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New York Red Bulls 3, Philadelphia Union 2 | 2016 MLS Match Recap

The New York Red Bulls are keeping up with their crosstown rivals atop the Eastern Conference.

In a wild game Saturday night at Red Bull Arena, Dax McCarty scored the game-winner and assisted on two other goals to lift the Red Bulls to a thrilling 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Union that propelled them into a tie with New York City FC (51 points). Both New York clubs are battling with Toronto FC (49 points) for the top two spots in the East with the Red Bulls currently in first by virtue of tiebreakers.

Sacha Kljestan added a goal and an assist for the Red Bulls, who extended their club-record unbeaten streak to 14 games. Bradley Wright-Phillips tied NYCFC's David Villa for the MLS Golden Boot lead with his 21st goal to put the Red Bulls in front just after halftime.

Chris Pontius matched a career-high with his 12th goal of the season and also had an assist for the Union, who dropped to fifth place in the East as they look to secure their first playoff berth in five years.

Red-hot rookie Fabian Herbers scored Philly's other goal to open the scoring, Fabinho finished with a pair of assists and Andre Blake came through with a couple of huge saves.

The Union dealt with a big scare in the first half, though, when center back Joshua Yaro suffered an ugly collision and was stretchered off the field.

Box Score

  • 15' — PHI — Fabian Herbers (Chris Pontius, Fabinho)
  • 44' — NY — Sacha Kljestan (Felipe, Dax McCarty)
  • 47 — NY — Bradley Wright-Phillips (Dax McCarty)
  • 55 — PHI — Chris Pontius (Fabinho)
  • 66 — NY — Dax McCarty (Sacha Kljestan)
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Three Things

  1. PLAYOFF FEELING: The Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs don’t start until later this month but this one certainly had a postseason feel as two rivals jockeying for seeding in the East traded goals and leads throughout. The Red Bulls overcome a 1-0 deficit to score two straight and the Union tied it back up before the Red Bulls took the lead for good thanks to McCarty’s cool finish of a Kljestan free kick in the 66th minute. Big players came through with big games with Pontius and Kljestan continuing their huge seasons and Wright-Phillips continuing to pour in the goals – and letting everyone know about it.
     
  2. SAVES ON SAVES ON SAVES: Considering five goals were scored in this one, you might not think it was a banner night for the goalkeepers. But Blake finished with five saves, including two huge ones on Mike Grella in the first half — a reflex kick save followed by an insane one-handed diving stop that left the Red Bulls winger befuddled. And Red Bulls goalie Luis Robles also entered the MLS Save of the Week conversation with a sensational stop of Pontius in the 82nd minute to preserve the win.
  3. SCARY MOMENT: After sitting out last week because of a suspension and a concussion, Yaro returned to the starting lineup this week. But his appearance turned out be a short one as he was forced to leave in the first half after getting sandwiched between Blake and Aurelien Collin as all three jumped for a ball. Yaro fell to the ground motionless. After several nervous minutes, he was stretchered off the field and replaced by Ken Tribbett. The Union seemed to struggle more from that point on — compounded by star Designated Player Alejandro Bedoya leaving early in the second half with a rib injury. Perhaps more importantly, the Union may have a decision to make: whether they want to shut down Yaro for the season.

They Said It

"Talking to Sacha and Dax coming off the field, that was a real game … That had the look and feel of a playoff game." 

—Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin

Next Up

  • NY: Sunday, October 16 vs. Columbus Crew SC (7pm ET, MLS LIVE)
  • PHI: Sunday, October 16 vs. Orlando City SC (3pm ET, MLS LIVE)
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