Union clinch playoff berth with 5-1 drubbing of Minnesota

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Union clinch playoff berth with 5-1 drubbing of Minnesota


CHESTER, Pa. — The Union have clinched a playoff berth. 

Scoring four first-half goals, the red-hot club steamrolled Minnesota United, 5-1, on Saturday night at Talen Energy Stadium to claim the franchise's third-ever shot at the MLS postseason.

Now, it’s about seeding and hosting an elimination postseason game. With the victory, the Union, currently 15-12-5, leap over the Columbus Crew for fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Union are also three points behind New York City FC for the No. 3 spot with two matches remaining.

• It took just eight minutes for the Union to take the lead. Bullying his way to possession at the top of the box, Cory Burke, ahead of the pack, out-muscled his defender in a 1-on-1 situation. Once on the ball, he placed a perfect low shot that beat Bobby Shuttleworth to the left post for the 1-0 Union lead.

It was Burke’s ninth of the season and first in three games. The Union have not lost a game this season when Burke scores a goal, which shows just how important he is to the team’s success.

• Less than 10 minutes later, the Union doubled their lead. Keegan Rosenberry laced a pass to Alejandro Bedoya, who earned the inside track on his defender, allowing him to redirect it past Shuttleworth. 

• Borek Dockal earned the primary assist on the first goal and secondary on the second, giving him 17 on the season. Not only did he pass Cristian Maidana for the Union franchise assist record, but he also took the MLS assist lead over D.C. United’s Luciano Acosta.

• The Minnesota massacre continued in the 23rd, when Rosenberry split the Minnesota defense with a pass to Fafa Picault for the goal. It’s been a good couple days for Picault, who was recently invited to join the U.S. men’s national team for a series of friendlies.

• Picault scored his second of the game and 10th of the season in the 44th when he confidently fired a curling shot off a fast break. Shuttleworth didn’t even move. 

• Minnesota clawed one back in the 54th with Darwin Quintero’s goal. But the Union were just too good. Ilsinho entered the game for C.J. Sapong in the 61st and scored in the 80th on a booming shot from outside the box for the 5-1 lead.

• Prior to the match, the Union announced that forward David Accam will undergo sports hernia surgery, which will likely put a merciful end to his poor season. After signing a DP contract with the Union this offseason, the attacker scored one goal in 23 games — the lowest output of his MLS career. 

• With an international break upcoming, the Union will have off until Oct. 21, when they host the New York Red Bulls. If the club really wants to know where it stands in the East, facing one of the league’s best will be a nice test.

Union beat Red Bulls in extra time, earn first playoff win in franchise history

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Union beat Red Bulls in extra time, earn first playoff win in franchise history


CHESTER, Pa. — Fabrice-Jean Picault scored and assisted on Marco Fabian's goal in extra time to help the Philadelphia Union beat New York 4-3 on Sunday and eliminate the Red Bulls from the playoffs.

Fabian came on in the 103rd minute and scored in the 105th when his shot from the left side deflected high off New York's Marc Rzatkowski into the net.

Third-seeded Philadelphia, which earned the first MLS playoff win in franchise history, will play at No. 2 seed Atlanta in the second round Thursday night.

Josh Sims blasted a right-footer from outside the top of the box to open the scoring in the sixth minute and Tim Parker's header in the 24th gave the Red Bulls a 2-0 lead. It was the 22-year-old Sims' first MLS goal.

Alejandro Bedoya side-netted a first-timer in the 30th minute to cut Philadelphia's deficit in half but Tom Barlow scored in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time to make it 3-1.

Sergio Santos' header deflected off the crossbar and Jack Elliott headed home the rebound for Philadelphia in the 52nd minute. Picault, who came on in the 72nd, scored in the 78th to make it 3-3.

Kacper Przybylko, whose 15 goals this season are more than twice as many as any other Union player, did not play (foot stress reaction). Philadelphia had 62 percent possession and outshot the Red Bulls 32-11.

Union fall to top seed NYCFC in regular-season finale

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Union fall to top seed NYCFC in regular-season finale


CHESTER, Pa. — Ronald Matarrita and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi scored and New York City FC beat the Philadelphia Union 2-1 on Sunday in the regular-season finale.

New York City (18-6-10), the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, earned a first-round bye and will play No. 4 seed Toronto or fifth-seeded D.C. United in the conference semifinals.

Philadelphia (16-11-7) lost three of its last four regular-season games, falling from first to third in the Eastern standings. The Union will host the sixth-seeded New York Red Bulls in the knockout round.

Matarrita opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Valentin Castellanos, at the top of the area, first-timed a pass from Ben Sweat to Matarrita for the finish from near the spot. It was the first goal of the season for the 25-year-old defender.

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi chipped an entry from outside the area that deflected off the Union's Jamiro Monteiro into the goal to make it 2-0 in the 22nd and Philadelphia's Marco Fabian converted from the spot in the 87th minute.