Editor’s Note: This match report comes courtesy of our friends at the Philly Soccer Page. You can check out the original report on their site here.
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.
- 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.
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
PHI: Anthony Fontana— 43′ (Sapong, Bedoya)
PHI: C.J Sapong — 69′ (Burke)
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|
|6||Shots on Target||3|
|8||Shots off Target||2|
|51.7%||Duels Won %||48.3%|