The first half was played on Philly’s terms. Early indecision by makeshift left back Amro Tarek led to early Union pressure that broke the New York resolve quickly when Cory Burke scored in the 9th minute. After the Red Bull press failed to address a bouncing ball in the Philadelphia half, quick circulation led to Burke chipping a relatively simple through ball over Carlos Coronel, who had come out in a less-than-confident lurch.
Tarek’s indifferent night came to an early end with a leg injury about 30 minutes in. After being replaced by debutante Tom Edwards, the team found a bit more energy and even pinned Philadelphia back for a series of corners, but were unable to make a breakthrough before the interval.
The second half began with fanservice as new signing Patryk Klimala made his debut from the 46th minute. Klimala stood out almost immediately with forceful and decisive running, nearly putting home a chance in the 56th minute despite a late and indecisive delivery by Edwards. The early parts of the second half largely consisted of waves of New York attacks as a Philadelphia team that played mid-week sought to slow the game’s pace.
However the efforts were fruitless as the team eventually tired from chasing a series of Philadelphia counterattacks as the game slumped to a 1-0 Philadelphia victory. Salt was rubbed into the small wound when a fight broke out in stoppage time that resulted in Dru Yearwood being sent off for a second yellow card and even further (and literal) hurt was added when talismanic defender Aaron Long went down with an unclear leg injury of his own and didn’t return.
After the game Gerhard Struber said the team was “not ready” in a first half where Philadelphia got on the front foot. “It’s disappointing and we wanted a different result. We lost many important actions where we know Philly is a very strong team in transition areas, and we just have moments where we are not focused.”
Captain Sean Davis reiterated the regret about the team’s sloppy first half. “We know we’re going to be very disappointed watching tape of that first half. It’s the job of myself and the other veterans to keep the team intense and prepared for moments like that and it didn’t happen. We have a young team with lessons to learn.”
The Red Bulls turn around for another short road trip to Foxboro to face New England Revolution next weekend. With Struber’s men now 0-2 in away matches, they will look to break the bad form against Bruce Arena-led Revs team.