It was a foggy, misty night at Talen Energy Stadium as the Philadelphia Union (4-5-2, 14 pts, 7th place Eastern Conference) welcomed Real Salt Lake (4-6-1, 13 Pts, 6th Place Western Conference) The announced crowd of 16,019 soaked the atmosphere right up as the U won this one going away, 4-1.
Real Salt Lake Starting XI: 4-3-3
GK: Nick Rimando; Ds Justen Glad, Pablo Ruiz, Marcelo Silva, Adam Henley; MFs Kyle Beckerman, Albert Rusnak, Damir Kreilach Fs Corey Baird, Jefferson Savarino, Brooks Lennon
Union Starting XI: 4-2-3-1
G Andre Blake; Ds Raymon Gaddis, Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Keegan Rosenberry; MFs Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin, Marcus Epps, Fafa Picault, Borek Dockal,; F CJ Sapong
First Half: Union Build a 2-Nil lead
The first 15′ of this match was pretty even with both sides getting good chances, but both goalies were up to the task.
That all changed in the 21′ when after RSL G Rimando made some point blank saves on Rosenberry and Picault, Fafa sprung Epps for the 1st Doop of the night. It was his first goal of the season, and Picault’s second assist.
The U would keep pressing which paid of when Dockal (2) got their second goal in the 34′ on one of the prettier plays of the season on assisting passes by Bedoya (3) and Epps (1).
The U would go on to out-shoot RSL 11-6, 6-4 on target, and lead TOP 57.4 – 42.6, but the half time whistle saw the score still 2-Nil Union.
Second Half: Union bounce back after RSL score and disallowed goal
The second half started off looking like RSL would make a match of it as they got on the board on a goal by Kreilach (2) from Saucedo (1) 66′
But it was all Union from there.
The rout started 2′ later after an Epps score for an apparent brace was disallowed by VAR review for an off-side, but the U would bounce right back from that getting their 3rd goal for real this time when the recently subbed in Ilsinho (2) would score on assists by Epps (2) and Dockal (3)
The light in the fog went on again when a hard right footer just outside the box by Rosenberry (1), got by the tough Rimando, with an assist by Ilson JR. (1), which made the final tally 4-1 Union in 81′.
As Head Coach Jim Curtin would say after the match RSL goalie Rimando is a “legend in our league” and he kept this one from being an outright laugher stopping 6 of the Union’s 10 shots on target, and none of the goals were really his fault. If this was a hockey game he would have gotten the 3rd star in a losing cause.
Real Salt Lake Subs:
Sebastian Saucedo for Henley Half Time
Nick Besler for Silva 76′
Ilsinho for Dockal 64′
David Accam for Dockal 79′
Anthony Fontana for Dockal 86′
Real Salt Lake Cards:
Pablo Ruiz 86′
The Union in winning their second match in a row for the first time this season, moved to within 3 pts below the red line, showing great resiliency tonight both when RSL made the score 2-1, and then when a goal was disallowed.
Curtin would touch on this post-game “I think it’s a positive, especially for so many young guys, I thought that our response, almost every time there was a little adversity in tonight’s game, they showed togetherness. They showed a team that is committed, that was willing to play for each other. I’m really proud again for a young group, when that ball does go in and it’s 2-1 and you dominate, it can be tough.
“Mentality wise I think it was a strong performance to get a goal and respond quickly a little bit after some adversity is important.”
This team is second in the league per Curtin, behind the Red Bulls, in home grown talent, so if they can keep up this kind of play, the future looks bright for this team.
Lastly, though the attendance said 16K+, apparently 10K of those “fans” found something else to do after they bought their tickets as there was barely 6-7 k in the stands. As I have implored Phillies phans to start supporting their young and exciting 2018 team, I issue the same challenge to the Blue and Gold phaithful to start making the trip to Chester, to back this young and apparently improving team. Hopefully another W in the next match below will entice them to come out.
The Union get back into the Eastern Conference fray as the travel up I-95 to face the New York Red Bulls (6-3-0, 18 Pts, 5th Place) on Saturday 5/26 at 7:00 PM on PHL17. This will be a stiff task to see if this team is for real.