Philadelphia Union traveled to Atlanta and left the home side flattened against the turf with a huge three-goal second half. Andre Blake was unbeatable in the first half and Kacper Przybylko took over after the break, scoring two and setting up Anthony Fontana to pound the golden spike into the Five Stripes’ hearts.
Jim Curtin handed Cory Burke a start alongside Kacper Przybylko but otherwise retained the side that faced Miami on Saturday. The opening half was marked by an intense individual matchup between Jürgen Damm and Kai Wagner. Atlanta’s Mexican winger created openings but Blake closed them. Ezequiel Barco picked out Damm with a long pass in the sixth minute, but Blake darted off his line and fired out his right leg to deflect Damm’s shot wide.
In the same minute, Jose Martinez picked up a caution, putting him under pressure as the Five Stripes dominated the ball. In the 32nd minute, Blake forced Emerson Hyndman to question basic physics as he curled his body to palm away the midfielder’s impressive long range strike.
Damm snuck in down the right as the half drew to a close but Blake was once again far too much for the mere mortal.
Blake remained the key man after halftime as he stoned Emerson Hyndman from the top of the box after Damm once again stretched the Union defense. Sergio Santos, on at halftime for Burke, asserted himself on the counter but Bedoya’s low cross was cleared as the Brazilian sought to take it down with a cheeky touch.
Suddenly, driven by the resilience of their city, the Union struck. Jamiro Monteiro collected the ball at the top of the box and toyed with his defender, rolling the ball under his foot as the back line opened and he was able to pick out Przybylko cutting away from his man. The big German looked to tuck the ball behind Brad Guzan but the US International got big in a hurry to parry the opportunity.
Monteiro and Przybylko, however, would not be denied. On the ensuing corner kick, Monteiro’s ball squirted to the back post and Przybylko scored his 24th Union goal with an easy tap-in.
A stunned Atlanta side began to lose confidence. Miles Robinson caught Sergio Santos in the face with an elbow before Bedoya and substitute Cubo Torres exchanged fouls.
Atlanta sent the ball wide right to Damm again and again as they sought to isolate Wagner or pull Elliott away from Josef Martinez. Hoping to execute the same plan in the 73rd minute, Atlanta fell into Philly’s trap. Wagner intercepted the ball and immediately looked for Santos racing upfield. Robinson headed the ball away but a miscommunication let Leon Flach nip in. Santos received the 20-year old’s pass and turned Robinson to stone with a magician’s flick. Flach raced onto the pass, drew the last defender away from Przybylko, and centered the ball to his teammate. All alone at the top of the box, Przybylko stared down Guzan. The American goalie stared right back, daring the German to shoot. He did, and he scored. The rocket whistled past Guzan’s shoulder and into the far corner.
In front of 20,000 fans that expected a win after their dominant first half, Atlanta fell apart. Anthony Fontana replaced Flach and as the home side pressed forward, the homegrown struck. Santos played an acrobatic pass through the lines, twisting and leaping to find Przybylko behind the defense. The striker raced in as Fontana put his head down and caught up with his teammate. A slick pass and a calm finish put the Union up 3-0 on the road.
Atlanta head coach Gabriel Heinze was apoplectic, but the fans were silent. The Union return to Subaru Park for a rivalry match with New York City FC on May 1st. Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and fans can watch the match on PHL17, stream on PhiladelphiaUnion.com or listen on FOX The Gambler and the iHeart Radio App.