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MLS Snapshot: Philadelphia Union 2-0 New York City FC (video)

C.J. Sapong, Tranquillo Barnetta

Philadelphia Union’s C.J. Sapong, left, celebrates after scoring a goal with Tranquillo Barnetta during the second half of an MLS soccer match against the Columbus Crew, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in Chester, Pa. The Columbus Crew won 2-1. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)


The game in 100 words (or less): Let’s not jump to a too-grand conclusion this early in the 2016 season, but the Philadelphia Union are pretty alright. Jim Curtin’s side will finish the weekend top of the Eastern Conference following a 2-0 home victory over New York City FC on Saturday (couple with Montreal Impact’s 2-0 home loss to Toronto FC), their fourth win in seven games to begin the campaign. Chris Pontius (third of the season) and C.J. Sapong (fourth) were the goalscorers on the day. The question that remains for the Union: the starting 11 is pretty strong, but what kind of depth exists when the injury bug inevitably hits and half of Curtin’s preferred lineup is unavailable for selection? That’ll be the determining factor in their season, deciding whether or not they have staying power in the East’s six playoff places.

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Three moments that mattered

25' — Villa smashes the crossbar early on — David Villa went inches from giving NYCFC an early lead, a moment that would have likely changed the course of the game completely. Instead, less than a minute later…

26' — Pontius slots home from Barnetta’s cross — Does MLS still do Comeback Player of the Year? If they do, I’d like to nominate Pontius right now. He’s the (still very) early leader, no doubt.

41' — Sapong flicks it past Saunders for 2-0 — Sapong is the best forward in MLS that nobody is talking about. His game is complete: hold-up play, aerial presence, to finishing inside the penalty area — he does it all. I hope you’re watching, Jurgen.

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Man of the match: Tranquillo Barnetta

Goalscorers: Pontius (26'), Sapong (41')

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