Anthony Fontana has had to wait for his time to impress in the Philadelphia Union midfield, but made the most of his first start this MLS season on Sunday night.
With Alejandro Bedoya suspended due to yellow card accumulation, Fontana started in Curtin’s 4-4-2 diamond formation and scored his fourth league goal of the season in a 3-0 victory over Inter Miami. With his latest gem of a performance, Fontana now has given Curtin a tough decision going forward with who to start and who to call on from the bench.
“And as you saw tonight, he’s a very lethal finisher,” Curtin said post match Sunday. “We still missed a couple of passes but overall, [I’m] happy for Anthony, the kid continues to produce for us. Everybody’s contributing right now and that locker room is really excited, really happy and they’re really together which is probably the most important thing.”
Fontana had totaled only 79 minutes of action prior to September, but since then has quickly tossed his name into consideration for more playing time. The 20-year-old has scored his four goals all in the last four appearances for the Union, helping them remain in the race for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Despite not appearing in a midweek scoreless draw at FC Cincinnati, Fontana got the nod on Sunday and needed only 25 minutes to break the deadlock. He rifled a shot past Luis Robles into the top corner which eventually sent the Union on its way to its fourth win out of its past five matches.
Fontana’s Homegrown teammate Aaronson also found the back of the net while Mark McKenzie helped silence Miami’s newest arrival, Gonzalo Higuain in attack. Overall, it was a top performance from Fontana and the younger players in a bounce-back win.
“It’s awesome,” Fontana said. “Every minute that us homegrowns step on the field, we always want to make an impact. And as of late we’ve been killing it. It’s all down to the work we’ve been putting in and we’ve just got to keep it up, it’s as simple as that.”
With Bedoya unavailable, the rest of the Union midfield stepped up and frustrated Inter Miami for 90 minutes. Blaise Matuidi was also held in check by the Union, while Rodolfo Pizarro and Lewis Morgan failed to produce much in the final third.
As for Fontana, he was substituted off in the 61st minute, but delivered in his first start of the season. Now with the Union receiving Bedoya back for a trip to Connecticut to face off with third place Toronto FC, it will be intriguing to see if Fontana retains his starting role or who gets dropped from the midfield to make room for Bedoya.
“The fact that I was up one-v-one against Matuidi pretty much the whole night was just an awesome experience,” Fontana said. “I was up for the test. I really wanted to test myself against him and I feel like I did well.”
The Union sit in second place on goal difference, two points behind Eastern Conference leaders Columbus Crew.