Union fall but play well in playoff-like test vs. Red Bulls

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Union fall but play well in playoff-like test vs. Red Bulls

CHESTER, Pa. -- The Union received a much-needed taste of the postseason in a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on Sunday at Talen Energy Stadium. Despite the loss, the club liked what it saw.

“This was a playoff game tonight,” said Union manager Jim Curtin. “We talked about how our playoffs start tonight, and it’s going to feel the same exact way in New York City. It’s going to be very difficult to go there, and we have a playoff game right after that. It’s that time of year.”

Sunday was a playoff-style test against one of the league’s best teams, and the Union nearly passed. Controlling 66% of possession, the club dominated the first half but failed to find that finishing touch, eventually giving up a penalty kick to Kaku for the loss.

“We wanted to test ourselves against a top team in our league, a team that’s fighting for the Supporters Shield. I thought we were up for it, I thought we played some good soccer but just wasn’t our night in the end.”

With one match remaining, the Union could finish as high as third and as low as sixth, with the top two seeds filled by New York Red Bulls and Atlanta United. With 50 points, the Union are trailing No. 3 New York City FC by three but are tied with D.C. United and two points up on the Columbus Crew.

To put it simply. if the Union win next Sunday, they would claim the No. 3 seed and guarantee the club's first first-round home playoff game.

“We’re going to New York to beat New York City FC,” said Union captain Alejandro Bedoya. “We want a home playoff game really bad. It’s all up for grabs, anything can happen. Everything left to play for.”

But while home field is the goal, there was some hesitation. Curtin mentioned that the field was in bad shape, which was supported more forcefully by both Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin.

“I prefer to play away because it’s unbelievable that we play on this kind of field,” Medunjanin said. “It’s unbelievable. We’re a team that already achieved the playoffs, we play good soccer and to play on this kind of field is a shame.”

Bedoya felt the same.

“The field is terrible,” he said. “It pisses me off hearing there are high school games being played here after today. It’s a disaster. We’re a professional team getting ready for the playoffs and the field is in terrible shape and they’re just going to mess it up even more.”

Still, despite Talen Energy Field’s conditions, Curtin doesn’t want to settle on making the playoffs. He wants a home game.

“Obviously you want to host a game," he said. "You want to go to New York City and get a win and move up and keep a position where we have that home playoff game. We do control our own destiny, which is a good feeling to have."

Union fall to top seed NYCFC in regular-season finale

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Union fall to top seed NYCFC in regular-season finale


CHESTER, Pa. — Ronald Matarrita and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi scored and New York City FC beat the Philadelphia Union 2-1 on Sunday in the regular-season finale.

New York City (18-6-10), the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, earned a first-round bye and will play No. 4 seed Toronto or fifth-seeded D.C. United in the conference semifinals.

Philadelphia (16-11-7) lost three of its last four regular-season games, falling from first to third in the Eastern standings. The Union will host the sixth-seeded New York Red Bulls in the knockout round.

Matarrita opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Valentin Castellanos, at the top of the area, first-timed a pass from Ben Sweat to Matarrita for the finish from near the spot. It was the first goal of the season for the 25-year-old defender.

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi chipped an entry from outside the area that deflected off the Union's Jamiro Monteiro into the goal to make it 2-0 in the 22nd and Philadelphia's Marco Fabian converted from the spot in the 87th minute. 

Union fall into second-place tie after loss to Crew

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Union fall into second-place tie after loss to Crew


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Pedro Santos had a goal and an assist in the second half and the Columbus Crew beat the Union 2-0 on Sunday night to hand the Eastern Conference's top seed to New York City FC.

Youness Mokhtar's first career goal, set up by Luis Diaz and Santos, put Columbus up in the 69th minute. Four minutes later, Santos' 11th goal doomed the Union, who fell six points behind NYCFC and into a tie for second with Atlanta United, which holds the tiebreaker with one game to play.

Eloy Room made three saves for his first shutout.

The game was delayed by almost an hour as lightning arrived with the start of halftime.

On the attack, the Union (16-10-7) failed to get a strong shot and off the block the Crew (10-15-8) quickly countered. Speedy Luis Diaz dribbled the ball across midfield on the right before sending it middle to Santos, who put it to Mokhtar in the box left. Mokhtar counted back into the middle and beat three defenders with a low drive past Andre Blake.

Off a corner four minutes later, a Union defender's header put the ball straight up in the air and Blake punched it out of the box. Santos pounced on the loose ball sending a four-bouncer through a crowd of players past the diving Blake.