Matt Real, Andrew Wooten stepped up and showed potential in Union’s win over Red Bulls
Real played with a point to prove, having failed to win the starting left-back spot with Kai Wager out — and having heard Jim Curtin's criticism of him.
Brenden Aaronson was unquestionably the biggest star of the Union’s 3-0 win at the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, with a spectacular goal and a big role in setting up another. But he was far from the only great player in the game.
Here’s a look at other notable performances by Union players.
The Union’s captain had an outstanding game, well beyond his major roles in the first two goals. He recorded 54 touches, five aerial duels won, three tackles, two clearances, one interception, and one shot, and completed 27 of 37 passes.
Coming in for the injured Sergio Santos gave Wooten a huge opportunity, and he stepped up. He created three chances, including the pass that sprung Bedoya on the first goal and an assist on the second. He had 26 touches, won one aerial duel, and completed nine of 14 passes.
The bad news is he didn’t take any shots. But a one-touch pass like the one he sent to Bedoya helped make up for that.
He still isn’t a left back, and that probably isn’t going to change. But he showed again that he can play the role, especially at the defensive end of the field.
Mbaizo had team highs of seven tackles and seven interceptions and added two clearances. His 64 touches were third-most on the team, and he completed 26 of 36 passes. The statistical analysts at WhoScored.com gave him the highest rating in the game.
The Drexel Hill native played with a point to prove, having failed to win the starting left-back spot with Kai Wagner out. Real has also heard manager Jim Curtin’s recent criticism of not reaching the desired level in practice.
“I’m not even going to lie: when I’m angry, I play best,” Real said. “Obviously, I was angry, and I wanted to come on. I know it was 2-0, but I said to myself, ’Look I’m going to score, or I’m going to get an assist. I’m going to do something to open someone’s eyes.’ ”
Real did that to seal the win. In addition to the finish, he brought the play forward and started the sequence with a throw-in at midfield. While his defensive work still isn’t what it needs to be, he had one tackle and two clearances in his 14 minutes on the field.
Curtin gave Real the credit he earned.
“For Matthew to go through the disappointment of not being picked as a starter the last two games, there’s two ways you can do it: you can sulk, and you can cry, and you can pout, or you can roll up your sleeves and step up and do your job,” he said. “Matthew did that in the last game, Matthew did that tonight, and he scored a great goal. When I talk about Matt [being] proactive rather than reactive, today you saw proactive Matt.
If the eye test told you that this was his best game for the Union, you’ll find more proof in the box score. Glesnes’ 65 touches were the second most of any Union player, and he made a whopping 11 clearances. The big Norwegian centerback also had one tackle, two aerial duels won, and four interceptions. His passing wasn’t great — just 30 completions from 46 attempts — but the rest of his game made up for that.
Let’s save the last words for a player who didn’t make any saves. None of the Red Bulls’ seven shots were on target, which meant Blake had a zero next to his name. The hardest he had to work was catching a cross in the 91st minute.