The New York Red Bulls played at their Red Bull Arena on a cold and windy night against I-95 rival, the Philadelphia Union. In a match that did not produce much excitement in the first 45 minutes, the excitement must have been saved for the second half as the home side finally won their first game of the season, 2-1.
There is no better way to win your first game of the year than against a rival club from down the road. Both teams are talented, but one has a better roster and had the fans pushing and supporting them throughout the entire 90. Two of the most important players — Thierry Henry and Lloyd Sam — scored the ever so important goals to record the big win to grab three valuable points.
The defense was clutch throughout until Ibrahim Sekagya received a red card which led to a Sebastian Le Toux penalty that made the game close and kept it that way for the remaining 10 minutes. Jamison Olave and Roy Miller made some goal-stopping tackles as the strikers were denied taking clear shots on frame. Luis Robles showed his class once again against a frustrated Philadelphia side.
Philadelphia had better possession of the ball as they showed a lot of patience, which is something that NY needs to do, even on home ground. The team is stacked all over the field, but little errors here and there end up costing them the points almost all the time — until last night when they finally made use of their talents.
If this match can tell the future, then NY is in for a thrilling ride for the remainder of the season. Making the playoffs is nothing short of mandatory, and this time, they need to play in the MLS Cup, as they are too good to keep on falling short.