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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Monday, June 24, 2013

Union 3-0 Red Bulls: Post-match observations (with video)

Sunday’s 3-0 win by the Philadelphia Union was one of those games where there seemed to be more going on than one or two stories could possibly encapsulate. So there’s Conor Casey’s obvious contributions to the win, and Zac MacMath’s view of a busy week. But here’s what’s left over from the remains of the games.

- We might as well get right into it: The Lloyd Sam red card that changed the game. John Hackworth deferred comment until he saw a replay. Sam did the same. Notorious friend of the refs Mike Petke called it “a coin flip”. And Danny Cruz was sure it was red. With that many different conclusions, it’s clear that it was a borderline red. In watching it over and over (check it out for yourself), I don’t even think it’s terribly clear who got to the ball first. The statement issued by the ref stated that it was a two-footed challenge by Sam, but the replay really shows that he simply had two feet near where Cruz slid into him. Awkward, it certainly was. Whether it was red-card-worthy malicious, I’m not so sure.

- Boy, was Thierry Henry angry and frustrated out there. His post-game comments don’t quite do justice to the handful of outbursts he had when passes weren’t played where they needed to be.

- If Luis Robles wasn’t involved in this game, it could’ve been 4-0 or 5-0. His two stops on Jack McInerney were superb. He’s culpable for a soft rebound that led to Casey’s second goal, but poor marking left him on an island on the other two goals.

- One of those juicy rebounds from Robles came in the 47th minute to Sebastien Le Toux, which he somehow missed in front of goal. Had the Red Bulls nicked a goal against the run of play to get a result, how large would that miss have loomed?

- You get the impression that had Cruz stayed on the field past the 35th minute, the Union might not have had to wait so long for its second goal. Cruz gave Brandon Barklage fits down the left flank, so much so that Barklage was withdrawn for Kosuke Kimura at the half.

- Sunday marked Keon Daniel’s last game before departing for CONCACAF Gold Cup duty for Trinidad and Tobago. He made the most of it. His shot led to Casey’s second goal, and he was very aggressive in pressing an under-manned Red Bulls midfield that the Union sought to control to “put the game on our terms,” as Hackworth said. Daniel’s contributions were a big part of that.

- Someone has to get credit for the shutout, and it really can’t be MacMath since he didn’t face a shot on goal. So how about Amobi Okugo? He was excellent in handling the challenge presented by Henry and an anonymous Peguy Luyindula. His best play may have come in the 55th minute when Henry quickly took a free kick, playing in a very active Jonny Steele to space on the left wing. Steele’s dangerous cross was slowed by a sliding Okugo, then booted to safety. It was one of several key interventions.

- Before being withdrawn in the 90th minute Sunday for Matt Kassel, the last time Brian Carroll was substituted was March 18, 2012 against Colorado. Durable.

- A thought about the Red Bulls: With Jamison Olave, they are a playoff team. But with Heath Pearce and Markus Holgersson in central defense, yikes. When you look at a Red Bulls team and say, hey, Roy Miller was the best defender out there today, that’s not an encouraging sign.

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