CHESTER, PA– Eight seasons, a hot streak of form and a little help from the worst team in Major League Soccer.
That’s how long it took the Philadelphia Union to win four games in a row. Jim Curtin’s men downed the Colorado Rapids, 2-1, on Saturday night to achieve the longest stretch of consecutive wins in the team history.
As the Rapids continuously shot themselves in the foot, the Union took advantage of the mistakes and piled on for a second-half comeback at Talen Energy Stadium.
The Rapids unexpectedly took the lead in the 15th minute when Caleb Calvert broke down the field without being touched by any Union defenders. The first career goal from Calvert beat Andre Blake, who stood still and watched the ball fly into the right side of the net.
After a drab start to the second half, Colorado came close in the 64th minute when Kevin Doyle struck the upper-left part of the bar on a free kick. That would be the last moment of hope the Rapids would have before things went south for the last place team in the Western Conference.
Three minutes later, C.J. Sapong struck the back of the net from the penalty spot. The spot kick was earned by substitute Jay Simpson. Kortne Ford slid to stop Simpson’s shot, but in the process, the ball hit the hand of the defender.
Sapong’s eighth goal of the season, and second penalty of 2017, set the wheels in motion for a comeback, one that took a bizarre twist in the 69th minute.
After being served a yellow card for dissent, Caleb Calvert picked up a second yellow seconds later for re-entering the field too soon and from the wrong location. As expected, the Rapids bench was livid and assistant coach Conor Casey was tossed from the contest.
The Rapids continued to add on to the load of second-half mistakes in the 74th minute, when Josh Gatt fouled Alejandro Bedoya from behind after Bedoya sent his attempt into the stands. That set up a free kick goal by Haris Medunjanin, who beautifully placed his second goal of the season into the back of the net.
The Union will hit the road next weekend to face Real Salt Lake on Saturday, while the Rapids return home to take on Sporting Kansas City in a week’s time.
Man of the Match
Haris Medunjanin made up for a few sloppy turnovers with his game-winning goal and he didn’t allow many chances through the middle of the park while the Rapids were at full strength.
Moment of the Match
Once Haris Medunjanin’s free kick struck the back of the net, the boisterous crowed at Talen Energy Stadium erupted into an uproar rarely heard in Chester.
Match to Forget
Caleb Calvert did it all for the Rapids. He scored the opener, but then he wasted a decent performance with a dumbfounded second yellow that marked the end of the Rapids on Saturday night.