An under-manned Union team were able to hold off the San Jose Earthquakes in another 1-0 win.
Playing with 10 men for more than a half, the Union controlled the proceedings for much of the match and simply overwhelmed the visitors en route to their fourth shutout of the year. Sebastien Le Toux was the lone goalscorer after his side won a PK late in the second half.
The Union came out strong in their first match in a fortnight as they were able to work the ball well through their new attacking formation. Highlighted by the inclusion of attacking midfielder Roger Torres in the starting lineup, the Union were fluid and dangerous in the early-going.
2010 Rookie of the Year finalist Danny Mwanga also got the start and looked confident on the ball whenever it was at his feet, working things nicely with fellow forward Sebastien Le Toux. The pair are yet to score this season and weren't able to capitalize on any of their chances in the first 45 minutes.
San Jose, who has struggled to start the 2011 season looked equally inept going forward and weren't able to create much that would worry this newly-stingy Union defense that has only allowed two goals all season.
The story of the first half, as it seems to be a lot these days in MLS was the officiating. Three yellow cards were handed out, and one straight red to Union defender Jordan Harvey, who appeared to stamp on Earthquakes defender Chris Leich.
With the tensions high, both squads went into the break scoreless. More the same to be expected for the second period.
Harvey saw red in the first half
Despite being down a man as the last period opened, the Union kept San Jose on their heels in the early minutes. Keon Daniel, who temporarily filled in for Harvey at left-back was able to return to his flanker spot and looked dangerous in the corner. In the 55th minute, he swung in a nice low cross the Carlos Ruiz nearly latched on to inside the six-yard box. A promising start for the home side.
The match remained this way for the majority of the second half as the Union kept up the pressure with only 10 men. San Jose resorted to bringing on Bobby Convey, Sam Cronin and Ryan Johnson to take the game to Philly. The moves yielded few results for the visitors as Philadelphia frustrated them at every turn.
Officiating was at the center of things again with 15 minutes left as Amobi Okugo was able to burst through the box and tried to put in a chipped cross from the endline. His ball was blocked by the hand of Jason Hernandez and a penalty was awarded. It was hard to see how Hernandez would have got out of the way of the ball, but referee Mark Geiger judged it a penalty. Le Toux calmly converted the spot kick to give the Union the lead.
San Jose responded nicely to the penalty kick and started to gain some of the possession that it should have being a man up, but were unable to put that final sequence together that would level the match.
Back on top in the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia will travel to the hostel environment of JELD-WEN Field in Portland to take on the Timbers. San Jose have a week off before they take on the Vancouver Whitecaps on May 11th.
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