It’s been an up and down inaugural season for the Philadelphia Union. Disappointing losses and unnecessary mistakes have taken the sheen off of what was otherwise a very well put together expansion team.
On Saturday at PPL Park, the Union put all that behind them in a 3-0 victory over a much-maligned Chivas USA side. Was it their best showing of the season, though?
“From the result standpoint, yes, there’s no question about it,” Manager Peter Nowak said after the match. “We found our rhythm after the first goal and then the huge goal right before halftime gave us even more confidence. The second half was much better from a tactical standpoint and then we were able to score a third goal and really enjoy the play.
“It wasn’t 100% of what I was looking for, especially in the first half, but 3-0 is 3-0 and we are still moving forward which is very positive.”
The Union dominated Chivas for the better part of 90 minutes. Philadelphia surrendered only two shots on target and were pleasantly surprised by three goals off of set pieces, an area in which the team has struggled this year.
As convincing as the result may have been, though, the Union know that they still have plenty to do if they want to finish the year on a high note.
“There were times we could have played better and I think finally the ball fell our way,” midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi said of the victory. “Once for Fred and then on the third goal when the ball went into the opposite corner. It was definitely one of our biggest wins, but there still is a lot we need to improve on.”
Union ‘keeper Brad Knighton recorded his second consecutive shutout in Chester, and was more optimistic about the team’s performance than his teammate.
“It’s exciting to watch and exciting to be a part of,” Knighton said of the victory. “The second half we really took it to them and you could tell that they were getting frustrated. With our fans behind us, it was definitely nice.”
With the Union traveling midweek to Commerce City to take on the streaking Colorado Rapids, the victory celebrations will be short-lived. But right now they’ll enjoy the moment.
“It’s complete from top to bottom,” said Union captain Danny Califf. “It’s the best performance and it feels great to score three goals and come out of here with the shut out - it feels fantastic.”