Derrick Jones scored just after halftime and John McCarthy came up with some key saves in goal to lead the Philadelphia Union to a 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in a friendly at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday night.
With a midweek quarterfinal in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup looming, head coach Jim Curtin started a reserve-heavy lineup that featured eight players who have earned minutes with Bethlehem Steel FC this season.
“We obviously have an eye on the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal; we have an eye on a quick turnaround and playing the L.A. Galaxy,” Curtin said. “From that standpoint it was really important to get guys minutes at that high intensity like Fabinho really stepped up and did a good job. [Marcus] Epps again has been solid and Richie Marquez to get his first minutes and some of the rust off, I thought he was very sharp defensively.”
Fabinho, who wore the armband, and Jay Simpson both earned minutes for the first time since early June and Marquez played his first minutes for the first team since preseason.
Olivier Mbaizo made his first appearance for the Union since signing an MLS deal (he last played with the first team in preseason while still on a USL deal) and 18-year-old Bethlehem Steel FC winger Michee Ngalina made his second first team appearance on a short-term loan from USL.
Play in the first-half was sloppy from both teams, but Marcus Epps nearly opened the scoring early when he beat a defender and burst forward down the left flank, coming inches away from connecting with Simpson at the far post.
Epps and Warren Creavalle were the Union’s most threatening weapons going forward in the first half, but it was Jones who found the breakthrough in the 50th minute when he picked off a low clearance and dribble into the box and curled a ball into the net at the far post. Though not credited with an assist, Simpson’s pressure led to the turnover.
“Jim told us to press for the last 15 minutes, so we went out there to step forward and press, try to get a goal,” Jones said.
Jones exited along with many of the other starters in the 59th minute, giving way to many players who will factor into Wednesday’s Open Cup quarterfinal at home against Orlando City. The Union turn around to host LA Galaxy three days later.
“We managed minutes and kept everybody fresh but staying sharp is important and not just shutting everyone down,” Curtin said. “You saw Ray [Gaddis] and Fafa [Picault] were the only two that got a complete rest and that was because both have gone 90-90 [minutes] on Saturday and Wednesday.”
Ilsinho, who left Wednesday’s game in Chicago in the first half with an injury, was kept out with a quad issue. Curtin said Eric Ayuk was sick and Josh Yaro is just coming back off concussion protocol. Adam Najem and Jake McGuire both started in Bethlehem Steel’s 1-1 draw with North Carolina FC on Saturday.
Eintracht Frankfurt used plenty of players as well, replacing everyone but their goalkeeper at halftime.
Both squads were threatening but couldn’t put a goal away. Danny Blum had a couple big chances, getting behind the defense but putting his chip over the bar on one chance and hitting his shot right at McCarthy on another. McCarthy’s save on Blum was part of a critical double save to deny the Eagles.
Announced attendance for the match was 13,954, which included support for the visitors from the Bundesliga.
“We are proud to see that we have fans all over the world and that is why we play for our club,” said defender Timmy Chandler, a U.S. international who started at right back and played 45 minutes for Frankfurt.