Here’s a sentence you don’t read much. The Philadelphia Union approach a Sunday primetime game fresh off a win. Last week, the Union dealt with D.C United at home for a 1-0 win, their fifth of the season. Like that game, today’s matchup against the New England Revolution had big implications in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Union sit in tenth place in the East on 19 points(5W-7L-4D) with the Revolution sitting on 20 points (5W-7L-5D), one place above the Union. A win for either team would cause them to leap above the Montreal Impact who are currently on 21 points. In fact, a draw for the Revs would cause them to leap the Impact, since the Revs have a better goal differential.
Revolutionary: Philadelphia Union Trounce New England Revolution 3-0
The game score would not be zeroes for long. In the second minute a hand ball in the penalty area by New England’s Benjamin Angoua led to a Union penalty kick. C.J Sapong stepped up and blasted it down the middle for an early 1-0 lead. The goal would match his career high for PK goals in a season which he did twice, once with Sporting K.C in 2012 and once with the Union in 2015. It is also the club’s earliest goal this year.
In the 12th minute, Union goalkeeper Andre Blake came up huge. Kei Kamara would be all alone on goal after a through ball. Blake came off his line and stuffed the Revs center forward to preserve the lead.
The 29th minute saw the next bit of big action. A corner kick for the Revs saw an attempt for a bicycle/scissor kick by Kei Kamara. The ball wouldn’t hit the net, but Kamara’s foot would hit the chest to face area of Oguchi Onyewu. The game would then take a five minute break due to the hot conditions and allow Onyewu time to take a breather.
Just before half time, Revs Je-Vaughn Watson cleated Derrick Jones from the side and was shown a yellow card.
The half would end 1-0. While the Revolution dominated possession with 59 percent of the ball, the Union kept their heads above water long enough to get to half.
The second half would begin almost exactly like the first half did, with a Union goal. Three minutes into the half, Fafa Picault threaded a ball to Ilsinho, who pearled the ball top shelf over Cody Cropper to give the Union a 2-0 lead. It’s Ilsinho’s second goal this year and fourth for the club overall. It was also Picault’s first assist in a Union uniform.
In the 50th minute, the Revs almost got one back. Watson, who was playing an abnormal position as the center attacking midfielder, sent a close range blast off the post and away. The Union dodged a bullet once again.
The Union had to use a center back substitution in the 63rd minute. Rookie Jack Elliott came off for Joshua Yaro after he suffered an apparent injury. It is the first time Elliott hasn’t been on the field since April 8th against Portland.
A free kick for the Union would be taken after Benjamin Angoua was shown a yellow after taking down Ilsinho. Ilsinho would then dummy the free kick and Haris Medunjanin would take it. His shot would curl just wide, barely missing the frame. Game still 2-0.
After the game’s 75th minute water break, Roland Alberg came on for Ilsinho. And he made his presence felt immediately. The 78th minute would bring about a 30 yard screamer from Alberg to put them up 3-0. It is Alberg’s fifth goal of the year and absolutely his best for Philly.
The 87th minute saw Haris Medunjanin step off the field for the first time. He was replaced by Ken Tribbett who would make his league debut for the 2017 season. Medunjanin would pass the captain’s arm band to Oguchi Onyewu.
The game would end on that scoreline. It was as good of a result as the Union could ask for and launched themselves into eighth place in the east, only one point away from the New York Red Bulls and three points from the final playoff spot.
Heres what Jim Curtin had to say about the early goal and what it did for the team:
“(It was) a good team performance,” Curtin said. “Obviously an early goal sometimes can change games. (They) made us play a half that I thought was tentative in terms of our pressure to the ball. Something that if we don’t have then were not a strong team.”
The Union have a short week this week as they travel to Kansas City to face off against Sporting Kansas City on Thursday. It’s a tough match up but SKC will be missing some players due to suspensions (Roger Espinoza) and national team call-ups (Matt Besler, Graham Zusi).