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Halftime Recap: Union up a goal on the Revs

CJ Sapong’s ninth goal of the season has the Union up at the half.

MLS: New England Revolution at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Union head into halftime with a one-goal lead over the New England Revolution. CJ Sapong got the home team off to a great start, earning, then converting a penalty in just the fourth minute.

Referee Chris Penso whistled Benjamin Angoua for handling Sapong’s cross in the box, and replays show that he made the correct decision. Sapong stepped up to take the resulting penalty, blasting it into the top of the net for his ninth goal of the season. That tally matches career-highs from 2012 and 2015.

Andre Blake snuffed Kei Kamara from close range eight minutes later, coming off his line to deny the forward who had gotten free in the box.

Oguchi Onyewu took a pair of hits to the face in quick succession courtesy of Kei Kamara. In the 30th minute, the big striker went up for a bicycle kick, sending the ball into Gooch’s face, then connecting with his head on the follow-through. Team medical staff treated Onyewu through the subsequent hydration break, eventually deeming him fit to continue.

With Juan Agudelo and Kelyn Rowe on international duty, and Diego Fagundez suspended, the Revolution fielded a front four vastly different from the unit they trotted out in their last MLS match. Lee Nguyen remained the lone constant, as Kei Kamara lined up ahead of him, and Teal Bunbury and Je-Vaughn Watson manned the wings. Scott Caldwell returned from injury to partner Gershon Koffie in defensive midfield. Two changes were made along the back line, as Donald Smith took London Woodberry’s spot on the right, and Josh Smith filled in for Antonio Mlinar Delamea, who’s off on international duty with Slovenia.

The Union’s lineup remained mostly unchanged from their last MLS match against D.C. United, with Derrick Jones the only change as Alejandro Bedoya is with the USMNT.