MLS Rewind: Union's Alberg and Ilsinho make impact

Look who's tied for first place in MLS's Eastern Conference: Philadelphia Union. Its 3-0 win over New England Revolution marked its second straight win and moved it into a tie for points with the Montreal Impact.

The Union got two goals by C.J. Sapong and an injury-time goal from Sebastien Le Toux. The victory would be have been by a bigger margin but Ilsinho and Sebastien Le Toux both had penalty kicks saved by Bobby Shuttleworth.

Philadelphia Starts:
2010: LWL
2011: WWL
2012: LLL
2013: LWW
2014: TWL
2015: TTL
2016: LWW

It's been five years since the Union made the playoffs and after a 10-17-7 record in 2015, offseason moves were made on the playing field and in the front office.

Coach Jim Curtin said new Union sporting director Earnie Stewart brought a new attitude.
 
"The past is gone," said Curtin. "We have started better, we thought it was critical to have a good start, I think Earnie coming in and laying a good foundation with the group, setting a higher standard with training harder, more… Our attention to detail is better, so all those little things I think you are seeing on the field, you see in training sessions is one thing, but it matters most on Saturdays and Sundays, For the young players to go through the things they are now, to go to Columbus and now on the home field for the first time and be brave and trust the young guys around them. We are better now than last year, but that’s not saying much because last year we were bad."

Five first-year players started against the Revs: the No. 3 overall draft pick Keegan Rosenberry, Ken Tribbett, plucked from the USL, Chris Pontius, cast off by D.C. United and Dutchman Roland Alberg and Brazilian Ilsinho, imported from Europe.

Curtin liked what the latter two add to his young team.

"They are both good on the ball," he said. "Alberg, I thought, had a big contribution today, you know, settle things, drawing the red card. He is a smart player. He took a foul there and was brave in that moment [red card on Je-Vaughn Watson]. You can see his composure on the ball, you can see the interchange with him and Ilsinho, with Chris as well and as you see more and more time go by, more and more training sessions together, it will grow and can get even better."
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