By Mary Cunningham
The Union, which until a month ago hadn’t won a game since last August, set a club record last night by beating the Colorado Rapids 2-1 for their fourth straight win!
CJ Sapong and Haris Medunjanin scored the goals.
The Union started slowly and Colorado took advantage. Caleb Calvert got on the scoresheet in the 15th minute for Colorado to give the Rapids a 1-0 lead.
After receiving a pass from Kevin Doyle, Calvert dribbled deep into the Union zone with just defender Oguchi Onyewu in front of him. Calvert sent a shot from outside the 18 that left reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake without much of a chance as the ball found the back of net.
Philly had a couple of chances in the first half, but were unable to get by Colorado goalkeeper Tim Howard. The Union saw chances created from Giliano Wijnaldum who made his MLS debut tonight.
After the first 45 minutes of action, the Union trailed 1-0 to Colorado thanks to Calvert’s goal in the first 15 minutes of play.
The momentum of the match changed in the 65th minute after referee Jose Carlos Rivero awarded a penalty after Colorado defenseman Kortne Ford fell on a loose ball in the box resulting in a hand ball.
The Union’s leading goal-scorer CJ Sapong stepped up to the penalty spot and delivered a perfect strike and found the back of the net to beat Howard. The equalizing goal in the 67th minute was Sapong’s eighth of the season and his second successful penalty kick of 2017.
Moments later Colorado’s goal-scorer Calvert was issued a yellow card for dissent. Calvert left the pitch with an apparent injury but reentered the field of play illegally and was given a second yellow card in the 69th minute resulting in a red card and was ejected from the match. Calvert’s ejection left Colorado with 10 men for the remainder of the match.
In the 75th minute Medunjanin sent the crowd at Talen Energy Stadium into complete pandemonium. After a Rapids foul, Medunjanin stepped up to take a free-kick outside the box on the near side of the pitch. Medunjanin delivered a world class free-kick over the Rapids’ wall, beating Colorado keeper Howard to give Philadelphia the 2-1 lead.
The Union were able to control the tempo of the match for the final 15 minutes and the final whistle blew giving the Union their fourth consecutive victory setting a club record.
The Union will be back in action next week when they take on Real Salt Lake. Kick-off for that contest is set for 8 p.m. ET and will be televised on Comcast SportsNet.