena. The extent of it remains to be seen.