The Philadelphia Union saw their four-game winning streak and six-game unbeaten streak come to an end as they fell to Real Salt Lake 1-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT.
Union starting XI: Blake; Fabinho, Onyewu, Elliott, Gaddis; Medunjanin, Bedoya; Picault, Ilsinho, Pontius; Sapong.
RSL starting XI: Rimando; Beltran, Schuler, Maund, Wingert; Mulholland, Sunny, Rusnák; Savarino, Silva, Plata.
Going into this match, another Union win looked very achievable. Even though the boys in blue were on the road, Real Salt Lake has had a very slow start to their season and they were missing their stud midfielder Kyle Beckerman due to suspension. The Union were riding the form that brought them 13 points in the last five matches.
The Union came out looking strong at the start of the match. Unfortunately, after the first 20 minutes, RSL controlled the rest of the half.
Andre Blake was called on to make multiple saves. The first came in the 8th minute, when a Joao Plata shot from 30 yards out forced Blake to make a diving save. Plata got off another shot on goal in the 16’, this time from about 15 yards out. It was Luis Silva’s turn on the 21’ when his shot from the center of the 18-yard box forced Blake to parry the ball away.
Real Salt Lake finally got one past Blake in the 36th minute when a Jefferson Saverino cross found Plata, who tapped it in as he was running toward the goal.
After the goal, Blake kept the game in reach with big saves in the 43th and 56th minutes on shots from Silva and Albert Rusnak, respectively.
Even though RSL controlled the first half, the Union did get a few chances. They had a 2-on-1 breakaway in the 10’, but Sunny broke up the pass when Ilsinho was trying to send it to the other side. They blew another opportunity to score in the 11’ when a Haris Medujanin corner kick bounced off Jack Elliott’s head and hit the crossbar. The Union’s best opportunity to score came in the 17’. Medujanin chipped a long pass at midfield which found a streaking Fafa Picault who one-timed a shot that was stopped by Nick Rimando about 15 yards out. Picault headed the rebound toward the empty goal, but Aaron Maund sprinted back and caught up to the ball just before it crossed the goal line.
There is not too much to say about the second half other than it was very boring and uneventful. The Union showed a little more offensive pressure than in the end the first half, but couldn’t get any shots on goal until stoppage time when Medunjanin fired off a cannon shot from just outside the box on a free kick which Rimando managed to punch away. Other than that, the most exciting part of the half was when Marcus Epps made his MLS debut when he came in for Ilsinho in the 83’. Epps showed some flashes of what he can do, and will be dangerous once he learns how to play the game at the MLS level.
The Union will try to get back to their winning ways next week when they travel to Yankee Stadium for a match against NYCFC.