-courtesy of the Philadelphia Union
Chester, Pa. – The Philadelphia Union improved their all-time international friendly record at PPL Park to 5-1 as the club defeated Mexican side Pumas UNAM 1-0, courtesy of a goal from midfielder Michael Farfan in the 68th minute.
The goal was sparked by a move from Sebastien Le Toux to elude a pair of Pumas defenders; Le Toux played a square ball into forward Aaron Wheeler, playing in his debut match with the Union, who tapped the ball ahead to Farfan for his first goal of the season. With the win, the Union improved to 5-1 all-time in international friendlies at PPL Park and 2-0 against Mexican clubs, with a 1-0 win over Chivas de Guadalajara in 2011.
“It was a great ball in from Wheeler, all I really had to do was pick my spot,” said Farfan on his first goal of the season. “This game was great for us, we’ve been talking about keeping the momentum going and I think we did that today.”
Before the goal, it was a back and forth affair that featured a few new faces for the Union. In addition to Wheeler making his first appearance of the season coming in as a halftime substitution, supplemental draft pick Leo Fernandes played a full match.
It was a game where the cautions were aplenty on both sides, with referee Daniel Fitzgerald going into his pocket six times, three apiece for each team.
“I think anytime you play a rival from Mexico you are going to have some natural heated moments and certainly you saw that,” said Union manager John Hackworth. “There is a lot of pride on both teams and in both countries for that matter; you know those things are going to happen, you just hope they never get out of control.”
For much of the match, Chris Konopka filled in expertly for customary goalkeeper Zac MacMath, making four saves to preserve the shutout.
Philadelphia Union return to MLS play on next Saturday, March 30 with a nationally televised match against New York at Red Bull Arena (3:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network).
Philadelphia Union 1, Pumas UNAM 0
Saturday, March 23; 5:00 p.m. ET
PPL Park, Chester, Pa.
PHI: Farfan (Wheeler), 68’
UNAM: Palacios (caution) 39’
PHI: Fernandes (caution) 66’
PHI: Carroll (caution) 67’
PHI: Williams (caution), 77’
UNAM: Espinoza (caution) 78’
UNAM: Nieto (caution) 83’
UNION STARTING 11
Konopka, Williams, Okugo (Jordan 45’), Parke (Carroll 45’), Gaddis, Lahoud, Torres (M. Farfan 61’), Hernandez (McInerney 61’), McLaughlin (Wheeler 45’), Fernandes, Hoppenot (Le Toux 61’)
PUMAS UNAM STARTING 11
A.Palacios, M. Palacios, Fuentes, Velarde (Quinones 76’), Reodriguez (Espinoza 45’), Orrantia (Cortes 45’), Romangnoli (Garcia 45’), Cabrera, Bravo, Nieto, Herrera (Mendoza 45’)
Referees: Daniel Fitzgerald, Bill Ditmar, Daniel Belleau, Neil Barbulescu