The Philadelphia Union defeated the New England Revolution 1-0 Wednesday evening, as the Union knocked the Revolution out of the playoffs with their second win of a best-of-three series.
The Union were saved by Chris Donovan, who scored the game’s only goal late in the game. A red card to Mark-Anthony Kaye at the end of the first half gave Philadelphia a man advantage for the duration of the match, which the Union eventually took advantage of.
With Jakob Glenes out due to injury and Kai Wagner suspended for three matches, Jim Curtin was forced to put a different look on his backline against the Revolution. Nate Harriel took Wagner’s spot at left back, while Damion Lowe took Glesnes’ spot at center back.
New England nearly took the lead in the seventh minute, as Gustavo Buo took a long ball down the right side of the pitch before laying a pass off to Tomas Chancalay. Andre Blake made a show-stopping save, but it didn’t count as the assistant referee put his flag up for an offside offense against Bou.
The Revolution kept the ball on the Union’s end of the pitch for the next several moments. New England was picky, choosing its moments and not being too aggressive, but it didn’t allow the Union much possession either.
One of Philadelphia’s better chances of the first half came in the 21st minute when Jack Elliott sent a free kick into the box. However, the Union’s best opportunity from that set piece came on a Jose Martinez shot from nearly 40 yards out that didn’t even reach the penalty area.
A few moments later, the Union nearly took the lead in Gillette. The ball made its way into the box via a Jack McGlynn corner kick in the 27th minute, and players from both teams scrambled to get a foot on it. The Revolution attempted to clear the ball from the keeper’s box, but it landed at the feet of Harriel and Jack Elliott, the latter of whom sent the ball just to the right of the net.
Referee Drew Fisher issued his first yellow card of the match to Lowe after the defender’s forearm hit Bou in the face while the pair were chasing a loose ball. A brief scuffle ensued on the pitch in a match where tensions were expected to be high. New England defender Matt Polster said to media before the context that Revolution players should “start targeting” Union players on the pitch, though Polster added that any “targeting” should be without intent to hurt.
The Union got their opportunity of the night when Mark-Anthony Kaye was sent off for serious foul play in the 45th minute. Kaye did not receive a card at first glance from Fisher, but after the referee went to video review, he determined it was evident that Kaye stepped on Daniel Gazdag as Gazdag lay on the ground.
Neither team attempted much else for the duration of the first half, as the two sides progressed throughout the four minutes and forty seconds of stoppage time without drama.
The second half began in a feisty manner, as Andrew Farrell sent Harriel flying into the boards near the end line as Narriel ushered the ball out of bounds. Union players argued that Farrell should have received a card, but they only earned a foul from Fisher.
Jack McGlynn nearly gave the Union the lead in the 51st minute, as his free kick just outside the box was well-placed toward the bottom-right corner of the Revolution’s goal. However, goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. was able to get down the ball in time for a nice save.
Despite the man-advantage, Philadelphia didn’t seem to have as much control over the game as it should have. While the Union took control of possession, the Revolution didn’t give the visitors many opportunities.
The Union made their first substitutions of the match in the 67th minute, as Curtin sent Chris Donovan on for Mikael Uhre and Joaquin Torres on for Martinez as he tried to inject some life into his attack.
Blake made what may have been his biggest save of the match in the 74th minute, as he denied Farrell’s shot that tried to reach the top level of the net. Moments later, the Revolution earned another chance as Farrell took a shot from the edge of the penalty area, but he was denied by the netting on the right side of the goal.
The Union finally got their goal in the 79th minute, as Donovan proved to be the team’s hero. He deflected a free-kick cross from McGlynn to the goal as he leaped right in front of the goal line. After a video review, the goal was confirmed.
After Donovan’s goal, the Revolution put nearly all their players on the attack to save their season. Down a goal, New England just needed to score once to give themselves a chance in penalty kicks against Blake and the Union.
The Revolution didn’t go out quietly. They continued to challenge the Union attack and became aggressive at the end of the match, which resulted in a yellow card toward captain Carles Gil. However, despite the good attacking chances and physicality of the host team, the Union survived the end of the match and the five minutes of stoppage time.
The Union will next face FC Cincinnati in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The conference semifinals are set to begin on Saturday, November 25, though an exact date for the game has not been announced.