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Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls: Match Night Commentary

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The New York Red Bulls are paying their first visit to PPL Park today to take on I-95 rivals Philadelphia Union in what should be a heated Eastern Conference clash (6pm, Fox Soccer Channel).

The Union will be playing for pride, while also looking to knock the Red Bulls off their run to a regular season Eastern Conference title.

I will be providing commentary throughout the day so please feel free to follow along here. As always, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Commentary is after the jump):

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FINAL– Thanks for following along tonight. Please feel free to share your post-game thoughts in the comments section below.

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FINAL– Great post-game ceremony as the Union says thank you to their fans. Fireworks display about to go off. It really has been a great year for Philly. No, they're not making the playoffs, but they put together an exciting young team with a great nucleus of talent that will be fun to watch grow.

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FINAL– Great final sequence sees Agudelo sky for a header, only to have it cleared off the line by Fred. Philly dodged one there, big-time.

Nice scene of Ream and Mwanga sharing a long hug and chat as they walk off. Talk about two players with great futures. Could they be U.S. national team teammates one day? Hopefully.

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FINAL– Union 2, Red Bulls 1.

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94th Minute– SAVE UNION!! And it's Fred clearing an Agudelo header OFF THE LINE!! WOW.

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93rd Minute– Richards gets a clear look in front of goal but his shot is blocked for a corner. NY on the attack now. Philly holding on.

NY corner kick.

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92nd Minute– New York is pressuring, but this group just isn't familiar with each other.

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90th Minute– Four minutes of added time. Plenty of time for another goal. From which team remains to be seen.

Jacobson draws a foul in the right corner. Some time-wasting going on now.

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88th Minute– Anyone wondering if Agudelo is as strong as he is quick just got a glimpse of him flattening Williams on an aerial challenge.

Here comes Philly again. two minutes to go.

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86th Minute– Lindpere fires wide from long range. He can hit those, but not that time.

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85th Minute– No more subs for either team. Can New York scrounge for an equalizer, or will Philly's defense hold firm?

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84th Minute– Salinas comes in for Mwanga. Mapp will be slotted on the left, Fred will move into a central role while Salinas plays on the right.

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83rd Minute– Mendes takes a knock and is favoring his right leg. No more subs for NY and Philadelphia is sending in Shea Salinas to provide some speed on the flank.

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81st Minute– Jacobson sends a shot a foot wide on another failed clearance by the Red Bulls on a set piece.

Will be interesting to this Red Bulls lineup operate. They could find themselves in serious trouble on the counter.

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79th Minute– Agudelo draws a foul seconds after coming in. The kid is gifted.

Who will win the ball for New York with this lineup? Lindpere I would imagine. New York has three forwards in now, with no defensive midfielder.

Agudelo is working the left wing.

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78th Minute– Wow, interesting subs for New York. Juan Agudelo and Jeremy Hall are coming in for Chris Albright and Rafa Marquez. That's some serious speed coming in.

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77th Minute– Tonight's attendance is 18,578, a sellout. Great crowd tonight. Late arriving crowd, but it's packed now (Must be an East Coast thing to always show up late).

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74th Minute– Mapp draws a foul on the right flank, about 10 yards above the right corner of the area. Danger time.

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73rd Minute– Ibrahim hasn't looked terrible tonight. I've been down on him as a contributor but he's not bad as the holding forward tonight. Still waiting on Angel to show up.

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72nd Minute– A Ballouchy turnover leads to a Philly counter and Mwanga hits a long-range shot that Coundoul tips wide. Mwanga is starting to wake up after a lackluster first half.

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71st Minute– Mwanga WIDE! He narrowly misses a header off a long pass. He had Ream on him and would have earned a good share of MLS Rookie of the Year votes if that had gone in.

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70th Minute– Richards commits a foul (that's for those who were wondering if he was actually playing in this game). He's been Mr. Invisible.

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69th Minute– SAVE KNIGHTON, Ibrahim gets a header in close, but it's right to Knighton.

LeToux threatens yet again, but Coundoul smothers the chance.

Some very good, wide-open soccer right now. Neither team holding back.

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68th Minute– Fred pulls down Ballouchy on a breakout and gets a yellow.

Ballouchy has been a different player in the second half for NY, and so has Borman.

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65th Minute– Some better intensity from the New York midfield, but they must beware of Philly's quick counter. LeToux thrives late in games as he has the freedom to roam.

Andrew Jacobson comes in for Eduardo Coudet.

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63rd Minute– Williams whistled for a foul onj Lindpere after he let off a long-range shot. Dangerous free kick about 30 yards out, left of the arc. Good spot for Angel or Marquez.

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62nd Minute– Mapp slots into the right wing, LeToux moves forward. He'll tuck in behind Mwanga and look for the gaps in New York's defense.

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61st Minute– Justin Mapp is set to come in. Look for LeToux to move forward.

If you are following the commentary tonight, please let me know in the comments section and please let me know where you're following from.

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60th Minute– So what's different in the second half? Lindpere's energy in central midfield helps, and Borman is getting more involved in the attack, forcing Philly to respect his presence getting forward. Of course that might leave LeToux free on the counter, but for right now it's helping.

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57th Minute– Great run into the area by LeToux, who's pass finds Mwanga before New York closes in. What a great season for him. No, he's not winning MLS MVP, and may not even make MLS Best XI, but he's definitely in the mix for Most Improved Player.

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54th Minute– Yellow card to Juan Pablo Angel after he went high and Williams went low, resulting in an Angel knee to Williams' head. Not sure that's a yellow card.

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52nd Minute– Yes Philly fans, I probably jinxed your team with the "Don't expect a comeback" line. It's what I do.

Here comes New York with a corner.

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49th Minute– Nice tactical shift by Backe, who has moved Lindpere centrally and deployed Ballouchy on the left wing. Lindpere's energy should help New York start winning the battle in the middle, while Ballouchy showed what he can do working in space on the left.

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48th Minute- GOAL RED BULLS!!! And it's Danleigh Borman with the classy finish. He worked a great combination with Ballouchy and hit a well-struck left-footed shot past Knighton. Union 2, Red Bulls 1.

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46th Minute– Salou Ibrahim came in for Tchani.

Apologies folks but Thierry Henry did not travel with the team and isn't here. In other words, don't expect a comeback today.

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HALFTIME– What can New York do differently? Subbing out Ballouchy and/or Tchani might help. The midfield needs to step it up or it will be more of the same in the second half.

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HALFTIME– Union 2, Red Bulls 0. Philadelphia plays with purpose and pace and dominates New York for 45 minutes. Hans Backe will be breathing fire at halftime as he tries to wake his squad up.

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45th Minute– Somewhere, Colorado fans are going, "That's the Ballouchy I remember."

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42nd Minute– One player having a great game today is Sheanon Williams. Interesting considering the Red Bulls had him in on trial a few months back and passed. He's playing with some purpose and really doing a good job on Lindpere.

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41st Minute– Red Bulls fans might wonder how this squad can look so bad playing the same formation that dominated Los Angeles. Simply put, the central midfield played miles better in LA, and Philly is playing with ten times more energy tonight than LA played with that day.

New York needs to sit Ballouchy and insert Henry at halftime. They should also consider Carl Robinson for Tchani at this point.

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39th Minute– LeToux streaks in on goal, but sends his shot wide from the right channel. Philly's fishing for the kill shot now. New York is still sleepwalking.

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34th Minute– Columbus' last-minute 2-2 tie against Toronto FC means New York will stay in first place after today even if with a loss. Could New York have come in flat knowing that? No real excuse for this performance though.

Credit to Fred, Coudet and Miglioranzi for out-working their New York counterparts so far.

The Ream-Mwanga battle hasn't really been a factor here, though Ream has handled Mwanga when they've been matched up.

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30th Minute– Flat out, Philly is out-hustling and out-playing a New York side that looks flat right now. No real mystery here. The question is whether the Red Bulls will wake up, or will they lay down for a blowout.

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27th Minute- GOAL UNION!!!! And it's Michael Orozco Fiscal. Red Bulls do a bad job of clearing out a ball and Union comes right back as LeToux sets up Orozco for the easy finish. UNION 2, RED BULLS 0.

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26th Minute– Philly earns another corner and the way NY is defending set pieces, another goal wouldn't shock me in this game.

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25th Minute– The Union continue to apply pressure all over the field. Their tenacious defending is making things difficult for NY right now. Ballouchy, Marquez and Tchani can't get anything going.

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24th Minute– Richards forces a turnover and threatens, but the Union recover well to snuff out the threat.

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20th Minute-LeToux almost torches Borman before Borman clears the danger. Lindpere will need to drop and help because Borman isn't up to the task of dealing with the Frenchman.

Califf goes CLOSE with a header off a long throw-in.

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18th Minute– LeToux's free kick hits the wall.

Borman earns an early yellow card. That could prove costly.

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17th Minute– Union with a free kick from 35 yards out. Long distance, but could be threatening.

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14th Minute– Red Bulls attack struggling early to get anything going. Philadelphia has had better success early with stringing some passes together.

If New York's attack is going to get going today, Lindpere and Richards will need to provide the spark.

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11th Minute– Philly is a tough team at home, and it should be noted the Union played one of its best games of the season in its recent 1-0 home loss to Los Angeles. The young squad has really come together and will be out to make a statement today as it builds toward 2010.

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9th Minute– Alejandro Moreno heads a corner kick down to a wide-open Fred, who taps home. Bad set-piece defending by New York on that one. That should open things up for both sides.

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8th Minute- GOAL UNION!! And it's Fred with the finish. Union 1, Red Bulls 0.

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4th Minute– Chris Albright is a Philly native and playing in his hometown for the first time as a pro (yes, it's relatively close, let's call it home market).

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3rd Minute– Philly will be loving the Danleigh Borman-LeToux match-up. They should be able to exploit that quite a bit. Starting Red Bulls left back Roy Miller is suspended due to Yellow Card accumulation.

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2nd Minute– Both supporters groups are off to great start. As for on the field, still early.

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1st Minute– And we're off. ESC is in full voice right now. Great scene.

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PRE-GAME– Plenty of storylines here today. You've got two Rookie of the Year favorites doing battle in Tim Ream and Danny Mwanga. You have Sebastien LeToux trying to add to his MVP candidacy, and you have Juan Pablo Angel facing a team he could potentially play for in 2011.

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 PRE-GAME-Henry is on the bench with a knee injury, but he's available as a substitute.

Here come the teams and here comes the crowd, starting to come alive.

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PRE-GAME– It's a beautiful day in Chester, and while we're still a few minutes from kickoff the crowd has yet to fill in here. Red Bull fans have taken up their position to the East of the River End and the Sons of Ben. Should be some lively exchanges between those groups today.

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 PRE-GAME– Here are the starting lineups:

RED BULLS

———————Angel————————

Lindpere———-Ballouchy———–Richards

———–Marquez———-Tchani————

Borman——Ream——–Mendes—–Albright

———————Coundoul———————

BENCH- Sutton, Robinson, Da Luz, Agudelo, Ibrahim, Henry, Ubiparipovic

UNION

———–Mwanga———Moreno————–

LeToux—-Coudet——-Miglioranzi—–Fred

Harvey—–Califf——–Orozco Fizcal—Williams

——————–Knighton————————-

BENCH– Seitz, Gonzalez, Jacobson, Salinas, Mapp, Torres, Zimmerman

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 PRE-GAME– No Thierry Henry in the starting lineup tonight for New York. Lineups coming shortly.

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Comments

  1. @cindy As a Philly partisan I’d love to see Angel play for the Union next season, but I’m pretty sure he said he expects to pay in Europe next year. It will be MLS’s loss, but I guess that’s something we’ve grown accustomed to.

    Reply
  2. Yeah, totally. I don’t know why so many people do it. Maybe some don’t have access to a printer when they make their purchases. That did happen to me once, so I had to use Will Call then. And there was one time I bought my tickets at the stadium. Both times, it took waaaaay too long. Like, even once I got to the front of the line, it took almost 10 minutes for me to get my tickets. Totally unacceptable.

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  3. i don’t hate Philly yet… i think i’d be ok if JPA went to Philly. not that i wanna see him go, but it’s happening so yeah

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  4. Ives, just regarding the late arriving thing – one big issue at RBA is how incredibly slow and inefficient the Will Call lines are. People who show up half an hour early still can’t make it in for kickoff because for some reason it takes almost ten minutes for the box office people to print out and distribute each person’s tickets. That’s why you always see lines outside the stadium. Obviously it would be best to bypass Will Call, but given that there are a lot of new fans showing up to RBA this year, a lot of them might assume (fairly, but incorrectly) that the process isn’t horribly inefficient.

    Reply
  5. Ives:”Apologies folks but Thierry Henry did not travel with the team and isn’t here. In other words, don’t expect a comeback today.”

    Aha the Ives jinx is in full effect!

    (SBI-I do what I can. Had to make this second half more interesting, didn’t I?)

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  6. Awful first half. Red Bulls miss Miller a lot more than I thought they would. Changes at half time needed badly, though I wonder if Philly will beable to keep up this pace for another half.

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  7. I miss RBNY’s 4-4-2. The midfield has looked horrid for three straight games now. I fear Backe has messed with a good thing.

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  8. #RBNY Starting XI: Coundoul, Borman, Ream, Mendes, Albright, Marquez, Tchani, Lindpere, Ballouchy, Richards, Angel

    #RBNY Subs: Sutton, Robinson, da Luz, Agudelo, Ibrahim, Hall, Ubiparipovic. Henry (knee), Talley (hamstring), Petke (calf) did not travel.

    Reply

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