First Union! Philadelphia beats Minnesota 3-2, regains first in the East

The Union walked into Minnesota and handed the Loons their first home loss of the season by a score of 3-2.

It was a wild affair, one not for the faint of heart. Play ranged up and down the field and at times it more resembled a track meet than a soccer match. In the end though, it was the boys in blue who found the extra measure and turned one point into three off of a well-taken goal late by Auston Trusty.

Jamiro Monteiro converted a penalty, while Haris Medunjanin also tallied for the U. Hassani Dotson and Kevin Molino scored for the Loons.

First Half:

Union first XI: Andre Blake; Kai Wagner, Auston Trusty, Jack Elliott, Ray Gaddis; Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya, Jamiro Monteiro, Brenden Aaronson; Sergio Santos, Kacper Przybylko

The two sides traded possession and chances early, forcing both Andre Blake and Minnesota keeper Vito Mannone into several remarkable saves. Santos was taken down in the box in the sixteenth minute, and Monteiro converted the penalty with no fanfare at all, running up to the ball and rifling it low and hard to the right past Mannone to put the Union ahead.

The Loons would press on, breaking up Union possession in the midfield (and taking Aaronson out of the match in the process) and breaking up the field when they could. In the twenty-eighth minute, they earned an equalizer when a Union clearance came out to beyond the top of the box to Dotson, who hit it first time low and hard and past Blake (a shot Blake would surely tell you he should have stopped).

Play carried on with referee Allen Chapman being rather liberal with the whistle and with cards. Near the death of the first half, the Union won a free kick near the top of the box and Haris Medunjanin hit a beautiful strike, curling the ball into the top ninety as Mannone could only get a little bit of a hand to it, sending the Union into the room with a 2-1 advantage.

Second Half:

The home side would assert themselves and most of play happened in the Union end. The boys in blue held on and bent without breaking until the Loons subbed on Kevin Molino, who came on in the 69th minute and scored eight minutes later, another low shot that beat Blake to his right.

It appeared the home side would continue their unbeaten streak with this second equalizer, but Curtin had a trick up his sleeve and he deployed it in the 86th minute, when Ilsinho replaced Monteiro. Seconds later, Ilsinho started a sequence that saw Kacper Przybylko cross a ball into the box that Trusty got on the other side of, touching it around a defender with his left foot and rifling the ball past Mannone with his right in one smooth motion.

The Union would see the match out as Chapman booked both Blake and Gaddis for time-wasting (both cards were questionable) and hand the Loons their first loss at home of 2019.

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