Philadelphia Union continue to get it done at home.
Led by two second half substitutes, they breezed past FC Cincinnati 3-0 at Subaru Park Wednesday evening, the final home match before fans return to the stadium next Sunday.
Jose Martinez was unavailable while on international duty so Jim Curtin switched shape to a 4-2-3-1 and installed Anthony Fontana at the No. 10 position ahead of Jamiro Monteiro and Alejandro Bedoya. Brenden Aaronson and Sergio Santos started on the wings with Kacper Przybylko leading the line.
When the Union and Cincy met in September, both sides struggled to threaten the goal in a 0-0 tie. Joe Gyau made sure to kick things off more aggressively this time around, firing from deep in the second minute.
The first real look of the game came from Olivier Mbaizo in the 18th minute when he snuck up the right channel and lit into a shot across the face of goal. Tyton dove to his right to push it away, but the tone was set: Neither team was going to settle for a draw this time around.
Philly’s biggest threat came through Anthony Fontana. The high-scoring homegrown cut up his defenders in the 25th minute and steered a shot onto frame that Tyton once again was forced to keep an even scoreline.
Fontana was back at it in the 39th minute, latching onto a loose ball at the top of the box, skipping past the defense and lacing the ball toward the top corner, forcing Tyton into a flying save that saw the ball rebound off the post.
At halftime, Jim Curtin brought on Jack Elliott for Jakob Glesnes and sought to take control of the match. It worked, but Cincinnati sat back and looked to protect the box.
The Union needed something special, so they turned to supersub Ilsinho. And he delivered.
In the 59th minute, Mbaizo put in a cross that was headed high into the air. Ilsinho shifted his feet and arranged his body at the top of the box and swung through the ball. The shot wasn’t entirely clean, but it struck Mekail van der Werff and skipped past Tyton to open the floodgates.
In the 73rd minute, Monteiro picked out Aaronson up the left wing. The homegrown shimmied toward the box and played in Bedoya. The ball popped into the air on the captain but, unfazed, he drilled it into the left corner of the goal.
Monteiro continued to pull the strings in the 80th minute. His free kick swung into the box and met Elliott’s head. The big defender snapped a header into the far side netting and reeled off to celebrate with his teammates.
The win put the Union into second place in the Eastern Conference and in second place in the Supporters’ Shield standings.
Now one of the best teams in the league gets to welcome their fans back to Subaru Park on Sunday, October 11, at 7:30 p.m. ET for a matchup with Montreal Impact on PHL17.