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Union steamroll Revs in home opener

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The Union have now equalled their franchise-best season starts from 2011 and 2013.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Union took all three points in their home opener, defeating the New England Revolution 3-0. A pair of goals--one a carbon copy of the other--from CJ Sapong, and a late tap-in from Sebastien Le Toux propelled the Union to their second win in as many games.

Sapong netted his first in the 18th minute. After Andrew Farrell whiffed on a headed clearance, Sapong gathered a cross from Fabinho, turned, and fired. The ball took a deflection off José Gonçalves, throwing off goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth just enough to see the Union take the lead.

15 minutes later, a nearly identical play culminated in Sapong's second goal. Warren Creavalle's ball from the left side found Sapong, who redirected it onto goal. His shot was aided by a José Gonçalves deflection once again, taking a touch off the inside of the defender's left foot before crossing the goal line.

The Revs, down by two goals, dug themselves deeper in the 36th minute. Defender Je-Vaughn Watson was sent off for a two-footed, studs-up challenge on Roland Alberg. It was a horrible challenge, but the Dutchman fortunately walked away with his legs intact.

The home side asserted themselves after the ejection as they constantly threatened to expand their lead, eventually doing so in second-half stoppage time.

Sebastien Le Toux, who had missed a penalty kick just minutes earlier, tapped home a cross served in from Leo Fernandes. The midfielder broke to the touchline before squaring it to Le Toux, who left his feet to tap the ball into an open net.

In a rare dominant performance, the Union may have deserved a more lopsided scoreline.

Ilsinho, who had his most complete game in a Union shirt to date, earned a penalty in first-half stoppage time. After the Revs failed to clear a Union corner kick, Creavalle gathered the ball and immediately passed it along to Ilsinho. The Brazilian went to work on the edge of the 18-yard box, touching the ball past Teal Bunbury. As he looked to continue his run, he was impeded by Farrell, who had obstructed his path. Referee Nima Saghafi, in his first MLS game, pointed to the spot. Shuttleworth saved Ilsinho's less-than-convincing attempt from the spot.

The Union earned another penalty in the 78th minute, when José Gonçalves was judged to have pulled down CJ Sapong. Sebastien Le Toux, previously 13-for-13 on penalties in his Union career, stepped up to take it. Shuttleworth denied the Union once again, getting down to save Le Toux's weak effort down the middle.

In addition to the pair of penalties, the Union had more than a handful of opportunities during the run of play.

Chris Pontius, last week's hero, had a couple of chances to add to his tally. The winger was on the receiving end of great crosses from Sapong and Alberg early in the second half, but his first touch let him down in both cases.

Leo Fernandes nearly scored off a corner in the 78th minute. The substitute's first touch was a diving header sent toward goal, only to be met by the foot of Juan Agudelo.

The chances didn't come as frequently for New England, who only managed two shots on target on Sunday. Andre Blake wasn't called into action as much as he was in the previous two weeks, but he still did well to keep the clean sheet.

The Revolution's best chance of the afternoon came in the 35th minute. From 25 yards out, Lee Nguyen fired a free kick that hit both posts before Andre Blake serendipitously gathered it.

The Union are now sitting on six points through three games for the third time in their history. They started the 2011 and 2013 seasons with two wins as well.

Jim Curtin's team will travel to Chicago to take on the Fire on Saturday, April 2nd.