The Philadelphia Union are on to the MLS is Back semifinals, as Jim Curtin’s squad continued their unbeaten streak in the MLS tournament with a 3-1 win over another team that was considered the favorite to advance.
After Jamiro Monteiro opened the scoring, Sergio Santos scored twice in a 13-minute span to put the Union into a comfortable lead they wouldn’t relinquish despite a few nervy moments.
Sporting Kansas City pulled a goal back just before halftime when Alan Pulido headed one past goalkeeper Andre Blake in stoppage time after some suspect defending.
Kansas City continued to push the Union during the second half, controlling possession throughout the entire second half. However, despite their best efforts — Pulido hit woodwork on a free kick and Johnny Russell put the ball in the net from an offside position — SKC wasn’t able to score again, and the Union left victorious.
Andre Blake, who has led the league in saves throughout the MLS is Back tournament, earned himself another six saves on the night, bringing his total to 27 saves for the competition and made a convincing case against counterpart Tim Melia as the tournament’s best goalkeeper.
The Union’s most notable performance came from forward Santos, who notched his second brace in a Union uniform and helped set up Monteiro’s opener.
The Union started the scoring midway during the first half, with Santos playing Alejandro Bedoya into the box and the captain setting up Monteiro for an easy finish at the far post in the 24th minute
Santos then followed up the scoring just a few moments later, tearing down almost 80 yards of pitch to put the ball in the back of the net at 26th minute on a Union counterattack. Thirteen minutes later, Santos scored the Union’s third and final goal, though Brenden Aaronson received the plaudits for his assist, which Curtin said would be “a top ball” in just about any league in the world.
The Union will face either the Portland Timbers or New York City FC on Wednesday for a chance to play for the club’s first trophy in the August 11 final. The Union defeated New York City earlier in the tournament in the group stage in a 1-0. Portland and NYCFC play Saturday night at 10:30 p.m.