After a disappointing draw in Washington, D.C. the previous week, the Union bounced back with a dominating performance in New England as they beat the Revolution with an easy 4-0 win.
The Union took a 1-0 lead into halftime with an early goal by C. J. Sapong. They took control in the 2nd half with goals from Chris Pontius, Richie Marquez and Roland Alberg. The Revs could not find a way to get the ball past the Union defense as Andre Blake got his fifth clean sheet.
Union starting XI: Blake; Fabinho, Marquez, Tribbett, Rosenberry; Creavalle, Bedoya; Pontius, Barnetta, Ilsinho; Sapong
New England Revolution starting XI: Shuttleworth; Goncalves, Farrell, Rowe, Tierney; Caldwell, Nguyen, Watson, Fagundez; Kamara, Bunbury
The Union’s big money acquisition, USMNT midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, made his MLS debut in the match. Manager Jim Curtin placed Bedoya in the starting lineup, giving him the #8 role that had been a weakness for the team since Vincent Noguiera’s sudden departure in June. With Bedoya in the back of the midfield, Tranquillo Barnetta was able to move forward to his more natural #10 spot. Warren Creavalle filled in for the injured Brian Carroll, who is out for 3-6 weeks with a plantar fascia injury.
The Union made a big statement at the start of game with a goal by Sapong in the 2nd minute, on a nice pass by Fabinho who somehow kept the ball in-bounds as he avoided a tackle next to the sideline. The Union were energized by that early goal as they appeared to play with a confidence they had lacked in recent games. As the 1st half wore on, the Revs took control, but they could only get one shot on goal. Just before stoppage time, Sapong took an elbow to the head which took him off the field briefly, but then came back to finish off the half. The Union went into the intermission with the score at 1-0, but Sapong didn’t return when the team came back out and he was replaced by Fabian Herbers.
The second half started with the Union dominating the run of play and not letting up for the rest of the match. It didn’t take long for the Union to increase their lead as Pontius scored in the 49th minute. Some nice ball handling by Ilsinho at the top of box drew several players around to leave an open Pontius to receive a pass and slot it into the net and give the U a 2-0 lead.
The Union gave themselves a comfortable 3-0 lead in the 54th minute, on the Marquez goal. A corner kick by Barnetta to found Pontius who headed to Marquez. Marquez then headed the ball into the goal at close range.
The Revs had trouble getting through the Union defense for the remainder of the match, managing 3 shots on goal, with none of them really testing Blake.
Former Revs forward Charlie Davies came in for Ilsinho in the 83rd minute. He received a nice reception from the New England faithful, who chanted his name with affection. He got the assist on a goal by Alberg in the last minute of stoppage time.
This was a great performance by the Union, as they appeared to return to the form which took them to first place at the Copa America Centanario break. Alejandro Bedoya had a fine MLS debut, making crisp passes and nice runs through the New England midfield. Considering he is in preseason form coming from FC Nantes, we can expect him to get better as he gets used to his new teammates and regains his match fitness.
The Union have a chance to build on this performance next week, as they come home for a big match against Toronto FC who lies 2 points ahead of the boys in blue in the standings.