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Philadelphia Union strike for 4 goals in first-ever win over Real Salt Lake

CHESTER, PA– The Philadelphia Union’s first-ever victory over Real Salt Lake came in dominant fashion, as they won 4-1 Saturday night at Talen Energy Stadium. 

Marcus Epps, Borek Dockal, Ilsinho and Keegan Rosenberry scored in the Union’s second consecutive win of the season. 

After an up-and-down first 20 minutes in which Nick Rimando and Andre Blake traded their signature impressive denials in net, the Union began to take over. 

The barrage of chances against the RSL defense finally reaped rewards when Marcus Epps slotted his first goal of the season into the right side of the net off a Fafa Picault cross. 

“I loved what I saw from (Epps) today,” Union captain Alejandro Bedoya said. “We talked all year about how we need to push everyone. No one is guaranteed a spot on this team, whether it’s me as a captain or DP or young guy, everyone has to fight for a position. To see him now, he’s been knocking on the door all season. It pays dividends to work hard in training and today he showed what he’s capable of. He’s a talented boy, so hopefully he keeps progressing.”

Picault, who made his second consecutive start Saturday, tore apart Adam Henley on the left wing, and he was able to create a significant amount of chances that led to set-piece opportunities. 

In the 34th minute, the Union doubled their advantage by way of Dockal, who burst through two defenders to connect with Alejandro Bedoya’s pass from the right wing.

“The left center defender struggled with those runs. I saw the space to go behind him and Ale gave me a perfect ball,” Dockal said. “I didn’t even have to control it. I could just chip it over with my first touch.” 

As Rimando rushed off his line, Dockal produced a perfectly-weighted chip over the RSL goalkeeper for the second tally of his MLS career. 

The Union continued to threaten at the start of the second half, but Rimando kept the visitors in the game with a tremendous diving save on Dockal in the 57th minute. 

Minutes after C.J. Sapong was removed from the game, RSL jumped back into the contest by way of a nifty buildup started on the left side of the box. 

Substitute Sebastian Saucedo beat Keegan Rosenberry and picked out Damir Kreilach following a nice dummy by Corey Baird. 

May 19, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union midfielder Borek Dockal (10) celebrates his goal with midfielder Haris Medunjanin (6) during the first half against Real Salt Lake at Talen Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Right after RSL got back in the game, the Union appeared to reclaim their two-goal advantage, as Rimando bobbled a shot from Epps and the ball landed in the back of the net. However, video review ruled Epps offside as he got into position to receive the pass on the right side of the box. 

The ruling didn’t slow down the Union attack, though. Ilsinho knocked in a shot from close range in the 75th minute to close the door on RSL. 

The Union didn’t need an emphatic finish to bury RSL in the final 10 minutes, but they received it from Rosenberry, who hit a thunderous shot on the ground from 25 yards out into the left side of the net past a diving Rimando. 

“For me it’s all about the first touch,” Rosenberry said. “If I take a good first touch, even for serving the ball, it’s the same thing. I did my best with it with the strike and kept it on goal.” 

Although they walked away from the field with a win and four goals, the Union felt like their performance could’ve been better. That mindset should help them stay sharp heading into a Week 13 clash with the New York Red Bulls. 

“The longer you let them hang around, they get one and they think they’re in the game and you’re scrambling and it turns into a completely different match,” Rosenberry said. “We responded well, even though we got one called back, we responded again and we kept pushing. The resiliency was really good tonight.” 

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