Open Cupper: NY Red Bull v. Philly Union

TSG had our man GeorgeCross on the ground for the rather tepid affair between New York and Philadelphia last night.
I cannot confirm that GeorgeCross had a section all to himself.

Shep...looking for a better line...

What I can confirm is that Shep Missing was at the “top” of his game for this one. For all those watching the live stream at home–New York Red Bull can certainly do customer service–we were subjected some absolute dandies on the play calls that TSG tweeted about:

• Yogi Berra announcing for Red Bull: “A set piece is the best way to get back in the game when you’re not getting it done in the run of play”
• “I love goals that come from the run of play when you deserve it” might be the most awkward goal call of all-time.
In fact, this nugget I will be trying to use as often as possible.
Sheer good fun from the anti-Ray Hudson.

On to the game:
Compared to Saturday’s game, this really was a low quality encounter.  It was basically a run-out for the B-team.
First half started very scrappy, as neither team were able to get the ball down and string a few passes together.
I am not sure if it was nerves, but first touch was appalling, and any ball retention was non-existent.  The heavily sanded pitch probably didn’t help either.

Conor Chinn skating on by....

Once the game settle down, the Union actually started to play a little, but it was in the middle third.  They were not able to penetrate or get behind RBs.

RBs seemed to open up PU along the left flank with Neisen, but his final ball was awful, a combination of not missing the first defender or just bad decision making.  Either way, RBs had opportunities had his delivery been good.
Union seemed to have sprang RBs offside trap but it was called offside – looked a little suspect to me to be honest.
RBs scored from a combination of poor Union defending, and a lucky bounce for Chinn after the keeper saved.  From where I was sitting it looked like handball.  Nevertheless, he bundled the ball home and RBs up 1-0.
When NY tried to attack down the right, they kept  trying to feed Sassano these through balls to chase, but he was never going to beat the Union LB for pace.  It took them a while to understand this.
Union start to get the ball on the deck and play but they lack that little bit of quality in the final third.  It’s like as soon as they get to the penalty box, they get a nose bleed.
Sassano finally receives the ball in an advanced position wide right, and sends in a low, hard cross between the Union back 4 and keeper.  Chinn is on hand to finish.  First quality delivery from RBs leads to a goal.  Took 42 minutes.
Tchani has been a bright spark for RBs, winning the midfield battle, breaking up attacks and using the ball simply but effectively.
Overall, Union have been poor.  They did not register an attempt on target and RBs keeper basically played as a sweeper / pass back option.
Second half, Union make three changes, with Saturday’s best player, Le Toux taking the field.

Le Toux left with a knee injury, hopefully nothing serious

Again, you can see straight away that he is quality.  His movement is pulling the centre-back (Boyens) all over the pitch, but Union don’t have the ability to exploit the hole Le Toux has created.  His introduction has given Union a lift and provided a little urgency and purpose to Union’s play.

Wolyniec seemed to get a massive cheer when he came on, but he looked very pedestrain to me.  Even in a game of this quality, it was still too fast for him.
Game gets a little ticky tacky and lots of petty fouls conceded.  RBs, seem content to let Union have the ball in front of them, defending with two backs of 4.
Midway through the half, Union work the ball out wide and Arrieta crossed from the right flank.  Have to question NYs LB’s positioning and inability to cut that cross out.  Anyway, very good finish from Le Toux.
Much of the game continued to be uneventful, but Le Toux continued to make his runs, but Union couldn’t find him.  He was then hacked when he
dropped deep and Boyens followed him to the half way line.  Union had used all substitutions so had to play the last 10 minutes with 10 men.
With the man advantage, you would have thought RBs would have kept possession and closed the game out.  No – they kept cheaply turning over possession and inviting pressure from Union, but managed to hang on in the end.
Philly Union out on the pitch doing a little “intense jogging.”
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