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Philadelphia Union Shutout DC United 3-0

As the clouds disappeared on the rainy afternoon of Saturday, July 9th, the only roars, claps, and booms that remained were no longer from thunder, but from one and only ‘Sons of Ben’. Walking into Talen Energy Stadium the energy was out of control with fans cheering about the Union. This season has been one of great success from the Union, and this match was nothing short of their current standard. From the very get go there was a clear presence of home field advantage: the fans screaming, songs being chanted, and not a whisper from the DC United fans.

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Pregame began, the players take took their positions, the National Anthem was performed, and the crowd absolutely erupted. The energy started at 110% and did not let up from there. From the second the match started it was clear that the Union came to play, and wanted the win. Early on, DC United tried to set the tone, but quickly became too physical, and were repeatedly penalized for their infractions. This allowed the Union to dominate the offense position early and set the pace for success. Not only did the Union’s offense come out of the gate running, but they were in complete shutdown mode from the opening whistle. Sprinting after their opposition and executing flawless tackles, the Union were able to ensure that DC United was unable to accrue any type of offensive attacks.

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As the game continued into the 20th minute it was clear that DC United’s physical play was going to come back to bite them, and this was solidified when Roland Alberg scored on a penalty kick. Alberg was able to score his sixth goal of the year, as well as whipping the already excited crowd into a frenzy. From that point on, the crowd knew this was the Union’s game and they had control. As Philadelphia continued to mount their viscous attack and lockdown defense, DC United just did not have the answer. In the 37th minute DC’s attack again became too much, and the Union were awarded their second penalty kick of the match. This penalty kick may have been the match that Ilsinho needed to light the fire, because he not only scored his first goal of the year on this penalty kick, but he also went on to score his second goal of the match in the 47th minute.

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The Union knew how to close it out, because from the 47th minute on, there was not a DC United attack in sight. DC United were frustrated and could not amount a formidable offense whatsoever. Feeding off the insane energy from the crowd, the Union kept their stellar defense going from amazing performances from both Ken Tribbett and newly appointed All-Star, Keegan Rosenberry. The Union continuously shut down DC and were able to ensure that it was an easy night for Rosenberry’s All-Star teammate, GK Andre Blake. The saves that Blake did make though were tremendous, and he left no doubts about his recent accolades with chants of “Blaaaaaake” roaring from the Sons of Ben all throughout the game.

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All in all the Union were able to dominate DC United because they were hungry for this win, were able to mount a successful attack, and cover themselves beautifully on defense. If the Union can continue to play in this manner and shut down top-notch teams, we may be seeing win after win in Philadelphia, and a very successful season. After the game, the fireworks on the field were followed up with celebratory fireworks above Talen Energy Stadium.

[Photos by: Josh Campbell Photography]

[Article by Emily Holmquist]

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FC Dallas Beats Philadelphia Union 2-0 at PPL Park

The Philadelphia Union were supposed to host FC Dallas on Friday, March 20th at 7PM but due to a snow storm, the game was moved until Saturday. The game kicked off at 4PM under sunny skies with 16,000+ fans attendance at PPL Park in Chester, PA.

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Philadelphia entered the game with no wins or losses on the early season, sporting a 0-0-2 record after two draws. Unfortunately for the Union, things just didn’t go their way on Saturday. Zach Pfeffer had a great scoring chance in the 7th minute but was snubbed by Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz. Fifteen minutes later, Sheanon Williams was injured and forced out of the game.

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The Union couldn’t convert on several other scoring chances in the first half and in the 44th minute, Pfeffer elbowed Mauro Diaz in the face when the two players slammed into each other in pursuit of a loose ball at mid-field. Pfeffer was issued a red card leaving Philadelphia on a one man disadvantage (11 to 10) for the remainder of the match. At the break, the score remained 0-0.

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In the 49th minute Tesho Akindele beat Union goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi to give Dallas a 1-0 lead. 10 minutes later, Ryan Hollingshead found the back of the net for FC Dallas, giving them a commanding 2-0 lead. This would prove to be the final score of the match. After dominating the first half, it was clear that the one man disadvantage really hurt the Union in the second half. The team will look to regroup when they head to Chicago to face the Fire on Sunday night (ESPN2).

[Photo credit: Riley Loula]

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Philadelphia Union Cruz to Draw with Seattle Sounders

If only the outcome for the Philadelphia Union had been as perfect as the weather on Saturday, May 4th when they hosted the Seattle Sounders at PPL Park in front of 18,334 MLS fans.

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Seattle’s Eddie Johnson scored the first goal of the match in the 10th minute. The Sounders maintained the 1-0 lead until the 50th minute when Union midfielder Danny Cruz found the back on the net to tie the game at 1-1. It was the first goal by a Union midfielder all season. It would not be the last.

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Just one minute later, Cruz placed another ball past Seattle GK Michael Gspurning to make it 2-1 in favor of the home team.

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Philadelphia’s lead would last only 13 minutes. In the 64th minute, Mauro Rosales beat Union GK Zac MacMath to knot the game at 2-2. It was the first time this season that Seattle has managed multiple goals in a game.

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Things got a little chippy for the remainder of the game. Double red cards in the 85th minute for Seattle’s Lamar Neagle and Philadelphia’s Sheanon Williams were quickly followed by another Seattle red card (DeAndre Yedlin) in stoppage time.

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When the final whistle blew, the two teams each found themselves with two goals and a single point for the draw. Philadelphia now sits at 3-3-3; Seattle moved to 1-3-3.

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Philly doesn’t play again until May 11th (at Chicago) before returning home for two home games on May 15th (vs. L.A.) and May 18th (vs. Chicago).

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[Photo credit: Steve Garfinkel Photography]

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Union vs. Real Madrid: All Eyes on Philadelphia

Saturday night was another blazing hot evening in the City of Philadelphia. Around 7:30pm South Philly was buzzing! The Phillies had just wrapped up a win over the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park, Rihanna was about to kick off a mega concert at the Wells Fargo Center, and over 57,000 fans were packing into Lincoln Financial Field to witness a friendly match between world futbol powerhouse Real Madrid, and the hometown Philadelphia Union. The eyes of the soccer world were also focused on Philly for this big-time match up as Real Madrid sent (and played) first team players like Kaka and La Liga’s leading scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Outside, diehard fans of both clubs made their allegiances known. Wearing their team colors and jerseys, and waiving flags from numerous countries, fans chanted fight songs and trash talked with gusto.

The temperature in Philadelphia was still in the high 90’s as the players warmed up on the field and the stands slowly filled.

Just before 9pm the players were announced and the game began. After resting many starters against Everton FC earlier in the week, the Union again had the first team on the pitch for this match, including starting GK Faryd Mondragon in net.

After holding their own against Everton FC from start to finish on Wednesday, and eventually winning 1-0, Philadelphia did not find similar success in the opening minutes against Real Madrid. Two miscues on defensive quickly led to a second minute goal by Jose Maria Callejon to put Real Madrid up 1-0. Just nine minutes later, Mesut Ozil added a goal and the shell-shocked Union, and their fans, found themselves down 2-0.

It appeared that the rout was on and the Union would be totally outmatched. The fans of Real Madrid increased their noise level and let the Union supporters know that the outcome was no longer in question.The score, however, did not stop the Sons of Ben and the rest of the Philly faithful from voicing their continued support to the Union players, and letting the Real Madrid fans know the match was far from being decided. It was a
classic soccer atmosphere.

The Union settled down after the two early goals and played well for the remainder of the first half. The second half kicked off with Real Madrid inserting many of their stars including Kaka and Ronaldo (to a bevy of cheers and jeers).

Philadelphia quickly made several substitutions as well, inserting Zac MacMath in goal and getting top reserves Jack McInerney, Danny Mwanga, Roger Torres, and Michael Farfan into the match.

The Union looked like a different team in the second half, pushing the action and not backing down. If Philadelphia’s young stars were in awe of playing against some of the world’s top players, it didn’t show.

In the 80th minute, Farfan found the back of the net for the home team and the stadium erupted with cheers. There was hope; could the Union pull of a major upset? They had their chances. The last ten minutes (and three minutes of stoppage time) were fast and furious. Torres and McInerney both had great scoring opportunities but were unable to capitalize and MacMath blocked a free kick from Ronaldo (as fans chanted “You’re not Messi!” at him).

When it was all said and done, the Union fell by a very respectable 2-1 score. As is customary in the soccer world, several of the players exchanged jerseys with the Real Madrid stars before leaving the field of play.

The game ended at the same time as the Rihanna concert across the street leading to more traffic gridlock after the game but for soccer fans who got to witness this big time match up, it was certainly worth the extra time on their drive home.

You can full the full photo slide show and gallery below:

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Philadelphia Union vs. Chivas USA: Third Goal is The Charm

The Philadelphia Union hosted Chivas USA at PPL Park on Saturday night, just three days after a scoreless draw against Sporting Kansas City on the same pitch moved them into a tie with the New York Red Bulls for first place.

The first half of action was fast paced as the Union, in their new 4-1-3-2 formation, pressed the action and forced the pace of play. Despite four corner-kicks and three shots on goal, Philadelphia was unable to score in the first half. They entered the locker room at half time trailing 1-0 after Michael Umana flipped a header past Union GK Faryd Mondragon (off a Chivas corner) to notch the lone goal in the first.

The second half proved to be much more dramatic. Tension spilled over from a first half that saw long “injury” delays from Chivas and off-sides calls that had the crowd at PPL Park chanting less than favorable comments at the linesman and referee.

In the 48th minute,Veljko Paunovic harnessed the tension, took the ball down field and fired home his first MLS goal to tie the game at 1-1. The goal broke a streak of 294 minutes without a goal for Philadelphia, broke it wide open. The Philadelphia fans went crazy with the goal, and the gasps would continue from there. Shots by both teams rattled off the cross bars before Carlos Ruiz finally broke the tie with a goal in the 69th minute (his 4th of the season) off of a beautiful pass from Paunovic.

Just eight minutes later, Justin Braun beat Mondragon to knot the game at 2-2.

Entering the game as a sub, Danny Mwanga (who had missed the previous game with an injury) took a pass from Sebastian Le Toux, squared up, and scored Philadelphia’s third goal of the half. The Sons of Ben, and the rest of the 18,000+ fans on hand, went completely bonkers! It would prove to be the game winner as Philadelphia took the match 3-2 to earn three points. The Union now sit alone in first place in the East.

“I thought the game was pretty similar for both halves,” said Chivas coach Robin Fraser. “After we scored the first goal, we played too tight. As a result, we put ourselves under a tremendous amount of pressure. In the second half, we played a little bit better, but we made too many mistakes.”

The Union will look to capitalize of their second half scoring frenzy this Saturday when they travel to our nation’s capital to take on the DC United at RFK Stadium (7pm). It is the first of three consecutive road games for Philadelphia before returning home to play friendly matches against Everton at PPL Park on July 20th and Real Madrid at Lincoln Financial Field on July 23rd. Their next MLS home game takes place on July 29th when they host Colorado.

[photo credit: Christian Hafer, story by Christian Hafer & Jacob Miller]

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