They held on by the skin of their teeth, having to play the final ten minutes or so at a two-man disadvantage due to red cards, but the Philadelphia Union found a way to pull out their first road win of the season by defeating Chivas USA 1-0 on Saturday night.
The lone scoring exchange of the night came late in the first half when Freddy Adu deposited some loose change right in front of the net with a nifty little backheel. Leading up to Adu, Michael Farfan flat out broke down his defender, then passed it in front of the net, where Adu found the ball at his feet after a deflection. With no other option but to go for the blind backheel, Adu flipped it in off the far post.
Marfan's been strong with the ball lately, one of the rare bright spots offensively.
Led by Carlos Valdes wearing Danny Califf's captain's armband, the defense helped Zac MacMath keep a clean sheet yet again, battling former Unioner Alejandro Moreno all night. Chivas made some dangerous crosses, but the Union weathered each of them. Juan Pablo Angel came on in the 63rd minute and was on the receiving end of a few services, narrowly missing on his first headed attempt. Call-up Raymon Gaddis had a second consecutive strong showing for the Union. Valdes played angrily but effectively.
MacMath has now backstopped 332 straight shutout minutes.
An increasingly contentious match that saw a parade of yellow cards devolved as the second half wore on. Keon Daniel was issued a red in the 75th minute, and Gabriel Farfan earned a red of his own in the 85th minute for a studs-up tackle. There was a bit of a scrum after Farfan was sent off as you can see in the photo above. Tempers were flaring with plenty of shouting and pushing, but I don't believe any punches were thrown.
The U have their first winning streak of the season, and they finally scored from the run of play. Maybe the fireworks at the end can help to gel a team that has seen significant turnover and not a lot of success. Doop it up.
Next week's home matchup against San Jose gets a little tougher without Daniel and Garfan, both of whom have been standouts among the starting XI in the last two games.