Marco Fabián and Wayne Rooney both arrived as international superstars. Rooney's MLS career hit the ground running; Fabián's didn't start quite as smoothly. But on Sunday night -- on national television -- Fabián showed what all the hype was about.
An assist on the opening goal was followed by a strike just before halftime that turned out to be the winner. In the second half, the Union's No. 10 added a second goal along the way to a six shot (five on goal!) performance that pinned DC United back for 90 minutes.
Jim Curtin (current MLS Coach of the Week, by the way!) has been saying that once Marco Fabián got going the Union attack would follow.
Boy, was he ever right.
Philadelphia was on top throughout the DC match, and Fabián was at the heart of it all. If he can build on this performance and continue to be the difference-maker the Union know he can be, the Eastern Conference race will become extremely interesting.
Alejandro Bedoya was the recipient of Fabian's assist, and his goal -- the earliest in a game this year for Philly -- set the tone for a match that silenced the doubters who had arisen during an up-and-down July. Bedoya, showing his leadership as captain, threw himself into tackles throughout the match while providing the emotional benchmark that his teammates had to meet as they fought to show the league they belong among the very best. Intelligence and emotion don't always blend well, but Bedoya combines them with aplomb. He continues to push his team forward as they search for the franchise's first playoff win.
Catch Bedoya, Fabián, and the rest of the Union this Sunday at 6:00 p.m. ET when they welcome Houston Dynamo to town for a US Open Cup final rematch, live on PHL17.