Daniel Gazdag scored a hat trick and Cory Burke had a goal and an assist as the Philadelphia Union set the pace early and rolled to a 6-0 win over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday in an interconference match in Chester, Pa.
The Union (15-4-9, 54 points) lead the Eastern Conference by five points over Montreal and are second to Los Angeles FC in the Supporters' Shield race by just three points with six matches to play. Saturday's match was the first of three in eight nights for Philadelphia.
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The Union have won three of their past four matches, including the last two 6-0, outscoring the opposition 16-2 over that stretch.
Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake had to stop just one shot to record his 12th clean sheet of the season, which is second in the league. He now has 62 shutouts in his nine-year MLS career.
The Union swamped Colorado throughout a dominating first half, scoring three times in the opening 30 minutes. Gazdag tallied the first goal in the ninth minute, inhaling a pass that was chested forward to him by Mikael Uhre and taking his time to draw Colorado keeper William Yarbrough off his line before finding the bottom left corner of the net.
Philadelphia added goals on penalty kicks by Gazdag and Julian Carranza in the 20th and 30th minutes, respectively, after fouls in the box by the Rapids' Anthony Markanich and Gustavo Vallecilla.
Gazdag now has goals in seven of his past nine matches and 16 for the season.
Colorado's chances to forge a comeback were dramatically affected when Vallecilla picked up his second yellow card of the match in the 35th minute, forcing the Rapids to play the final 55 minutes down a man.
Gazdag scored for the third time in the 83rd minute against a weary Colorado defense when he ran toward the goal and softly lifted a shot over Yarbrough. Burke assisted on the scoring play.
Burke then added his goal in the 87th minute before Matt Real sent home a pass from Kai Wagner one minute into stoppage time to finish off the scoring.
Saturday's match was the first of a three-game road trip in just nine days for the Rapids (8-11-8, 32 points). Colorado, which remained in 11th place in the Western Conference with seven matches to play, has only one victory away from home this season.