Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 2 – 1 FC Dallas

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union came back from a 0-1 deficit in stunning fashion late in their match against FC Dallas Saturday night, walking away with a 2-1 victory and three points.

Throughout most of the match, the Union boasted some impressive build up play, moving the ball forward methodically and creatively, but it seemed as if FC Dallas’s final defense was too good. After even their most brilliant of plays, the Union would make one wrong move to end the sequence without a strong shot on net.

Dallas opened up the scoring in the 10th minute off of a free kick. After Union No. 10 Marco Fabian received a yellow card for tripping Ryan Hollingshead outside of the box, FC Dallas captain Reto Ziegler took the kick. Ziegler curved the ball over the Union’s wall and into the back of the net. The wall looked unready for Ziegler’s kick, and star Union keeper Andre Blake hardly moved.

The Union were not without their opportunities to even the score in the first half. Left back Kai Wagner sent several crosses in from the wing, usually either to David Accam or Fafa Picault, who were both unable to finish. In the 30th minute, Brenden Aaronson stepped up and took a shot from the top of the penalty box, but Dallas keeper Jimmy Maurer made the save. Ultimately, with six shots in the first half, the Union were unable to equal FC Dallas’s one goal, made from their one shot.

The second half told a very similar story until the Union were awarded a penalty kick in the 83rd minute. Jamiro Monteiro shot a rocket from distance, but Maurer blocked it, popping it up in the air. As Union striker Cory Burke waited at the six yard line for the ball to come back down, he was tackled into the net. Marco Fabian’s ensuing penalty kick was saved by Maurer, but Burke followed up the rebound to knock it in easily.

In stoppage time, the Union finally broke through the mold of being unable to score from the field. Ilsinho made a dazzling play on the right sideline, pulling his classic elasticos and stepovers, drawing two defenders to him. The Brazilian quickly lobbed the ball over the defenders to Bedoya, sitting just behind the two men. Bedoya pushed the ball to the center and shot it to the far post with his left foot. Maurer dove but couldn’t get a hand on it. The Union were up 2 – 1, enough to earn them the win.

  • Creative substitutions. The Jim Curtin of old made primarily like-for-like substitutions, players who effectively added fresh legs to the pitch without changing the team’s approach. This match told a different story. Cory Burke, Ilsinho, and Jamiro Monteiro all came on for players outside of their own position, and all three made an immediate impact on the match.
  • Officiating woes.  Ideally, you wouldn’t even notice the referee in any given match. If their presence isn’t known, it means they are making the right calls without disrupting the flow of play. Unfortunately, the officiating in this match was extremely noticeable. Head referee Tim Ford consistently made wrong calls, called back free kicks, and missed other calls. Ford didn’t necessarily change the outcome of the match, but from a spectator’s standpoint, he directed the focus away from the actual play — where it should be — to the officiating.
  • Playing for the win. It was immediately evident after their first goal that the Union were playing for the win. They kept the pressure on and played more quickly in transition than they had all match. Obviously, it paid off, as Philadelphia Union left their home pitch with three points.

Philadelphia Union
Andre Blake; Ray Gaddis (Jamiro Monteiro 78′), Jack Elliott, Auston Trusty, Kai Wagner; Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya, Brenden Aaronson, Marco Fabián; Fafa Picault (Cory Burke 56′), David Accam (Ilsinho 68′)
Unused subs: Carlos Miguel Coronel, Mark McKenzie, Olivier Mbaizo, Warren Creavalle

FC Dallas
Jimmy Maurer; Ryan Hollingshead, Reto Ziegler, Matt Hedges, Reggie Cannon; Edwin Cerillo, Jacori Hayes, Michael Barrios (John Nelson 74′), Paxton Pomykal, Thomas Roberts (Zdenek Ondrasek 62′), Jesús Ferreira (Brandon Servania 88′)
Unused subs: Marquinhos Pedroso, Kyle Zobeck, Bressan, Ema Twumasi

Scoring summary

DAL – Reto Ziegler – 10′

PHI – Cory Burke – 86′

PHI – Alejandro Bedoya (Ilsinho) – 90+2′

Misconduct summary

PHI – Marco Fabian (Unsporting behavior) – 9′

DAL – Reto Ziegler (Unsporting behavior) – 85′


  1. el Pachyderm says:

    Statement of Intent.

  2. Great game. Union looking good last couple of games. Bench looking deeper.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    Good to see the team not give up when they went down early. It was a well taken free kick by Dallas (and I was amused that it was not included in the first half highlights on the video board). Not sure how there was no card given on the foul that led to the PK. Speaking of which the Union should probably start to look elsewhere for someone to be taking the PK’s since Fabian has now had 2 of 3 stopped.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      And the one tonight was poorly taken too. Right at the goalie. Lucky Burke was on it quick

    • Tim Jones says:

      Also lucky that Dallas left the regular goalkeeper at home for violating unspecified team policy and that they started the man who had just started for their USL1 North Texas team in that side’s debut.

    • Great One says:

      I thought the same thing about Fabian and thenPKs

    • Soccerson says:

      Not sure if anybody else noticed, but on Dallas’ goal, the ball was moved farther to the left from its original position after the wall was set. The U did not adjust the wall accordingly. I think this provided the extra space needed for the ball to go through and bend in. It was a great kick, but if the wall reads this and takes a step to the right accordingly, they may have had a chance to block / deflect it.

  4. Just got back from the game … no voice and my heart rate is still elevated! Great 3 points for the U.

    My three winners tonight are: Curtin, Burke and Monteiro.

    Might be Curtin’s best coaching job yet – it was really nice to see him do situational coaching – bringing in Burke on the corner, moving to 3 in the back earlier than normal + his three subs all contributed directly to the win.

    Burke clearly played like he wanted back in the 11. All credit for that first goal goes to him. Crashing the goal to draw the PK, finishing the shot, good hold up play etc. Accam had an off first half and Fafa still hasn’t settled in to this formation – a good challenge for Curtin going forward.

    Monteiro is class. His shot has the movement and pace of Alberg but he actually plays hard nosed D and connected passes in the midfield well. With 6 in the middle he still found space and delivered. The game changed on his foot and I think he starts sooner than later.

    I almost put Haris in the top three. His distribution and vision was really, really good tonight. A few turnovers, a few missed runs but his improvement is marked over the last three games and the liabilities have dropped big time (and coincidentally we have points!) Now, if he could only use his right foot …

    Fabian was charged up in the second half and played much better but I’m not sure he gets any more PKs – another poor effort. The yellow card was lazy and I’m glad it didn’t cost us.

    Now to gargle with some saltwater.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Agreed on Haris. For a good part of the first half, he was the Union’s best player.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Montiero is the key to this team. Sounds weird since he’s just a sub (at least for now) but that dude has pace, skill, defensive chops, power to shoot, etc. He’s going to continue to play a role. Quality addition

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I’m thinking the sub part could in part be that Curtin isn’t sure if he’s ready to go 60+ minutes in a match yet since he hadn’t played a game while he was waiting for the paperwork to go through.

  5. I was there. In the River End.
    Am I wrong in thinking that if you get the ball into the 18 yard box, you need to get a shot off?
    Loved the win; loved the spirit of the team in playing for the win; that ref made me long for Geiger.

    • Yes, they should have gotten more shots off but the reality is that Dallas defended quite well and the lanes weren’t open (at least from our view at the 18 by River End). Accam, Fafa and Fabian still aren’t connecting yet. It’s a work-in-progress and if they are going to make real noise will have to figure out how to create space in the box to get some decent looks.

  6. Excellent pressure during the last 25 minutes resulted in the win. Initially the pressure did not pay off but eventually it did. Bedoya finally made something happen. Hats off to him for a wonderful goal. Was fun sitting behind Ilsinho! The way his lower body moves is surreal. Believe he got the assist on that last goal.

    • Top 3 match for Bedoya in my mind. Game winner through 3 defenders.

      And yes, subs changed the match

      • John P. O'Donnell Jr. says:

        Just unreal. This game was tough to watch and I only got to see the second half as I was working. Dallas played really good and their defence was quite frustrating. That said, the substitutes changed the game and it was a pleasure to see. Curtin looks like he has a lot of options in the bench and tonight he used them to perfection.

  7. Penalty by Dallas was well-taken but too easy. Fafa was end man. I was queued up right behind the kick ad saw the foot or so over him. Not crazy curled or high. Just over the shortest man.

  8. Dallas really defended well till the last half hour. The U had nothing for them in the final third. They had some shots but most weren’t very threatening. Kudos to Curtin. The subs were great and really turned the game for the U. No more PKs for Fabian. Nice job by Burke to knock it in. And nice goal for Bedoya!

  9. OneManWolfpack says:

    Great atmosphere down there tonight. Felt like old times. Loud, engaged, pretty full. Just a great game to be at and watch. Great fight from the Union. I thought they were the better team all night and was really angry that it seemed like they wouldn’t even get a point. They do need to shoot a little more… especially when they do such good work getting the ball forward and creating space. Haris was solid and some of his passes were just perfection. Montiero is a player. What a rip of a shot that lead to the PK. And he’s got a serious defensive work rate too. Kudos to Jim on his coaching job. Excellent subs and at the right times as well. I almost fell out of my seat when he made a change at the 55th minute. I also thought the press was worked really well all night and made Dallas go backwards consistently. Spectacular night at Talen… excellent 3 points won.

  10. Congrats to all on the W. Only saw the second half, but it was worth it. Looking forward to being there with friends on the 20th.

  11. Just out of curiosity, when was the last time the Union came from behind to win a game?

    • Tim Jones says:

      Well, by memory, a long, long time ago, when they played New England at PPL Park, they were down to the Revs at halftime 4-1. They fought back to tie. Seba Le Toux ran his butt off as did the rest of the team and the Revs simply could not keep up.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        That game (all the way back in 2011) ended up a 4-4 draw rather than a Union win. I believe it was delayed a week and a half by a hurricane and was MacMath’s first start due to a Mondragon injury.
        As far as the last time they were trailing and eventually won, it was in Houston last July. They gave up the first goal around the same time as last night but then turned things around when Houston took a straight red in the second half

  12. el Pachyderm says:

    this just in…. Victory now being served on tap at Cynicism Corner.

  13. The whole night I thought the Union were the better team. Up until the penalty and Burke’s goal, I would have been happy with the effort. Then they actually get a goal in stoppage time. Just wow. Great job by the team and Curtin, once again. Curtin pulled the right strings and the subs did a great job. I can’t wait for Monteiro to make the starting 11.

    • Thought the whole night they deserved more and thrilled they earned all 3 in the end. More than deserved. Thought the whole team was exceptional. (Though Trusty worries me more than he doesn’t.) Great win. Emotion should carry them high for a while. They might have a good shot at a result in LA.

  14. Great time at the stadium tonight!

    On the Dallas goal, after the wall is set by Blake Dallas moves the ball to the left by a foot. Someone from the Union needs to stop Dallas from taking the free kick and re-set the wall. How the officials missed this was very MLS like.

  15. Francis Buxton says:

    In addition to what others have said about the various attacking and midfield performances against FC Dallas, I think the defense was good and has been quietly very solid the last three matches.

  16. Tim Jones says:

    Older brother followed younger brother’s lead.
    Sergio Santos got the game winner for Bethlehem 4-3 at the death in stoppage time just before the Union came onto the pitch to warm up. The Steel had been down 3-1 until the 73rd minute.
    Somebody identify the virus, capture it, breed it, and send the culture to Ernst Tanner for use throughout the season as needed.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      It’s a shame they didn’t show the end of the Steel game on the video screen at Talen while the Union were warming up.

  17. scottymac says:

    Monteiro, if fit, needs to start, and it will probably come at the expense of Aaronson on the left side. That’ll make the kid almost an automatic sub.
    Curtin coached a good game. After five seasons, it’s nice to see. Subs made the difference. Now let’s work on putting shots on frame during practice, shall we? What’s the point of playing well if every shot is fired into the stands? They’re averaging 14.3 shots per game and 1.4 goals. That’s not feeling super efficient. If this team has aspirations, fixing that ratio seems a good place to start.

    • Early returns on Monteiro suggest he’s going to be a real bright spot for this team. His striks before the penalty on Burke was sensational. Not sure I’ve ever seen another Union player cover ground the way he does either. Can’t wait for him to start

  18. Cobblepot says:

    Every week so far this season, the out of market broadcast has been from the opposing team. I know it’s tough to gripe about, because at least I get to watch each game, but does anyone know why this is the case?

    • scottymac says:

      Not sure what you’re hoping for, but as someone listening to Tommy’s meanderings, I’d be willing to give another pair the mic.

      • Francis Buxton says:

        None of the opponent’s broadcast teams are all that great though. Dunseth–the color guy for RSL–is really good as are the TSN/Canadian guys, but other than that I can’t think of any other good ones?

    • I’ve been complaining about the same thing. My only option to watch is ESPN+ and every game this season has been the opposing team’s broadcast.
      Those that complain about the Union’s broadcast…you don’t know how good you have it.
      So often mispronouncing names, wrong facts, excuses, incorrect storylines, bad camera work…and my favorite from last night…half screen graphics that stay up for a full minute making it impossible to follow the game.

      • You would think so, but at least the mispronouncing and wrong facts add variety. If you’ve heard one Tommy Smyth match, you’ve heard them all. The guy phones it in at this point.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Given that the road team announcers don’t normally travel to games, maybe MLS should go to an NFL paradigm of having one set of neutral announcers for every game. Unfortunately, that probably makes too much sense for MLS.

      • Francis Buxton says:

        I hope one day they will get on MLB.tv’s level: your pick of away radio audio commentary, away tv audio commentary, home radio audio commentary, home tv audio commentary, or live crowd noise (with no commentary). There are also various camera angles to choose from as well; it’s insanely good!

  19. Great One says:

    Really impressive win. Not usually a Curtin supporter but this may have been his best game as a manager, really well timed moves and different than usual moves. I like thee players a lot, I feel like there is a lot of heart and they actually give a crap. Could be a very solid year, especially with a couple teams struggling.

  20. The Truth says:

    A tale of two halves. Well played, well managed, well finished.
    Bench Fabian, start Monty. I want Sergio Santos back.

  21. I gotta be fair to my two recent whipping boys… First, Medunjanin looks like a new player the last 3 matches. Not just new from the first 2 matches, but new from last season as well. Now whether he can keep this up all season at age 34 remains to be seen… which brings me to Point The Second: this might have been Jim Curtin’s best-ever coaching performance. Granted he has a lot more to work with now — and it’s also clear that the SD is giving him not freedom than he had before — but he still skillfully used those pieces last night and it paid off marvelously.

    Now that Union actually have depth for the first time in their history, let’s hope Curtin actually learns about this modern concept called “squad rotation”…

  22. This is not a time for complaints or tactical shoulda-woulda-coulda. It is a time to enjoy. Save a free kick, we were the team on the front foot putting a 4-1-1, well coached team on the ropes.

    Excellent three points, get excited, the club has talent.

  23. The Chopper says:

    Deepest, most versatile roster this team has had in some time, maybe ever. It appears when not constrained or by receiving better input from above, that the coach can coach. And Ernst Tanner has managed this in a few short months. I may actually lose weight as I may not be partaking in the free cookies at The Cliffs of Union Despair..

  24. Bring Steel Back to Bethlehem says:

    That was one of those classic Union games that ended in a 1-0 loss. Beautiful Spring night. Full stadium. Some Phillies in the house. They played well but just couldn’t make that final connection…

    …except they did twice and won. This team might finally be turning a corner.

    Wagner is so good.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Said the same thing about losing 1-0. So many times this team has lost that exact game at home… 1-0 or 2-0… pushing to get the tie. So great to see them turn it around.

  25. Hey, maybe Ernie Stuart was not that good after all. I worry about his ability to execute a vision which will benefit the USMNT. Send Tanner over to the US and get Earnie back? Nah!

    • Earnie inherited a horror show and did a lot to set the foundation that Ernst is building upon. It’s an evolution and even if Earnie’s tenure did not bear immediate fruit, his leadership is key what we are seeing today.

      • Agreed. Also, his track record as the SD with clubs in the Netherlands was impressive.

  26. this has been said a thousand times over the past two days but this is a game that the union would have lost previously. what a blast

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