For the first time since August 27th, 2016, the Philadelphia Union have won their first regular season game thanks to a hat trick from CJ Sapong and multiple saves from Andre Blake. The 3-0 win came against their eastern conference rivals, the New York Red Bulls. The Union are now unbeaten in three games with 1 win and 2 draws but still sit in last place in the East.
Overall, the first 70 minutes of this game was a tough one to watch. Fouls slowed down the game and didn’t allow for good combination soccer. Three Union players picked a yellow cards during this span of the game. Though, the game was slow and choppy, there were a few chances for either team. In the 20th minute, Blake made his first big save of the night.
Once past the 70th minute mark, the game started to flow for the Union. Luis Robles made a diving save to knock away CJ Sapong’s header, that was heading toward the top left corner of the goal. Sapong would get his goal minutes later when a bad turnover and a deflection by the Red Bulls, gave the Union a 1-0 lead. However, for the next five minutes, it looked like the Union would give up this lead. With the Red Bulls missing the net on a wide open header and then Blake bailed the Union out, with a great save to stop Wright-Phillips’ shot from short range.
After Blake’s save, the Union turned it around and doubled there lead when Chris Pontius headed a Fabian Herber’s cross into the 6 yard box, where CJ Sapong headed it in for his second of the night. In the 84th minute, the Union were rewarded with a pk when a Chris Pontius’ cross hit a Red Bulls defender’s hand. CJ Sapong put the pk away, giving him his first hat trick of his career and becoming the three ever Union player to record a hat trick.
The Union are back in action next week when they travel to the Nation’s Capital to play DC United on Saturday May 13th.