|photo by Matt Kremkau
by Anthony J. Merced
New York Red Bulls may have seen their playoff hopes slipping away after a 4-1 defeat hands the team their third straight loss, this time to the Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park on Sunday night. The team started strong with a first-half goal but surrendered four unanswered after captain Sean Nealis was sent off with a red card before 45th minute.
New York's game plan worked early in the game as the team created chaos and forced Philadelphia to turn over the ball in key areas. Their build-up play also worked as Reyes played a ball to Omir Fernandez in the box. The winger took the shot which was deflected before returning to him for a second opportunity. This time he didn't miss, giving the Red Bulls a lead. Philadelphia responded by pressing the action and creating dangerous opportunities. It paid off in the 29th minute when an effort by Jakob Glesnes made its way through traffic to beat goalkeeper Carlos Coronel.
The game shifted dramatically in the 44th minute when a handball foul earned Red Bulls captain Sean Nealis a second yellow card. From there the Union pressed forward, nearly getting the go-ahead goal before the halftime whistle, only to have VAR call it back due to an offside call.
The wheels fell off one of the best defensive teams in the second half with New York giving up two goals in two minutes. First it was Damion Lowe who headed a Kai Wagner cross into the back of the net at close range. Then, only a minute later, another Wagner cross found Julian Carranza who finished his effort with a left footed shot. Wagner finished his assist hat trick in the 76th minute when his pass played Daniel Gazdag through for the final goal of the game.
The loss is one of the worst New York has experienced this season and will cost them their captain for their next game on September 16th against New York City FC. That game could be the team's final chance to remain in the playoff picture in 2023.
New York Red Bulls: Coronel; Harper, Reyes (70' Ndam), Nealis, Tolkin, Fernandez (70' Stroud), Edelman, Amaya, Luquinhas, Barlow (77' Cabezas), Manoel (46' Duncan)
Philadelphia Union: Blake; Glesnes, Elliott, Lowe, Harriel, Bedoya, McGlynn, Wagner, Gazdag (78' Rafanello), Carranza (85' Sullivan), Uhre (72' Baribo)