Philadelphia Union Weekly Update

This Week’s Union Recap

Even with all the World Cup action, I still found time to watch the Union vs Red Bulls US Open Cup match on Saturday. Below are my thoughts from the match.

The Union came out with a very strong lineup including many starters and one or two first choice backups. The U were able to do this given they did not have a midweek MLS game unlike most other teams, including the Red Bulls. The Red Bulls fielded a semi-strong lineup that included some starters mixed with a few backups.

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Given the lineup choices, I favored the Union to win, especially playing at home. The crowd certainly wasn’t much of a help to the Union as it looked like there were about 5K people at the game max. Even by Open Cup standards, it was pretty poor for a round of 16 match against a supposed rival on a Saturday night.

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Red Bulls came out and were a bit physical in the first half. I also noticed that quite a few Union players were diving or at the very least embellishing contact, which wasn’t great to see. That fortunately subsided as the match went on but it’s still something I don’t like to see. Most of the time, it’s obvious when a player embellishes, and it only plants a seed in the ref’s mind when there may be a foul later in the match to not give the embellished player the foul. Hope this was just a one-off situation and not something we continue seeing from the team.

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The Union created many chances throughout the half and Corey Burke didn’t hit the net on 2 clear cut chances that he really should have scored. The half ended 0-0 with the Union the better side throughout.

The second half started with the Red Bulls getting a glorious chance that Kemar Lawrence blasted straight at Andre Blake. Blake was able to get a slight deflection that sent the shot onto the bar. A few minutes later, Haris Medunjanin collected the ball just outside the top of the box. He did a really nifty move to shift the ball quickly from his left foot to his right foot, then back to his left. That created space for Haris to unleash a thunderbolt of a shot that sailed into the upper 90 on the far post. 1-0 Union.

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The Union continued to be the better side as less than 10 minutes later, Alejandro Bedoya played a great through ball to a wide-open Corey Burke in the middle of New York’s defense. Third time was the charm for Burke, as he beat Robles one on one to make it 2-0 Union.

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Wright-Phillips got a goal for Red Bulls with about 15 minutes to play, which made for a nervy finish. Andre Blake was called upon late to save a Kaku effort that was destined to tie the match. Fortunately, the Union were able to hold on and advance to the quarterfinals.

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The Boys in Blue are still searching for their first ever silverware at the first team level and I think the Open Cup is a great opportunity to win that. The competition holds a special place in my heart as I watched in person as the Union heartbreakingly lost back to back finals a few years ago.

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(RIP ^^^)

I sincerely hope this is the year they win that first trophy. And with a cup competition, anything is possible. They only need 3 more wins to lift the cup and I’ll definitely keep you updated on their progress. Thanks for reading & I’ll talk to you next week.

If you like what I wrote here, please consider checking out some of my other stuff. I am currently recording daily videos and podcasts for a show I do with my two brothers called Bros Talking Soccer. And I also have a YouTube channel called The Soccer Tavern where I make videos about the history, culture, and philosophy of the beautiful game.

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