With just over a third of the MLS season left the Philadelphia Union (8-11–, 27 Pts, 7th Place Eastern Conference) hit the road once again, to face the New England Revolution (7-7-8, 29 Pts, 6th Place ) in a battle of two teams straddling the conference Red Line.
After blowing the lead early in the 2nd half, a late game PK helped the Union come home with a HUGE three pts.
Revolution Starting XI:4-4-2
GK: Matt Turner; Ds Andrew Farrell, Antonio Delamea, Jalil Anibaba, Brandon Bye; MFs Wilfried Zahibo Luis Caicedo, Juan Agudelo, Cristian Penilla; Fs Teal Bunbury, Diego Fagundez,
Union Starting XI: 4-2-3-1
GK Andre Blake; Ds Raymon Gaddis, Auston Trusty, Keegan Rosenberry, Jack Elliott; MFs Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin, Fafa Picault, Borek Dockal; F CJ Sapong, Cory Burke
First Half:Union find unlikely goal scorer
The game started out mostly being played in the Union end.
That would all change dramatically in the 14′
A short corner led to a pass/shot into the box by Medunjanin, which went right to Jack Elliot, who back heeled it past Turner. It was Elliot’s first G, on only his fourth shot of the season, and second in his career. It was Haris’ third A on the year.
Elliot would score again 10′ later on a pinball play in front of the net. Fafa hit the left post on a long shot, which then bounced off the GK Turner and that bumper shot came right to Jack for an empty net tap in.
Second Half:Defense disappears but a Hand Ball in the box saves the Union
The second half was a completely different story as from the opening kick-off this was almost all Revolution.
That became evident when Picault was too slow to cover Revs D Farrell, who fired a shot from way out that deflected off Trusty, and past Blake’s left hand into the goal. it was Farrell’s 2nd G of the season 46′
Picualt again was somewhat involved in NE’s tying goal, as he got the second caution of the game midway through the half, and on the resulting free kick, Zahibo (4) tied it up in the 64′
NE continued to come after the U in waves, but in one of the few extended Philly runs, they were given a PK by Delamea on a hand ball in the penalty area in the 75′.
That HB came on a corner that was earned by a great run toward the goal by Fafa. Soccer can be a game of redemption and it certainly was so for Fafa as he was given the chance on the PK and buried it with no problem to give the U the lead again at 3-2. 76′. It was Picault’s 5th G of the season.
Andre Blake who had no chance on either of the Revolution goals did make a few #SavesByDre including this likely game saver in the 87′
To show what a buzz saw the Union survived, NE lead the TOP 55.6% – 44.4%, and out shot the U 26-7, but were even at 7-7 on target, which certainly helped the Philadelphia.
It was not easy but the Union managed to hold on the last 14′ and 4′ of stoppage time for the 3-2 W, and a positive outlook for the week-off before their next game at home.
Kelyn Rowe for Zahibo 80′
Brian Wright for Fagundez 83′
Fabian Herbers for Burke 61′
Warren Creavalle for Medunjanin 77′
Derrick Jones for Picault 80′
Antonio Mlinar Delamea 75′
Kelyn Rowe 90′ +3′
It was the fourth road win of the season, they only had one, and six ties all of last season, but few could have felt better than this one after almost blowing it. As a writer towards the end of games you have endings in mind for your game story and TBH I had the “tie that feels like a loss” finish all but typed. I and the rest of the Union fans are happy I did not have to type that.
Fafa’s PK goal tied him for the team lead of five w/ Dockal and Burke.
For the moment this win vaulted the Union into 5th place with 30 Pts. Montreal Impact who have 29 play at Real Salt Lake later tonight, and the U also have a game in hand over them.
The Union play their first MLS home game since they lost to LA Galaxy 3-1 , back on 7/21, as they welcome New York City FC (13-5-5, 44Pts, 3rd Place Eastern Conference). NYCFC plays tomorrow.