Forward Kenny Cooper’s ninth goal of the season in the 78th minute helped overcome a 2-1 deficit and gave New York a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park, lifting the streaking Red Bulls (7-3-1, 22 pts.) into first place in the Eastern Conference. It was the first time since April–May 2003 that New York has notched four consecutive victories. Midfielder Joel Lindpere and defender Markus Holgersson also found the back of the net for the Red Bulls, who are now one point ahead of second place Sporting Kansas City (7-3-0, 21 pts.).
The Union had the opening opportunity in the seventh minute, as defender Michael Farfan lofted a cross into the box to a streaking Keon Daniel. Daniel could not control it however, and the ball went out of play. Moments later, midfielder Freddy Adu had space in the center of the park and his left-footed blast forced goalkeeper Ryan Meara to his left to make a save.
The Red Bulls took the lead in the 17th minute. New York defender Roy Miller played a long ball to Mehdi Ballouchy in the left channel. Ballouchy was able to control the ball and cut it to an on-rushing Lindpere, who took a touch and ripped it past goalkeeper Zac MacMath for his second goal of the season.
Philadelphia tried to get back into in the encounter and in the 24th minute, Lionard Pajoy was able to spin off Holgersson at the top of the box and his ensuing shot was held by Meara. Pajoy though did not miss seven minutes later, tying the game when he flicked home an Adu cross from eight yards out. That tally snapped New York’s streak of 324 minutes without conceding a goal. Adu was sent off in the 43rd minute for earning his second yellow card for simulation, leaving the Union with 10 men.
Despite being down a player, the Union took the lead in a minute into the second half. Brian Carroll headed a New York clearance to Danny Mwanga and the Philadelphia found Pajoy on the left wing. Pajoy juked into the box and slipped it by Meara for his second goal of the game.
New York hunted for the tying goal and nearly got it in the 66th minute. Dane Richards got to the endline and his cross was punched away by MacMath. The ball floated to substitute Juan Agudelo and the forward’s scissor kick just missed the mark.
Two minutes later, the visitors evened the score. Brandon Barklage’s corner kick found an open Holgersson and the Swedish forward nodded it into the back of the net for his first career MLS goal.
Agudelo almost put the Red Bulls ahead in the 77th minute as his volley off a Lindpere cross was punched away by MacMath. Soon after though, New York got the eventual match-winner. Rafa Marquez had the ball in the center circle and lofted it over the top to Cooper. Cooper touched it past an on-rushing MacMath and hit it into the gaping net.
Philadelphia rallied to try and find its third goal and its best chance came in the 86th minute when Farfan got on the end of a Josue Martinez free kick and could not put it on target from close range. Meara came up trumps in second half stoppage time, making a fine stop to block Pajoy’s attempt for a hat trick.