On Wednesday night, the Philadelphia Union traveled to New England for game two of their best-of-three set with the Revolution in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Philadelphia was without Kai Wagner, who is serving a three-game suspension, and Julian Carranza, who was injured. Union head coach Jim Curtin placed Quinn Sullivan in the starting 11 to fill that spot left by Carranza. He shifted Nate Harriel over to Left Back, with Olivier Mbaizo playing on the right side. If Philadelphia wins, they move on to the semifinals. If New England wins, they live to see a third match back in Philadelphia.
Back And Forth We Go
The first half would see both sides trying to crack the scoring open with solid chances going both ways. Philadelphia was showing their aggression on set pieces to try and give their side the lead. New England was trying to flow through Gustavo Bou and Carles Gil as they advanced. Things would get a bit dicey at the tail end of the first half when New England midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye stepped on the chest of Union midfielder Daniel Gazdag.
A free kick had already been awarded to the Union, but the officials wanted to take a closer look at the foul. After a few moments of looking at the video, the decision was made to give Kaye a red card, putting New England at a disadvantage. They would have to finish this match down a man, facing a do-or-die scenario with their playoff hopes on the line.
New England would start the second half attempting a goal. They tried to show that being a man down didn’t mean they were out of the match. Philadelphia would respond a few moments later with a beautiful attempt on goal. On a set piece off Union midfielder Jack McGlynn’s left foot, New England keeper Earl Edwards Jr saved. The Revolution did appear to be flailing at some points of the second half, trying desperately to get something going off the foot of Gil or Bou.
In the End…
But, in the 79th minute, Jack McGlynn would put a well-placed ball into the front of the goal and find Chris Donovan to give the Union the lead. The pass was a low runner that found its way around the New England defense and right to the foot of Donovan, who timed his run perfectly to get the ball in the back of the net. The final whistle would blow, and the Philadelphia Union would seal the win and advance to the MLS Cup Playoffs.
This was a very knockdown, drag-out style of game. Both sides were unwilling to concede that first goal for almost 80 minutes of play. The influx of youth in the Philadelphia lineup continues to pay dividends for Jim Curtin’s side. They will have a tall task ahead of them as they now prepare for the Supporter’s Shield winners, FC Cincinnati. Philadelphia will have some time to try to keep the momentum they gained from this match. They will now travel to Ohio for their second-round match.