Both goals were scored by Bradley Wright-Phillips, who tallied his 7th and 8th goals of MLS 2017 - and the 76th and 77th regular-season goals of his career.
The goals came late and owed much to substitute Gonzalo Veron - indeed, they owed much to all the substitutes RBNY introduced to the match. BWP had been misfiring for much of the game, but the Red Bulls’ off-the-bench trio of Kemar Lawrence, Sal Zizzo, and Veron put together two quick passing sequences that culminated perfectly in balls to Wright-Phillips’ feet in fron of goal.
First, in the 87th minutes, Veron gathered a loose ball at the edge of the box and spread it wide for the overlapping Lawrence. The Jamaican left-back fired in a low cross in front of goal - his trademark delivery this season - and BWP was first to meet it and guide the ball into the net.
Next, in second-half stoppage time, Veron cut inside with the ball at his feet, running across the Philadelphia back-line before sending a pass wide right to Sal Zizzo, who produced his own version of the Lawrence-low-cross to tee up BWP for his second goal.
The match turned on three events. In the first half, Philadelphia Union missed two very good chances to take the lead. In the 22nd minute, Aaron Long was outwitted by Chris Pontius who created an opening for himself and ripped a shot on frame - but Luis Robles was equal to it, stretching to tip the ball wide and grab himself a Save of the Week nomination.
At the end of the first half, Pontius nodded an open header wide of goal, and the Red Bulls were able to walk into half-time with a clean sheet.
RBNY did a good job of containing Philadelphia, so the Union’s missed chances were costly. Particularly once the home team was reduced to 10 men early in the second half.
Derrick Jones was given his walking papers in the 53rd minute. The USA U-20 midfielder lunged a little too eagerly for a 50-50 ball, and ended up caught in a clumsy, straight-legged jab at RBNY’s Felipe. Referee Allen Chapman went straight to the back pocket for his red card.
The home side was doing a good job, however, of frustrating RBNY and limiting quality chances until Gonzalo Veron joined the game in the 84th minute, and started finding wide runners who could get the ball in to BWP.
It was a much-needed away win for a team that hadn’t won on the road since the start of the season.
“Anytime we come down to Philadelphia it’s going to be an added layer of emotion and tonight was no exception. We felt we played well enough for the three points and before the red card we were earning the second balls,” said Luis Robles after the game.
“Obviously, the red card changes their dynamic of how they want to press us and how to attack. But it was a great win for us and it’s been a while that we get points on the road.”
The Red Bulls will see the Union again on June 28 at Red Bull Arena in US Open Cup, but before that they must prepare for the challenge of a run-out against New York City FC on June 24.