CHESTER, PA – It took 135 minutes, a questionable early no-call on a penalty shout and a goal waved off to get there but once the Philadelphia Union finally put the ball in the back of the net they were able to cruise to a comfortable 4-0 win over Alianza FC and advance to the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Champions League.
The first big scoring chance for the hosts coming off a scoreless draw in El Salvador last week came when Alejandro Bedoya played Daniel Gazdag into the box in the 6th minute. The Hungary international went down in what looked like a clear penalty but the call never came and the game went on.
Gazdag put the ball in the back of the net in the 21st minute when Bedoya headed a low corner from Kai Wagner and Gazdag got the last touch but again the referee stood between the Union and a 1-0 score line when Gazdag was whistled for offside.
The next big referee involvement favored the Union when Alexis Montes was shown a second yellow for taking down Nathan Harriel just outside the box on a counter attack sprung by a long ball from Martinez in the 40th minute. The ensuing free kick hit the wall but just before halftime Wagner’s corner found the head of Damion Lowe, who headed it home to put the Union up 1-0 going into the break.
Gazdag had yet another goal taken away just after halftime when he hammered home a deflected corner from Lowe. Moments later Gazdag was pushed down in the box; that wasn’t a foul either. His time would finally come when a penalty was awarded after video review for a handball in the box. His penalty kick made it 2-0.
With the two-goal advantage and 10-men Alianza tiring, the Union started to dominate possession. Andres Perea came off the bench with a pair of goals – the first off a lovely crossing ball from substitute Quinn Sullivan and the second off a lovely pass from Uhre – to round out the scoring. Jack McGlynn set up both goals with passes forward to Sullivan and Uhre, further frustrating an Alianza team that put themselves in a nearly impossible situation going down a man 40 minutes in.
Up next the Union will face the winner of Olimpia and Atlas in the CCL quarterfinal. Olimpia leads 4-1 after the first leg.
The Union return to MLS play this Saturday at Olympic Stadium in Montreal.