After three road games in a row, the Philadelphia Union returned home to Talen Energy Stadium where they dominated Real Salt Lake 4-1. The Union have now won back-to-back games for the first time this season and move to 4-5-2 with 14 points in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia will be back home on May 30th against the Chicago Fire after traveling to Red Bull Arena next week.
Head Coach Jim Curtin made only one change to the Starting XI from last week that defeated Montreal Impact 2-0. Cory Burke’s red card saw him suspended and thus CJ Sapong returned to his center forward position.
In the 10th minute, Real Salt Lake attacker Corey Baird broke loose down the left side only to see his effort saved by Andre Blake. The Union responded swiftly when just a minute later Marcus Epps found Fafa Picault in the middle only to see his curling shot saved by RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando. Rimando answered the call again seconds later when Alejandro Bedoya picked out
Picault again, only for his deflected effort to roll into Rimando’s arms.
The goalkeeper battle continued when Jefferson Savarino forced Blake to dive low to his right to knock away another good effort in the 15th minute. Three minutes later Blake dove to the other side of his goal to save another Savarino attempt. Rimando responded right back just two minutes later with a fantastic double save. Bedoya’s deflected cross fell to Keegan Rosenberry who blasted an effort that Rimando pushed away into the path of Picault. Picault struck another shot but there again was Rimando to punch away the effort.
Just as the legendary MLS goalkeeper looked as if the night was his, the Union struck in the 21st minute. Picault flew by RSL defender Adam Henley down the left side and played a marvelous low cross through the six–yard box where Marcus Epps calmly slotted the ball home. Epps scored his first goal of the 2018 season against the club he made his MLS debut against.
In the 34th minute, it was Epps again who contributed to a goal. This time he knocked the ball over an RSL defender to a sprinting Bedoya. The American international played in a surging Borek Dočkal. Dočkal arrived at the eighteen-yard box to see Rimando closing towards him but chipped the ball over him and into the empty net for his second career MLS goal.
Rimando’s heroics continued in the second half when Epps’s header forced a terrific reflex save from the 38-year-old goalkeeper in the 54th minute. Union Head Coach Jim Curtin decided to bring on Ilsinho for Sapong in the 64th minute to increase the attacking mindset. Yet in the next minute, RSL substitute Sebastián Saucedo beat Keegan Rosenberry and pulled the ball back to Damir Kreilach, whose low effort beat a sprawling Blake.
After the restart, the Union thought they restored their two-goal lead when Epps shot straight at Rimando who fumbled it into the net. However, after a Video Review, the referee deemed Epps offside on the play. In the 74th minute, the Union finally restored the two-goal lead. Epps’ through ball to Dočkal created another one-on-one with Rimando. This time instead of chipping the veteran goalkeeper, he squared the ball across to the substitute Ilsinho for an easy tap in.
Epps came off in the 79th minute to a standing ovation from Talen Energy Stadium after a tremendous performance. The Union faithful rose to their feet two minutes later when, on Philadelphia’s eighth corner of the match, the ball found its way outside to Rosenberry. Rosenberry would not be denied this time as his rocket from 25 yards out ripped the back of the net to cap off the Union’s 4-1 victory.
Philadelphia set their season high with four goals tonight and notched their third win at Talen Energy Stadium in 2018. The Union now travel to New Jersey to face the New York Red Bulls on May 26th at 7:00 P.M and will try to stretch the winning streak to three consecutive games.