Daniel Gazdag redirected Olivier Mbaizo's shot past Kenneth Vermeer in the first half and helped set up Paxten Aaronson's goal in the second half, and the Philadelphia Union moved into second place in the Eastern Conference with a comfortable 2-0 win over FC Cincinnati on Sunday evening at Subaru Park.
Andre Blake required only two saves to take his career-high total of clean sheets to 12, on a night the Union moved even on points with Nashville SC, and ahead on the first tiebreaker with 14 total wins.
The result also virtually assures Philadelphia of a home match in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs. Only Atlanta United could knock the Union out of the top four spots in the East, and it would take two Atlanta wins, a Union loss and a combined six-goal total shift in goal difference.
Cincinnati failed to score for a 13th time this season on a night where they lost their 11th in a row. The visitors were noticeably limited going forward without midfielder Luciano Acosta, who served a one-match card accumulation suspension.
- THE BIG PICTURE: For Philly, securing the second seed is simple: Win on the final weekend at Yankee Stadium. As for Cincinnati, they have conceded seven unanswered goals since taking a surprising early lead over Nashville in midweek, and have only one more chance to seize some needed positive momentum heading into a hugely important offseason.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It really was some lovely interplay between Gazdag, Jack McGlynn and Aaronson leading to the Union's second of the evening. It was also the moment that effectively ended the match.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Daniel Gazdag. The Hungarian international may take some postgame ribbing for his opportunistic header (below) that perhaps robbed Mbaizo of his first career MLS goal. But he was the attacking class the Union needed on a night they were without the freshly injured Sergio Santos and Jamiro Monteiro.