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Kacper Przybylko, Sergio Santos send Philadelphia Union back into first in East

CHESTER, Pa. —  Sergio Santos last played for the Philadelphia Union on July 13.

On Saturday night, the Brazilian  came off the bench and recorded a goal and an assist in the Union’s come-from-behind 3-1 win over Atlanta United. 

Santos provided an assist on Kacper Przybylko’s game-winning goal and finished off the win with a strike of his own to put the Union back in first place and break the club’s points record. The Union also tied their franchise high for wins. 

“Sergio’s been fighting to get back off of injury,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “You can see how explosive he is and he’s just a guy defenders don’t want to play against, especially when he comes in with fresh legs. I’m really happy for him because it is frustrating when you’re injured and battling little things. I think he’s listening and learning and to score a special goal at the end to ice it was good.” 

The Union created the better chances in the first half, but they struck the post on a pair of occasions. 

Marco Fabian was the first to do so in the 10th minute and Przybylko rattled the bottom part of the left post a few minutes before halftime.

However, their best chance was one that didn’t count. Przybylko deposited a pass from Fabian into the net in the 34th minute, but after a review, the Mexican midfielder was ruled offside. 

Unfortunately for Curtin’s side, its 45-minute effort was rendered useless right before the stroke of halftime, when Josef Martinez finished off a beautiful 1-2 move by working around Andre Blake and extending his scoring streak in league play to 13 matches. 

The Union found their answer in the 61st minute by way of Aaronson, who has two goals versus the Five Stripes this season. 

Jack Elliott won a ball in midfield, which led to Haris Medunjanin picking up the ball and feeding Brenden Aaronson down the right channel.

Aaronson timed up his shot perfectly and struck it into the left side of the net past Brad Guzan. 

“Haris and I have a connection,” Aaronson said. “When I checked in and they went in behind, I knew (Medunjanin) saw it and we made eye contact. I knew he was going to put it to my feet.” 

“I just put my head on the ball and I didn’t care where it went,” Aaronson said. “I just hit it as hard as I could. I got lucky and it went in between Brad Guzan’s legs.” 

On the play, Przybylko attempted to make a run before stopping, realizing he was offside. Although some officials could have ruled the forward was in the way of the play, no review was initiated. 

The Union barely avoided danger in the 80th minute, when a miscommunication between Elliott and Blake led to Martinez picking up the ball on the left side of the penalty area. The Venezuelan sent the ball into the side of the left post and out of play.

Aug 31, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez (7) plays the ball past Philadelphia Union defender Jack Elliott (3) during the first half at Talen Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

In the 86th minute, the Union unleashed a fury that will long be remembered in club history.

Santos kept the ball alive on the left wing and picked out Przybylko, who curled a shot into the top-left part of the net past a leaping Guzan.

“We have 28 players on our roster,” Curtin said. “Everyone that started the season has played in games and contributed in a big way. From that sense, we’re a real team.” 

Two minutes later, Santos sealed the victory with a tap-in from the center of the box for his fourth goal of the season.

The Union next play Los Angeles FC in league play on Sept. 14 at Talen Energy Stadium.

“LAFC, I wish you a lot of luck,” Przybylko said. “This is our house. This is our stadium. We’re waiting for you guys.”




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