Union lose more than a game to Red Bulls

Note from me: Here’s the match report on the Union’s U.S. Open Cup game gainst the Red Bulls from my Philly.com colleague Matt Mullin. With the Union heading out west to Los Angeles this weekend, I probably won’t do much blogging until Saturday.

I won’t be making this trip, or next week’s trip to Salt Lake City. But I will be at the Independence game Saturday in West Chester, and I’ll be blogging from there. I’ll also probably be going out in Center City today to watch the Barcelona-Inter Milan Champions League game. If any of you are getting together, email me and let me know.

Now over to Matt…

HARRISON, N.J. - Although Tuesday night’s game against the New York Red Bulls didn’t mean anything as far as standings go, Union coach Peter Nowak took it seriously.

The team remained on the field at Red Bull Arena after their 2-1 loss in the preliminary round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Tournament. As one of the assistants walked off the field and into the media area, it was clear why.

With a half-hearted smile he turned to some of the reporters and said, “If you don’t want to run during the game, you can run after.”

The Union were beat up and down the field, and rarely looked like they were in contention to win the match.

Conor Chinn scored twice in the first half for New York. His first goal, in the 16th minute, was the first of the game and came off a rebound from Union goalie Chris Seitz. His second goal, which was set up in much the same way as his first, gave the Red Bulls a 2-0 advantage in the 41st minute.

Despite having more chances than New York in the second half, the Union were only able to score once. The goal came off the foot of Sebastien Le Toux in the 68th minute. Le Toux ran on to a sharp cross from the right flank by Cristian Arrieta, and beat Red Bulls goalkeeper Greg Sutton.

Le Toux, who has been the Union’s best player this season, proved to be a bigger loss than the game itself.

In the 82nd minute, while wrestling for possession near midfield, Le Toux fell over, grimacing in pain. The trainer rushed out, but before he got to Le Toux, the stretcher had already been called to the field.

Because Nowak had already used his four allotted substitutions, the Union were forced to play the remainder of the match with only 10 players. That all but crushed any hope of a late comeback.

It was the third time in five matches that the Union played down a man during a game.

After the game, Nowak spoke about Le Toux’s injury.

“[Le Toux] probably has an MCL sprain, but this is probable and we have to run tests tomorrow to see what the verdict is.”

Obviously Nowak was in no position to give a timeline for Le Toux’s return, but it is never promising when the letters M-C-L are involved.

Although the Union struggled on the field, there weren’t any problems off it. Unlike Saturday’s league match, there weren’t any signs of rock-throwing or other hooliganism following last night’s game. It probably had to do more with the lack of fans in attendance than anything.

The announced attendance was 3,015. I would be shocked if there were that many people there. Neither supporters club had much of a showing. The Sons of Ben only brought about 50 fans and the Empire Supporters Club supporters struggling to fill the front half of its section.