CHESTER, Pa. — Delaware product Anthony Fontana opened his club’s 2018 account and C.J. Sapong piled on, as the Union rolled over the shorthanded New England Revolution, 2-0, on a frigid Saturday night at Talen Energy Stadium.
The lopsided victory, in which the Union played up a man for much of the match, was just the club’s second opening-day win in nine tries. The Union beat the Houston Dynamo off a Danny Califf goal in 2011. They are now 2-4-3 all-time in openers.
The Union improve to 1-0-0, while the Revolution fall to 0-1-0.
• Fontana, a Union youth player-turn-pro, made his first-ever appearance with the Union Saturday. After earning the starting job during the preseason, the Newark, Delaware, native lined up at the No. 10 in place of newly signed designated player, Borek Dockal, who wasn’t quite ready to make the 18.
• Fontana, who is just 18, made the most of that opportunity in the 42nd minute when he placed home a ball from Sapong, who knocked down an Alejandro Bedoya cross. It was Fontana’s first MLS goal to put the Union up 1-0 at the half. The youngster, who showed a good feel for getting open, left the game in the 65th minute for Jay Simpson but left his stamp on the contest.
• The opening goal was set up by Sapong in more than one way. In the 24th minute, the forward launched ahead on a pseudo breakaway off a simple long ball. Just outside the box, outmatched Revs defender Antonio Mlinar Delamea flagrantly grabbed Sapong from behind to earn the easy red card ejection, putting the Union up a player.
• Looking for the elusive second goal, Union manager Jim Curtin went forward heavy. Very forward heavy. The manager pulled Fontana and Herbers out for forwards Simpson and Corey Burke in the 66th minute.
• Three minutes later, the aggressive move paid dividends. Burke beat his man on the right side of the box and slipped a light pass to Sapong for his first of the season and 2-0 Union lead.
• It was a red-card kind of night for the Revs, who suffered another one in the 86th minute. Claude Dielna simply couldn’t catch up to Corey Burke and hauled the Union forward down for his second yellow of the night.
• It was a night of firsts for a handful of Union players. Along with Fontana, the match was first for Burke and Auston Trusty’s MLS debut.
• The Union outshot the Revs, 21-5, while Andre Blake earned the three-save shutout. It was the 18th of his career.