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Strong road win for Union

Le Toux scores two in win over Revolution

Union midfielder Daniel Cruz celebrates a goal by forward Sebastien Le Toux during the first half. (Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports)
Union midfielder Daniel Cruz celebrates a goal by forward Sebastien Le Toux during the first half. (Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports)Read more

PERHAPS A 3-week break from league play and a staff shakeup was exactly what Philadelphia's Major League Soccer club needed.

In the MLS managerial debut of interim manager Jim Curtin, the Union went on the road and defeated the second-place New England Revolution, 3-1, on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Sebastien Le Toux scored two goals and goalkeeper Zac MacMath recorded six saves in a much-needed victory that pushed the team to seventh in the Eastern Conference standings.

"It has nothing to do with the coach. It has to do with the players," Curtin told reporters after the game. "I have good players. I would say that the first half of the year we had a lot of very good players that had a poor first half of the season. This is the second half of the season; it's a new start for them."

At the official midway point of the 34-game regular season, the Union is 4-7-6. It has played the most games in the 10-team conference but entered yesterday's games only a point behind the fifth-place New York Red Bulls. Five teams qualify for the postseason.

Considering New England's dominating 5-3 win on May 17 at PPL Park, this was one of the Union's most impressive victories of the season. Le Toux got the scoring started in the 42nd minute. After halftime, in the 69th minute, Danny Cruz added his second goal of the year.

Just 4 minutes later, Saer Sene of New England (7-6-2) halved the Union's lead, but Le Toux, assisted by Andrew Wenger, provided an insurance goal in the 78th minute to cap the scoring. Le Toux leads the team with six goals in 2014.

The Union won despite missing midfielder Vincent Nogueira, who sustained a groin injury in the team's June 17 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup win against the Harrisburg City Islanders. Nogueria, a first-year MLS player from France, has been arguably Philly's best player in the first half of the season. Center back Austin Berry also sat out once again, this time with a rib injury.

Michael Lahoud got the start in the midfield with Amobi Okugo, while Maurice Edu again played center back. Curtin has said Edu is likely not the long-term solution on the backline, but the first-year Union midfielder has played well there all the same.

"Our strategy was to keep things compact," Okugo said. "Our coaches stressed that New England likes an open game because they have the necessary players that are good on the run and can keep the ball well. We focused on keeping a compact unit and broke whenever we got the chance."

Taking into account the Union's recent U.S. Open cup victories against Harrisburg and the New York Cosmos, the team has yet to lose with Curtin at the helm. It has another match on the road this week, visiting FC Dallas on Friday in a July 4 contest set to start at 9 p.m.