Philadelphia Union: Resiliency Strikes Again vs. New York

Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

For the second time this year, the New York Red Bulls leave Talen Energy Stadium with a bitter taste in their mouth. Which personally is the feeling I have after taking a sip of Red Bull.

Sorry, I’m a Monster man myself.

With the national spotlight on Talen Energy Stadium, the Philadelphia Union looked to solidify their position within the Eastern conference against the Red Bulls, who just two weeks ago were knocked out of the U.S. Open Cup by Philadelphia which set the stage for an intense match-up to keep pace with first-place New York City F.C. Over 18,000 fans took in the electric atmosphere surrounding the game as a whole knowing full well they were in for a battle between bitter rivals within Major League Soccer.

From kick-off on, pressure was exerted quickly and with intent as both sides went at each other fueled by the atmosphere inside the park. Both goalkeepers did well early on to deny chances stemming from numerous fouls and rushed clearances in a rather “chippy” game to say the least. Yet about half-way through the first 45 minutes, the Philadelphia Union began poorly executing in attacking and on their side of the field which allowed Red Bull midfielder Sacha Kljestan to beat Andre Blake and give New York a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute.

He would proceed to create more chances for his squad and eventually double his tally from a deflection off a free kick for a two-goal cushion going into the half. The Philadelphia Union looked a bit out of sorts in their approach to handling the New York pressure. They couldn’t maintain possession in key areas of the field and were unable to move the ball efficiently through the middle.

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New York Red Bulls forward Mike Grella (13) controls the ball past Philadelphia Union defender Keegan Rosenberry (12) during the first half at Talen Energy Stadium.Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Yet the mentality of this team has changed dramatically from the beginning of this year. The players are aware and understanding of their mistakes and they seemingly never let it affect how they approach the task ahead which is always to produce results no matter how big the obstacle. Defender Keegan Rosenberry really put into perspective the thought process of this group being down in a game such as this one “this team knows we’re never out of it… it’s nice to know we’re never out of the game, and everybody knows that as well.”

Calm, cool and confident, the Philadelphia Union stepped back onto the field and did what they’ve been doing best this entire year: never giving up in any situation.

New York pressed well and forced the Philadelphia Union to absorb pressure for the early part of the second half. Opportunities were being squashed by solid marking and excellent goalkeeping from Luis Robles who denied Philadelphia attack countless times during the course of the game. Finally in the 67th minute, Chris Pontius was taken down in the box for a penalty kick which was powered home by C.J. Sapong to cut the lead in half and breathe new life back into the stadium.

Finally in the 67th minute, Chris Pontius was taken down in the box for a penalty kick which was powered home by C.J. Sapong to cut the lead in half and breathe new life back into the stadium.

Less than a minute later, with fans still trying to collect themselves from celebrating, Fabian Herbers broke free down the wing after a quick restart from midfielder Ilsinho allowed Rosenberry to play a fantastic ball over the top against the Red Bulls high pressing defensive line. The 2nd half sub then drove a low cross across the face of the net and was put away by Pontius with ease.

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Philadelphia Union forward Chris Pontius (13) reacts in front of New York Red Bulls midfielder Salvatore Zizzo (15) after scoring in the second half at Talen Energy Stadium. Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Talen Energy Stadium was shaking… literally. There have been very few instances I’ve gotten goosebumps from something other than freezing cold temperatures and Eli Roth movies. This was without a doubt one of those times.

The buzz around Chester, PA was deafening, passionate and quite simply amazing to experience. Philadelphia began a relentless assault on the New York defense despite being reduced to 10 men after Ilsinho was given a straight red card for supposed violent conduct (hardly) on Connor Lade with 18 minutes left in the game.

The Philadelphia Union weren’t able to capitalize on a few chances in front of net and the match ultimately ended in a 2-2 draw which most fans I imagine would take after such a rocky start to this Sunday night showdown. Now three points back of New York City with a game in hand, Philadelphia has made their argument to be considered among the big name clubs within the Eastern conference.

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  • “It’s a tough situation” said Fabian Herbers after the game “we showed that we have a good team chemistry we have a strong team and we can come back from 2-0 down.” The Philadelphia Union have proven their will to win all season long and no matter what the odds may be against them down the line, it appears they will always be ready to take on the challenge no matter who it may be against.

    I hate to overuse the word resiliency, but there really isn’t much else you can characterize this team by in terms of their pure desire to get results and fight for every fan of the Philadelphia Union.

    “We put the game on our terms” Keegan Rosenberry spoke in regards to the team’s ability to come back with poise in the face of adversity “we pressed them well and we turned them over in good spots and we continued to attack them… You’ve seen it throughout the year, the resiliency this group has, the best wins and ties are comeback ones.”

    Next: Ilsinho is Rounding into Form

    The Union head on the road this week for a match-up with New England on Wednesday followed by a trip to Montreal this Saturday night. With the results the team has been producing over the course of the season, I imagine these will both be games worth watching as well. After all, the Philadelphia Union are clearly never out of game. No matter what.