Monday, October 18, 2010

Union vs RBNY: Lifeless In Chester

So our first away game in beautiful Chester, PA ended in a 2-1 loss against the Philadelphia Union, a team who had its playoff dreams shattered some time ago. Truly, oh so truly, a game to forget. True, Philly was looking to end its home schedule on a high but it would have been nice if the Red Bulls hadn't let Union players run riot in the first half. Four hundred+ Red Bulls fans showed up (including the Viper's Nest crew), but their team didn't. And that's just it! I can take an away loss any day, but an away loss with such a total lack of effort (even for 45 minutes) is hard to swallow.

The first half of this game was, probably, the worst half of football I've seen my team play this season. The game, in its entirety, was a tremendous lost opportunity as the Columbus Crew only managed a tie against Toronto (their keeper scored a goal at the death). A Red Bulls victory would have sealed first place in the East. So much for that incentive, eh?

The Red Bulls played such an awful first half that it seemed impossible to comprehend this was a team fighting to finish first in the Eastern Conference. It really seemed like it was the Union that was fighting for its playoff life in this one. Union players won every 50/50 ball and it paid off, as they were rewarded with two goals in the first half. Two very, very soft goals! Where was the RBNY defense on a corner kick and a giveaway?

Early in the second half, Danleigh Borman pulled one back for RBNY and it seemed like the comeback was on. The introduction of little used Salou Ibrahim gave the Red Bulls a bit of life in the second half and Red Bulls fans @PPL Park started to believe. But it was not to be. Juan Agudelo could have tied it in the 94th minute (the kid was convinced it was going in), but it would have been too cruel for a Union team, who was clearly the better side throughout the game.

Alrighty then! Once again, a game to forget. The Red Bulls can ill afford to have a performance like this one in their upcoming first round away & home playoff series (especially in the away leg). Also, the RBNY home game this coming Thursday, against the Revolution, is now a Must-Win. I'm not going to bet on Columbus losing, or even getting a tie for that matter, @Crew Stadium against Philadelphia. This is the biggest game of the year and if you haven't gotten your tickets yet, do that now. And get in there Henry - make it friggin happen!

Please see the above video for the first part of our usual drunken commnents. You can click here for part two, click here for part three, click here for part four and click here for part five.

Even with the loss, this trip was alot of fun. We boarded the GSS Express and it was total mayhem on board (in a good way). Once across the Delaware, the ride through the city of the 9:00pm curfew was more interesting than I thought it would be. The massive security presence wasn't too bad really, with those folks throwing out Union & RBNY fans in fairly equal numbers (and, actually, they might have thrown out more Philly fans) throughout the game. There was one guy, within the RBNY group, who decided to throw two plastic beer bottles onto the field. Never a cool thing to do and he was quickly dealt with by security.

I must say that PPL Park was rather nice, albeit a cookie cutter type stadium (as in Toyota Park or Pizza Hut Park). It serves it's purpose, and many an MLS team would love to have a stadium just like it (Yeah, I'm looking at you DC), but it's not anywhere near as spectacular as The Cathedral of Football. Nice scenic waterfront view but not a nice location otherwise.

You can click here for my photo album documenting this road trip, or you can click here for the slide show.
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