The Philadelphia Union won their first road match of 2019 at FC Cincinnati. Philly scored two goals, kept a clean sheet and secured the clubs 100th win in franchise history!
The Union get the W in their first ever match at Cincinnati. Here’s a look at what went down, and some major takeaways from a momentous night for the club.
Before the match even started the Union showed they were going to be bold with their lineup choice. Andre Blake returned from international duty, and Marco Fabian came back from his two game suspension, to come into the starting 11. The rest of the squad was unchanged from their 3-0 home win over Columbus last week. Brenden Aaronson’s inclusion at the left side of the diamond midfield showed that the Union were not messing around, they were going to go for the win. Their tactics payed off in a big way but not without a nail-biting first half.
The first half was dominated by the Union. They held the majority of possession. Their movement on and off the ball created dangerous attacks. These attacks were lacking that finishing touch, but result in multiple corners. Brenden Aaronson was extremely active starting attacks and Fafa Picault’s and David “Titi” Accam’s speed caused FC Cincinnati to frantically defend.
Cincinnati had only one real chance in the first half. In the 27th minute Roland Lamah got in behind Ray Gaddis and Jack Eliiot was sloe to respond to the run. Lamah scored, but was flagged offside. The Union continued to push after that, but could not find the break through. Their work was all for naught going into half time. The second half however was a different story.
Jim Curtin’s halftime speech must have really lit a fire under his players. They came out firing in the second half, and their DP Marco Fabián found himself with the ball just outside the box two minutes into the half. The play started off with Fabián playing a ball to David “Titi” Accam to get behind the Cincy defense. Accam got to the ball as it entered the box, he picked up his head and saw the Fabián continuing his run. “Titi” played the ball across the box to Macro. The Mexican International took one touch to set up a shot and riffled a left footed shot past the outstretched arms of FC Cincinnati’s keeper Spencer Richey. The Union led 1-0 and kept their foot on the gas.
10 minutes later David Accam spotted a bouncing ball in FC Cincinnati’s box. Accam was at the top left of the box with a defender in front of him. His first touch was to control the ball with the outside his left foot and neutralize the Cincinnati defender. As he did this another Cincy center back came his way. “Tit” now shifted his momentum to his right foot. He made the defender slide in front of him and shimmied his way around to get to a one-one-one with the keeper. As Richey rushed out to stop an attempt, Accam slipped the ball past him. Giving the Union a 2-0 lead. Philadelphia celebrated the goal and their breathing room but kept the pressure on.
In the remaining 32 minutes of the game, Philadelphia continued their dominating showing. Cory Burke came on For David “Titi” Accam, to give the high flying striker a rest in the 66th minute; Jamiro Monteiro made his debut replacing for Marco Fabián in the 71st minute, and Warren Creavalle came in for Brenden Aaronson in the 90th minute. All three subs helped the Union secure their already dominating hold on the game. Jim Curtin nailed these substitutions, which is something that has not always happend in the past.
At the end the Union were ready to play and FC Cincy was not. The Union won 2-0 and made it look easy.
Dominating play on the road; setting a foundation:
The Union dominated the entire match in their 2-0 win over Cincinnati. This has not always been the case for their road matches. Jim Curtin preached how the Union would play different on the road for different situations. This usually means Philly will play more defensive and think defense first. This was not the case tonight against FC Cincy.
The inclusion of Brenden Aaronson, and willingness to use the speed of their strikers to play in behind the defense showed the Union were going to try to control the game on the road. Philly created 10 corner kicks in the game, held 56.1% of the possession, had a 79% passing accuracy in the match. This type of play, if it can be duplicated, will set a foundation of success for the Union especially in Ernst Tanners high paced, high pressing system.
The Rise of “Titi”:
As you have seen, almost every time I mentioned David Accam’s name I have put Titi in quote marks. “Titi” is what David Accam now wheres on the back of his Jersey, and is a nick name that he and his late father shared. “Titi” is killing it for the Union, providing a much need spark up top over the last two matches.
After scoring two goals, notching an assist and winning player of the week last week, “Titi” assisted on the Union’s opener and scored the game sealing goal in Cincinnati. His attacking pedigree that made him a star in Chicago is beginning to shine in Philadelphia. Hopefully the rise of “Titi” in Philly continues to pay off like it is currently.
100th win in franchise history; building blocks for a successful 2019 season:
Tonight’s win was the Union’s 100th win in franchise history. While many would have wanted this milestone to happen a lot sooner than the 10th season, the achievement is worth noting. Not only is this game important to the club because of it being a huge milestone, but it’s also a huge building block for the 2019 team.
Everything went right for the Union tonight, and it wasn’t just out of luck that this happened. Ernst Tanner’s tactics are sticking, Jim Curtin’s starting 11 is creating leads in matches, and his substitutes are closing out the matches. The Union are unbeaten in their last three games, ending the first month of the season on a huge high. Philadelphia sit in fourth place in the eastern conference; Philly have only dropped points to a Toronto FC team on the rise, a Kansas City team who put up seven goals today vs Montreal and at the toughest place to play in MLS at Atlanta.
This recent form is a building block for a successful 2019 season. Let’s see if they can continue this run as the calendar turns to April.
Be sure to come back to Philly Sports Network for more Philadelphia Union, Steel FC, and other soccer content!
Follow our writers on Twitter:
Peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia Union Editor of Soccer Content
A passion for the beautiful game drives me.