First half goals from Anthony Fontana, Andrew Wooten, and Fafa Picault led Philadelphia Union to a 3-0 win over Pumas UNAM of Mexico’s LigaMX. Picault picked up a goal and an assist on the night operating out of an attacking midfield role, while Sergio Santos and Matthew Real dominated the left side of the pitch.
Pumas went down to ten men late in the first half when Juan Iturbe sliced through Picault from behind.
Anthony Fontana operated alongside Alejandro Bedoya in the midfield during the first half, and he sought to impose himself throughout the game. When Fafa Picault was taken down at the top of the box on the left, Bedoya made way for Fontana to take a hit.
Boy, did he ever.
Lifting the ball over Pumas’ wall, Fontana still found enough power to beat both the goalie and a retreating defender.
The opening goal took the air out of Pumas, and the Union began to take control of the match. Using Sergio Santos up wing, Philly continually pushed into the space behind their opponents’ back line.
That pressure paid off when Picault flew down to the touchline and flipped a gorgeous cross to the back post where Wooten rose highest to knock it home.
After playing a role in the first two goals, Fafa Picault took things into his own hands on the third.
Strong pressure from Andrew Wooten in the box pried the ball loose, and when it bounced off a hand, Sorin Stoica had no choice but to point to the spot. Picault stepped up and coolly slotted home to the right.
The American winger’s success did not go unnoticed by Pumas’ players, and before the half wrapped, Juan Iturbe came through Picault’s legs from behind with a vicious tackle. The Union attacker was lucky to emerge unscathed, and Iturbe was sent off.
The physicality remained in the second half as Bethlehem Steel’s Selmir Miscic made his Union debut and Matt Real slid into the center of defense. Real married a stellar performance at left back with a muscular run in the middle, showing no fear tracking around the box and bodying up his opponents when necessary.
Andrew Wooten continued to sniff out gaps in the box and was unlucky not to add a second when he tagged the crossbar.
With Jamiro Monteiro and Fabinho providing veteran mettle as the match drew to a close, the Union showed how strong their depth is in 2019. Jim Curtin spoke effusively about the performances of the young core he hopes will continue to elevate their games down the home stretch of the MLS season.
The Union are back in action on September 14 at 7:30 p.m. when they welcome LAFC to Talen Energy Stadium for Kick Childhood Cancer night.