The Philadelphia Union started the season on Sunday night away in Vancouver. It’s never easy to play on the road in MLS and that is especially true when the team is about as far away as you can get in this league. Vancouver was also playing on a high of a recent victory over the New York Red Bulls in CONCACAF Champion’s League play. Starting a season on the road and getting a point is immensely important, and Jim Curtin is even more excited about the shutout.
Nobody knew how the Union would come out but it was apparent that newcomers were trusted in the system. Jay Simpson the former Arsenal man started at forward and the aging center back Onyewu got the start in defense. Onyewu was immense on the night, consistently coming up with stops on a tough and bouncy turf. The defense can hang their heads high shutting out an offense that offers up endless counter-attacks from one of the United States best young prospects Kekutah Menneh.
The game’s best opportunity came in the 66th minute on a corner kick. 2016 rookie phenom Keegan Rosenberry saved a shot off the line from Vancouver’s Harvey.
Another standout on the night was 20 year old homegrown midfielder Derrick Jones. He was outstanding in controlling the play and completely dictated the tempo through midfield. His connect from defense to the forwards is a takeaway Curtin will be sure to be impressed with.
New signing Fafa Picault also made their league debut along with Haris Medunjanin and Jay Simpson. While Simpson struggled as the lone striker, it seemed like all the pieces on the Union have the potential to start a special connection. Considering all of the natural forces working against them, the Union will be happy to take a point back across the country. They will face MLS Cup runner ups Toronto FC this Saturday at 4:30pm for the Union’s home opener.