The Philadelphia Union are in the driver's seat following Leg 1 of their Concacaf Champions League series against Costa Rican giants Deportivo Saprissa, after Jim Curtin's men secured a 1-0 aggregate lead thanks to a first-half goal from Kacper Przybylko.

Playing in their first ever Concacaf Champions League game, the Union got the only goal of the match on 34 minutes through the Polish forward, who got on the end of a pinpoint cross from Olivier Mbaizo and cashed home a thundering header for a huge road goal.

Philadelphia survived a pair of scares in the second half, first in the 68th minute when former MLS veteran and Saprissa defender Kendall Waston got loose for a free header in front of goal off a free kick, but the ex-Vancouver Whitecaps and FC Cincinnati man saw the attempt go wide. The Costa Rican side then nearly struck again just three minutes later off a corner kick that was flicked on goal by another former Whitecap, Christian Bolaños, but that shot was cleared off the line by Kai Wagner.

Philadelphia's defense and goalkeeper Andre Blake managed to bare down from there and see out the clean sheet despite some late pressure from the hosts and a late fracas that saw the teams come together after a hard tackle on tackle on Wagner just before the final whistle.

Ultimately the Union held firm to secure what was Curtin's 100th win in all competitions as Philadelphia coach and give his team the edge ahead of the second leg at Subaru Park in Philadelphia on April 14.

Goals

  • 34' - PHI - Kacper Przybylko | WATCH

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Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Playing without several regulars in a tough road venue, it was a professional performance from last year's Supporters' Shield winners in their first taste of this unique competition. They got every bit of the CCL experience, especially at the end with a lengthy delay as multiple yellow cards were issued following the dust-up after the tackle on Wagner. With the dust settled, the Union now have to turn their focus to finishing the job, but this result puts them in plenty solid position to do so.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Przybylko's goal was the culmination of a well-worked sequence and wound up standing as the tally that has Philadelphia on the doorstep of advancing.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Olivier Mbaizo had an all-around active and energetic match from his right back spot, and his dime on the goal was a thing of beauty.

Next Up

  • PHI: Wednesday, April 14 vs. Deportivo Saprissa | 8 pm ET, FS1 | Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 Leg 2

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