Photo by USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
Just moments after giving up a two-goal advantage, the Philadelphia Union executed the perfect response.
Union defender Sheanon Williams headed home a Sebastian Le Toux free kick in the 72nd minute and the Union posted a 4-2 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes in front of 17,421 fans at PPL Park.
Le Toux, who led the way with a goal and three assists on the night, delivered a pinpoint free kick from the right side that made its way in front of Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch. A streaking Williams muscled past Earthquakes midfielder Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi and got his head onto the ball to put an end to a second-half Earthquakes comeback.
Just two minutes prior to Williams’ game-winner, Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski provided an equalizer in the 70th minute with a volley finish on the back post.
Left in acres of space, the Earthquakes forward waved down a cutting Shea Salinas, who eventually spotted Wondolowski’s back post run. Salinas’ ensuing cross dropped onto the right foot of the World Cup veteran, who smashed the shot past a debuting Rais M’Bolhi for the tying goal.
Wondolowski’s finish seemingly capped off an Earthquakes comeback that saw the visitors erase a two goal first-half deficit. The rally started in the 59th minute with a spectacular long-range finish from Sam Cronin.
It was the Union that found a way to pick up three points, making sure their strong start to the game did not go to waste. The hosts opened the scoring in the 10th minute through Andrew Wenger, who took full advantage of a Le Toux pass before rocketing a shot up and over Busch.
Le Toux followed Wenger’s finish with a goal of his own shortly thereafter, giving Philadelphia a 2-0 lead inside the opening 14 minutes.
Williams kickstarted that sequence, cutting through the right side before sending a cross into the path of Connor Casey. The veteran forward’s ensuing header failed to come off, but Le Toux was around to pounce on San Jose’s poor clearance.
Earthquakes found a way to get into the game when defender Jordan Stewart thumped a long free kick into the box, which the Union defense seemingly cleared away from danger. However, Cronin was positioned at the top of the box to rocket the bouncing clearance past M’bolhi and into the upper right corner.
Wondolowski’s equalizer soon followed, but the Earthquake’s comeback was undone by Williams’ rapid response as well as a late insurance goal from Wenger, which was once again assisted by Le Toux.
With the victory, the Union leapfrog the New England Revolution to claim sixth place in the crowded Eastern Conference.
The Union now face some time off with the team’s next game coming Sept. 3 against Toronto FC. Meanwhile, the Earthquakes will look to rebound Saturday when they host Real Salt Lake.