For the New York Red Bulls, it was a welcome debut of attacking soccer. For the Philadelphia Union, it was another loss at Red Bull Arena, and perhaps an even bigger loss of a star.
The Red Bulls turned the pressure on early and kept it on, topping the Union 2-1 in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play-in game on Tuesday night.
Philadelphia dropped their league match on this same pitch three days earlier, and this time, they may have lost striker Sébastien Le Toux, who was stretchered off in the 81st minute with what looked like a knee injury after a bad challenge by New York's Andrew Boyens.
New York changed all but one player in the starting lineup from Saturday’s MLS match, a 2-1 win for New York. With recent signing Brian Nielsen the lone holdover from the weekend, the reserves knocked around the ball with confidence and poise for stretches of the game.
The Red Bulls broke the seal on the game in the 16th minute. Nielsen’s cross from the left flank was poorly cleared by the Union, falling to Seth Stammler at the top of the box. Lining up a hammer of an attempt, the defensive midfielder’s shot was deflected and fell to a wide-open Conor Chinn in front of goal.
Chinn’s first attempt was blocked by a diving Chris Seitz but fell again to the forward, making his first start for New York. Chinn made no mistake about the second effort, hammering home the attempt.
New York doubled their lead in the 41st minute, once again from the effort and pluckiness of Chinn. Taking a through ball on the right flank from Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Luke Sassano whipped in a quality cross that fell to Chinn.
The rookie striker one-timed the ball which Seitz poorly deflected. In the process, Chinn tumbled over Seitz, falling head-first as the ball crossed the line to give the Red Bulls a decisive lead.
The clean sheet for New York’s Greg Sutton was broken midway through the second half. Much like Saturday night, when Le Toux terrorized the Red Bulls’ back line, the Union striker got one back for the visitors.
In the 68th minute, the second-half substitute masterfully chipped a Cristian Arrieta cross from the right flank. For Le Toux, it was his fifth goal in all competitions this season to pace the expansion club. The French striker's status, however, was unclear after his injury late in the game.
Beyond the first goal in a competition that mattered for Chinn, Tuesday night was also the debut of several New York players. Notable among that list was January acquisition Chris Albright, first round pick Tony Tchani, academy signing Juan Agudelo and Greg Sutton in goal.
New York will face New England in the next round of qualifying on May 12.
NY -- Chinn (unassisted) 16
NY -- Chinn (Sassano, Ubiparipovic) 41
PHI -- Le Toux (Arrieta) 68
PHI -- Jacobson (caution, hard tackle) 31
NY -- Borman (caution, hard tackle) 66
PHI -- Miglioranizi caution, hard tackle) 76
NY -- Boyens (caution, hard tackle) 81
Philadelphia: Seitz, Salinas, Orozco, Califf, Stahl (Arrieta), Torres (Moreno), Jacobson, Okugo, Zimmerman (Miglioranizi), Mwanga, McInerney (Le Toux)
New York: Sutton, Sassano, Mendes (Albright), Boyens, Borman, Ubiparipovic (García), Stammler, Tchani, Nielsen (da Luz), Agudelo (Wolyniec), Chinn