Welcome back to another Story Stream on UnionFanTV. Here you’ll find the latest updates, player injury reports, key stats and figures, including commentary throughout the entire matchday, as well as the match itself.
It’s the finale of the home-and-home series between the Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew SC, as well as the season finale between the two Eastern Conference clubs. Philadelphia looks to keep their fading playoff hopes alive tonight, in their return to Talen Energy Stadium.
Jay Simpson, Ray Gaddis and Fafa Picault are all listed as questionable heading into tonight’s match against Columbus.
Simpson sustained an injury to his ankle, after a tackle by Kekuta Manneh in stoppage time of Saturday’s match in Columbus. Expect CJ Sapong to start up front tonight. Jim Curtin says the Union’s leading goal scorer is “good to go,” after being kept out of the 18 for precautionary reasons (CJ picked up a knock to his ankle against Montréal).
Gaddis is listed as questionable with a hamstring strain. Fans hoping for the return of Keegan Rosenberry to the Starting XI might just get their wish tonight.
Picault is still listed as questionable, after the Union’s speedy winger tweaked his hamstring in the match versus Montréal last Wednesday. Good news for Union fans, Picault trained off to the side at yesterday’s training session. Expect Picault to make an appearance off the bench, if the Union need him.
Fabian Herbers remains sidelined
Herbers is recovering from a sports hernia surgery earlier this month. He is expected to be out of the fray for another 4-8 weeks.
Also returning with CJ Sapong is Derrick Jones
Derrick Jones should make his return to the fold tonight, after being kept out by a the league for a concussion he picked up in a friendly against Swansea City AFC. According to Curtin, Jones failed Major League Soccer’s concussion protocol not due to concussion-like symptoms, but because of a “communication issue.”
For a comprehensive look into tonight’s rematch against Columbus Crew SC, check out our latest U in Preview here.
Tonight’s Starting XI
Well, here it is. Thoughts? Let us know by Tweeting @UnionFanTV on the Tweeter.
Fafa Picault and Derrick Jones are not in the 18 for tonight’s match. Picault is still nursing a tweaked hamstring, while Jones hasn’t yet been cleared by the league to return.
Young Marcus Epps gets his second career start in Major League Soccer. He’ll man the left flank, with Roland Alberg returning to lineup and slotting in next to the speedy youngster, at the 10.
On the bench (again) is Keegan Rosenberry, despite Ray Gaddis nursing a strained hamstring. This time last season, Rosenberry had logged 1,890 minutes. He’s played just 590 minutes this current campaign.
1′ : And the Union are underway at Talen Energy Stadium.
It’s a must win, enough said.
2′ : Giliano Wijnaldum’s back pass is nearly cut off
Poor communication between Jack Elliot and John McCarthy, who both left the pass for the other. Although it was a hospital ball from Wijnaldum, as well.
10′ : Elliot lofts one into the box, into CJ Sapong
It’s classic Elliot, and classic Sapong, too. He did well to bring the ball down, but there was no-one next to him to finish.
17′ : An Epps cross nearly finds its way in, skims the post
Call it a cross, it’ll ultimately be chalked up as a shot on goal for the young midfielder, who nearly made it 1-0.
20′ : Ilsinho! DOOP.
Classic curse of the commentator (or blogger, in this case). It’s 1-0 Union, after the Brazilian blasts a half volley into the roof of the net. How about the assist from Sapong though?
22′ : Columbus gets retribution on Ilsinho
Ilsinho gets close lined, and yep, you guessed it, Lalas Abubakar gets away without a card. Somewhere, someplace Mike Petke is printing out hundreds of copies of the foul.
25′ : Columbus scor- scratch that, Union get away with that one
Kekuta Manneh was in on goal, beating both Elliot and Oguchi Onyewu before getting stoned by John McCarthy. Crew followed up the effort by hitting the crossbar from 1 yard away.
Union are lucky to still be ahead.
31′ : Wijnaldum heads into the book
Wijnaldum throws down Justin Meram. It’s a poor foul to take this early in the match.
Elliot nearly gives one away, again.
Looks as if the Englishman misread how much space there was between him and McCarthy.
35′ : Hasta La Vista, Baby. Jonathan Mensah sees Red, after bringing down Sapong in the box. Penalty to the Union.
Roland Alberg to take. Alberg misses. It goes off of Zack Steffen and off of the crossbar. Alberg then gets booed by the crowd on hand.
Sapong is still one goal shy of breaking his career high for goals scored in a season.
45′ : Stoppage time announced
There will be three minutes of stoppage time in the first half.
First half comes to an end
Well that was something, huh? So who else is #TeamCJ?
Back again. 1-0 Union thanks to an Ilsinho belter. They’re up a man, too.
49′ : Epps curler goes juuuuust wide
It’s another solid look for #20. Although it’s hard to tell if he means it.
51′ : Alberg’s shot is cleared off the line
55′ : Alberg has a crack in front of the River End that goes wide right
Good effort from the Dutchman. He surely wants to redeem his penalty miss from earlier.
58′ : Sapong! Off the post!
Great effort from Sapong, whose volley clangs off the post.
61′ : A Columbus effort goes off the crossbar
Both sides enlisting some help from the woodwork tonight.
66′ : Sapong finally gets one. 2-0 Union.
It’s a rebound goal for Sapong, who finally gets his tenth of the year (a new personal record). He leads the Union in goals this season.
75′ : Abubakar is shown a straight red.
After appearing to choke Ilsinho, he resorts to throwing an elbow at the Brazilian (for the second time tonight).
81′ : Marcus Epps gets his first! 3-0 Union. DOOP.
It’s a first career goal for Epps, who has been all over the field tonight. It seemed like a long time coming.
84′ : Simpson on, Ilsinho off.
Solid shift for the Brazilian. Englishman is on.
90′ + 2′ : Referee points to half, blows his whistle.
It’s a 3-0 victory for the Union, who were firing on all cylinders tonight, fighting each other, and drawing red cards left and right. Just another Philadelphia Union matchday, I suppose.
Good night, everyone.
Updates will be posted periodically throughout the matchday, as well as during the match itself.