Philadelphia Union 1, New England Revolution 0 | MLS is Back Tournament Match Recap

A second-half goal by Sergio Santos was the difference in a tight MLS is Back Tournament Round of 16 match between the Philadelphia Union and New England Revolution.

As a result, the Union claimed a 1-0 victory Saturday night and advance to the quarterfinals on Thursday to meet the winner of the Round of 16 clash between Sporting Kansas City and the Vancouver Whitecaps Sunday (11 pm ET | FS1, TUDN; TSN, TVAS).

The Revs played nearly the first 20 minutes of the second half on the front foot, pressing for the elusive first goal. With New England’s numbers pushed forward, Kai Wagner intercepted a ball in midfield and fed Jamiro Monteiro. The Dutch midfielder played an inch-perfect ball over the top to a streaking Santos, who played the ball off his knee and finished well over an onrushing Matt Turner inside the side netting.

In an opening half played close to the vest by both teams, each had a golden chance to take a lead into the break. But in the 35th minute, Andre Blake pounced off his line to deny Tajon Buchanan on clever ball into the box by Gustavo Bou, touching the attempt away for a corner.

In first-half stoppage time, Santos’ first touch of a penetrating pass by Wagner took him into the box, but the Brazilian scuffed his left-footed shot side of the far post.

Revs coach Bruce Arena was shown a straight red card for verbal abuse after the final whistle, punctuating a frustrating night for New England.

Goals

  • 63’ — PHI — Sergio Santos | WATCH

Man of the Match presented by Heineken

Santos has just six career MLS goals, half of which have come against the Revolution. His latest, on his final touch of the game no less, has put the Union into the final eight. The Brazilian got his deserved reward for a 63-minute shift in which he put three of his four shots on frame. An honorable mention goes to Wagner for his work on both sides of the ball.

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: A few months removed from the first Audi MLS Cup Playoffs victory in club history, the Union found a way to win another, albeit it different, knockout round match. They were opportunistic, clinical in the final third when needed and go a few big saves out of Blake. That’s a recipe for success. There were a lot of positives to take away for the Revs, who desperately missed the playmaking of the injured Carles Gil on the night.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: One misplayed pass in midfield by Bou started the wheels in motion for the Union, with Wagner making a good read, Monteiro playing a brilliant ball and Santos finishing with aplomb.
  • YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: There's no goal songs played in Orlando, so its safe to say the Union missed this, from the watch party in Chester, in the immediate aftermath of Santos' goal. 

Next Up

  • PHI: Thursday, July 30 vs. Sporting KC-Vancouver Whitecaps winner, MLS is Back Tournament Quarterfinals  (8 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes; TSN, TVAS2)
  • NE: TBD
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