Finally beating Red Bulls special for Union

Finally beating Red Bulls special for Union

June 24, 2013, 10:00 am
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CHESTER, Pa. -- It can be argued that the Union’s convincing home win over the New York Red Bulls on Sunday means little more than three points in June.

But don’t make that argument to them.

“I had a guy come up to me in Wawa this week,” said Union coach John Hackworth, who lives in Delaware County. “He didn’t say hello or introduce himself, he just grabbed me and said you better beat New York. That’s how it has been all week long. This is so important to this city.”

The Union’s 3-0 win at PPL Park marked the first time since April 2011 that they were able to defeat their rival. Over those 26 months, the Union had gone 0-5-0 against the Red Bulls and been outscored, 11-3. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the five-game unbeaten streak is the longest against one team in Red Bulls history.

“This game is a big one for us,” said Union defender Sheanon Williams, whose club moved into second place in the Eastern Conference, tying the Red Bulls with 25 points. “It’s been pounded into our heads all week that all the fans want and what everyone wants around here is to beat the Red Bulls. They gave it to us a few times, it was time to get them back.”

With a 2-6-0 all-time record against the Red Bulls entering Sunday’s match, Union forward Conor Casey stepped up and worked as the spell buster. Scoring twice on the night and once in a 2-1 loss against the Red Bulls earlier in the season, Casey became the Union’s all-time leading goal scorer against the Red Bulls in a matter of two games.

"I have always thought Conor was going to be what we saw today, and I think he has done it sneakily all year long," Hackworth said. "Today was obviously a huge day for him, quality in every way. He does so many little things for our team that makes us better."

No matter who came forward as the hero or provided the spark, the Union were just happy to finally give Philadelphia a win over New York.

“It felt good,” Williams said. “Coach Hack has been pounding in our heads all week that we have to win this game, not only for us and our morale, but it moves us up the standings and puts us in a good position.”

The win evens the season series, which now stands at 1-1. The Union travel to Red Bull Arena on Aug. 17 for the rubber match.

“We put it on even terms,” said Hackworth. “The way we’ve approached it this year is to make sure we’re competitive in these little series. It’s even. The last game will be a huge one.”

And while the Union hold the latest win, Carroll says to throw out history when the two clubs meet again.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “It’s going to be a barn-burner no matter what.”