The Red Bulls and the Philadelphia Union went toe to toe in what was a hard fought defensive effort as both sides shook hands after the full 90 minutes that ended in a scoreless draw.
Plenty of chances for the New York Red Bulls as they were on the front foot for the opening 30 minutes as they tried to break down the Union’s back line, but whenever there was penatration, sadly Andre Blake was there to thwart the chance.
A diving grab save by the Jamaican international as he stops Alejandro Romero Gamarra with his chance. A nice little give and go with Daniel Royer and then Kaku takes a big bending shot aiming for the far post and Blake extends for the grabbing save.
“I wouldn’t know today, because I didn’t hit the target.” said Bradley Wright-Phillips, “I think he is a very good goalkeeper and he’s proven that in this league for many, many years.”
Then later on in the match Blake had a chance to get scored on by Daniel Royer in the 55th minute. It was a wonderful ball he got and broke thru on the backline, but when he got close to the front post, his shot was knocked down by Blake and frustration set in.
But Ryan Meara who had a great match down in Atlanta, made sure he was up to the task as well when he made several fantastic saves as well. He made a big save on Marcus Epps in the 29th minute. As Epps was on a run and onside Kemar Lawrence was chasing him down.
When Lawrence just caught up to him from behind, he tried to make a left footed tackle from the side, but couldn’t make contact as Epps hit his chance on frame and Meara made a sliding save as he looked big enough to save that ball that went over the crossbar.
But while Meara was looking strong in net, he also got two huge breaks from his center back and from the opposition. Epps had a chance to give the Union the lead earlier during the 18th minute, but that’s when Long Island native Tim Parker comes in.
Meara was off his line and put himself into no man’s land and when Epps made that cut he took the shot for the net, but Parker was there to head the ball over the crossbar and into the stands. The right place at the right time.
“Obviously Ryan (Meara) always has our back so every time when he was out of the goal I usually try to have his.” said Tim Parker and he discusses his partnership with Aaron Long,
“It’s growing you know it’s obviously it’s something we are really excited about. We are getting the hang of playing with one another and we hope it will continue to get big.”
Then in the 52nd minute a handball was whistled on Kemar Lawrence as he tried to make a tackle inside his area, but never saw the ball as it hit his outstretched arm. CJ Sapong took the penalty and when Meara dove to his right, the ball was rolling slowly to the left and past the post.
And for Ryan Meara who has been given a chance during Luis Robles time off to make sure his hyper-extended knee is fully healed, got his first league home start at Red Bull Arena since his rookie year back in 2012.
“Anytime you can play here it’s great, it doesn’t feel like with all the Open Cup and the Red Bull II games I feel like I’ve played here a bunch.” said Ryan Meara, “But anytime you get a game it’s good so opportunities are hard to come by so I try to make the most of it.”
While it’s not ideal to get a point at home, Jesse Marsch still feels like that there were plenty of positives in this match against the Union. While he says the hot weather had some factor, it was still a good effort from his side.
“I thought the first half hour of the first half was quite good, we were moving the ball well and creating spaces and trying to use that to create openings.” said Marsch but at the end we don’t really do enough and at the right moments Blake makes some solid saves on our crosses.
But what I said to the team was that it was disappointing when we don’t win at home, but Philly put a lot into it they competed hard, they had a good game plan, their players made it difficult against us in transition.
Many times in the past this team might have given this game away, but we found a way to not give the goal away and to get the clean sheet is really good and we will take the point.”
So while it’s not ideal to take a draw from home, the Red Bulls are still unbeaten in five games and now they have some time to rest up and prepare for their next road match will be up in New England against the Revolution.