Andre Blake

Missed chances cost Union in 2-0 loss to Atlanta United

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Missed chances cost Union in 2-0 loss to Atlanta United

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CHESTER, Pa. -- It was another lifeless night for the Union offense, as the hosts fell to the league’s top team, Atlanta United, 2-0, on Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium. 

The chances were there but the finish wasn’t. Despite 18 shots, the lowest scoring team in the Eastern Conference remained that way, falling to 6-9-3 for their fourth loss in their last five games.

Meanwhile, Atlanta United moved to an MLS-leading 12-4-4. Brad Guzan finished with the three-save shutout.

• It was a battle between the highest and lowest scoring teams in the conference. But you wouldn’t know it from the first half. The back-and-forth action made for an entertaining show, as the teams combined for 17 shots and eight corners.

• It was a game marred by missed chances. The Union’s most potent opportunity of the game came in the 55th minute, when Alejandro Bedoya chipped the ball to himself down the right side. With an opening, he sent a perfect seam pass to Borek Dockal, who’s attempted redirection went high.

• That miss would cost them. Two minutes later, the Union were caught, when Mark McKenzie was beat on a long ball by offensive dynamo Miguel Almiron, who was clipped by Andre Blake in a race for the ball. The in box foul drew a penalty kick for Atlanta United.

•Josef Martinez finished the play, calmly playing his penalty kick to the right of Blake for a 1-0 Atlanta United advantage. It was his 18th goal this season.

• But it wasn’t all Blake’s fault. He was the best player on the field for the Union. Including a full-extension diving stop in the opening moments of the second half, Blake finished with six saves.
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• Looking for life, Union manager Jim Curtin tapped forward Cory Burke to replace C.J. Sapong in the 64th minute. It was another tough outing for Sapong, who finished with no shots on goal. He’s registered just one shot on goal in his last nine games. He’s scoreless in his last 11.

• Atlanta United doubled its lead in the 76th with a tic-tac passing play that undressed the Union defense. Hector Villalba scored from Almiron and Martinez.

• Next up for the Union, they hit the road on short rest to face the Chicago Fire on Wednesday at Toyota Park.

Adama Diomande's hat trick sinks Union in 1st meeting with expansion LAFC

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Adama Diomande's hat trick sinks Union in 1st meeting with expansion LAFC

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LOS ANGELES — Adama Diomande spoiled the Union’s first trip to Banc of California Stadium with Los Angeles FC’s first hat trick in franchise history.

In front of 22,000 fans at the recently opened soccer stadium in the Exposition Park neighborhood of L.A. on Saturday, Diomande lifted expansion LAFC to a 4-1 win over the Union.

The result ended a modest two-game winning streak for the Union, who fell to 1-6-1 on the road this year. LAFC, on pace to be the best MLS expansion team ever, remained unbeaten at home with a 4-0-3 record and a 9-4-3 overall mark.

• The Union had no answer for Diomande, who now has a whopping seven goals in the past four games. The 28-year-old Norwegian twisted Mark McKenzie into a pretzel before firing a shot past Andre Blake to the far post to open the scoring in the 25th minute.

• Diomande’s second goal came in the 43rd minute when he tapped it in following a very nice string of passes with Benny Feilhaber and Mark Anthony-Kaye notching the assists. He completed the hat trick in the 55th minute when a cross from Latif Blessing cross got loose and he collided with Blake in the process.

• Latif Blessing tacked on the team's fourth goal deep into stoppage time with the outcome already decided.

• It was mostly a rough night for the Homegrown center back pairing of Auston Trusty and Mark McKenzie. Union head coach Jim Curtin has said before he can’t recreate these kinds of long trips and daunting environments for the teenagers, so games like these should be expected.

• The Union had two golden scoring chances in the first half. In the 11th minute, C.J. Sapong misplayed a ball from Alejandro Bedoya and couldn’t get off a wide-open shot before Marcus Epps skied the rebound. In the 28th minute, Bedoya had a header saved off the goal line by Joao Moutinho and Auston Trusty was high on the follow.

• David Accam, who’s been glued to the bench for most of June, entered the game in the 62nd minute but couldn’t provide much of a spark, save for a run in stoppage time. He and Sapong, who were expected to be the team’s top two scorers this year, have combined for only two goals through the first 17 games.

• Anthony Fontana, the Union’s teenage midfielder, made only his second league appearance since March.

• LAFC, the league’s highest-scoring team, nearly had another goal but Lee Nguyen was called offside after hitting home a rebound after Blessing hit the post late in the match.

• LAFC remained one of only five teams who are unbeaten at home this year. 

Union squander opportunities but still earn another road point

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Union squander opportunities but still earn another road point

BOX SCORE

HARRISON, N.J. — Goalkeeper Luis Robles was honored in a pregame ceremony for the conclusion of the longest Ironman streak in MLS history and the New York Red Bulls and the Philadelphia Union both had their winning streaks snapped as they played to a scoreless draw Saturday night.

Robles sat out due to a knee injury he suffered in the final minutes of a win at Colorado a week ago, ending his streak of 183 games dating to September 2012.

Backup goalkeeper Ryan Meara had two saves to record the shutout in Robles' absence. Philadelphia's Andre Blake preserved his shutout with four saves, including a leaping grab in the 13th minute.

The Red Bulls (7-3-1) had their four-game win streak snapped. It was New York's second loss in its last 14 home matches.

Philadelphia (4-5-2) had its two-game win streak snapped. The Union have just one win in their last 17 road games.

CJ Sapong, who led Philadelphia with 16 goals last season, missed a penalty kick wide right in the 53rd minute after New York's Kemar Lawrence was called for a handball in the box.