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Late Le Toux penalty earns Union draw with Red Bulls

SebastianLeTouxPhiladelphiaUnion3MLS2014 (USATodaySportsImages)


With time ticking down and a one-goal lead in the back pocket, the New York Red Bulls were just three stoppage-time minutes away from a third straight win. All they needed to do is avoid giving up a late goal.

Three minutes was just long enough for the Philadelphia Union to spoil the Red Bulls’ plans, and just long enough to put the Red Bulls on the negative end of a questionable call after having some other questionable calls go their way in the past week.

Red Bulls defender Ibrahim Sekagya conceded a 90th-minute penalty, which Philadelphia Union forward Sebastien Le Toux converted, as the two sides settled for a 2-2 draw Saturday at a rainy PPL Park.

The late-game penalty was drawn by Union rookie Pedro Ribeiro, who also bagged a goal of his own in the 41st minute. In the first minute of second-half stoppage time, Sekagya whiffed in a clearance attempt close to goal, which allowed Ribeiro to step in and attempt a shot. Replays showed Sekagya blocking the ball as Ribeiro stepped in to kick the ball, with both players falling in a heap. Referee Allen Chapman pointed to the spot, setting up LeToux’s penalty, even though replays failed to show a clear foul by Sekagya.

The penalty was one of two controversial ones awarded by Chapman on the day, with the first coming in the first half after Peguy Luyindula went down under soft contact from Ethan White. Luyindula converted that spot kick.

Thierry Henry was there to double the Red Bulls’ lead just three minutes later with a long distance effort that fooled MacMath with a wicked bounce off the soggy turf.

Upon receiving a bouncing pass from Red Bulls defender Chris Duvall, Henry struck a powerful first time volley into the path of MacMath. With the rainy conditions surely playing a part, the Union goalkeeper failed to keep hold of the ball, as the shot bounced off MacMath’s hands before slowly rolling over the line to double the Red Bulls’ advantage.

The hosts responded immediately to pull within one via Ribeiro, who poked home an Andrew Wenger cross to pull the score back to 2-1. With Wenger dribbling to the left of the box, Ribeiro made a run toward the near post and the ensuing cross rolled right onto his left foot for a close range finish.

The Union’s quest for an equalizer was stopped time and time again by Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles, who made a pair of outstanding saves to preserve his side’s lead. The best of Robles’ efforts came in the 76th minute, as the Red Bulls goalkeeper kept out a close range effort from the Union’s Maurice Edu.

Despite the goalkeeping heroics, the Red Bulls failed to take advantage, as Robles was left helpless on Le Toux’s penalty, forcing the visitors to settle for just one point.

With the draw, the Red Bulls maintain their one point advantage over the Union in the Eastern Conference standings. The Red Bulls sit in fourth place in the East, while the Union have slipped into sixth place, behind the Columbus Crew via tie-breaker.

The Union now turn toward the U.S. Open Cup final, which will be contested against the Seattle Sounders Tuesday at PPL Park.

Meanwhile, the Red Bulls face midweek action of their own with a trip to Montreal to take on the Impact in CONCACAF Champions League action.


  1. We’re Henry and Cahill injured? Taking them off left RBNY counter-attacking options. Odd to take off your two DPs like that. Way too much of a bunker mentality in the second half – Philly just jept pressing and pressing. Just inexcusable for Sekagya to let someone get behind him like that. And still, after all that, they might have escaped if the call doesn’t get made? Looked a bit iffy, and Sekagya says Ribeiro kicked his foot.

    • They said on the broadcast that Henry was gassed. He’s 37 and played 90 minutes in the two previous games this week so I don’t have a problem with taking him off in those horrendous conditions. Cahill didn’t do anything but the field made midfield play pretty much impossible. They definitely bunkered in the second half but I think it would’ve been a lot different with a normal field.

      Unfortunately, Sekgaya is error prone and generally unreliable. Even more unfortunate, he’s probably still the second best CB on the team. In my opinion, both penalty calls were deserved.

      • Who knew we’d be missing the Big Swede so much? I wonder how much salary they saved by substituting Sekagya for him.

    • I only saw it live and absolute flipped out watching Luyindula and White to down in the box. Live, and after seeing all the slipping and sliding all game that looked like the worst call I’ve ever seen. It looked almost arguable I a replay but still a bad call. I didn’t see a replay of the Ribeiro penalty, and I couldn’t much see it live through bodies, but if the first penalty wasn’t the worst call he made this ref should go all the way back to rec league games.

    • Redbulls are going to be leg less for Montreal AND Seattle. They just don’t have a deep enough team,…and with Wright-Philips injured, they are looking thin.

      They have had a nice little run but I can see them giving it all away in the next two weeks.

      • They’re going to play a bunch of reserves in Montreal, I don’t think any starters will play in either of the CCL games. I think they’ll make the playoffs – four of the last six at home. Absolutely pathetic drainage system at Philly didn’t help. Game was an unwatchable slog.

      • A few will play like Cahill, Dax, Sam. Again Olave and Henry wont cause of turf. The good thing is that we have Oyongo and Miller back. 4.5 million dollar man Cahill not doing anything this year isn’t helping. He might go 60 minutes. If they lose fine, but don’t drop points in such a stupid way again. After Sene’s debut, I thought he was a great pick up. Bu he really has faltered into what he really is: a mediocre MLS player. No wonder NE got rid of him.

      • I guess we’ll see what lineup Mike picks for Montreal. We can lose there as long as we beat FAS, beat Montreal at home and have a better goal difference.

      • Winning in El Salvador won’t be so easy. I think we must win here… to me not making it out of the group will be worse than missing the playoffs.

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