Union shut out by Revolution with Andre Blake sidelined with an injury

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Union shut out by Revolution with Andre Blake sidelined with an injury

BOX SCORE

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Kei Kamara scored twice, and Juan Agudelo added a late goal in the New England Revolution's 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.

Kamara had his first multi-goal game since July 2016. He has seven goals this season

Kamara opened the scoring in the 38th minute, leaping to receive a high, arcing pass from Kelyn Rowe and beat goalkeeper John McCarthy. Kamara added his second in the 85th minute, and Agudelo put it out of reach with his eighth goal of the year four minutes later.

The Revolution (7-9-5) have won two straight following four consecutive losses.

Philadelphia (7-10-5) was playing without reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake. Blake suffered a hand injury for Jamaica in the Gold Cup final loss to the United States on Wednesday night.

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

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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.”

Union-Revolution 5 things: Back to MLS grind after Open Cup exit

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CSN

Union-Revolution 5 things: Back to MLS grind after Open Cup exit

Union vs. New England Revolution
5 p.m. on FS1

Fresh off a gut-wrenching end to their 2017 U.S. Open Cup, the Union (5-7-4) return to MLS play to host a team in the Revolution (5-7-5) they could end up battling for one of the final Eastern Conference playoff spots.

Here are five things to know:

1. Bruised but not beaten
Recovering from games four days apart is always a difficult task; recovering from a grueling 120-minute knockout game that ended with a brutal shootout loss to the nemesis New York Red Bulls is even tougher.

But although head coach Jim Curtin said he felt like he and the players “let down the fans,” he’s confident that they’ll be up for a quick turnaround.

“We will have some fresh legs,” Curtin said. “With the competitive roster, we have guys we plug in and don’t really miss a beat. That’s a strong thing to have. We’re a real balanced team and it’s a group I’m confident will be fresh. … Even the 120-minute guys are feeling pretty strong and ready to turn it around and go again.”

Indeed, four regular starters — goalkeeper Andre Blake, defenders Oguchi Onyewu and Ray Gaddis, and midfielder Ilsinho — didn’t play at all vs. the Red Bulls on Wednesday and another (Chris Pontius) only played 15 minutes.

And as for the guys who went the full 120 minutes, Curtin is feeling good about their effort and recovery, specifically pointing to attacking midfielder Roland Alberg.

“It was his best game in a Philadelphia Union uniform,” the Union coach said.

2. Gold Cup absences
There’s good news and bad news on the international absence front.

The bad news? The Union will be without captain Alejandro Bedoya, who’s currently with the U.S. national team leading up to start of the Gold Cup next weekend. And the Union are 5-1 in the last six games Bedoya has started.

The good news is Blake, who was dealing with a minor rib injury, is set to make one final start in Philly before joining Jamaica for the CONCACAF tournament. And he’s coming off a monster performance in the Union’s 1-0 win over D.C. United last weekend.

The Revs, meanwhile, will be without striker Juan Agudelo (U.S.) and midfielders Kelyn Rowe (U.S.) and Gershon Koffie (Ghana). All three were part of Saturday’s U.S.-Ghana friendly, though only Rowe got into the game, earning his first USMNT cap.

3. All eyes on Jones
With Bedoya gone and Warren Creavalle hurt, 20-year-old midfielder Derrick Jones has a big opportunity in front of him as a starter for Sunday’s game — and potentially a few more after that.

In Jones’ last start, he was shown a red card that led to a 2-0 loss to the Red Bulls on June 18. But he said he’s learned from that experience and is eager to temporarily take the spot of a player like Bedoya.

“I look up to him every day in training, on the field, in games,” Jones said of the Union captain. “He tells me to play my game, keep doing what I’m doing.”

Curtin said the first half of the season has gone well for Jones, who began the year of a starter before transitioning to a reserve role. But he expects more from the promising young homegrown.

“This is a big time for him now with Ale being out for these next two games,” the Union coach said. “He’ll have his hands full. But his fearlessness is what [sporting director Earnie Stewart] and I love in him and it’s what we see every day in training. We know he’ll be up to the challenge.”

4. Players to watch
Revolution: New England is missing some key players with Diego Fagundez suspended and others injured on top of the Agudelo, Rowe and Koffie international absences. But in striker Kei Kamara, the Revs still have a marquee veteran striker who can turn a game on its head.

Union: This could be an important game for Ilsinho, who’s dealing with a calf issue but figures to start at the No. 10 attacking midfield role. And he may need to have a big game to keep that spot, considering Alberg is coming off such a good game and Adam Najem — an up-and-comer at the No. 10 spot — had an “excellent” performance vs. the Red Bulls four days ago, according to Curtin.

5. This and that
• In their Open Cup game Wednesday, the Union finished with 27 shots but only scored once, leading Curtin to have the players work on finishing during practice this week.

• Maurice Edu, who hasn’t played an MLS game since Sept. 20, 2015, participated in training this week but still has no timetable to return.

• The Revs have yet to win on the road this season, going 0-6-3 in nine matches.

• The Union are 2-0-1 in their last three meetings with the Revs, outscoring them 8-1.

• With seven assists, Revs midfielder Lee Nguyen is tied for third in the league.