Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NYRB Reserves 2, Philly Union 1 - Quick Impressions

For the second time in three days, the New York Red Bulls sent the Philadelphia Union home with their heads hung low, following another 2-1 Red Bulls victory at the Cathedral of Football, Red Bull Arena. New York advances, and will host the New England Revolution in the next round of qualification on Wednesday, May 12.

This time out, it was a Red Bulls team composed almost entirely of backups. Seven players made their first start of the season, including our entire 2010 rookie class except Tim Ream, who has played every minute of the MLS campaign. Philadelphia started five players who also started on Saturday, plus regular Danny Califf who sat out Saturday due to a red card suspension. Their four subs were all players who started on Saturday as well. It was our B-team against Philly's A- team. And the result: Philly's starters could be reserves to our reserves.

Rookie Conor Chinn scored his first two professional goals. The first came as he followed up on a hard shot by tonight's captain, Seth Stammler, that was blocked but not controlled by Philadelphia goalkeeper, Chris Seitz. His second goal came when he crashed the goal on a cross from Luke Sassano, who was released on a nice through ball from Sinisa Ubiparapovic.

Game recaps can be found all over the web, I'm sure. I'll skip that. But here are my notes and impressions from the game.

With the small crowd (just over 3,000--this is to be expected at US Open Cup matches; please no "where was everybody" nonsense this week!), Red Bull Arena opened the Corner Pub and the Club Lounge to everyone in attendance. I enjoyed a Stiegl, and my wife an amaretto sour, in style in the beautiful Club Lounge prior to the match. This was a nice gesture by Red Bull. Everyone I saw seemed to be enjoying themselves fully. Thanks, Red Bull.

Philadelphia's Danny Mwanga was the #1 overall pick in the 2010 Superdraft. John (Jack) McInerney was #7. Conor Chinn was #34 and Irving Garcia, #50. Just sayin'.

When Sébastien Le Toux was subbed in in the 65th minute, I leaned to my wife to explain that Philly had just subbed in their leading scorer to try to get back into the game. She surveyed the pitch, and upon realizing that McInerney was gone, said, "Oh, he's replaced the child."

I liked the way Chinn, Agudelo, Tchani, and Nielsen looked tonight. Tchani did have a couple of rough moments, but he looks like he could become one tough player to deal with given some time to develop.

Based on tonight's performances, I wouldn't mind seeing Sassano get a start a right back this week before Chris Albright's return on May 8. Hall isn't working at right back.

I haven't checked any Philly message boards yet, but the fact that Coach Piotr Nowak decided to sub in Le Toux in an effort to salvage this match, only to see him carried off on a stretcher less than 15 minutes later must have them wondering about his take-no-prisoners bravado with a young expansion team.

Philadelphia saw their bid for the U.S. Open Cup ended, lost to the Red Bulls twice in three days, saw unimpressive play from their rookies following a draft that was highly praised, and watched their top goal scorer carted off on a stretcher. They have to hop on a plane in a couple days to face MLS-leading Los Angeles.

New York advanced in U.S. Open Cup qualifying after beating Philadelphia twice in three days. We remain undefeated at Red Bull Arena, a home defended equally as well whether by the first XI or the reserves. We saw impressive play from our rookie class. We have to hop on a train to face the MLS-last-place D.C. United.

In this budding rivalry, there is no question about who walked away best. Put simply, Philly is New York's bitch.
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