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Massive first half propels Philly past New England 3-1



Harriel, Lowe, and Bedoya celebrating after a goal
photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Union

How about that for a start?! Let’s be honest, the vibes were at a pretty dang low place heading into Philadelphia’s first-round matchup against New England Revolution. Nobody’s really sure why MLS decided to mess with the playoff format, but their fanbase is not really taking to the first round now becoming a best-of-three series. For Philadelphia, it becomes even more exhausting when you consider who their opponent is. They just finished the season against New England, now they have to possibly play them four times in a row? Why? Add in the club’s seeming inability to avoid draws at the end of the season, and all of the contract stuff surrounding star Kai Wagner and club captain Alejandro Bedoya, and you don’t really have a great recipe for hype.

This game should wake everyone up. It’s playoffs time and Philadelphia wants to make it back to the cup!

It was almost a disastrous start for Philadelphia, nearly conceding 10 minutes in. They should have conceded, only saved by a little bit of favor by the football gods. Mark-Anthony Kaye’s ninth-minute shot was blocked in the box by Damion Lowe. Unfortunately, it fell in the area of Noel Buck who someone managed to muster a strike with the ball in the air. With Andre Blake on the ground after diving for the prior shot, the net was wide open. The ball bounced off the crossbar, kissing the goal line before bouncing away from the net. Amid the confusion, Tomás Chancalay took a shot on goal from the edge of the box, saved only by the forehead of Lowe. This was a game-shifting series. Had one of those chances gone in, this could have easily spiraled into a Philadelphia loss.

The home side would draw first blood in a very familiar way in the 19th minute. Julian Carranza drew a penalty by goalkeeper Jacob Jackson. It was a pretty egregious penalty to give up by Jackson, no reason for him to rush out of his net like that. You know how it goes from here. Daniel Gazdag, from the spot, goal Philadelphia! 1-0 Union. To add insult to injury… or rather injury to injury, Revs star-man Charles Gil had to come off due to an injury. This is an important situation to monitor, the Spaniard one of the best players in the league.

Just minutes later in the 26th, Mikael Uhre would expand the lead to two goals. It all started down the left flank with, who else, Kai Wagner. The German left back dropped a pass to Jack McGlynn, who launched forward a through ball back to Wagner down the lefthand side. Wagner drilled in a cross that was nearly an own goal. Uhre did very well with his run and was rewarded, the ball bouncing right off the keeper for the easiest goal that he will score. 2-0 Union.

Philadelphia would add a third goal 11 minutes later, and it was once again orchestrated by Wagner. He seems like a player you’d certainly want to keep around as long as you can! Given a free kick by a Chancalay foul, one of three yellow cards the away team earned, Wagner found Nathan Harriel for a headed goal. This was a special goal provided by Wagner, lofting a pass to where only Harriel could reach it on the far side of the box. Simply a sublime pass to put the Union up 3-0.

Julian Carranza would nearly make it 4-0 in the 47th minute. He took a chance from outside the box, but his strike was just a bit too high. That would have been a great way to put an exclamation point on the win for Philadelphia, especially as the Revolution roared back in the second half in search of a comeback. Though Andre Blake made a nice save in the 59th minute, New England would earn one back in the 68th minute thanks to Gustavo Bou. They nearly earned a second one as well in the 75th minute if there was anyone but Andre Blake in net. It was your typical “Andre Blake saves Philly’s butts” type of moment that we’ve all grown accustomed to.

Philadelphia would hold on for a 3-1 lead to win in the first game of their first round series against New England. They will travel to New England for their second game in this best of three series on Wednesday, Nov. 8th at 7:00 PM.

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