CHESTER, Pa. — The Philadelphia Union looked every bit a first-place team beating up on last-place side in the second half on Saturday night.
The Union scored five goals after halftime to put away the New England Revolution, 6-1, extending their win streak at Talen Energy Stadium to five games.
“We got in at halftime and had a talk that we can do better and the guys really responded, in particular Ilsinho getting the goal right out of halftime,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. “I think that turned the whole game.”
Substitute Sergio Santos scored a pair of goals, while Ilsinho netted the game-winning strike. Jack Elliott, Kacper Przybylko and David Accam also found the back of the net.
The victory kept the Union (6-3-2, 20 points) on top of the Eastern Conference for another game. Curtin’s side has an advantage on goal differential over D.C. United, which defeated Columbus Crew SC, 3-1, at Audi Field.
Elliott’s goal came during a quick momentum change in the opening minutes of the match.
After Carlos Miguel Coronel pulled off a double save from close range, the Union broke down the field to earn a corner kick.
“I give Carlos credit for that save he had early,” Curtin said. “That then led to our first goal.”
The corner itself didn’t produce a chance, but the remnants of the set piece landed at the boot of Haris Medunjanin, who picked out an open Elliott in the middle of the box.
Elliott used a clever turn in space to put the ball on his left foot and power the opener past New England goalkeeper Cody Cropper.
“I found myself in the box in quite a lot of space,” Elliott said. “Haris played the ball to me, and I knew I didn’t have a lot of time, so I took my first touch, got it in front of me and hit it, and it went in. People see it in training, but maybe not so much on the pitch.”
The rest of the first half was a bit shaky for the Union. A few clumsy defensive plays and an unfortunate injury to Brenden Aaronson hampered the home side’s momentum.
The Revolution (2-7-2, 8 points) leveled in the 35th minute when Juan Fernando Caicedo punished the Union by sneaking through the defensive line and poking a shot past a diving Coronel.
The Union started the second half as the dominant side and never looked back, beginning with Ilsinho’s brilliant bit of skill on the right edge of the penalty area.
Ilsinho worked his way around a defender and chipped the ball into the right side of the net over Cropper.
“It was tough because we lost Brenden (Aaronson) and I wasn’t even on the field and they scored. 1-1,” Ilsinho said. “Then we get together the last 10 minutes of the first half to figure it out. I think the last 10 minutes of the first half we just warmed up to the new formation. And then after [the] talk and a couple minutes after half, we started to do our thing.”
May 4, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New England Revolution defender Andrew Farrell (2) and Philadelphia Union midfielder Brenden Aaronson (22) battle for the ball during the first half at Talen Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
The floodgates opened up in the 69th minute, when Santos knocked in a Kai Wagner cross. The ball appeared to take its last touch off a defender, but the strike was credited to Santos.
Santos definitely got the final touch on his goal five minutes later, which was his second of the season.
Przybylko extended the rout in the 82nd minute by finishing off an assist from captain Alejandro Bedoya. Przybylko has scored in each of his last three games.
David Accam finished off the night of scoring in the 87th minute by hammering home a rebound off a saved shot off the boot of Santos.
The Union will try to extend their current winning run to three games next Saturday in Toronto, while the Revs on back on the field on Wednesday against Chicago.