Bořek Dočkal was brilliant even when his passes weren’t rewarded with goals and the Philadelphia Union rode a dominant second half to a 2-0 win over New York City FC on Saturday night.
Dočkal added to his team-high assist total with his 11th and 12th of the season in setting up Cory Burke and Ilsinho for second half goals. Ilsinho’s goal was all on him though, as the Brazilian danced around defenders in the box before beating Sean Johnson to bag the all important insurance goal.
Burke started up top with C.J. Sapong out to the right and while Burke scored for the fifth time he’s started an MLS Sapong failed to capitalize on a sitter fed to him in the box by Dočkal. Sapong by now has built up quite a repository of not Top 10 chances he’s failed to convert in front of goal this season, but fortunately his big miss Saturday night ended up being a small footnote in an otherwise convincing second half performance.
Defensively, Auston Trusty and Jack Elliott anchored the defense to a clean sheet against a potent NYCFC attack that looked threatening at times — perhaps their best chance of the night came just 90 seconds in — and Andre Blake answered the call a couple times to preserve the clean sheet.
Blake’s first save was his best and Trusty and Elliott both made several key clearances and interventions to send the pigeons back up 95 with an offensive goose egg. Ray Gaddis and Keegan Rosenberry did well on the flanks to both creating pressure on the offensive end and getting back to cover.
Alejandro Bedoya (or Alexander as the guys on the Yes Network kept calling him) put in another solid shift in the middle of the field, contributing in many ways that don’t show up in the score sheet, including a key ball to Dočkal on the build-up to the first goal. David Accam, meanwhile, had more tough luck in front of goal. Johnson twice robbed the Ghanian from getting his first MLS goal at Talen Energy Stadium.
For his part, head coach Jim Curtin did well subbing in Ilsinho when he did since he scored eight minutes after entering for his first appearance after an injury knocked him out of four straight. Warren Creavalle was his only other sub for defense with only two minutes plus stoppage time to go. His adjustments in the locker room though should not be overlooked because the Union came out strong and essentially won the game with the way they played the first 12 minutes of the second half.
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