The playoff-bound New York Red Bulls blanked the Philadelphia Union with a 2-0 victory Sunday night at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. Tom Barlow scored his third goal of the season, while Daniel Royer knocked in his team-leading eleventh goal late in stoppage time.
For a brief moment, the result moved them up to fourth place until DC United defeated Seattle later in the night and bumped them back down to fifth. The goal for the Red Bulls now will be to secure a top four spot by the end of the regular season, giving them at least one home game in the playoffs. With two regular season games left including a home fixture against DC United, the target is well within reach.
The beginning of the game saw Philadelphia looking the much more dangerous team. Quite possibly the moment of the match, Aaron Long made a crucial save in the 17’. After being drawn out of his goal, Luis Robles made a punch save on a shot by Fabrice Picault who had beaten defender Aaron Long downfield. With the ball coming straight back to Picault, he played the rebound to the top of the box for an unmarked Alejandro Bedoya. He would have had an empty net to shoot at if it wasn’t for the forward thinking of Long, who had converted to makeshift goalkeeper in the absence of Robles and deflected Bedoya’s shot clear off the line.
The Red Bulls first goal of the match came off a goalkeeping error by the Union’s Aaron Blake. Josh Sims played a low cross to the six-yard box from the right flank. Surrounded by three Union defenders, it should’ve been a simple save for the diving Blake. However, the ball escaped his grasp much to the joy of Tom Barlow, who was still advancing towards goal and simply passed it into the back of the net.
Daniel Royer added to the tally in the 96’, thanks to Kaku and Bradley Wright-Phillips. Kaku played a perfect through ball to Wright-Phillips, ensuing in a 2v1 breakaway with Royer advancing up the left flank and Philadelphia’s Raymon Gaddis racing back between them to defend. Crossing the ball just behind Gaddis, Royer was left with just the Union keeper to beat. Despite getting a hand on the shot, Blake was unable to keep out Royer’s shot and the Red Bulls ended the game with a 2-0 shutout.
Philadelphia had chances to level the game, but stout defending by New York secured three points for the Red Bulls and gave Robles his seventh clean sheet of the season.