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Philadelphia Union Fall to NYCFC 2-1

Philadelphia Union

photo via Phil Naegely

Looking for their second-straight win at home in a week and fourth in their last five games, the Philadelphia Union welcomed New York City FC to PPL Park and looked to keep their recent momentum going. Yet that didn’t occur as NYCFC scored two second-half goals to win only their second game of the season in a 2-1 result.

Early on in the first half, Jason Hernandez was given a yellow card in the fourth minute. It appeared a confident Union side would find an early goal in front of a sold-out crowd, but the hosts unfortunately could not despite many opportunities on net. NYCFC goalie Josh Saunders’ four saves in the firs half kept the game scoreless headed into the half.

Philadelphia stroke first out of the half as they finally broke through a stingy, tight NYCFC backline. CJ Sapong found a loose ball in the box off a Sebastien Le Toux corner kick and buried it into the net. Sapong’s fourth goal on the season now puts him as the team’s leader in goals scored. For Le Toux it was his fourth assist on the year and ties him with Christian Maidana as the team leaders in assists.

NYCFC fought back instead of giving back and found their own goal seven minutes later. Thomas McNamara gathered a nicely played ball from Kwado Poku, dribbled uncontested about 20 yards away from goal, and fired on net. McNamara’s shot curled nicely into the top right corner of the net and past Brian Sylvestre. It was a well-executed play by the NYCFC player as he noticed the Union weren’t pressuring tightly as they did previously in the match.

The visitors continued to pressure and weren’t content with only one point. This led to some great chances from both sides before NYCFC found a late game-winning goal as the clock inched towards the 90th minutes. Moments before the game-winning goal it appeared that a ball hit Fabinho’s hand, but center referee Dew Fischer waved off NYCFC’s claims and ruled it unintentional as the ball rolled out for a throw-in. Off the throw, Jeb Brovsky found Patrick Mullins who dribbled into the box and fired his shot past Sylvestre. The Union goalie appeared to hesitate and went near post as the ball sailed between him and the far post into the net.

NYCFC’s win against the Union is their first road win on the year and ends an 11-game winless streak. Their last win game in their second game of the season against the New England Revolution. In that game, NYCFC won 2-0 in front of their home crowd.

Philadelphia fall to 4-9-3 on the season, while NYCFC improve to 2-7-5 in their inaugural MLS season. The Union’s next MLS match is against the Los Angeles Galaxy two weeks from Saturday’s loss on the road. However, the team will be busy as they face USL PDL affiliate Reading United on Tuesday, June 9th and enter US Open Cup play against Rochester Rhinos. Their first 2015 US Open Cup match will take place on June 16th at home. In last year’s tournament, Philadelphia advanced to the final against Seattle Sounders, but fell to the visitors.

With two weeks off before their next MLS match, the Union have ample time to fix what they were lacking against NYCFC. The team still looked confident on the field, but it appears there were chances to dribble into space instead of sending cross after cross into the box. In total Philadelphia attempted 31 crosses in open play, while NYCFC only had four.

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