A massive crowd of 18,781 people filled the stands last night, August 24, making records as the largest crowd of the season at Talen Energy Stadium. The Philadelphia Union are undefeated when playing in front of a sellout crowd at home. While watching the match, it is easy to see just how the Union players thrive on the energy they see and hear from their fans in the stands.
Philly sports fans make a difference
If making the list of things that Philly does right, would definitely be a passion for cheering on their home sports team and clearly that enthusiasm makes a difference. The Philadelphia Union earned three points at home against D.C. United making the match their 14th win of the season. The Union now has 51 goals on the season, tying the 2014 edition of the team and one behind the 2016 club (52) for the most the team has ever scored in a single season. In a final score of Philadelphia Union 3, D.C. United 1, it was not a bad win during Heineken Rivalry Week where teams across Major League Soccer (MLS) have been battling some of their closest rivals.
Who scored the goals?
Kacper Przybylko (#23) scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season as well as adding two assists. Ilsinho scored his fifth goal of the season, and fourth career goal against D.C., the most he has against any MLS team. Only one other MLS player has scored more goals, not including penalties. Przybylko’s 12 non-penalty tallies have been bested by only Atlanta’s Josef Martinez (16). Since the Union play Atlanta United next weekend, I’m sure we’ll be seeing these two on the attack.
Brenden Aaronson (#22) scored his second career MLS goal with a kick that sent the ball straight up the middle thanks to a quick cutting assist from Przybylko. After the goal Aaronson ran to the sidelines, cupping his hands behind his ears with a big smile on his face, which got the crowd off their feet clapping and stomping their feet.
The Union’s third score was kicked in by Ilshino (#25) with a cut inside to an unstoppable kick on the goal. Ilshino followed Aaronson’s move of running over to the sidelines, almost literally since Aaron was by his side as he made his way to the crowd. The fans were still cheering in the stands as he raised his hands and made the shape of a heart. Awww shucks!
Other “non-scoring” match facts
Another bit of review worthy news post-match: Ray Gaddis made his 200th appearance with the Union last night, he is now one of 47 active MLS players with at least 200 regular-season appearances. Incredible! Gaddis has recently been criticized for not effectively playing the field. Other teams have noticed Gaddis focuses on the right flank of center field for most of the game, making his position predictable and allowing space for the opposition to score.
Mark McKenzie earned his first start of the 2019 season after having been team captain last year. This is stellar news because McKenzie has been fighting to get back into the game. So far he has only played twelve minutes during the 2019 season due to injuries, which have pushed other players ahead of him on the roster. “It feels great to be back on the home field, playing in front of our fans, being around with the guys”, McKenzie noted. He went on to say that Coach Curtin always talks about “next man up”, and he says he thinks everybody has embodied that statement. “Whenever your name is called, you’re ready, which credits the staff for pushing us.”
The Union returns for their second consecutive home game next weekend at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday, August 31 vs. Atlanta United (7:30 p.m. ET / PHL17).
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