Updated: 11:30 p.m.
CHESTER, Pa. -- It wasn’t the perfect outing for the Union, but it was three valuable points against a non-conference opponent.
Andrew Wenger scored twice and Sebastien Le Toux rattled off a goal and three assists, as the Union manhandled the battered and weary Quakes, 4-2, Sunday night at PPL Park.
“Credit to our guys,” interim Union manager Jim Curtin said. “Four goals at home, we’re happy with that and we’re happy with three points. That’s the name of the game at this stage.”
With the win, the Union are now 7-9-9 on the season and 3-1-2 in their last six games. Meanwhile, the Quakes move to 6-10-7 and are winless in their last four matches.
Playing their third match in seven days and traveling across the country after a mid-week draw against the Seattle Sounders, the Quakes entered Sunday’s match missing seven players — including Steven Lenhart, Clarence Goodson and Yannick Djalo.
Knowing this, Union interim manager Jim Curtin wanted his club to attack the Quakes early, testing the visitor’s mettle and road-weary legs. That mission was accomplished in the 10th minute.
Trekking up the field on a fast break, Conor Casey pushed a ball for Sebastien Le Toux down left side. Catching up to the lead pass at top speed, the Frenchman pulled up and threw a low pass to the high center of the box, where Andrew Wenger beat his man, gained possession and ripped a high, left-footed volley that beat Jon Busch for the 1-0 Union lead.
“I actually wanted them to play me the ball much earlier,” Wenger said, who admitted to feeling sick all contest. “But the ball built up and as soon as I saw Sebastien get his head up I just tried to peel off. It was a simple pass and I didn’t really have any other options. I just tried to hit it well.”
Four minutes later, Le Toux struck again. Catching the Quakes’ defense off-guard with another fast break, a Union play into the box was headed away at the crease by Quakes back Victor Bernardez, who was tightly marking Casey. However, the scrambling clearance landed at the feel of red-hot Le Toux, who quickly fired it home for the 2-0 lead in the 14th minute.
It was Le Toux’s team-leading 11th goal of the season and his fifth goal in his last six MLS games.
“His engine is at a different level,” Curtin said. “He’s been great, he’s in great form. Can’t say enough about how Seba is playing. We’re happy with him and we’re going to ride him all the way to the playoffs.”
But the Quakes wouldn’t go lightly. From just outside the top of the Union box, Quakes midfielder Sam Cronin made it 2-1 in the 59th minute, when he smashed a knee-high volley that took an aggressive hop in the box. The ball whizzed past new Union goalie Rais Mbolhi, who stood little chance to make the save.
Quakes striker Chris Wondolowski tied the game at two in the 70th minute, burying a cross-box pass from Shea Salinas.
Yet instead of panic, the Union countered.
Immediately following the goal, Union defender Sheanon Williams was fouled to the right of the Quakes’ box. Taking the free kick, Le Toux fired laser at the near post, where Williams finished off the play he started with a diving header to regain the Union’s 3-2 lead.
“Credit to our guys for fighting back and not giving up,” Williams said. “Credit to the guy to keep pushing.”
Wenger iced the match with his second of the game in the 79th minute, scoring on a fast break from Le Toux for the win.
“There’s always that moment where you can feel sorry for yourself,” Curtin said. “Credit to our guys.”