As Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin would say post-game, it was a tale of two halves as the Union would have to come back and score twice in the second stanza to beat the tenacious Colorado Rapids 2-1.
Rapids Starting XI:4-4-2
1 GK Tim Howard; 2 D Mike da Fonte; 44 DAxel Sjoberg; 24 D Kortne Ford 3 D Eric Miller; 22 MFMicheal Azira 15 MF Sam Hamilton; 0 MF Mohammed Saeid; 45 MF/F Joshua Gatt; 29 F Caleb Calvert; 9 F Kevin Doyle
Fonte, Gatt and Hamilton all got their first MLS starts
Jim Curtin “I would say that was our worst half of soccer.”
The first 45′ bore no resemblance to the last few matches where the Union had the better of play early. In this one they looked laconic, at best, from the start.
The 1st goal of the night went to the Rapids in the 15′ as Calvert, after receiving a header from Doyle after a GK, dribbled in in 40 yards unmarked. He then knuckled it by a somewhat confused Blake, thus ending the Shut-Out streak at 288′. It was Calvert’s first MLS Goal and only Colorado’s third goal in six road games.
The Union did play a bit better as the half went on, but only had one real good chance by Ilsinho right in the center of the box, but USMNT stalwart Howard made a nice save in the 23′
Most of the rest of the half was well wasted by Colorado who looked to do the same in the second as they held a 1-nil lead.
2nd Half: It was the Best of Halves
Haris Medunjanin: “We knew that it was impossible to play worse than the first half.”
Curtin pointed out that in the first half, especially early after the Rapids goal, the team was starting to play like individuals and were “waving hands at each other”. In the second 45′ that changed and the result showed that.
They Union players kept battling the Rapids slow play, as well as the referee’s reluctance to make some calls. This all changed in the 67′ when after what appeared to be numerous violations in the box, a hand ball was called. Sapong buried the PK as Howard guessed the wrong way.
The Rapids finally lost their poise in the 69′. Calvert was flagged for dissent and then shortly thereafter earned another for “Entering Field” which resulted in a Red card.
6′ later Medunjanin netted the go ahead goal on a curving free kick, over the wall which did not move, 5 yards outside the box. Even the great Howard could not deflect that one.
Being up a man helped the Union to hold on for the 2-1 victory, their third in a three game stretch, and team record fourth win in a row.
45′ Mohammed Saeid; 69′ Calvert and shortly thereafter a Red for second yellow. First Team Assistant Coach Conor Casey ejected from the Rapids bench as well; 74′ Gatt
63′ Bedoya, 81 Giliano Wijnaldum – his 1st MLS card
62′ Marlon Hairston for Said, 76′Dominique Badji for Gatt, 81′ Dillon Powers for Hamilton
18,399 was the announced attendance and it sounded like more as Curtin noted the fans were noisely behind this team all the way.
Raise your hand all who foresaw just a month ago that this team would pull of this historic four game win streak. Especially impressive was the way they acheived this against good and bad teams, on the road and at home, and the final three coming in a span of a week. Admittedly this reporter does not have his hand up.
One negative note is that Jim Curtin said post-game that Herbers injured his “groin or hip flexor slash area. He’ll be probably missing time”.
The Union( 4-4-4, 13 Pts, 7th Place Eastern Conference) get a much needed full week off but have to travel to Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah to face Real Salt Lake (3-8-2, 11 Pts, 10th Place Western Conference) on 5/27/17 8PM ET. CSN
The Union are still undefeated since their video department released the Fresh Prince of Chest-Air video so I leave you with this. Enjoy Union Phaithful!
Though I was born a few blocks from what was to be the NY Worlds Fair/Shea Stadium/Forrest Hills Complex, my parents saved me from being a NY fan by moving to Elkins Park in 1955, when I was 6 months old. I have been living and dying w/ Philly sports teams ever since. Now over 60 , I bring an older, but hopefully not stodgy, spin to this blog. By day I am a mild mannered controller/IT guy for a family business, but by night you will either find me @ CBP at least 17 games a season, and most other nights yelling at my tv as if they can hear me. Though I attend many other local sports, my main love has always been baseball, and my focus here is the Phillies, but I am also part of the team covering the Philadelphia Union.