Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 2-0 New England Revolution

Photo: Ryan Griffith

Anthony Fontana netted a goal in his MLS debut and C.J. Sapong tapped in from close range midway through the second half as Philadelphia Union won their season opener Saturday 2-0 over the New England Revolution.

New England eventually went down to nine men due to ejections. Visiting center back Antonio Delamea was dismissed with a straight red card after 24 minutes, while defensive partner Claude Dielna joined him for an early shower after a second yellow in the 86th minute.

There were few surprises in Jim Curtin’s first lineup of the season. Fafa Picault missed out due to suspension, with Fabian Herbers given the start on the right wing. Keegan Rosenberry was preferred over Ray Gaddis, while Anthony Fontana and Auston Trusty were given their first MLS starts for Philadelphia. David Accam made his debut for the Union, lining up on the left wing.

New England had the first chance of the match, with Juan Agudelo forcing Andre Blake into a save in just the 6th minute. Cristian Penilla played the ball in behind the Union backline for Agudelo to run onto on the right side. The striker took the ball wide, but Blake played his angles well and saved strongly down to his right on the shot from seven yards out.

Antonio Delamea received his straight red card halfway through the first half. A long ball over the top landed favorably for C.J. Sapong to run onto, and the striker beat Delamea to the ball to push it toward goal. Delamea grabbed Sapong from behind and pulled the striker down, giving referee Rubiel Vazquez no choice but to show a straight red card for the clear denial of goal-scoring opportunity.

Haris Medunjanin fired the ensuing free kick straight into the wall from just outside the box.

Sapong should have opened the scoring in the 31st minute. Alejandro Bedoya got into a good position on the right side and lofted a perfect cross to Sapong, who could only head wide of Matt Turner’s net from five yards out.

Fabian Herbers would be the next Union player with a chance to open the scoring, coming close in the 34th minute. The Revs only half-cleared a ball into the box, and the winger latched onto the bouncing ball near the top of the box, forcing Turner into a strong save down to his left.

Philadelphia finally broke through in the 43rd minute through Fontana. Medunjanin played a great ball over the top for Bedoya to run onto down the right side. The midfielder slid a ball on the ground across from the end line on the right side, but Sapong could only get a toe to it. The ball fell to Fontana just in front of the penalty spot, and the Delawarean debutant made no mistake, firing high into the net and giving Turner no chance.

Blake did well to keep the match at 1-0 with a great save in the 56th minute. Teal Bunbury got behind the Union back line and found space to shoot from 16 yards out, but Blake was able to get low and save to his right, pushing the shot behind for a New England corner.

Sapong finally found the scoresheet in the 70th minute. Substitute Cory Burke turned nicely away from a tackle on the right side of the Revolution box and drove toward goal along the end line. His low cross just had to be redirected off Sapong’s foot to beat Turner at the near post from close range.

Later, Dielna was shown a second yellow and dismissed in the 86th minute after pulling down Burke from behind as he broke down the Union left.

The Union’s win was their first opening day victory since 2011, starting their ninth campaign on a positive note. Philadelphia have next weekend off before hosting the Columbus Crew on Mar. 17 at Talen Energy Stadium.

Three points
  • Good to start with a win. Things got a little nervy up a man at 1-0, but Philly did well to get the second goal and secure all three points.
  • David Accam. Accam was lively in his Union debut and combined well with Sapong at times. His speed and directness were obvious all night and the future looks bright.
  • #PlayYourKids. Curtin handed MLS debuts to Anthony Fontana, Auston Trusty, and Cory Burke, and all three shone. Fontana scored and put in a good shift, Trusty looked assured in his first start, and Burke netted an assist.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake, Keegan Rosenberry, Jack Elliott, Auston Trusty, Fabinho, Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya, Anthony Fontana (Jay Simpson 66′), Fabian Herbers (Cory Burke 66′), David Accam (Derrick Jones 85′), C.J. Sapong
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Richie Marquez, Ray Gaddis, Eric Ayuk

New England Revolution

Matt Turner, Claude Dielna, Antonio Milnar Delamea, Andrew Farrell, Gabriel Somi, Cristian Penilla (Jalil Anibaba 27′), Diego Fagundez (Kelyn Rowe 76′), Scott Caldwell, Teal Bunbury, Wilfried Zahibo, Juan Agudelo (Brandon Bye 55′)
Unused Subs: Brad Knighton, Brian Wright, Chris Tierney, Krisztian Nemeth

Scoring summary

PHI: Anthony Fontana— 43′ (Sapong, Bedoya)
PHI: C.J Sapong — 69′ (Burke)

Disciplinary summary

NE: Antonio Delamea (red card) — 24′ (denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity)
NE: Claude Dielna— 36′ (unsporting behavior)
NE: Andrew Farrell – 59′ (unsporting behavior)
PHI: C.J. Sapong – 63′ (unsporting behavior)
NE: Claude Dielna (second yellow, red card) – 86′ (unsporting behavior)
NE: Wilfried Zahibo – 90 + 1′ (unsporting behavior)

Philadelphia Union New England Revolution
21 Shots 8
 6 Shots on Target 3
 8 Shots off Target 2
 7 Blocked Shots 3
 6 Corner Kicks 5
 22 Crosses 11
 2 Offsides 1
 11 Fouls 13
 1 Yellow Cards 2
 0 Red Cards 2
 573 Total Passes 325
 86% Passing Accuracy 73%
 63.4% Possession 36.6%
 61 Duels Won 57
51.7% Duels Won % 48.3%
 17 Tackles Won 18
 3 Saves 4
 14 Clearances 21



  2. Pragmatist says:

    This was comfortable. But if CJ Spurs away his early chances, the mood would be much more encouraging. Let’s hope he knocks off the rust quickly or tust it was just the conditions.
    Either way, take the points.
    Good showing all around. Accam is going to be a handful all year long.

  3. 21 shots? 2 ejections? Went to an MLS game and saw a hockey game.

  4. -The New England Revolution are bad. Very bad.
    -I have never seen a player talk himself into a red card like Delamea did. The ref could have gone either was imo but he seemed to jaw his way into it.
    -David Accam plays like how Freddy Adu thought he was playing during his stint here.
    -I don’t think the union were good per se But I think they will get better.
    -Blake did more work this game than he ever should have
    -Sapong was less than clinical
    All in all Toronto and Atlanta lost so we are TOP OF TABLE.

    • Section 114 (former) says:

      Don’t think it was talking. It was something over the radio, probably the assistant correctly making sure it was red.

  5. el Pachyderm says:

    I’m happy. But far from satisfied.
    Huge areas for improvement.
    Applause to Keegan. Dialed in and focused. One of best players on the field. I’ve given him shit and I will give him credit when it is due. Well done sir. Look forward to seeing Keegan and Ale work out communication in 2v1 and 2v2.
    Trusty is exciting. Gives me hope.
    Fontana gives me hopes.
    ….and 18 and 19 year old started tonight for this team.
    Accam is nothing this city has ever seen before. Attacks the end line with vengeance on 45 degree angle to turn corner.
    Still too much punty punty….
    but all in all. Welcome back.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      looking back through game…the two balls by Jack Elliot that indirectly led to the goals cannot be overlooked.
      in other news, first game of the season and 6 comments?
      Wake Up. Season started.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        My case for not commenting earlier is that we are without power at home so I had to wait until I went into the office this morning until I had internet connection…

      • I always prefer to let the game settle a bit in my craw before commenting. That and the 2 1/2 hour drive home due to 422 construction and the incredible number of Chester and Delaware County roads that were detoured last night made for morning commentary.

      • Agree about the power issue. We are STILL without…
        Accam reminds me of Ayuk. We have seen little of Ayuk but I believe in 2-3 years Ayuk could be a similar threat. Miss Ayuk’s goal scoring celebrations.
        Glad I renewed on Thursday 🙂

    • Dude, I don’t see how keegan was one of the best players on field, he looked a bit more composed then last year
      But that’s not hard,still far from 2016 form though and that’s where I want him to be and that’s how I’ll judge him because he’s done that well before

      • Dan C( formerly of 103) says:

        That’s why I love this game. Keegan jumped out at me all night. Know they were up a man (eventually men) but he went both ways, made dangerous passes, transitioned quickly, looked to attack. I was really happy consuhow last year went.

    • There were at least two times Blake played it out of the back. Positive reinforcement, big man, positive reinforcement!

    • So funny, I saw Keegan differently. For me – mostly very rusty with his touch. He lost possession several times and there was stretch around the 48th min where he trapped a ball directly out of bounds, got burned behind, and then gave away a dangerous pass. Hopefully just rust, but I thought his positives (agree with what you saw) were balanced out by some concerning negatives.

  6. I’ll take the points.

    The Gaddis/Rosenberry competition through preseason has effected the right sides chemistry. Felt like the left side was more fluid all evening.

    Corey Burke should get the nod at RM next week. How can he not after that short display?

    Haris was class as always, but this was an open buffet for him tonight. Acres of space and wings eager to get behind.

    Sapong could have started a golden boot campaign tonight. Still, might be more important that he’s finding chances, the finishing will come.

    Trusty/Fontana. About as well as any of us could have imagined this youth project taking off. Let’s enjoy the moment, it’s silly to think there won’t be any growing pains. However…godddddddamn Trusty looked good out there. Teenage 6’3” left footed centerback chasing down Agudelo. Pinch me.

    Accam was dangerous, constantly putting pressure on the defense and better than expected in tight areas with the ball at his feet.

    Jay Simpson, what is it that you do? I want so badly to see that Arsenal Youth Team skill, but it always feels like he’s a lost soul searching for something. Generally, it’s the ball that’s been taken off his foot.

    With Dockal, I’m concerned that Fontana and Jones are about to get buried. I know it’s early, but MLS is short on fixtures. I suppose they can get Steel minutes, but I’d probably be willing to watch them split mins with Dockal/Haris early in the season. I just want to see them get a real chance before we’re asking if they’re still “young” players.

    PHL17, who knew you had that in ya. Pregame show was solid, loved the halftime chat with JC. Looking forward to the new partnership.

    Finally, I just want to say it feels great to have kicked off the season. The league seems to be growing and I think it’s time to start a trophy room. Cmon the U!!!

    • In fairness to Jay, he was asked to play as a CAM, which is not his position at all. He looked terrible, but that position clearly doesn’t suit his style. When he moved up top, he still didn’t play amazing but definitely looked better and more comfortable. Just wanted to give the guy a bit of a break.

  7. I can’t say much more than what’s been said already. I’ll just comment on the 2 subs by Curtin. Burke was great and shows why the second sub was such a bad signing last year. I wouldn’t have taken Fontana out. But these are nit picks.
    Really? Two weeks we have to wait for more? ARRGH!
    Oh, and Trusty the Process! Yeah James you beat me too it. But it’s the nail I plan to hammer all season. Someone pinch me I’m giddy.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Was happy that the first two subs were an offensive nature and Curtin was looking to expand rather than protect the lead.

      • I was happy it was offensive also. It’s the Simpson to the middle I didn’t understand. At no point in his Union tenure has Simpson shown an ability to hold onto the ball. He does fine receiving then quickly laying it off to someone else. But possession, let alone turning and running at a player, is not in his repertoire at this level. He was like a black hole in the center of the pitch where the ball went to die. Seeing Burke and Simpson at the same time just proved to me Burke should be ahead on the depth chart if he isn’t already.

    • Buccistick says:

      That two-week wait allows Dockal precious time to both recover and gel.

  8. el Pachyderm says:

    Agree regarding the wait baby wait baby MLS wait baby…
    I like Zappa rhythms just not in the footy-
    the mystery man came over
    and he said I’m outta sight
    he said for a nominal service charge
    I could reach nirvana tonight.

  9. The good:credit to Curtin for making the right call with Burke on after 60 minutes. He was man of the last third of the match.
    The bad: not the best day at the office for Medunjanin. Let’s just blame it on the weather and wind.
    The ugly: New England. The only damp spot on this win is that it was against an awful, awful team. You can only pay the team in front of you, and the Union did that it needed, but wow. It’s going to be a long season for Revs fans.

  10. Zizouisgod says:

    Nice to start out with a win as that is rare for the Union. Hard to judge the performance given the helter skelter nature before the red with Revs pressing game. It’s hard for a team to implement this type of system overnight and honestly, I’m not sure that they have the personnel for it either. Both central defenders are fairly immobile and it showed. Plus, they had to fly down yesterday AM because of the weather so that probably didn’t help things.

    The Union nearly completed 500 passes. Granted, they played up a man for the majority of the match, but they still were completing a high percentage before the 1st red. Also, the majority of their passes were short ones which is nice to see and they picked the right time to break the lines (especially Elliott as Pachy mentioned above)

    Both Fontana and Trusty played well which was nice to see. While Burke had a huge effect on the game which was great to see, he’s 26 so I don’t put him in the kid category. Jones came on and after an early mistake, played well. He completed 18 of 19 after coming on in the 85th minute. He clearly knew what his role was and performed it well.

    Sapong’s misses were frustrating, but I have to believe that he’ll be sharper as the season goes on. The bigger issue is the amount of chances that we gave NE. Even up a man, we had to rely on Blake to come up with some big saves. That’s concerning.

    It was a nice win and something to build upon for 3/17.

  11. I thought that, throughout the game, there were signs of a lack of communication that will likely clear as the season progresses. New players, slick turf with some slips as a break started, etc. all could lead to the wrong – footed passes that led to nothing, and the general feeling of suspense. Looking at the stats, I see that I was right in part. That was as unbalanced a game as it felt. Fontana was man of the match, and Herbers had a pair of rockets on net. Rosenberry was ignored as an outlet much of the night, and except when he sagged and failed to trail a diagonal attack late in the second, looked great. Blake’s warm up dancing throughout the game was entertainment by itself; add the saves and he was the man, as always. The wind stalled a couple of balls, not surprisingly, and maybe Elliott could use some long sleeves, but the fact remains. THANK GOD WE ARE BACK IN SOCCeR SEASON.

    • I’m really excited for Fontana, but he was not even close to man of the match. He barely touched the ball in the first half and scored a sitter. Not an epic performance. For all his woeful finishing, Sapong created the most danger and drew a red card. He was our savior when we kicked long balls to him and he was able to keep possession. Definitely my man of the match. Not sure how the fontana/Dockal thing is going to play out but I wish the best for the both of them

      • Wasn’t it Fontana that laced that shot toward the far, upper 90 from thirty out? It might not have been, but that was a thing of beauty. I had attributed it to him. (It required a tipover save and led to another corner kick for the boys. Based on the goal and that shot, as well as what I saw as positive ball control and communication on that side of the field, I thought hat he had a game.) Herbers had some laser to his shot as well, but I was impressed with Fontana. I thought about Sapong and generally love his work as a garbageman, but since most of his work is exactly what we saw Fontana do, and since he will have many better nights, I bestowed it elsewhere.

  12. So we got the win ! They pressed hard and got the result well done. Looks like Accam is going to have a huge impact in the offense looks intelligent with the ball, passing is Great , takes on defenders effectively, and can score , we need to keep him fresh. Say what you want but Fabinho is like our Marcello. Once again, he has been stellar going forward on the flank and picking out players when putting in crosses from the flank. If Real or anyone else can not do this effectively them Fabi is our starting left back. His defending was good as well. Yes we faced a poor team so we will see if he can keep it up. Gotta say, Bedoya struggled near the end of the game getting turned onto , missing passes. Look, if he’s going to be the starter that’s fine. I think it’s best If they at least bring on Jones frequently this year. He needs the minutes. Yes, he will make mistakes, but everyone on this team have made plenty mistakes. His recovery time and disrupting plays in the center of the field is impeccable. Bedoya can’t match that. Also, his passing has been a notch up from Bedoya. Lastly, if Curtin can implement mature possession- if they can control the match by keeping the ball in the beginning of the match, when ahead in the match or even behind in the match, they can become a team very difficult to beat. There were too many times where the U forced passes and pinged balls from defense to offense with no direction or purpose. If they can control this and play to feet and conserve then this could be an exciting year. Cmon the U!!!!!

    • It sounds like Bedoya was fighting an illness last night and almost didn’t play, for whatever that’s worth.

    • Buccistick says:

      No arguments about Accam and Fabinho, but at least last night, Jones’s passing fell well short of our captain’s — and of the standard Jones himself set last season.

      • Yea true i won’t disagree about that but my point is he can’t be put in fir the last 5 min and expect to grow immensely from that.

    • Been comparing Fabi to Marcelo for a long time. If he just stays consistent, there is NO competition for left back.

  13. Andy Muenz says:

    Except for a couple of counters where Blake had to play big, the Union were the better team all night. Surprised that there were only 21 shots given that the halftime stats showed 17. As others have said, hopefully the finishing will come soon when it is really needed.
    Three players got their top league debut. Goal for Fontana. Assist for Burke. Shutout on defense for Trusty. 2nd year players Jones and Elliott. Good to see the youth get some minutes.
    Now if only PECO can get their act together and get our power restored before midnight tomorrow (their current estimate), I’ll actually be happy.

  14. Had the generator going for power to tv and caught the phl17 broadcast over the air. Just psyched I got to see a win. Never easy being a Union fan but we do what we gotta do. Take the 3 points and stick em in the Eastern conference bank!

  15. Yea, the revs are bad, like baaaddd, but stating the year with a w is always a good thing especially for this team…loved the attack tonight, Accam brings something completely new to this team, speed and ideas while still on the ball, it’s looking like it’s gonna be fun watching him this year and cj will put more of those chances in.

    I liked jims subs too..the idea of the subs at least, two attacking players in the 65 minute…i get that your a man up and want to put them away but i still like the aggressiveness…hopefully Jay Simpson can fall off the face of the earth, but Burke came in and got right to work and looked great..I’m gonna need to see more for sure.

    Defensively, probably gave up a few to many chances especially a man up, but with Blake in goal and hopefully continued attacking pressure they can hold up long enough to win games..trusty seems to be ready to go..18 year old cb stating for the 1st time in mls and really didn’t struggle to much,like el pachy I see some hope and promise in these kids

  16. It’s funny, I was feeling very cautious about this team because in my mind they basically made 2 signings this offseason. They were good signings but 2 didn’t seem like enough for a team that finished, what, 7th in the east?

    I didn’t properly trust in the multiple signings they made through Bethlehem steel. They really made the difference last night. Fontana, Trusty, and Burke all really put their stamp on the game

    • It was still only the first game of the season. I’m happy how it went. I’m also cautious because it is so early and wow are the Revs bad. But kudos to the kids and to Jimmy for playing them.

  17. From our seats in the corner in 114,they looked pretty good! I was glad to see the Trusty and Fontana have good games. Builds for the future. Rosenbury looked like he’s gotten over himself. And as a whole
    the team did what should be done. Win over an opponent that is struggling. They didn’t take the foot off and bunker. Also nice to see. Good 3 points to the home team!

  18. OneManWolfpack says:

    Liked what I saw for the most part from everyone. Fontana can play. He’s going to be a good one. Burke impressed. Elliott and Trusty were good. LOVE Accam! Dude runs at everyone. He just wants the ball and wants to score. I know NE is pretty much garbage, but glad the to get the 3 points when it was as cold as it was down there.

  19. I couldn’t see the “Doop hoops” on TV….

  20. The Little Fish says:

    What is the deal with Picault’s suspension? 3 game suspension during a closed door scrimmage??? WTH??? Details please from anyone in the know?

    • My guess is he “crossed the line.” The league has done it before. It’s fortunate for him that the words were spoken behind closed doors. We can only speculate as to what he said, rather than read it.

    • Apparently for indecent language. Total bs in my eyes. Games will get heated things will be said it happens all the time. 3 game suspension ?? Idk what was said but it all seems too harsh for a scrimmage game !!

  21. The Truth says:

    Three points is three points. Hoping the boys sharpen their finishing over the next two weeks. Anxious to see Borek. Trusty running down Agudelo was brilliant (even if immediately followed his own mistake). Haris is calming. Burke was in beast mode – get that man in the XI next game. Love this club and the homegrown storylines. Jay Simpson was the wrong sub and Curtin needs to officially give up on the man (let BSFC have ’em).

    • Simpson is not a 10. Can’t believe we are judging the dude for playing a position he never has until last month. It’s Aaron Wheeler all over again.

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