The Philadelphia Union gave a dominating performance as they defeated the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps FC 4-0 on Saturday evening.
Union starting XI: Blake; Gaddis, Trusty, McKenzie, Rosenberry; Bedoya, Creavalle; Picault, Dockal (Jones 86′), Ilsinho (Epps 76′); Sapong (Burke 66′)
Vancouver starting XI: Rowe; Henry, Felipe, Techera (Mezquida HT), Aja; Shea, Kamara, Nerwinski, Reyna; Ghazal (Blondell 71′), Davies (Mutch HT)
As is typical of manager Jim Curtin, there were no surprises in the Union starting lineup. Warren Creavalle got the call to take the place of the suspended Haris Medujanin. Those hoping Cory Burke would get the nod over the slumping C.J. Sapong were disappointed, though by now, no one should have expected that.
The Whitecaps came into the game in fourth place in Western Conference and riding a six-match unbeaten streak. Coming in hot and with a decent 3-4-1 road record, the Whitecaps could be expected to give the Boys in Blue a tough time.
But they didn’t. The Union put together perhaps their best performance of the year. They controlled the match from start to finish, giving fans a lot to cheer about besides the induction of Sebastien LeToux into the Union’s new Ring of Honor.
Right off the bat, Borek Dockal was all over the place for the Union, in a good way. He was weaving around defenders in the box, and it felt like it was only a matter of time before he got the ball into the goal.
And that turned out to be the case in the 24th minute. The ball bounced off Ilsinho in the right side of box and fell right to Dockal. Brek Shea was closing in on him, but Dockal got the shot off before Shea could get there and the ball went into the far side of the goal, giving the Union the 1-0 lead. The Union would continue to control the run of play for the rest of the half, but could not manage an insurance goal, taking the one goal lead into halftime.
After the LeToux ceremony at halftime, the Union picked right up where they left off in the second half. The U broke the game open in the 71st minute when Alejandro Bedoya passed the ball to Dockal at the edge of the box, and Dockal shot a bullet into the net to give the Union a 2-0 lead.
The Union fans were barely done dooping before they got a chance to do some more. Burke, who replaced Sapong seven minutes earlier, broke through the Whitecaps defense, and as he charged towards the goal in the box, Jose Aja grabbed his arm to force him down. Referee Allen Chapman showed Aja a red card, and awarded the penalty to the Union. Ilsinho put the ball into the top of the net on the penalty kick, giving the Boys in Blue a big 3 goal lead. With the Whitecaps reduced to 10 men, confidence was high the that Union could finish this one out.
But the scoring wasn’t done yet. In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Fafa Picault lost the ball in the box to Jake Nerwinski, but for some reason Yordy Rayna knocked Picault down anyway. Rayna, who already received a yellow card earlier in the match, got another one to end his night, and Chapman awarded the Union with a penalty kick once again. Picault took the shot, sending it low and into the goal for the final 4-0 score.
Picking the man of the match for this one is easy. Not only did Dockal score a brace, but he dangerous all night. But Dockal wasn’t carrying the squad on his back. This win was a total team effort.
- Creavalle showed well in his chance to get some minutes. He doesn’t provide the offensive threat that Medujanin does, but he was solid at his job in the defensive midfielder position.
- Whitecaps fans have to be pissed off at Rayna for his stupid foul in the box at the end of the match. It didn’t accomplish anything as Vancouver already got the ball back, and now he will be suspended for their next match. Dumb.
- Andre Blake had a boring night as Vancouver couldn’t manage a single shot on goal. Good job by the Union back line to keep a clean sheet.
- I don’t know much more Curtin has to see before he relegates Sapong to the bench. Sapong made a weak shot on goal on a great Dockal cross in the first half, and was hardly noticeable otherwise. Burke is bringing more into the game when he plays and probably should start. Hell, I’d even take Jay Simpson over Sapong right now.
- Ray Gaddis has stepped it up a notch as he takes the place of Fabinho on the left, and Curtin made sure to give him a deserved shout out during his press conference.
Next week, the Union will travel to the west coast as they play Los Angeles FC for the first time ever.