Philadelphia Union Collect Three Points Against Cincinnati

Philadelphia Union midfielder Paxten Aaronson controls the ball in the second half on September 29, 2021
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CHESTER, PA – The Philadelphia Union collect three points and enter November in second place after defeating Cincinnati 2-0 at Subaru Park Sunday Night. The Halloween night match in Chester Pennsylvania saw an already playoff-bound Philadelphia Union secure three more points and make their case for entering the playoffs in second place in the eastern conference.

Daniel Gazdag scores in the 11-minute to put Philadelphia up 1-0 

The goal was originally attributed to Olivier Mbaizo and would have been the Cameroonian fullback’s first MLS goal. Despite Mbaizo’s celebration – a goal somewhat awkwardly celebrated by Daniel Gazdag nearby – the rocker from Mbaizo’s foot was later determined to have deflected off of Gazdag. The goal put Philadelphia up one early and was Gazdag’s fourth of the season. 

The first half ended 1-0 with just the early goal from the Union, but the run of play was far more lopsided than the score let on. Philadelphia entered the half with a 1.57 xG to Cincinnati’s .04. Philadelphia got ten shots off (Four on target), compared to Cincinnati’s one (Not on target). Despite expectations otherwise, possession was fairly even at the half. 

Cincinnati did push closer to Philadelphia’s goal toward the end of the half gaining more steam after Philadelphia’s aggressive start- and went so far as to ear a pair of late corners, none of which converted into anything meaningful. 

Before the Half Jim Curtin Assured Media, a Second-Goal was Critical 

Before the half, Philadelphia Union coach Jim Curtin told the media a second goal would be critical. He elaborated that an area for improvement in the second half would be cleaning up their attack in the box. Philadelphia did a good job of getting the ball forward but was slow to get a shot off, taking one too many passes looking for the perfect spot. 

Paxten Aaronson Delivers on Curtin’s Call with Second Goal 

The 18-year-old homegrown Paxten Aaronson answered the call in the 53-minute. Taking the ball from a well-placed pass from Jack McGlynn, Aaronson took a smart first touch, then knocked the ball just past Kenneth Vermeer’s diving fingertips and into the left corner of the net. The goal is Aaronson’s third of the season. 

Coincidentally, Aaronson’s first MLS goal came this past August when he shot one past United States Men’s National Team and New England Revolution stalwart in net, Matt Turner. His second goal came earlier this month, a game-winner against Cincinnati. Halloween weekend brought Paxten his third of the season and second against Cincinnati. 

Philadelphia Keep the Pressure On

Shortly after Aaronson added a cushion for the Union, a shot off Kacper Przyblko went just over the bar in what could and should have been lights out for Cincinnati. Philadelphia kept the pressure on and the shots rolling throughout the half. Despite being up two, Philadelphia never sat back, opting to stay high and pressing until the final whistle. They ended the match with two goals and another clean sheet for Andre Blake. 

Philadelphia ended the match earning an xG of 3.14 to Cincinnati’s .35. The majority of Philadelphia’s xG (2.76) came from open play. They took an additional 10 shots in the second half, three of which were on target. Cincinnati took six shots in the second half, a big improvement on just one in the first- only two of which were on target.

Philadelphia Has One Final Challenge in New York City

The Philadelphia Union collect three points in their win against FC Cincinnati after drawing on the road against Toronto FC. (And favorable results elsewhere in the eastern conference today – Orlando vs. Nashville drawing 1-1 being most pivotal among them) Philadelphia reclaimed the second spot. They have one more match away in New York City before they embark on their playoff race and points impact their home matches and opponents. NYCFC sits just two spots south of them in the eastern conference standings. No easy match to end the season. Philadelphia has never won at Yankee Stadium. A win is within reach, certainly, but the match result will pend upon which version of Philadelphia shows up to play it. 

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