CHESTER, Pa. — The cheeky grin on Haris Medunjanin’s face summed up how impressive his 52nd-minute goal was, even by the high standard the Philadelphia Union midfielder sets for himself.
The Bosnian slipped past Tyler Adams in tight space to hand the Union a lead they’d never relinquish in their 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls in the U.S. Open Cup on Saturday.
Medunjanin’s beautiful strike banged into the right side of the net after a frustrating first half chock full of missed chances for Jim Curtin’s side.
“Ale (Bedoya) was on the right,” Medunjanin said, “He had the ball so I called for it, he passed it to me and I made my action. I showed the ball and was a little bit lucky it touched the defender and it went beautiful in.”
Cory Burke was at the forefront of the attack in the first half, as he recorded five shots, but only one of them was on target. The Jamaican missed a pair of close-range chances in the 32nd and 36th minutes that were created by Fafa Picault’s work on the left wing.
Burke terrorized Red Bulls centerback Aurelien Collin for most of the opening 45 minutes, and he finally got his breakthrough in the 61st minute, when he made a nice run in the center of the field and latched on to an Alejandro Bedoya pass.
Burke had plenty of green in front of him as he knocked the ball into the right part of the net for a necessary insurance goal.
“I missed a few chances in the first half, kept my head up and knowing that the next chance I got, I was going to put it away,” Burke said.
“As a striker you have to be ready to see a midfielder pick up the ball in a position up the field,” Burke said, “You have to be ready and put yourself in good position to receive the ball so you can give yourself a chance to score.”
Bradley Wright-Phillips, who entered in the 60th minute, pulled the Red Bulls within one goal in the 78th minute, when he picked up a pass from Kaku and slotted past Andre Blake.
Blake was called into action three minutes later to preserve the lead, as he knocked away Kaku’s ground-ball attempt from the top of the box.
The Red Bulls continued to press for a second, but nothing came of their chance creation in the final 13 minutes.
The Union will face the winner of D.C. United and Orlando City’s round-of-16 clash in the quarterfinals at Talen Energy Stadium on July 18.