The Philadelphia Union had to overcome a lot of obstacles on Saturday night.
They had to overcome wet and sloppy weather at Nippert Stadium. They had to overcome an in-form FC Cincinnati side who was aiming for a third successive victory.
Regardless of what was placed in their path, Jim Curtin’s side earned their first road win of 2019. David Accam continued to look like his 2017 self with a goal and an assist, Marco Fabian registered his first open play goal for the Union, and the backline extended their scoreless streak to 213 minutes in a 2-0 victory.
“Overall a really complete performance from the guys,” Curtin said. “I am really pleased with how we defended as a team. It was a very organized Cincinnati team who had 10 guys behind the ball, tough to break down. I didn’t like our movement in the first-half but the guys up top did a lot better after halftime and got into some deeper spots. A lot of their runs into the corners led to our two goals. Points on the road are tough to come by so we will take it.”
“I think our performances have gotten better each week. We’ve tried to implement a new style and the players have taken well to it. I thought we could’ve scored three or four goals today but we’re happy with the result.”
Both goalkeepers were rarely troubled in the opening 45 minutes but the Union broke the deadlock thanks to Accam’s composure and Fabian’s awareness. Accam’s pass hit a streaking Fabian who beat Spencer Richey for a 1-0 advantage. It was a play that Accam struggled to make last year as his confidence dipped but it was one that showed his rise in form over the last two weeks.
“[Jim] told us we were playing well but we had to make more runs to create more chances and open things up,” Accam said. “I wanted to help create chances for the team and luckily I did that for Marco for his first goal. On my goal, Brendan played a good pass to me and I scored.”
“We just need to keep doing the right things and work hard in training,” Accam said. “That’s what has helped us these last two games and I think we should keep aiming to the same. Not change anything up.”
Accam iced the result before the hour mark as he danced his way into the box and beat Richey with a toe-poke. It was his third goal in the last two weeks, which tripled his total production from 2018. Even with Cory Burke returning from international duty with Jamaica and Jamiro Monteiro eligible to play, Accam has held his place in Curtin’s starting XI.
Defensively, Andre Blake returned between the posts and made a pair of saves to preserve the clean sheet. His shining moment came four minutes into the second half when he punched away Roland Lamah’s clever effort after the winger kept his balance in the box. Homegrown midfielder Brendan Aaronson put in another strong shift as well, winning eight duels while also gaining confidence from his third consecutive start.
“Our back four has been solid all year, our midfielders and forwards have done well too. Tonight they made it an easy night for Andre [Blake]. The amount of corners in the first half, I think it was nine so we created chances I think we just had to be more clinical in front of goal. Anytime you can get a shutout in a tough environment in bad weather conditions it’s good.”
“I thought they both were good on the night,” Curtin said. “Brendan [Aaronson], in particular, turning in tight spaces and getting more comfortable out there. Marco [Fabian] gives us quality on the goal. He had the composure to wait and make a play in front of goal. Happy with both of their performances, Brendan was strong defensively, Marco worked his tail off as well. Pulled them out a little early with two weeks off prior to tonight, but overall good nights for them.”
The Union jumped up to fourth place in the East, sitting on seven points from five matches. After starting the season with back-to-back losses, the team looks to have turned the tide while also picking up their first road win in March since 2016. FC Dallas visits Talen Energy Stadium on April 6th on the back of consecutive wins which should provide another difficult test for the Union.
“It was a good game for us, we are able to take three points home with us,” Marco Fabian said. “In the second half, we knew we could create more opportunities and make more space between us and them. We played really good and now we are happy with three points.”