Daniel Gazdag scored his third goal of the season, Alejandro Bedoya added his second and the Philadelphia Union avenged last year's Eastern Conference Final defeat with a 2-0 victory over New York City FC at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
HIGHLIGHTS: New York City FC vs. Philadelphia Union | March 19, 2022
Bedoya was among the 11 players who missed Philly's 2-1 home loss to NYCFC in last year's Eastern Conference Final because of MLS health and safety protocols.
So was goalkeeper Andre Blake, who needed only two saves to keep his second consecutive clean sheet and secure the Union's first-ever MLS win at Yankee Stadium in their eighth all-time trip.
NYCFC were held scoreless for the third time in four regular-season matches, four days after the defending MLS Cup champions secured passage to their first Concacaf Champions League semifinals.
The hosts held 73.2% of the possession, but only rarely seriously threatened, with the Union actually putting more efforts on frame.
- THE BIG PICTURE: After an uneven opener, the Union sure looked like a team on a mission to try and avenge their misfortune in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs, scoring six unanswered goals since falling behind in a 2-1 win at CF Montréal in Week 2. And perhaps this showing from NYCFC shouldn't be so surprising given their grueling travels that had taken them to British Columbia, Southern California, Costa Rica and Guatemala before Saint Patrick's Day.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Things might have been different for the reigning MLS Cup champions if not for a critical first-half officiating decision. Referee Ted Unkel originally sent off Jack Elliott and awarded a penalty when Elliott appeared to deny Santiago Rodriguez an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. But on Video Review, Unkel spotted a handball on Rodriguez prior to the challenge, wiping out a potential leveler and man advantage for City and giving the Union an innocent free kick in their own half.
REVIEW: Union red card overturned due to NYCFC handball
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Nathan Harriel. The 20-year-old right back, who is among the latest talents to emerge from the Union's loaded academy, provided a sumptuous ball to set up Gazdag's 33rd-minute tally. Later, his perfect positioning and calm header cleared one of NYCFC's best chances of the second 45 minutes off the goal line.
GOAL: Daniel Gazdag, Philadelphia Union - 33rd minute
- NYC: Saturday, April 2 at Toronto FC | 4 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada)
- PHI: Saturday, April 2 vs. Charlotte FC | 7:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada)