The Union travelled to the Yankee stadium for the first time last night in the second game against NYCFC this week. The new rivalry lived up to the hype at the weekend, and it did exactly the same last night as the Union fought hard to draw with the expansion team.
At the weekend it was Nogueira who was the hero, scoring in added time. Late heroics were had at the Yankee stadium to with C.J. Sapong wearing the cape. He struck his first goal for Philadelphia on Thursday having not featured as much as many would have liked due to injury issues, so to see an emphatic return to first team football and a goal to go with it is extremely encouraging for the Union and the legions of fans that travelled to the stadium last night. The 1-1 draw saw Philly come out of the series unbeaten having won at the weekend.
The first half was promising for the Union who immediately showed their intent to control possession. Fernando Aristeguieta had the best scoring chance of a scoreless first half, but his 25 yard rocket sailed just over the crossbar in the 13th minute. For a team who are still in an injury crisis, the Union have really found their groove in these past two games. The play is much more reminiscent of what we saw last year and the raw edge that the new signings and youth players bring has benefitted the squad hugely. If the injuries were to never happen, some of these players may not have gotten a start…everything happens for a reason right?
The winds of change may well be blowing around PPL Park, a Union side who had just two points from their opening five games now have four from their last two.
New York entered the contest winless in three but looked like the favourites to pick up three after Mehdi Ballouchy made a beautiful run, curling his shot on the edge of the box past youngUnion goalkeeper John McCarthy in the 57th minute. Other than that though, McCarthy came up big once again. The hometown hero has already won the affection of fans across the city but continues to impress as his MLS career snowballs after making some game saving stops.
Sapong, who joined from Sporting Kansas City at the end of last season, tied the game in the 86th minute after some tense yet exciting high pressure play. The NYCFC goal was good and the Union wanted to better it, C.J acrobatically volleyed a shot home from Maurice Edu’s knockdown.
The draw pushed Union level with sixth-placed City on six points, with New York owning a game in hand.
Philly will be returning home with confidence in their stride as they play host to the New England Revolution on Sunday. Rotation is going to be key here for the team who would have played three games in just seven days. It’s important that the stars are rested for the next week so expect the likes of Ayuk and Pfeffer to have a presence on the field.