© 2023 BSN LIVE, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
The Philadelphia Union are headed back to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Chris Donovan’s second-half goal paired with Andre Blake’s three saves helped Jim Curtin’s squad defeat the New England Revolution 1-0 on Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium. Paired with their 3-1 victory at Subaru Park on Oct. 28, the Union advance to the semifinal round where they will play No. 1-seeded FC Cincinnati at TQL Stadium.
“I am really proud of our team, we were missing a few guys due to suspension, injuries and were able to really limit a really good New England attack,” Curtin said postmatch. “I thought our guys played a bit like underdogs in terms of players stepping into the lineup or into different positions, but overall proud of the effort and we move on.”
Mark-Anthony Kaye’s red card before halftime put Clint Peay’s men in a major hole on home soil.
Nathan Harriel came close to propelling the Union into the lead just before the half-hour mark. Damion Lowe and Mikael Uhre both had offensive chances blocked in the Revs box following a corner kick before Harriel’s follow-up chance rattled the right post.
VAR stepped in before halftime and made a major decision which resulted in an ejection for Revs midfielder Kaye. In a jostle with Union midfielder Daniel Gazdag, Kaye bundled Gazdag to the ground before stepping on his chest.
Although the contact looked incidental, VAR forced Drew Fischer to hand out a straight red card to Kaye, reducing the Revs to 10-men.
Gustavo Bou’s right-footed effort in the 48th minute was denied by Jamaican international Andre Blake, keeping the score level at 0-0.
Tomas Chancalay and Andrew Farrell were also denied by the veteran goalkeeper as the Union continued to keep the pressing Revs at bay.
Despite ample pressure from the Revs, it was Jim Curtin’s squad who broke through with 11 minutes to play. Jack McGlynn’s low cross from the right wing was flicked into the back of the net by Chris Donovan.
It was Donovan’s second goal of the campaign and his first since July 15.
The Union would hang on to claim the victory and set up a second-straight semifinal showdown with FC Cincy. Philadelphia defeated FC Cincinnati 1-0 in the 2022 semifinal round, using a second-half goal from Leon Flach to reach the Eastern Conference Final.
“They are a very talented team, they probably will win a lot of the individual awards by the time we play them which is deserving on how their season went,” Curtin said. “It’s going to be a tough challenge for our team, but I have faith in my team to play with everything they have in a tough atmosphere in Cincinnati.”
FC Cincy lifted their first trophy in club history earlier this year, winning the Supporters’ Shield. Pat Noonan’s squad advanced to the semifinals after eliminating the New York Red Bulls over two matches (3-0 home win, 8-7 penalty shootout result after 1-1 scoreline in regulation).
There are several ties between the Union and FC Cincy both on and off the field.
Noonan previously served as an assistant coach under Curtin from 2018-21. Ray Gaddis is the Union’s all-time appearance leader (246), Alvas Powell played one season with the Union in 2019, and Sergio Santos is tied for ninth all-time in the Union’s goalscoring ranks (22).
FC Cincy GM Chris Albright made 10 appearances for the Union as a player before serving in the club’s front office from January 2014-October 2021. He was part of the club when they left Supporters’ Shield in 2020.
FC Cincinnati defeated the Union 1-0 at TQL Stadium back on April 8 before the teams played out a 2-2 draw at Subaru Park on Sept. 16.