The Philadelphia Union take to the field again this Saturday after a come from behind win against the San Jose Earthquakes last week. Conor Casey was the man of the hour as he came off the bench to give the Union two goals propelling them past a red hot San Jose team.
The Union set up a little differently as Chaco Maidana was out of the game for the red card he saw last week. Eric Ayuk started at left-mid and Tranquillo Barnetta shifted over to cover the center mid-position. Barnetta, who also started as captain, gave one of his most brilliant performances of his time with the Union. His vision and play making ability in the center role gives Jim Curtin and the rest of the organization another great asset and possible outlook to formation changes. The Union were also without defender Maurice Edu as he works back from an injury.
San Jose had their fair share of changes as well. For one thing, they were without midfielders Anibal Godoy and Sanna Nyassi as they were on international duty. They also lost forward Victor Bernardez within the first 15 minutes of play due to a hamstring injury.
The first half was fairly uneventful with the only shot on goal coming from the Union’s Vincent Nogueira which was a weak attempt to the feet of the San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham. However, San Jose saw more of the ball in the first half as they had their chances to convert multiple times.
The first goal came after Fabinho reached up a hand deflecting a San Jose cross and gaining a yellow card in the box. The result was a penalty kick which forward Chris Wondolowski buried to the bottom corner past goalkeeper John McCarthy giving San Jose a 1-0 lead.
Casey came on in the 71st minute to replace Sebastien Le Toux and to add an extra attacker. Minutes later, he followed a cross from defender Raymon Gaddis and gave it a head past the goalkeeper to secure the Union’s first point of the game while spoiling San Jose’s shutout streak at 447 minutes – the longest in MLS this season.
Casey got his second of the night and his third of this season after a set piece free kick taken by captain Barnetta. The perfectly launched ball into the box was placed exactly for Casey to give a slight deflection past Bingham.
This emotional win puts the Union in a prime position for a play-off push. They now sit in seventh place and are just one point behind Montreal and a play-off seat. They now have to look forward to playing against Columbus in front of a home crowd on Saturday. Columbus, currently in third place in the east, has just had their four game win streak snapped by Dallas last week and will be looking to rebound. In the teams’ two previous meetings this season, Columbus won 4-1 in April and Philly took a 3-0 win in June.