CHESTER, Pa. – Needing a victory, the New York Red Bulls failed to clinch the Eastern Conference title on Saturday night at PPL Park as the Union came away with a convincing 2-1 win over their playoff-bound rivals.
First-half goals from Fred and Michael Orozco Fiscal put the Union in the driver’s seat inside 30 minutes with the Red Bulls only managing to pull one back early in the second off of Danleigh Borman’s boot. The Union also cleared a ball off the line in stoppage time to preserve the their eighth victory of the year.
Philadelphia, typically the aggressor in home matches, had another strong start against the Red Bulls and it took the Union only eight minutes to open the scoring.
A corner from the far side was swung into the area and veteran Union forward Alejandro Moreno got a head to it. The Venezuelan's effort was deflected along the goal line by Philly defender Danny Califf and the ball fell perfectly for Fred to smash home to give his team the 1-0 lead.
Twenty minutes later, Philadelphia were able to double their lead thanks to another close-range tally. New York never quite cleared their lines from a corner and Stefani Miglioranzi had a pop from about 30 yards out. His shot deflected off a Red Bulls player right to Sebastien Le Toux on the right side of the box.
The Frenchman cooly squared the ball to Orozco Fiscal, who showed great control to slot it by goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul for the second goal of the match. It would go down as Le Toux’s 11th assist of the season.
With Philadelphia clearly owning the the first 45 minutes, the Red Bulls made halftime substitutions that turned the tide, including bringing on another forward in Salou Ibrahim. Hans Backe’s side were able to quickly cut into the deficit as the second half got underway.
Some nifty passing down the left side of the pitch seemed to hypnotize the Union as Mehdi Ballouchy threaded a perfect pass across the middle for Borman, whose calculated finish from the top of the box trimmed Philly’s lead to 2-1.
The action went back and forth in the match's remaining minutes with neither team really able to create any serious threats outside of long distance efforts by the Union's Danny Mwanga and New York's Joel Lindpere. Fred proved the Union's hero on the defensive end, clearing the visitors' final effort off the line in stoppage time.
The Red Bulls, who left star Thierry Henry back home for the match against Philadelphia, will welcome the New England Revolution to Red Bull Arena on the Thursday night ESPN Game of the Week as they seek to try and wrap up the East in the final match of the season.
The Union, who finished with a 6-3-6 home record with 24 of their 31 points at PPL Park, will again figure to play a role in the Eastern Conference title race as they close out their expansion season with a trip to second-place Columbus.
PHI -- Fred 4 (Alejandro Moreno 6) 8
PHI -- Michael Orozco Fiscal 2 (Sebastien Le Toux 11) 28
NY -- Danleigh Borman 1 (Mehdi Ballouchy 1) 48
New York Red Bulls -- Bouna Coundoul, Chris Albright (Jeremy Hall 78), Carlos Mendes, Tim Ream, Danleigh Borman, Dane Richards, Rafael Marquez (Juan Agudelo 78), Tony Tchani (Salou Ibrahim 46), Joel Lindpere, Juan Pablo Angel, Mehdi Ballouchy.
Substitutes Not Used: Austin Da Luz, Carl Robinson, Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Greg Sutton.
Philadelphia Union -- Brad Knighton, Sheanon Williams, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Danny Califf, Jordan Harvey, Sebastien Le Toux, Eduardo Coudet (Andrew Jacobson 65), Stefani Miglioranzi, Fred, Alejandro Moreno (Justin Mapp 62), Danny Mwanga (Shea Salinas 83).
Substitutes Not Used: Juan Diego Gonzalez, Roger Torres, Nick Zimmerman, Chris Seitz.
NY -- Danleigh Borman (caution; Reckless Tackle) 18
NY -- Juan Pablo Angel (caution; Reckless Foul) 55
PHI -- Fred (caution; Reckless Foul) 67
Referee: Paul Ward
Referee's Assistants: Philippe Briere; Cameron Blair
4th Official: Terry Vaughn
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Clear and 58 degrees