Union beat first-place Sporting KC (yes, really) and make big statement in support of their manager

Union beat first-place Sporting KC (yes, really) and make big statement in support of their manager
May 14, 2014, 11:23 pm
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Well, no one was really expecting that one, right?

The Philadelphia Union entered Wednesday night's game on the road against the best team in the Eastern Conference without a win in their last nine games. They were also without their captain (Brian Carroll) and their star midfielder (Maurice Edu)

And they won.

Not only did the Union beat Sporting Kansas City, 2-1, on Wednesday night, they watched their 1-0 lead disappear in the second half and immediately took the lead back off the ensuing kickoff.

Unlike the coma-inducing snoozefests we've been treated to at PPL Park recently, this game had countless talking points. Chief among them was the team's celebration following Danny Cruz's second-half goal that gave the team a 1-0 lead.

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The team clearly had a plan to run all the way to the opposite sideline and wrap John Hackworth in a huge group hug, showing very visible support for a coach whose seat could not be hotter.

Other notable talking points:

  • Zac MacMath made two ENORMOUS saves in the first half to keep the Union in the match, both on Sal Zizzo. MacMath has to be the frontrunner to start the MLS All-Star Game, I'd think.
  • Andrew Wenger was stellar as the (sorta) lone forward in the 4-3-3 formation. He had a great assist on Maidana's second goal (see below), but he was great all night holding the ball up and fighting off two of the better defenders in the league, including one who is a likely starter for the United States in the World Cup. If you've doubted the trade that brought Wenger in and sent Jack McInerney to Montreal, just wait a bit longer. Wenger brings a lot of skills that McInerney lacked.

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  • Without Carroll and Edu, Amobi Okugo played in his more natural role as the center defensive midfielder. Not only was he strong all night, but Austin Berry and Sheanon Williams did a nice job in the center on the back line. We'll see if Hackworth has the cojones to leave Okugo there should Carroll be healthy on Saturday against New England (7 p.m. - Comcast Network).
  • WHO'S UP: Cristian Maidana shook off a very shaky first half to shine in the second half. Other strong performances were turned in by Ray Gaddis and -- of course -- Vincent Nogueira -- who would easily be the team MVP so far if not for MacMath.
  • WHO'S DOWN: Leo Fernandes looked lost all night, and Fabinho made a few big mistakes that nearly cost the team dearly. He also earned a yellow card, meaning he can't play Saturday against the Revs.

The most unique performance was turned in by Corben Bone, who came in for Nogueira in the 89th minute. He left the game 54 seconds later after earning a red card with a dangerous slide tackle (video below). With the result going the Union's way, it was something to laugh about, as Okugo proved after the game:

@CorbenBone man of the match .... Way to come in and set the tone

— Amobi Okugo (@amobisays) May 15, 2014

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