The Union put together one of their more dominating performances Sunday before embarking on a three-game road trip.
With an offense that created several chances and cashed in on three of them and a defense that was airtight, the Union defeated the New England Revolution, 3-0, in an MLS game before 16,143 at Talen Energy Stadium.
It was the second straight MLS win by the Union (6-7-4) as they reached the midway point of the MLS season. With 22 points, they are three points from the sixth and final Eastern Conference playoff berth with two games in hand on sixth-place Columbus. New England, which is 0-7-3 on the road, fell to 5-8-5.
Andre Blake earned his seventh shutout, one more than he had last season when he was named MLS goalkeeper of the year. Blake will join Jamaica in preparation for the Gold Cup and will miss at least Thursday's game at Sporting Kansas City.
The Union wasted little time getting started. New England's Benjamin Angoua was called for a hand ball in the box while attempting to block C.J. Sapong's shot.
Sapong converted the penalty kick in the fourth minute. It was his ninth goal, tying his season high that he had done twice previously, in 2015 with the Union and in 2012 with Sporting Kansas City.
"It was definitely welcoming and relieving to get on the board early," Sapong said. "I think the heat was definitely a factor early and it helped us to get an early advantage."
The game-time temperature was 89 degrees. Even though the Union went 120 grueling minutes in Wednesday's penalty-kick shootout loss to the Red Bulls in the U.S. Open Cup, they had plenty of energy.
"I wasn't worried about the guys physically, but the emotional letdown of 120 minutes against a rival, to lose on PKs the way we did after creating 27 shots, that was the hard part," coach Jim Curtin said.
It turns out the worries were unfounded.
In the ninth minute, Union midfielder Fafa Picault took a pass from Sapong and turned on the jets. He ran past two Revolution defenders, but keeper Cody Cropper came off his line to block the shot.
All game, New England had difficult dealing with Picault's speed when he would rush up on the attack.
In the 23rd minute, Blake had his best moment, making a sliding save on Kei Kamara, who shot from nine yards out from a right angle.
Union defender Oguchi Onyewu was hit in the face on a shot by New England's Kei Kamara, who was attempting a jumping side volley in the 30th minute. He momentarily left for the sideline but returned.
"I am lucky I am a tough guy," Onyewu said. "I haven't seen the replay yet, but it definitely hurt."
The Union weren't always smooth in the first half, but they totally controlled play in the final 45 minutes. Early in the second half, the Union went up 2-0 on a goal by Brazilian midfielder Ilsinho.
The play started when Haris Medunjanin found Picault with a 40-yard pass. Picault settled the ball, bought himself time, and chipped it to Ilsinho, who one-timed a shot from eight yards at a right angle in the 48th minute.
In the 72nd minute, Ilsinho missed a wide-open goal from 12 yards out. The Union kept charging and made it 3-0 when Medunjanin fed Roland Alberg, who ripped a shot just inside the 30-yard line into the upper right corner in the 78th minute.
The Union were without midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who is with the U.S. national team in Gold Cup preparations. The Revs were playing without forward Juan Agudelo and midfielder Kelyn Rowe, who joined the U.S. team as well.