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Rate the U: Jay Simpson’s day to shine

Seldom-used striker showed up against first place Sporting Kansas City

MLS: Sporting KC at Philadelphia Union Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Simpson scores a lot in training, but on a soggy afternoon at Talen Energy Stadium on Sunday he finally had a chance to score goals that counted.

His brace — and some strong defending from the back five — led a reserve-heavy Philadelphia Union squad to an improbable 2-0 win over Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City.

Sunday’s appearance was just the fourth of the season for the British forward and his two goals equaled his total in all competitions since he arrived prior to the start of the 2017 season. He also has a goal in the U.S. Open Cup this season.

Alejandro Bedoya didn’t start but still managed to factor into both goals with assists on both of Simpson’s strikes, heading a ball across the to Simpson for a one-time volley on the first and heading a ball from Fafa Picault near the six down perfectly to the feet of Simpson for the second.

On the other end, John McCarthy made some highlight-reel saves and ended up with six saves on the afternoon in his first MLS start of the season while Olivier Mbaizo made his MLS debut at right back and Fabinho returned the lineup at left back wearing the captain’s armband.

It was an unlikely win, given the attention being paid to the U.S. Open Cup final on Wednesday in Houston, but it’s the kind of game that backs up head coach Jim Curtin’s claims that his squad is both deep and committed to the “next man up” philosophy of playing the same way no matter who is in the lineup.

What did you think of the individual performances yesterday? Weigh in with an up or down vote in our community player ratings on the Ranker website or below.