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C.J. Sapong, Union topple Revolution with dominant shutout win

BOX SCORE

CHESTER, Pa. -- C.J. Sapong and the Union took two minutes to claim the lead and didn’t look back, punishing the shorthanded New England Revolution, 3-0, Sunday at Talen Energy Stadium.

“All 11 players and substitutes that came on, they all contributed to the three points,” Union center back Oguchi Onyewu said. “It’s a testament to our growing as a team and our toughness in terms of playing against us. I don’t think that any team can say we’re an easy team to beat or play against.” 

Before fans settled into their seats, the Union took the advantage. Breaking down the left side of the Revs' box, Sapong’s attempted cross hit the extended left arm of Benjamin Angoua on the line. Without hesitation, referee Chris Penso pointed to the spot for the fortunate Union penalty kick.

Lining up, Sapong stutter-stepped before pounding a rocket high and down the center past Cody Cropper to make it 1-0. It was Sapong’s team-leading and career-high ninth of the season, along with his first in four games.

“I’m seeing my battling throughout the game is paying dividends for myself and my teammates around me,” Sapong said. “So I just want to keep doing that.”

Still, the visitors pressed. 

With the Revs controlling play throughout the first half, Union goalkeeper Andre Blake was called upon once again to play the savior. In the 12th minute, off a midfield turnover, the Revs gained the Union box and on a two-on-one, Teal Bunbury slid the ball over to Kei Kamara for a right-footed shot which Blake bodied away. 

“It was a turnover and I just tried to get a read on it,” Blake said. “I saw he was gonna pass to him so I knew I just had to get out and make myself big and to hopefully see if I can get a piece of it. That’s what happened.”

Blake finished with the three-save shutout. It was his seventh clean sheet of the season.

“I think there was a few instances where they got in behind us,” Onyewu said. “But that’s why we have a world-class goalie like Andre to do his job and do what he’s paid for.” 

The save loomed large, as three minutes into the second half the Union doubled their lead and put a chokehold on the match. Pushing down the right side on a fast break, Fafa Picault stopped and flipped a pass to the streaking Ilsinho, who split defenders and took a shot off the bounce that found the top of the net. 

“Haris found Fafa for a through pass, and Fafa found me and I took a good shot,” Ilsinho said. “Thank God, I scored my second goal of the season.

“When I was running, I read it so fast and I didn’t see anyone inside the box. I tried to shoot and score or the keeper saves it and someone else takes the rebound.”

The dismantling of the Revs continued in the 78th minute, when Roland Alberg, moments after entering the game for Ilsinho, ripped a rocket from around 30 yards out that beat Cropper and into the top right corner for the 3-0 win.

“To score the goal that Roland did, how quickly he releases that shot is world class,” Union manager Jim Curtin said.

Without midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who is away with the U.S. Men’s National Team for Gold Cup duty, the Union have registered back-to-back wins to move their record to 6-7-4. Meanwhile, the Revolution entered Sunday’s match without leading scorer Juan Agudelo and key midfielder Kelyn Rowe, who are both working the Gold Cup with Bedoya. The Revs, who are now 5-8-5, were also down suspended Diego Fagundez for the match.

“We’re not perfect and we’re not going to win the rest of our games, but at the midway point now, we’ve put ourselves in a spot with a couple games in hand on a lot of teams,” Curtin said. “We have to take care of business with those games in hand.”