Philadelphia Union 2, New York Red Bulls 2 | MLS Match Recap
CHESTER, Pa. – Sebastien Le Toux has made every penalty kick he’s ever taken for the Philadelphia Union. This one might just the biggest.
In a key Eastern Conference matchup delayed an hour because of a rainstorm that drenched the PPL Park playing surface, Le Toux drilled a game-tying penalty kick in stoppage time to salvage a 2-2 draw for Philly against the rival New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
Le Toux, who is 13-for-13 in his Union career from the spot, got the opportunity for dramatics when rookie Pedro Ribeiro was taken down in the box by Red Bulls defender Ibrahim Sekagya.
Ribiero also scored his first career goal for the Union (9-9-10), who still saw their three-game winning streak – and four-game home winning streak – snapped with the result.
Thierry Henry scored his 50th career MLS goal and Peguy Luyindula added a PK goal of his own for the Red Bulls (10-8-10), who remain one point in front of the Union in the Eastern Conference playoff race. New York had won two straight coming into Saturday’s nationally televised showdown.
After a slow start in which both teams were trying to find their footing on an extremely soggy field, the game heated up in the final 10 minutes of the first half.
In the 35th minute, Union center back Ethan White was whistled for a foul in the box after taking down Luyindula, who was trying to chase down a loose ball. Luyindula buried the ensuing penalty kick past Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath, who guessed the wrong direction, to give New York a 1-0 lead.
The goal was Luyindula’s fifth of the season.
Five minutes later, Henry gave the Red Bulls a 2-0 advantage with his ninth goal of the year, one-timing a pass from Chris Duvall near the top of the box. MacMath was able to get his body in front of the shot but it bounced off of him and behind him into the back of the net.
The Union answered just one minute later with Ribeiro getting his foot on a low, driven cross from Andrew Wenger, who used some fancy footwork to get free by the endline. Wenger also nearly scored in the first minute but his header went wide.
With Tuesday’s US Open Cup championship game against the Seattle Sounders looming, Union interim manager Jim Curtin opted to hold many of his top players out of the starting lineup, including Carlos Valdes, Cristian Maidana, Vincent Nogueira, Conor Casey and Le Toux.
Le Toux, Maidana and Nogueira all entered the game in the second half but couldn’t help Philly find the equalizer until stoppage time, despite the home team getting a couple of big chances.
In the 67th minute, Ribeiro was taken down in the box by Jamison Olave but didn’t get the whistle. And 10 minutes after that, Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles denied Maurice Edu from point-blank range.
The Red Bulls were without the services of MLS Golden Boot leader Bradley Wright-Phillips, who injured his hamstring in New York’s 1-0 win over D.C. United on Wednesday.
The Union return to action in Tuesday’s US Open Cup final, before hosting the Houston Dynamo next Saturday. The Red Bulls pay a midweek visit to Montreal to take on the Impact on Wednesday.
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at email@example.com
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Andrew Wenger||Caused problems on both sides of the ball all afternoon. Look up target winger. Wenger's the next great one in MLS.|
|2||Thierry Henry||He was forced out early, but it was Henry's vision, confidence and class that gave the Red Bulls their two-goal haul.|
|3||Jamison Olave||Sebastian Le Toux gets a nod here, but Olave was immense for all 90 minutes on a wet night.|