On a beautiful night in Chester for MLS Futbol, the Philadelphia Union (7-10-5, 26 Pts, 9th Place Eastern Conference) hosted FC Dallas (9-4-7, 34 Pts, 2nd Place Western Conference) to start a two game home stand. The Union are back in that position of just about every match being a must win to get back into playoff contention as they were 6 points below the Red Line with a game in hand on the Columbus Crew.
It turned out to be an excellent total team performance by the U, as a crowd of 17,880, on Sons Of Ben Appreciation Night saw them beat a very good Dallas team, 3-1.
FC Dallas Starting XI:4-2-3-1
G Chris Seitz, D’s Hernán Grana, Matt Hedges, Maynor Figueroa, Ryan Hollingshead, MF’s Victor Ulloa, Carlos Cermeño, Michael Barrios, Mauro Díaz, Roland Lamah, F Maximiliano Urruti
Philadelphia Union Starting XI:4-2-3-1
GK John McCarthy, D’s Oguchi Onyewu, Jack Elliott, Raymon Gaddis, Giliano Wijnaldum, FM’s Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin, Ilsinho, Chris Pontius, Fafa Picault, F CJ Sapong
As we have seen often at home the Union looked the better team early. This game they capitalized on that better run of play by scoring two goals in the space of five minutes. The first goal was a tic-tac-toe play with Sapong (11) finally putting it in the net after two great touches by Ilsinho and Medunjanin in 17′. Even Head Coach Jim Curtin agreed after the match that it was possibly one of the best team goals of the season so far.
Ilsinho (4) followed in 22′ slamming home a goal of his own.
The U defense did their job the rest of the half clearing away the most dangerous chances, as Dallas only had 2 shots on target with only one of those being a tough save for McCarthy, as the first 45′ ended 2-Nil Union.
Even though the most important thing for the Union was keeping possession, most of the early second half was played in their end. That was until 68′ when Ilsinho neatly fed Sapong (12) for the Brace, as Seitz was pulled out of position by earlier shots and passes.
Dallas appeared to score in 79′ but the goal was disallowed – see Final Thoughts below. FCD’s Barrios did score in stoppage time to spoil the clean sheet, but that just diminished the winning difference to 3-1, as the Union defense and McCarthy held on the rest of the way.
FC Dallas Subs:
Walker Zimmerman for Hollingshead and Cristian Colmán for Diaz Halftime, Jacori Hayes for Cermeño 82′
Philadelphia Union Subs:
Marcus Epps for Ponitus 64′, Roland Alberg for Ilsinho 86′
FC Dallas Cards:
Carlos Cermeño 45’+, Matt Hedges 55′
Philadelphia Union Cards:
This was the first win by the Union over FCD in 10 matches. This was an especially good W, as Dallas was 3-2-4 on the road coming in.
Sapong has now well passed his previous season high of 9 goals. Doing so he has proven that the second half of the season problems are behind him. C. J. said post-game “This is a point in my career where everything is manifesting on and off field.” Curtin added “His talent is undeniable. When you play hard for 90′ you guys can see what happens.”
John McCarthy had another outstanding night in the net as Andre Blake is still on the mend. He started his sixth consecutive league game which is a career high, making 9 saves, 7 in the 2nd half. He had no chance to stop the one goal. The team has to feel good knowing he is there for any future periods they have to do without Blake
The Future is now, with MLS today introducing VAR – Video Assistant Referee. This visual aid was at our press station
This was used when a goal by Dallas was reversed in 79′, as McCarthy was taken down on the play. MLS confirmed that it was the first use of VAR by MLS ever, so we saw some history tonight.
The Union (8-10-5, 29 Pts) get back into the all important Eastern Conference play as they host the team right on their heels, the Montreal Impact (7-8-6, 27 Pts, 9th Place) next Saturday 8/12/17. The U are now 3 Pts behind Columbus for 6th place, playing the same number of matches, while Montreal has 2 games in hand on each team, so it is obvious how important 3 pts will be in this one.