A day after clinching their 10th straight playoff berth, the New York Red Bulls made a big move for their playoff positioning.
On Sunday night at Red Bull Arena, Tom Barlow scored the decisive goal to lift the Red Bulls to a 2-0 victory over the rival Philadelphia Union, who earlier in the weekend clinched a home playoff game for the first time since 2011.
The Red Bulls have now won twice in the past five days to move into a good position to host a Round 1 game in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs themselves
They got on the board in the 32nd minute when Josh Sims raced to the endline and played a cross that Andre Blake couldn’t handle, leaving Barlow to pounce on the rebound for the third goal of his MLS career. In the final moments of the match, Daniel Royer put an exclamation point on the win off a feed from Bradley Wright-Phillips, who had come in off the bench for Barlow.
The Union’s best chance probably came in the 16th minute but Luis Robles stoned Fafa Picault before Aaron Long made a huge goal-line save on Alejandro Bedoya’s follow. The Red Bulls also thwarted an 88th-minute Union flurry around the goal line as Philly kicked off a rough three-game road trip in disappointing fashion.
- THE BIG PICTURE: What a few days for the Red Bulls, who won at Portland, clinched a playoff spot and beat a team in front of them in the crowded Eastern Conference table. Even with a three-game losing streak before that, they’re suddenly looking like a dangerous postseason opponent for anyone. The Union, who have struggled on the road of late, will look to get something out of their next two games in San Jose and Columbus as they try to build momentum ahead of what is their primary objective: winning the first playoff game in club history.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Blake was brilliant in the Union’s last game vs. LAFC and had just made a big save minutes earlier on Royer. But he’ll want that Barlow goal back.
thx much. pic.twitter.com/juacDjBV8g— x - New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) September 22, 2019
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Even before his 11th goal of the season, Royer had put in a strong shift for the Red Bulls.