It was the fourth time in four games at Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium this season that the second-year club played to a 0-0 tie. Cincinnati also played even with the Chicago Fire, D.C. United and Eastern Conference-leading Columbus Crew at home this season.
Including a victory on the road against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, FC Cincinnati (3-6-4, 13 points) has earned points in consecutive games for the second time since the MLS is Back Tournament ended last month.
After scoring nine goals in their last three games, all victories, the Union (7-2-4, 25 points) were held scoreless for the first time since a 1-0 defeat to the Crew on Sept. 2. Second-place Philadelphia entered off an impressive 4-1 victory over Montreal, when the Impact played with 10 men for most of the game.
The Union was able to keep FC Cincinnati off the scoreboard despite losing defender Raymon Gaddis to a knee injury. He was replaced by Matt Real in the 56th minute.
Defending was so tight that both goalkeepers had a slow night. Union goalkeeper Andre Blake made one save in the shutout, while FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey did not have to make a save in his shutout.
FC Cincinnati had their first legitimate scoring chance in the 89th minute, but Kendall Waston's header was cleared off the line by the Union's Jose Martinez. Just three minutes later, in second-half stoppage time, Blake was forced to make a diving save on a shot by Joseph-Claude Gyau.
It was Blake's fifth shutout of the season and the 35th in his seven-year MLS career. Richey earned his second shutout of the season and his fourth in 24 career MLS games. Richey started consecutive games for the first time since the opening two games of the season back in March.
In three games against Philadelphia, FC Cincinnati has yet to score a goal. The Union earned a pair of 2-0 victories last season in the only other regular-season meetings between the teams.