Photo by Tony Quinn/ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
After an impressive showing in their season opener in Portland, the Philadelphia Union returned home to an PPL Park crowd eager to see their new-look team in action.
The Union didn’t disappoint, controlling their match against the New England Revolution for much of the day on their way to a 1-0 victory against the Revs on Saturday.
Sebastien LeToux’s game-winning finish off a Leonardo Fernandes pass in the 31st minute was all the Union defense needed as Zach MacMath made three saves to preserve the shutout.
The Revs dropped their second straight loss, and did so without reigning MLS Defender of the Year Jose Goncalves, who was left out of the squad. His absence wasn’t quite the reason the Revs lost though, as the Union midfield dominated proceedings on a day where they held a 60-40 possession edge on the Revs.
Fernandes stepped in for Brian Carroll, who was sidelined due to illness, and he made the most of the opportunity, sending in a dangerous cross that LeToux bundled home in the 31st minute.
The victory improves the Union to 1-0-1 on the young season, with midfield newcomers Maurice Edu, Vincent Nogueira and Cristian Maidana impressing once again after their strong showing against Portland.
Carroll’s work rate was missed in the middle, but Fernandes helped bring some energy as the Union outworked the Revs, winning all the major statistical categories on the day.
The Revs are now 0-2 and facing an uncertain future as Goncalves’ absence raises serious questions about whether he will be with the club long. He voiced his displeasure with his contract situation during preseason, then opened 2014 with a poor showing in the team’s 4-0 loss to Houston.
Here are the match highlights: