Union / Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 2-2 Atlanta United

Tyrone Mears scored in the first minute of second half stoppage time to earn Atlanta United FC a 2-2 draw with the 10-man Philadelphia Union in Chester, PA Saturday night. Roland Alberg and Alejandro Bedoya were both on target for Philadelphia and Yamil Asad notched the opener for Atlanta in a frantic eight minute span in the first half. Josh Yaro received a straight red card for the denial of a goal scoring opportunity when he pulled down Josef Martinez in the 52nd minute.

Jim Curtin made three changes to the team that was shut out in Toronto on Wednesday. Roland Alberg replaced Ilsinho and Giliano Wijnaldum reclaimed the left back spot from Fabinho. Keegan Rosenberry started his first league match since April 14 in place of Ray Gaddis.

Philadelphia took the lead in the 18th minute through Alberg. Atlanta was only able to half-clear a Union free kick from the right side. The ball fell to  Wijnaldum 25 yards out from goal and he clipped a pass back into the box that Alberg did extremely well to corral and slot past Brad Guzan from 7 yards out.

The Union doubled their lead in the 23rd minute. Jack Elliott flicked on Alberg’s corner kick at the near post and Alejandro Bedoya had to be quick to get low and turn a fantastic overhead kick on target, finishing in the left corner of the net.

Atlanta pulled a goal back just three minutes later in the 26th minute. Josef Martinez headed down Greg Garza’s free kick near the penalty spot and Asad fired a laser from eight yards out into the top corner of the goal, leaving Andre Blake with no chance.

The Union were reduced to 10 men in the 52nd minute. The ball was played in behind the Philadelphia defense for Josef Martinez. As Atlanta’s striker ran through, Josh Yaro made contact from behind. He was shown a straight red card the clear denial of goal scoring opportunity. Jim Curtin immediately pulled Roland Alberg and inserted Richie Marquez for his first minutes since early June.

Yet, the Union looked like they would see the match out. But in stoppage time, a ball into the box from the left side was punched by Andre Blake. It bounced to Mears, who looped a diving header into the net, just over Blake and the retreating Jack Elliott from nearly 16 yards out.

The Union are off next week for the international break. They return to action on September 9th when they travel to Minnesota (8 p.m. EST)


Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake, Giliano Wijnaldum, Josh Yaro, Jack Elliott, Keegan Rosenberry, Chris Pontius (Ilsinho 75′), Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya, Roland Alberg (Richie Marquez 54′), Fafa Picault (Warren Creavalle 85′), C.J. Sapong
Unused Subs: John McCarthy, Jay Simpson, Ray Gaddis, Marcus Epps

Atlanta United FC

Brad Guzan, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Anton Walkes (Tyrone Mears 75′), Michael Parkhurst (Julian Gressel 59′), Greg Garza, Miguel Almiron, Jeff Larentowicz, Hector Villaba (Jacob Peterson 75′), Yamil Asad, Chris McCann, Josef Martinez
Unused subs:
 Mikey Ambrose, Brandon Vazquez, Kevin Kratz, Kyle Reynish

Scoring summary

PHI: Roland Alberg — 18′ (Giliano Wijnaldum)
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya — 23′ (Jack Elliott, Roland Alberg)
ATL: Yamil Asad — 26′ (Josef Martinez, Greg Garza)
ATL: Tyrone Mears — 90+1′

Disciplinary summary

PHI: Alejandro Bedoya — 10′ (unsporting behavior)
ATL: Josef Martinez — 13′ (unsporting behavior)
PHI: C.J. Sapong — 29′ (unsporting behavior)
PHI: Josh Yaro — 52′ (red card – denial of goal scoring opportunity)

Philadelphia Union Atlanta United FC
 13 Shots 18
 6 Shots on Target 5
 4 Shots off Target 7
 3 Blocked Shots 6
 5 Corner Kicks 7
 10 Crosses 20
 1 Offsides 2
 18 Fouls 13
 2 Yellow Cards 1
 1 Red Cards 0
 260 Total Passes 563
 67% Passing Accuracy 86%
 31.6% Possession 68.4%
 45 Duels Won 48
 48.4% Duels Won % 51.6%
 13 Tackles Won 9
 3 Saves 4
 22 Clearances 7


  1. 31% possession
    67% passing

  2. The Union need to watch the tape of Atlanta with a man advantage and learn from it for the next time they are up a man. They played the ball quickly and did a lot of field switching to wear down the Union. We also saw one team where the players were in much better condition than the other, even before the red card. In other words, Atlanta played “Philly Tough”.
    Even if he is called up to the national team for next week’s game, Bedoya will get a rest against Minnesota as he should be facing a yellow card suspension.

    • There were a lot of balls that an ATL player chased down, after a Union player gave up on it.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      I don’t know, Andy. ATL looked pretty poor in trying to break down the 10 man Union. The Union were very disciplined (especially for them) in staying on their feet and maintaining their defensive shape. ATL, for the most part, couldn’t penetrate the Union’s defense, settling from for hopeful crosses and shots outside the 18. The equalizer was a bit of a freakish play, but par for the course for the Union.

      The big issue for the Union was having Bedoya, Medujanin, Sapong and Elliott all coming off heavy workloads earlier this week and not having anyone to relieve them while they play a half down to 10 men. They were totally gassed.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I think it was just as much the work that ATL was doing keeping the ball moving that wore the Union down rather than the game on Wednesday.
        Even before that, ATL seemed in better physical condition…and they played Wednesday night too.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        True, but ATL didn’t play last weekend and hadn’t played since 8/6 going into Wed match with D.C.

        Union had a cross country flight and then a midweek match vs TFC where they were on the back foot all night.

        ATL was always going to be the fresher side, especially up a man.

  3. Allan Stevens says:

    It could have been a good result if not for the righteous red card when Yaro is out of position plus a poor clearance[s] on the second goal.

    SOB, where are you? Looking from the south side only about 70% attendance on the river end.

    • 70% SOB attendance may have been generous. I was shocked when the announced attendance was over 17K.

      • what they announce is tickets sold, not turnstile count, I am confident.
        The difference is why Al Michaels left the Radio booth of the Cincinnati Reds all those many years ago. Michaels wanted to use the turnstile count. The Reds didn’t, so, he went to San Francisco.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Agreed, I’d be surprised if the River End was 50% full. The sections all around me were much lighter than usual as well. It’s only gonna get worse from here on in.

      • Chris Gibbons says:

        It looked 1/3rd full to me. It’s no one’s responsibility to show up when the team is bad, but it’s not a good look for the soul of the fanbase.

    • I’m SoB; I was there.
      But seriously, after watching the miserable Toronto game and the disheartening Atlanta game, I don’t blame anyone for not attending.
      The fault is not ours.

  4. It’s really a shame the Union didn’t get the win because I think they deserved it. Except for Yaro’s bonehead play, I thoought the Union were really solid on the night. Rosenberry looked closer to his old self, and the Union actually looked dangerous from width with their backs.
    It was nice to see Curtin start Rosenberry and Yaro. More of that please. Even some D.J. for Bedoya or Haris to give them a break would be nice.
    Small things. I’m just trying to look for small things to keep me going this season.
    Oh and that Ref is horrible. Honestly for both sides, but I swear the Union got the worst of it.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Bedoya will get a rest next game. Don’t know if it will be Jones or Creavalle playing…or maybe a mysterious player with the number 8 on the back of his jersey.
      Ref was somewhat questionable but I don’t think that ultimately affected the outcome as the red card was a pretty obvious call.

    • You want more Yaro? Yikes! I think he’s been terrible. I think he should spend the rest of 2017 in Bethlehem. Or maybe training with a local high school team.

    • No more Yaro. Watching him on the pitch is a game of waiting for the bone-headed mistake he will make that costs the U points.

      • Just saw the Matthew DeGeorge tweet that Yaro is now tied with Sheanon for most red cards in Union history with 3. Sheanon played over 12,000 minute whereas Yaro is just shy of 1,700.

      • Corben Bone is Yaro’s personal defensive coach.

    • Yaro needs to play. The season is lost anyway, let it not be a total loss for Yaro’s growth. Jack Elliot is only one Cb, who’s the other going to be? Gooch again? I do agree Yaro hasn’t been good, but his upside is way better than anyone else.
      Let me be clear I thought the red was deserved for clear obstruction of an opportunity. What I meant by the Ref was bad was he started throwing out yellows early then had no where to go. Guys were commiting repeated fouls but not getting cards. C.J. got called for Atlanta players bumping into him and falling over. It’s just typical MLS.

      • agreed Yaro needs to play. not sure Yaro would have gotten yellow if he had only used one hand. he essentially horse-collared him
        Ref was ridiculously bad. Among other things, twice he stopped active play for an injured ATL player, then did not make the player leave the field of play.

  5. Punching 101: The ball must be punched wide, toward the sidelines.

  6. “As Atlanta’s striker ran through, Josh Yaro made contact from behind.”
    Homes, two hands around his shoulders pulling from behind is a bit more than making contact. It maybe was the easiest call Fischer made. PRO refs are now apparently paid by the whistles and not per game, but the red was an obvious dogso, even to the morons in my section.

  7. 1) Yaro pulled Martinez down for an Eagles quality tackle; he deserved the card. I was hopeful that Yaro and Rosenberry would work out better once reunited like last night, but Yaro is really a concern to me. Game after game with a mental lapse like not seeing Martinez’ run, or an outright assault on him to attempt to recover
    2) The referee took advantage from the Union on at least two separate occasions, and was more worried about the ridiculous time wasting (seriously Andre, thirty seconds to tee up a goal kick with more than a half hour left in the match? What is any ref supposed to do with that? You should have been carded for it as well. At least PRETEND to be trying to play at normal speed.) than the chippy play all over the place. ATL is loaded with skilled players and a unique South American style as opposed to other MLS teams, but equally stocked with divers, in my mind. At least two simulation cards were warranted from my perspective.
    3) Down a man, the Union held defensive shape better than I expected for longer than I expected, and in all sincerity, Jim Curtin pulling Alberg was the best managerial move that I have seen him make. After his goal, Alberg did nothing defensively, and wandered the pitch like the Wandering (not Flying) Dutchman, aimlessly. Half-hearted attempts to reach ATL players that are right by him, and a blatant refusal to join the attack if it didn’t appeal to him led to at least one occasion with a doughnut hole that he should have been in, and could have fired a rebounded shot. Flashes of brilliance followed by extended periods of walkabout, that is how I see him, and Curtin needed to get him off of the field.
    4) In the Inquirer, Jonathan Tannenwald is reporting that this likely took the Union out of the playoff hunt; if true, they certainly earned their exclusion this year.

  8. Yaro really needs to be in Bethlehem. He’s not ready. I don’t even mind though because at least he’s learning and getting minutes. It didn’t matter if they won or tied yesterday.
    On another note, I missed attending some games I think but did anyone else notice the servers in section 107? Not the usual cast of people who hardly come around but happy smiling staff in actual Union shirts kind of like the diamond club at a Phillies Game. Also finally a proper que at the river deck bar. The FO are trying hard to get people to commit to season tickets. Hey it only took 8 years.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      I did notice that in 107. Interesting that the prior staff was more, shall I say diverse, than last night’s group which consisted of young, Caucasian women.

      This doesn’t affect me either way as I’ve never ordered from them ever

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I don’t know about the staff as a whole but I was talking with one of the 50/50 sellers and he said that they only had 3 50/50 sellers working the game because everyone else was either on vacation or going back to school. So it could have been related to that as well.

    • My understanding based on talk in my section is that those girls were Widener students doing some kind of fundraising work or volunteer work. I don’t think it’ll be a regular thing.

  9. I’m a homer sure… but I really didn’t think the Yaro incident was a straight red. Foul, yes. Yellow Card, yes. I don’t know. Just thought it wasn’t a clear denial of the goal scoring opportunity. My opinion.. prolly wrong… but whatever. Agreed with folks tho that Yaro has just been bad since coming back. On the plus side, Keegan looked fine and that was a good sign. He should start every game the rest of the year. Anyone else think Winaldjum gets tired quick? Dude looked gassed by the 50-55 min. Hard to be mad about last night… given they were down a man for basically the whole 2nd half. Final thought: attendance (or lack there of) is becoming an issue and it getting more and more noticeable

  10. Section 114 (Former) says:


  11. Matt Thornton says:

    One thing I’ll say about the game, because the result speaks for itself, is that I’ve tried to watch as many ATL games as possible this year because Almiron is a joy to watch on the counter. And for my money, I’ve never seen them flop about and dive in the manner they did on Saturday night. It was pretty appalling – I let Martinez have it from my section for the one piece of blatant simulation he tried to pull in the corner. Aggressor going in to the tackle and then tries to act hurt, pops up when he realizes he isn’t going to get a call. Disgusting.

    Also – about the SOB attendance – I don’t blame us either, for not wanting to watch half inspired performances. I’ll be at the games for the rest of the year, but good luck with the Re-Doop campaign, FO.

  12. SOBs are making a point to ownership by not attending.
    I understand that and support it.
    What I think is a little offensive is the big Re-Doop push when no one was added during the transfer window, demonstrating a belief that this season has been written off. This team has been mired in mediocrity for years.
    We hear how there is going to be lots of money for big signings after some of these bad contracts are cleared off, but they have no track record of making good, big purchases. (with Bedoya as the arguable exception)
    So now they want us to pay again and trust them, in spite of their track record.
    If they really wanted to show good faith to the fans, they would say, “we’ll take your money now if you want to re-doop, but we know we have a lot to accomplish this off-season and will offer full early-bird discounts to season ticket holders during the off-season until 1 week AFTER we have made our big signings. We are so confident in our plans, that we are ok with being judged by our actions / acquisitions.”
    …but it wont happen

  13. I don’t how much it will help but Marquez should start the rest of the season. 2 major screw ups by Yarro have taken away 4 points and ended the season for certain.

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