Union match reports / US Open Cup

US Open Cup Match Report: Philadelphia Union 2-1 New York Red Bulls

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Chris Pontius scored twice to start the second half as Philadelphia Union came from behind to defeat New York Red Bulls 2-1 to advance to the round of eight in the U.S. Open Cup.

Despite being outshot 13-1 in the of the first half, the Union only found themselves trailing by a goal to Mike Grella’s 17th minute strike.

The Union looked a different team in the second half and Pontius’ brace, with goals in the 55th and 60th minutes, assured the Union a spot in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup for the 3rd season in a row.

First Half

Jim Curtin made two changes to the team that lost to Vancouver on Saturday. Fabian Herbers missed out with a late hamstring injury, allowing Sebastien Le Toux to move up top and Chris Pontius to return to the left side of midfield. Warren Creavalle replaced Brian Carroll in the holding midfield role.

New York started stronger, forcing a save from Andre Blake on a shot from Connor Lade with Richie Marquez forced to block a Bradley Wright-Phillips effort from close range on the rebound in the 5th minute.

The Red Bulls would take the lead in the 17th minute as the Union conceded yet another goal from a set play. A poor foul from Roland Alberg gave the Red Bulls a free kick 40 yards from the Union goal. After Richie Marquez dealt with the initial ball in, no one picked up Mike Grella who found the loose ball and slotted past Andre Blake from 14 yards.

Philadelphia would look uneven on the attack for most of the first half. Insinho, Tranquillo Barnetta, and Le Toux all passed up shooting opportunities in favor of misplaced passes.

Blake would make his best save of the half in the 35th minute. It was Grella again, this time with a dipping effort on a half volley from 25 yards out that Union goalkeeper did well to palm over the bar at full stretch.

Le Toux would have the Union’s best chance of the half in the 44th minute. Barnetta delivered a curling free kick from just inside the New York half that Le Toux was able to get his head to 8 yards from goal, but his header was straight into the feet of Ryan Meara, who did well to make himself big on the play and make the save.

Second Half

The Union looked different team to start the second half and were able to come back to take the lead by the 60th minute through two fantastic goals from Chris Pontius.

The equalizer would come in the 55th minute. Pontius made a superbly timed run behind the Red Bull backline and Ilsinho delivered a perfectly weighted ball into the wideman near the top of the box. Pontius took one touch and finished a low shot beyond Meara into the lower left corner.

Ilsinho and Pontius would hook up again 5 minutes later when the Union went ahead in the 60th minute. A terrific recovery from Barnetta inside the Union half saw the midfielder then run with the ball down the center of the pitch at pace, finally spraying a curling pass out wide for Ilsinho on the right. The Brazilian’s cross looked like it may have deflected off a retreating New York defender, but fell perfectly into the path of Pontius, who made no mistake with his finish, volleying in from close range.

Jim Curtin brought on Leo Fernandes for Ilsinho in the 67th minute and the youngster went into the center forward role, moving Le Toux out to the right. Fernandes did well in one of his longest cameos of the season, finding the ball often and bringing others into the game with good hold up play.

Brian Carroll replaced Roland Alberg and Walter Restrepo relieved an ailing Le Toux, who seemed to take a shot to the head late in the match as Philadelphia held New York in check for the final 20 minutes of the match.

Both teams had a coach sent off late in the match, with Union assistant Mike Sorber being ejected for possibly allowing a second ball back onto the field of play. Shortly after that, New York head coach Jesse Marsch was ejected following a heated exchange with referee Mark Kadlecik, who had called a soft foul against Bradley Wright-Phillips late on. Marsch proceeded to pick up two balls on the sideline and spike them into the ground in front of the Union bench before making his way to the locker room.

Philadelphia will next take on New England in the U.S. Open Cup after the Revolution knocked off the New York Cosmos 3-2. The Union travel to Houston to take on the Dynamo this Saturday at 8 p.m. in league play.

Philadelphia Union
Andre Blake, Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Joshua Yaro, Keegan Rosenberry, Warren Creavalle, Roland Alberg (Brian Carroll 76′), Tranquillo Barnetta, Ilsinho (Leo Fernandes 67′), Chris Pontius, Sebastien Le Toux (Walter Restrepo 79′)
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Ken Tribbett, Ray Gaddis, Cole Missimo

New York Red Bulls
Ryan Meara, Sal Zizzo, Roland Zubar, Aurelien Collin, Connor Lade (Justin Bilyeu 89′), Lloyd Sam (Gonzalo Veron 70′), Sacha Kljestan, Dax McCarty, Sean Davis (Felipe Martins 64′), Bradley Wright-Phillips, Mike Grella
Unused subs: Luis Robles, Brandon Allen, Chris Duvall, Alex Muyl

Scoring Summary
NY: Mike Grella — 17′
PHI: Chris Pontius (Ilsinho) — 55′
PHI: Chris Pontius (Ilsinho) — 60′

Disciplinary Summary
NY: Sal Zizzo (unsporting behavior) — 17′
PHI: Ilsinho (unsporting behavior) — 60′
PHI: Leo Fernandes (time-wasting) –90+4′

Philadelphia Union New York Red Bulls
8 Shots 17
3 Shots on Target 7
 4 Shots off Target  8
 1 Blocked Shots  2
 3 Corner Kicks 8
 – Crosses  –
 3 Offsides  3
12 Fouls 14
 2 Yellow Cards  1
 0 Red Cards 0
 340 Total Passes  409
70% Passing Accuracy 73%
 45.1% Possession 54.9%
 39 Duels Won 51
 43% Duels Won %  57%
 11 Tackles Won 13
 6 Saves  1
 19 Clearances  15


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Horrid first half but a bunch of nice saves by Blake. Good comeback in the second. On to New England and then hopefully the winner of Chicago-Ft. Lauderdale.

  2. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Absolutely highlight Pontius.
    But highlight Richie Marquez with two outright saves, one off a Blake rebound very, very early. The other was in the second half, getting to a crossed ball as it was being shot by one of two wide open red bulls on the opposite post.
    And give thanks to Red Bulls for restoring Superman to us.

  3. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Worried about Le Toux. Delayed symptoms are not a good sign.
    How do we get MLS to think about a concussion rule?
    This town got a soccer team through fan effort.
    Why not a rule change?

    • Have not heard it to be a concussion yet. Le Toux is crafty and may have just gone down to take more time knowing he would be coming off anyway.
      Remember when he cut his arm on the advertising boards but came back on the field before going down so the ref had to stop the game?

  4. That, folks, is how you build an actual rivalry.
    I hate Jesse Marsch.

    • Officiating was horrid, as per usual. Slide tackle on alberg in the first half, from behind and mistimed HAS to be a card every time. My only thought after it happened was “what color will this be?” and somehow… no card. Somehow though, that ilsinho foul WAS a card. All that being said, the ref did manage to avoid having a tremendous effect either way, which is probably as much as we can ask for these days.
      As for marsch, he’s a petulant child. Loves to throw a tantrum. Right with you pete, he’s the worst.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Ilsinho foul was a card because he had been warned already and then made a clumsy push from behind.

      • with you andy, just highlighting an inconsistency. I’m cool with the card on Ilsinho, but call it both ways. There were a couple on NYRB that i thought were in the realm of persistent infringement that could/should have been booked for it too, but no cards issued (Sean Davis comes to mind).

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I’ll agree that he was letting too much go. The problem was that he wasn’t even warning anyone except Ilsinho.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      How could you hate Marsch after he gave us the beautiful moment of grown man completely losing his sh*t and then not knowing the best way to express his outrage? That alone was worth the price of admission and shows how much that match meant to him.

      How does a team of professionals look so bad in the first half and then completely different in the 2nd? Credit to Curtn and players for executing on switching fields quickly to break out of NYRB’s organized press during the 2nd half. That tweak completely changed the outcome of the match.

      I love the US Open Cup.

      • I love the outburst. I love that he loses his shit and gets incredibly pissy about losing, especially when it’s to the Union. But the man is an ass. Passion is one thing, but he’s really, as Gonzhao said above, a petulant child. He’s a sore and ungracious loser.

      • Makes the July 19 (pretty sure that’s the date) game vs Red Bulls at Talon EVEN BETTER!! SOBs… get you tifo ready!!
        I hate the Energy Drinks.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        July 17.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Thanks for the correction. I have jury duty the 19th and I guess I had it on my mind.

      • Lots of balloons that look like soccer balls!

    • Marsch/coaching staff filed a complaint at half time to have a fan removed for barking at him all 1st half. Security stated the complaint was for cursing up Marsch which was not true. Not only did he rage quit he’s apparently a thin skinned lying prick as well.

  5. sloppy

  6. Lucky Striker says:

    Chris Pontius. That is all.

  7. Wow, 2 superb goals from the Pontius llsinho connection! Gotta love ousting NYRB 2 years in a row (after falling behind in both matches). I laughed so hard at Marsch slamming the balls; great to get under their skin! Really hope Sebass is ok. Great job Union!
    Also, I thought the broadcast/production was good!

  8. Old Soccer Coach says:

    We learned how thin the organization is, currently, at striker.
    Full marks to the individual or individuals who thought of putting Leo Fernandes at striker to combine with Barnetta, Alberg, and Ilsinho. He has the feet and the brain to play with them and it showed.
    It felt as though the Alberg, Ilsinho, Barnetta connection needs Edu behind them at the #6. There were times when His skills, athleticism and understanding simply felt like they should have been out there.
    Sound like wishful thinking, much? Ha! Oh brother.

    • Well, eventually there will be a timetable for Edu’s return. Can’t believe we’re still waiting on that. But there’s good news! Curtin has said, “We will be aggressive in the summer window.” You and I have discussed at length the salary cap situation so I won’t reprise that here, but there are 2 now glaring needs/wants. Another striker, and a central midfielder, particularly one who can be called “Deep lying playmaker.” My money is currently on striker with the injuries, but it could go either way. (Or both if I missed a Scrooge McDuck style money vault labelled summer transfer money)

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        I looked into TAM and GAM more carefully after our conversation..
        I am more optimistic that something might be possible, given a better estimate of how GAM and TAM may – emphasize conditional nature of guesstimate – have affected the salary cap.
        Recent Sporting Director comments reported from a session with some STHs quite recently suggest he will never sign an older player whose resale value is dropping. Resale value is key for him, apparently, according to those recounting the highlights of the meeting.

      • I was at that Town Hall. ES seemed to be annoyed with the DP thing (not the question – the idea of it) He turned the question back to us and said – “what do you think is a DP?” He considered Giovinco types to be the guys he wants not the Ibrahimovic types.

      • I also think that Nogs departure give us some room in the salary cap. Definitely going to make a move or two, or at least make a big push for it.

      • Absolutely. I’ll remind everyone that a player basically only costs half of his annual salary against the cap if signed during the summer window. with 400k of nogs gone, plus money from the sale of Lahoud potentially available as GAM, the DP route is most certainly available. Young DPs cost even less. max 150k hit if we sign someone 23 or younger.

    • Leo always seemed to creep into the forward line in the attacking midfield role, so it’s nice to see him get a shot where he tends to drift. I remember one game a couple years ago when Leo was stealing all of Jack Mac’s runs in behind the defense. It was throwing everything off, actually. But we did manage to score a couple of times and win!

    • I was thinking the exact same thing about Edu while I was watching the game. Hope he’s back soon.

  9. Old Soccer Coach says:

    I would like to refer NYRB and Jesse Marsch to the key lyrics from a Jim Croce song from my after-university days.
    You don’t tug on Superman’s cape,
    You don’t spit into the wind.
    You don’t take the mask off that old Lone Ranger,
    And you don’t mess around with Jim!

    Many thanks to my wife whose memory pointed me towards finding the whole lyric from its first phrase.

  10. I think the call on Bradley Wright-Phillips was handball.
    Three cheers for the ball kid in front of section 128 who took his sweet time getting play restarted as time was winding down.

  11. For what it’s worth, I thought the young man who sang the National Anthem was outstanding. Sang in an emotional yet fairly straightforward manner, and the crowd was easily able to sing along. Hope we didn’t see the last of him.

  12. Ilisinho put in 2 beautiful balls for those goals. And of course Pontius finished superbly. But the work from Barnetta to start the play on the second one was just fan-freakin-tastic.

    • Barnetta is an animal out there. Dude runs forever and has great skill. He has to be the best all around player we have ever had. Love that dude.

    • Yeah, I think he might be earning the “best ever player in blue & gold” title. Like most foreign guys, it took him half a season to adjust to the league. Now he is a monster. And since Nogs has gone, he’s doing it while playing out of position, no less.

      • pragmatist says:

        “Like most foreign guys, it took him half a season to adjust to the league.”
        Kinda like Alberg, too?
        I keep beating the drum for next year, because I sense a summer window acquisition. Once that guy gets half of a season under his belt, along with Barnetta and Alberg (not to mention the continued health of Pontius), we could be pretty damn dangerous next season.

      • And Ilsinho too. Said on the broadcast that Alberg had trouble adjusting to the travel distance and time zone changes, (which is a real struggle in all American sports, look at East coast NFL teams’ record playing on the West coast) and the fact that MLS runs a lot more than he’s used too. .
        So even tough our league isn’t as good as a lot of European leagues, there is without a doubt a decent adjustment period. Hope that Ilsinho and Alberg look even better next year similar to what Barnetta has done this year.

      • Saw at least two occasions while the Union regained possession in the defensive half near midfield, when Alberg (about 10 yards away from the ball) signalled with his arms (first to Creavalle, then later I believe it was to Barnetta) to slow down play. And I watched Alberg consistently and gradually creep into open space at the top of the offensive box. If he can play with that kind of patience and smarts, and with the ability to finish with either foot, we really have something here, no?!

  13. pragmatist says:

    For some reason, the set-piece deficiencies that have defined this team since its inception remain.
    But to be able to make the correct adjustments at halftime is something new this year. The subs were correct, with what appeared to be a short bench (maybe Leo is our 2/3 striker?). And yet another game that demonstrated to quality of player on our roster that we have never had before (Barnetta/Ilsinho/Pontius this time around).
    Yes, the first half was…forgettable…the second half shows the promise of this team.
    Keep it up, boys.

  14. This team just laughs off 1-0 deficits now. It’s amazing. And pragmatist, I agree with you that the subs were absolutely on target with our stretched bench, and they did a good job too. I wanted Carroll in for Alberg like 5-8 minutes earlier than it happened, but even still it was the right move.

    • i thought during the first half “well, our cup run had to end early i guess.” but, as we have learned time and time again this season, something different followed. i thought “this team doesn’t fold. they’ll come back.” the season of hope continues.

  15. On the first goal rosenberry did well to find Sebass with his first touch. And guess what?? If llsinho is open anywhere in the attacking half…get that smooth operator the ball! I think defenders see the extra pounds on the mls-newcomer, and think that there is just no way! But damn, llsinho can beat you with the dribble AND put the cross field curlers on a plate! Sebass managed to suck in 2 defenders in as he continued his run (after finding the Brazilian) which gave llsinho time to pick out Pontius’ slick run.
    As our opponents adapt to containing llsinho on the right, I am hoping that the middle of field will be primed for Barnetta’s forceful runs toward goal!

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Noticed that NYRB always had close support for the defender marking Ilsinho. I suspect the word is out.
      I am curious to see how Sapong fits into the attacking group once he gets healthy.

      • Me too. Sapong (and Pontius too) really has a chance to dominate with all the attention the other team now has to pay to Ilsinho, Alberg, and Barnetta. Lets’s hope he runs with it.

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