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New York Red Bulls 0, Philadelphia Union 2 | MLS Match Recap

HARRISON, N.J. – After failing in their seven prior attempts, the Philadelphia Union finally bested the New York Red Bulls on the road, coming alive in the second half to earn a surprising 2-0 victory over their I-95 rival Sunday evening.

Now 1-6-1 in all competitions at Red Bull Arena, the Union rode goals from Vincent Nogueira and C.J. Sapong after halftime and another strong outing from their depleted backline en route to their second straight win.

Despite the Red Bulls controlling play for most of the first half, the Union drew first blood with some clever passing in the attacking third that allowed midfielder Cristian Maidana to collect the ball with time and space at the top of the area. After Maidana sent his effort toward goal, Nogueira’s backheel in front of net put the ball past a helpless Luis Robles for a 1-0 Philly lead in the 57th minute.

Seemingly shellshocked, the Red Bulls saw their deficit double in size just five minutes later. Looking to push forward in search of the equalizer, New York got burned as defender Karl Ouimette committed a costly turnover at midfield and could not recover. Union fullback Fabinho raced down the left wing before centering to a wide-open Sapong, who tapped in from close range to put Philadelphia up 2-0.

It was the second goal of the season for both Nogueira and Sapong.

Looking to avoid their first home defeat of the season, the Red Bulls continued to commit numbers forward and nearly cut the Union lead in half in the 75th minute. After beating two defenders in the area, Sacha Kljestan’s blocked shot found the feet of Bradley Wright-Phillips, but Union goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre made a tremendous save on the Englishman from point-blank range on his way to his second straight shutout.

With both sides entering the match with a fair bit of momentum, it was the Red Bulls who looked to force the issue early and press a Union defense missing its rock and captain Maurice Edu, who was serving a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation. But despite the Red Bulls enjoying the lion’s share of possession, the Union had the first real scoring chance of the night, thanks to a miscue from New York at the back.

With incumbent starter Damien Perrinelle sidelined with a hamstring injury, it was Roy Miller who took his place -- and who nearly gave the Union the lead in the 14th minute. A giveaway in the New York end gave Maidana a golden opportunity to open the scoring, but Robles was able to parry his effort to safety.

The Red Bulls had their own clear-cut chance go begging in the 27th minute, as the game remained scoreless by a matter of inches. Kljestan maneuvered his way into the Union penalty area with an incisive run down the left wing. His centering feed found Felipe at the top of the area as the Brazilian teed up his effort. The shot evaded the reach of Sylvestre but smacked into the near post and out of play.

The woodwork was left shaking for a second time in the 44th minute as Red Bulls midfielder Mike Grella, who made some incredible moves along the endline in the first half, fired his shot towards past Sylvestre but into the far post as the two sides entered the locker room in a scoreless stalemate.

The Red Bulls return to the field on Sunday night as they take on the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field, while the Union face off against D.C. United at RFK Stadium on Saturday night.

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