Union

Playoff-clinching Union pass on celebration because 'they're not satisfied'

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Playoff-clinching Union pass on celebration because 'they're not satisfied'

BOX SCORE

CHESTER, Pa. — Celebratory beers sat mostly untouched in the Union locker room.

Following a 5-1 playoff-clinching win over Minnesota United on Saturday night at Talen Energy Stadium (see observations), the players had reason to celebrate. Instead, they were jovial but subdued. With two matches remaining and first-round home-field advantage in play, the reason was made clear. 

“They’re not satisfied,” said Union manager Jim Curtin, whose club can finish as high as third in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. “We have a very humble and hungry locker room.”

It’s just the third time the Union have clinched a playoff berth, and nearly a decade since they did so with confidence. Curtin’s club limped into the postseason in 2016 riding a bevy of losses, only to be dismantled by Toronto FC when it got there. 

“We had just backed in, we weren’t in good form going into that game against Toronto,” Union captain Alejandro Bedoya. “This feels a lot better.”

It also feels different. 

“You learn the most about your group in the hard moments,” said Curtin, who transformed his struggling club into an Eastern Conference player. “Not only did they pass, but they did so with style.”

With the win on Saturday, the Union, who already demolished a franchise record with 15 wins, surpassed the 2011 team for the franchise-high point total with 50. But what seemed like a true departure from past Union teams, is with a chance to take the easy road with a victory against a non-playoff team at home — they took it with authority. 

“I’ve been here for a while, I’ve seen it all,” Union goalkeeper Andre Blake said. “I’ve seen this team grow a lot. We’ve learned to close games out, we’ve learned to dominate when we need to. Tough times can make you or break you and it’s been making us.” 

Led by Fafa Picault’s two, the Union scored four first-half goals and toyed with Minnesota throughout. At times it felt more like an early-round U.S. Open Cup match than a late-season MLS tilt. Credit goes to the Union for living up to the moment and seizing opportunity. 

“We don’t suck,” Picault said. “We’re doing what we’ve been doing. We’ve been through the hard times together and the good ones. It’s important we continue to do that. We’re not going to get overly confident and overhype the situation.”

The Union are now staring down New York City FC at the No. 3 spot in the East. With the win on Saturday, the Union jumped over the Columbus Crew (48 points) to claim the fourth spot. The Union face NYCFC on the road in the season finale. 

“We want to climb the table as high as we can,” Picault said. “We’re trying to get third or fourth place. The job is not done, but tonight we’re happy with what we’ve done on the field and we want to keep that going into the next two games.” 

Cory Burke, Andre Blake and Alejandro Bedoya lead Union over Impact

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USA Today Images/Bill Streicher

Cory Burke, Andre Blake and Alejandro Bedoya lead Union over Impact

BOX SCORE 

Cory Burke and Jamiro Monteiro each scored to help the Philadelphia beat the Montreal Impact 3-0 on Saturday for the Union's fourth win in their last five games.

Burke stole a lazy pass near midfield and then took a few dribbles before blasting a roller from outside the area just inside the far post to give Philadelphia (4-3-1) a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute.

Monteiro, a 25-year old on loan from FC Metz through June, converted from the spot in the 45th for his first MLS goal after Jack Elliott drew a foul conceded by Zakaria Diallo.

Alejandro Bedoya tapped in an empty-netter to cap the scoring 57th minute.

Montreal (3-3-2) had its three-game unbeaten streak snapped and conceded a goal for the first time since a 7-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City on March 30.

Philadelphia's Kai Wagner was shown a straight red card, after video review, in the 90th minute.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores twice as Union lose to LA Galaxy

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USA Today Images/Jayne Kamin-Oncea

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores twice as Union lose to LA Galaxy

CARSON, Calif. — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice in the first half and the LA Galaxy beat the Philadelphia Union 2-0 on Saturday night for their fourth straight victory.

Ibrahimovic opened the scoring with a header in the 27th minute for the Galaxy (5-1-0). He drew a penalty five minutes later and converted it into the left corner in the 36th minute. The Swedish forward has six goals this season and 28 in 31 MLS appearances.

Philadelphia went down a man in the 76th minute when Auston Trusty was shown a red card for unsporting behavior.

The Union's Marco Fabian left in the 23rd minute because of a left ankle injury.

Philadelphia (3-3-1) had won three straight and was unbeaten in four.