Union vs. Richmond Kickers Match Recap

MATCH RECAP: Union shutout Richmond Kickers 5-0

David Accam’s first goal for Philadelphia Union helped secure a 5-0 victory in the 4th round of the 2018 US Open Cup Tuesday night at Talen Energy Stadium. Jack Elliott, Anthony Fontana, Marcus Epps, and Jay Simpson rounded out the scoring as the Union swept aside Richmond Kickers with ease.

Jim Curtin started a youthful lineup around Haris Medunjanin and Accam. John McCarthy was between the pipes behind Keegan Rosenberry, Jack Elliott, Mark McKenzie, and Matt Real. Medunjanin and Derrick Jones played pivots behind Anthony Fontana and Accam, Cory Burke, and Epps took up attacking roles. 

The Union came out with intent, sending Accam up the left wing. He cut the ball back to Matt Real who used a hesitation move to find space, but Philly could not convert the chance.

They would not have to wait long.

In the third minute, Real placed a ball through the Richmond defense for Burke. He rounded Trevor Spangenberg but the goalie recovered to push the ball out of play. On the ensuing corner, Medunjanin's ball slid through bodies to land on Elliott's right foot, and he swept it home easily.

Richmond had their first break in the 14th minute. Matthew Bolduc ran through the middle but tried to thread the ball into a tight space between the centerbacks when he had a better option on the left wing.

Three minutes later, after Marcus Epps' wonderful turn and run led to another Burke shot, Elliott got his head to a Medunjanin corner and placed it toward the far lower corner of the goal, but Spangenberg responded with a fine diving save to keep the match close.

In the 20th minute, Medunjanin was on the ball in the center with time, and he clipped a pass beyond the defense that both Accam and Burke converged on. Spangenberg strode out bravely and Philly could not convert with the big goalkeeper in the way.

Spangenberg's aggression came back to haunt him in the 27th minute. Jones won the ball near the halfline on the left and found Accam running at the defense. He played an early pass to Burke in space, and the Jamaican beat Spangenberg to the ball and hit the deck, earning the Union a penalty. Accam stepped up and confidently drilled the ball into the left side of the goal to open his Union account.

The match sped up after the second goal, and in the 38th minute Bolduc used fancy footwork to break in down the left. McKenzie, ever-aware, slid to his right and smothered the danger.

That would be Richmond's best chance to get back into the match, as Fontana notched his second goal in his second Union start minutes later. Jones started things again, beating his man in the center and dribbling at the defense. He missed Accam on the left but Burke chased down the pass through the center and put in a cross that was half-cleared away. Fontana swallowed up the loose ball and cut onto his right foot, firing a shot that deflected off Spangenberg and defender Brandon Eaton and nestled in the net.

Burke's spectacular overhead pass put in Epps for the Union's fourth, but the winger still had work to do. Epps looked set to shoot down the right but instead cut the ball behind his plant leg and turned toward the center where he laced a shot high into the far corner of Spangenberg's goal.

Jay Simpson entered the match at the start of the second half for Cory Burke. Four minutes later, Derrick Jones made sure Simpson got his name on the scoresheet. A cute flick pass put Jones against the right endline. He hooked the ball around his man and eased toward goal, slapping a perfect low pass into Simpson’s path for a simple finish.

Jones tried his hand at shooting in the 61st after a pass didn’t come off and rebounded back to him. His left-footer went straight to Spangenberg.

Curtin threw on recent short-term signee Michee Ngalina for Epps, much to the relief of the Richmond defense. But Ngalina gave them no rest, mirroring Epps’ constant attacking and individual flair.

After Fontana collided legs in the 79th minute, he tried to soldier on but was eventually replaced by Auston Trusty. The center back pushed Jack Elliott into midfield, with Haris Medunjanin taking the attacking midfield role for a spin.

After Rosenberry picked up a caution in the 88th minute, Raul Gonzalez nearly pulled one back for Richmond when he blasted the free kick from the right against the far top corner of John McCarthy’s goal. The rebound fell loose and was fired on frame, but McCarthy dove to his right and pushed it out of play.

Philadelphia Union will find out who they play in the Round of 16 on June 7.

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