It took 70 minutes and some not so great defending from Atlanta United, but Jose Martinez was able to get down the end line and deliver a ball to Kacper Przybylko he buried past Brad Guzan to give the Philadelphia Union a goal that had been coming all day and a 1-0 win on Saturday afternoon at Subaru Park.
The Union were the better team pretty much from the opening whistle against an Atlanta United team they’d already played three times (one win and two draws), including the two leg Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal.
But going into the break the boys in blue had nothing to show for their efforts except a series of Guzan saves and a handful of long range shots off target.
The zero for the Union stretched well into the second and came from a seemingly routine play with Martinez tracking the ball into the corner, but El Brujo flashed the skill that earned him the nickname when he was able to beat three defenders and deliver a perfectly timed ball to Przybylko, who fired it through traffic and Guzan for his third goal in his last two matches.
Once the goal went in, it felt like all three points were secure given how little bite the Atlanta attack had on the day with Josef Martinez out injured. The Union had a key absence of their own with captain Alejandro Bedoya out with a calf injury but a solid performance against a conference rival lessened the sting of that loss in a win that should continue the Union’s momentum up the standings in the Eastern Conference.
Much was said going into the game about Atlanta’s three straight wins (all at home) under new coach Gonzalo Pineda, but the Union showed how tough they are to play at home with their eighth win in Chester this season. They outshot Atlanta 18-6 (9-2 on target) and held the Five Stripes to 0.2 expected goals.
The shutout was the ninth of the season for the Union and sixth at Subaru Park. It moves them into a tie on 38 points with Orlando City in fourth place in the conference with a Wednesday night trip up I-95 to Harrison, N.J. coming up.