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U in Review — USOC: Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls

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Cory Burke’s second-half goal was the difference, as the Philadelphia Union held on to defeat the New York Red Bulls 2-1, in the Fifth Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, at Talen Energy Stadium.

Burke missed a free-header in the 31st that peeled wide of Luis Robles‘ net. Four minutes later, in the 35th minute, the Jamaican skied a potential tap-in from about five yards out, sending it toward’s the club seats.

But it was the next chance, according to Burke, that he knew he would score.

“I missed those two chances,” Burke said. “But I had to keep my head up. That’s what professional players do.”

It was, overall, a professional performance by the Union, who eliminated the Red Bulls from the Open Cup on Saturday night, and Jim Curtin’s team were able to do so thanks, in part, to a moment of magic from Bosnian midfielder Haris Medunjanin and the eventual match-winner from arguably the Man of the Match, Cory Burke.

Medunjanin’s goal in the 53rd minute was a thing of beauty that not only broke the deadlock, but turned the momentum of the Fifth Round cup tie in favor of the home side. Here’s the goal that sent The River End, as well as Talen Energy Stadium, into euphoria:

But it was Burke’s goal, a “special” and “great team goal,” according to Curtin in his post-match presser, that propelled the Union into the Quarter-Finals of the Open Cup tournament.

Despite missing several scoring opportunities in the first-half, the Jamaican international kept his head down, despite his own advice, and finished an excellent piece of Union interplay cooly under a diving Robles.

Union captain Alejandro Bedoya also deserves credit for moving off the ball, completing a give-and-go with his midfield partner, Medunjanin, and splitting the New York defense to find Burke, who was then in on goal.

New York pulled one back later in the game, in the 77th minute, with substitute Bradley Wright-Phillips slotting a shot past an outstretched Andre Blake.

Alejandro Romero Gamarra was quick to turn and play a pass to the feet of Wright-Phillips, who split the Union’s young center-backs and did what, as Red Bulls’ social puts it, “he does best.”

Curtin, despite praising his team’s overall performance on the night, offered constructive criticism for his young defenders, Mark McKenzie and Auston Trusty.

“Not great,” Curtin said before later adding, “I don’t think they were on the same page tonight … I don’t think it was their sharpest game. Maybe I’m critical and too hard on them because I see so much talent in them.”

McKenzie was humble in response to his coach’s post-match comments.

“It wasn’t a perfect game from us [McKenzie and Trusty],” McKenzie said. “I can pick out several mistakes I made, but it’s all part of the game, it’s a learning process. It’s all about learning.”

Wright-Phillips and Gamarra capitalized on a momentary lapse in communication, positioning and, perhaps, one of those few mistakes McKenzie can remember making. There weren’t many mistakes, to be fair, as the United States youth player looked composed and confident for the Union throughout the night.

Despite pulling a goal back, dominating in possession and applying late pressure on the Union’s backline, the visiting Red Bulls were knocked out by their I-95 rivals, a reversal of last year’s Open Cup fixture, when New York defeated Philly in penalties, at Red Bull Arena.

Philadelphia will host the winner of D.C. United or Orlando City SC at Talen Energy Stadium, on July 18.

Scoresheet

Philadelphia Union

Haris Medunjanin (53′), Cory Burke (61′)

New York Red Bulls

Bradley Wright-Phillips (77′)

Shots

Philadelphia Union

17 Total; 7 On

New York Red Bulls

18 Total; 6 On

Possession

Philadelphia Union

44%

New York Red Bulls

56%

Starting XI

Philadelphia Union (4-2-3-1)

Andre Blake; Ray Gaddis, Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Keegan Rosenberry; Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya; Fabrice-Jean Picault, Borek Dockal (Warren Creavalle, 83′), Ilsinho (Marcus Epps, 64′); Cory Burke (David Accam, 89’)

New York Red Bulls (5-1-3-1)

Luis Robles; Kemar Lawrence, Hassan Ndam (Florian Valot, 73′), Aurélien Collin, Tim Parker, Connor Lade; Tyler Adams; Marc Rzatkowski, Alejandro Romero Gamarra, Derrick Etienne (Daniel Royer, 61′); Carlos Rivas (Bradley Wright-Phillips, 61′)

PFD’s Player of the Game

Cal Dymowski

I thought Fabrice-Jean “Fafa” Picault was the Man of the Match.

He brought energy and skill that really livened up the attack for the Union. He was consistently creating chances and getting in behind the outside backs. His dribbling ability gave other Union players a chance to get free to finish off efforts.

From start to finish, he was the most consistent and entertaining player on the pitch. Fafa Picault: my pick for PFD’s Player of the Game.

Jason Hannigan

Putting his two missed shots aside, I have to go with Cory Burke.

I thought the Jamaican international was excellent in holding up the ball for the rest of the Union midfield and attack, all night, and he put the New York backline under pressure early and often.

Not to mention, he made amends for his blunders with a calm finish later in the game. Cory Burke: my pick for PFD’s Player of the Game.

Next Match

Philadelphia returns to MLS play on Saturday, June 23 when the Union host the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, PA. Kick off for the match is slated for 5:00 PM EST, and will be broadcasted on PHL17.

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