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Match report: Philadelphia Union 1-1 Colorado Rapids

photo: 215-pix

Philadelphia Union dropped more points at home as the Colorado Rapids came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw in Chester. In a soggy match that started an hour late after a weather delay, Sergio Santos gave the Union a first half lead with a 26th minute strike but Jonathan Lewis came off the bench to equalize in the 72nd minute for Colorado.

Jim Curtin opted to tweak his formation back to a 4-2-3-1 after stagnant offensive displays against Portland and Seattle. Ilsinho and Sergio Santos came into the starting line up, with Brenden Aaronson and Fafa Picault making way. Marco Fabian recovered from his ankle injury to make the bench. Former Union man Keegan Rosenberry started for Colorado.

Jack Elliot had a great chance to open the scoring in the 10th minute. Ilsinho sent in a cross after Colorado failed to deal with a Union corner kick, but the center back could only flick his header high and wide of goal from close range with Clint Irwin defending.

Santos would give the Union the lead with his third goal of the season in the 26th minute. Jamiro Monteiro did ever so well to win the ball 35 yards from the Rapids goal and stretch to flick a pass to Santos, who was in behind the Colorado defense. The striker made no mistake, rolling the ball under Irwin from 12 yards with a cool left footed finish.

The Union came close to adding a second with a brilliant play in the 42nd minute. Monteiro showed brilliant skill on the ball to evade two Colorado defenders before moving the ball to Haris Medunjanin. The ball moved out to the right for Alejandro Bedoya, who dropped a clever pass into the path of Kacper Przybylko, but the striker couldn’t beat Irwin who slid out to save with his foot.

The Rapids had a great chance to equalize in the 60th minute. Finding time and space to shoot from 25 yards, Nicolás Mezquida curled a shot that beat Andre Blake, but took a friendly bounce off the left post. Tommy Smith could only head the rebound high from close range.

Colorado would find their goal in the 72nd minute through substitute Lewis. Diego Rubio took a quick throw in from the Rapids left side and found Andre Shinyashiki, who found time to cross from the edge of the box to the back post. Lewis made a late run that went completely undetected by Kai Wagner and finished with a first time shot that Andre Blake couldn’t keep out.

Marco Fabian returned to action, replacing Ilsinho in the 65th minute. But the Mexican international found his touches hard to come by and he struggled to influence the match.

Przybylko had a great chance to score a winner deep into stoppage time, but he could only flick Monteiro’s looped pass over the bar from close range.

The Union managed 63 shots, but only two goals, in the three game home stand against Seattle, Portland, and Colorado. They’ll look to rebound when they travel to Minnesota on Sunday (4 p.m.).

Three Points:

  • Rough: They dominated Seattle. They got a little unlucky against Portland. But the draw against Colorado certainly feels the worst result of the three game home stand.
  • Transition: Monteiro’s pass and Santos finish showed a great transition goal for Philly. With so many teams defending deep against them, is scoring on transition the key to the Union regaining their scoring form?
  • Gaddis? With Keegan Rosenberry returning to Chester for the first time in a visiting uniform, right back Ray Gaddis had one of his most impressive offensive showings in years, nearly scoring twice.

Philadelphia Union
Andre Blake, Ray Gaddis, Jack Elliott, Auston Trusty, Kai Wagner, Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya, Jamiro Monteiro, Sergio Santos (Fafa Picault 60′), Ilsinho (Marco Fabian 65′), Kacper Przybylko
Unused Subs: Carlos Coronel, Aurelien Collin, Olivier Mbaizo, Warren Creavalle, Brenden Aaronson

Colorado Rapids
Clint Irwin, Keegan Rosenberry, Lalas Abubakar, Tommy Smith, Deklan Wynne, Cole Bassett (Sam Vines 85′), Johan Blomberg (Jonathan Lewis 63′), Kellyn Acosta, Nicolas Mezquida (Dillon Serna 70′), Diego Rubio, Andre Shinyashiki
Unused Subs: Andre Rawls, Kofi Opare, Axel Sjoberg, Sebastian Anderson

Scoring Summary:
PHI: Sergio Santos – 26′ (Jamiro Monteiro)
COL: Jonathan Lewis – 72′ (Andre Shinyashiki, Deklan Wynne)

Disciplinary Summary:
COL: Lalas Abubakar – 50′ (unsporting behavior)
COL: Diego Rubio – 58′ (unsporting behavior)
PHI: Jack Elliott – 86′ (unsporting behavior)


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Anyone still want to argue that the Union are as good as everyone was saying 2 weeks ago? Remember, just because you dominate the stats doesn’t make you a great team if you can’t actually score goals.
    2 points from a 3 game home stand does not fill me with confidence no matter how much possession they had.

    • On the other hand, they have the best ppg rate in the East and are a point off of first place pace with a game in hand. I don’t think it’s fair to kill them for running into a slump.

      Yes. It’s tough to drop so many points at home. They should have given themselves a cushion. But I’m not going to extend them the excuse of a poor team punching above its weight. There’s talent here. More so than ever before. We should all expect better.

    • Still a good team Andy. Still have yet to see anyone call them great.

  2. I know it looks bad after he had two nice shots but I cant watch Gaddis anymore. He just kills the offense on the right.

    We have a team that is usually a well oiled machine full of players who can play with the ball at their feet. And then we pass to our RB and he passes it back to you.

    It just kills me to watch. No overlaps. No cut insides. No clever passes. No pretty link up plays or sweet 1 touch passing. And if he does find himself in the final third he doesn’t have the skill, vision or creativity to do anything.

    We need a Wagner at RB.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Will it really help given that they don’t seem to be able to score even when they get it into the box?

    • Having Rosenberry in the house really rubbed salt in this wound.

    • I am probably the biggest Gaddis hater on the site but he was clearly told to stay back in our original 4-2-3-1 and once we switched to the 4-4-2 he attacked more. Honestly he had a better game than Wagner who has become overrated and a major part our our scoring issues as his crosses are terrible.

      • I agree Wagner has had a rough stretch but overrated? No way.

        And atleast he puts himself in a position to cross and knows how to. Gaddis does nothing of the sort.

      • He puts himself into low percentage crosses and hits it into the box to areas instead of teammates. He’s not good at it. Crosses (from wide) are generally a bad choice. Gaddis is worse for sure, but putting yourself in a decent position with no end result is not good, especially since this formation gives the outside backs tons of space to operate in.

      • The Big Woo says:

        Were you watching the same game – They took Kai out of play and only used the one side. Your real issues are that either the forwards WONT shoot on instinct and the jam rockets for no reason. Haris still isn’t moving and the passing was horrible inside. I mean Ale only really had one real drive… Playing the sideline isn’t the only way to play this game. you need Arronson and Marco in the field at the same time to create havoc.

  3. Can I get a #10?
    We have two good ones. Where were they?
    Harris had a crap game. So did Fafa.
    Union need a finisher to get to next level.
    USA invented computers. Why can we not get VAR on every goal?
    Ball clearly came off their players chest out of bounds before they threw it back in. Should have been goal disallowed and throw in other direction.

    • Our tens were lost in a bad lineup shuffle by Curtin.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Fabian and Santos need to start the next few games. Give them a run here. We are paying them TOO MUCH to come in as subs or be taken off after 60 mins.

      • Agreed, Ilsinho can’t start and can’t play in a 4-4-2. Fafa shouldn’t start and also can’t play in a 4-4-2. Santos looks like he he’d be better in the 4-4-2. It was all mixed up yesterday.

    • Alicat215 says:

      There shouldn’t’ be a 10 in a 4-2-3-1

  4. Painful result. Subs did little to improve the second half. All I thought of was the “points” article from last week.

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    Just a running stream of frustrated consciousness from me tonight:
    Can’t score. Can’t win.
    The entire game was sloppy and it had nothing to do with the weather (surprisingly). Just not good enough. We got lucky Colorado was/is so inept going forward or we would’ve been down a few.
    I would still argue this team is still as good as we think they are. Again though, the lack of finishing is now disturbing (moved up from “concerning”). This must change in these next two games.
    I don’t recall a Union team ever trying to pass the ball 40,000 times before they score. Don’t know where that came from but it doesn’t work… so please stop doing it.
    Harris, Bedoya, Wagner… all looked tired and I don’t blame them. Weather was humid, they ran their balls off… but Jim has to at least the Haris a break soon. He won’t make it to August.
    I don’t know what else they can do, short of bringing in a DP striker who can bury the chances they are consistently creating, but I hope Tanner is working on that.
    For me, this was not the game to pick on Ray Gaddis. He seemed fine tonight. Should’ve scored his first ever goal, on at least one of his chances – that shot in the first half would’ve been one the greatest Union goals of all time. I do still think an upgrade would be beneficial, but for me Ray was fine tonight.
    These next two for me make or break the season. Keep playing well and get the results you should – a draw and a win – and you’re ok. Come away with one point of a possible 6 and I’d venture to say we are in big trouble.
    2 points of a possible 9 in the last 3 games… all at home… where you arguable our played the opponent the entire time (or for at least LONG stretches)… will get you a 6th-7th place finish if you’re lucky. Very frustrating.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Last one for me: ref was atrocious. One of the worst this season between the no calls and then the numerous calls it was classic inconsistency from an MLS ref. I don’t think the Union had a foul called for them in the entire first half

  6. Bring BSFC Back to Bethlehem says:

    I feel like an idiot for saying this was a different team. It’s not. The schedule only gets tougher from here.

  7. Disappointing one tonight. This had all the makings of a ‘trap’ game going in, and it turned out to be one. Midweek, weaker opponent that is a bit resurgent with a new (interim) manager and 2 wins in a row, and a home side whose confidence has taken a hit after 2 tough home games when they struggled to find the net.
    I actually thought Curtin tried to do too much and too little this game. The formation change didn’t really seem to work (that’s the too much), and given how tired some of the midfielders looked (justifiably so), it left two good and relatively fresh players starting on the bench in Fabian and Aaronson. (The lack of squad rotation is the too little.) I think I probably would have stuck with the diamond, with maybe Fabian, Aaronson, Ilsinho, and Monteiro starting in the midfield. But that may be a lineup with too little defensive grit, and I admittedly don’t know what I’m talking about.
    I agree that the Union were once again frustrating in front of goal. They need to figure something out against teams that wind up with a bunch of defenders in the box. Sergio can finish, and he’s shown that already, but the team have to work out a way to get decent shots (as we all know by now, ‘shots’ by themselves don’t cut it) when they don’t have as much space to work with.
    One last comment. I did not like the boos from the fans at the final whistle. I get that it was a disappointing result. I get that it wasn’t a great performance. But this isn’t a team where the players are mailing it in and getting poor results because of it. They are working hard, and I think that deserves some better support from us as fans, both during the game and after it. Boos are not going to help better the team’s confidence during this rough patch.

    • John P. O'Donnell Jr. says:

      No participation trophies in Philadelphia.
      I don’t get Ilsinho starting when he’s one of the most dangerous subs in MLS.
      Przybylko should be up top in this formation winning balls with Santos and Fafa giving plenty of speed on the wings.
      Give Medunjanin the night off and let Monteiro start there and give Fabian the start at number ten against Colorado at home.
      I think this wasn’t one of Curtin’s better games with the lineup.
      And although they have the best points per game in the East, Atlanta and NYCFC have game (games) in hand and they’ve missed a chance to start separating from the pack on this homestand.

      • There’s a difference between a participation trophy and a second place team that had a tough 3 game stretch.
        I don’t disagree on Ilsinho, but hard to fault Curtin for feeling like he earned a start. I just wish he’d used it to spell someone who really needed the rest.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Regarding the boos and why I threw a little boo in there as I left: the work rate was there, but again the finishing was poor. For me that frustration of not turning decent work into what should have been several goals – irked me enough to voice my displeasure.

  8. I hope they prove me wrong, but I have the feeling that this is 6th place team again. Mostly because Curtin is a 6th place coach. Dropping home points is only the beginning. The usual late season collapse still in the offing. Tired players who never get subbed or get to take a game off, like Medunjanin. Missed set piece chances and inability to defend set pieces. We’ve seen this story before. Again, I hope I’m wrong.

    • Amazing how you suddenly now appear…Nothing to say before this?

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      Curtin has the team tops in the East, has them creating chances at a nearly 20 per game clip, has changed his starting XI nearly every single match, has changed his formation to at least 3 fully distinct shapes in the process, has them with only one loss in their last 7, and all of that while losing three striker/wingers in the last 3 months, his DP signing hurt or suspended basically the whole season, and playing three different keepers along the way. Lots of things to dislike about last night’s match, but what Curtin is doing is extremely low on that list.

  9. el Pachyderm says:

    I was away. Couldn’t watch. They’ve lost 1 match in 7.
    The are not The Invincibles. Play better. Get some wins. Quiet the noises.

  10. The Truth says:

    Ray plays his best game but his best game is still not good enough. Ilsinho and Bedoya were on different wavelengths the majority of the time. Haris looked sluggish after 30 mins and began falling apart as soon as the second half started. He misplaced pass after pass and kept getting in Monteiro’s way. I won’t even comment on his unwillingness to shoot the ball.
    Two points in three homes games isn’t good enough. Now we’re off to a completely foreign stadium to play a real mystery of a club. Could we lose this game? I have no doubt. Could we put up 5 goals in this game? We have the ability to create enough chances to do so but by golly, we gotta finish them. We took 63 shots in the last three games with two (2!) goals to show for it. Not good enough.
    Positive note: I thought Marco looked good. I’m still looking forward to if and when he starts humming. He probably doesn’t have the fitness to start yet but his quality is obvious.

  11. scottymac says:

    They’re a good team. They aren’t the best team in the East. They will make the playoffs. 3rd-5th is a reasonable expectation. While they are deeper, it’s a pretty precipitous quality dropoff in the midfield. I think the backup for Bedoya, Haris AND Monteiro is Creavalle. I’m not sure Fontana is a thing, if he ever was. Some combination of card accumulation suspensions or game knocks (Haris is 53) mean your lineup will shift in the dog days of the schedule.
    I’m not holding my breath for summer reinforcements. Think this is your 2019 Union. 3rd in the East would be probably the highest PPG in club history. We can demand more from the FO to address the holes in the side, but honestly, do you expect more?

  12. Alicat215 says:

    Any time we broke the flanks last night and served a ball in……there was no one, I mean no one……running any lanes…..literally no one in the box! Bedoya’s right…….how the hell are you going to score with no one hitting the lanes?

  13. msg24365 says:

    seemed like the guys were TOO caught up in fancy passing around the edge of the box instead of some direct play or, god forbid, a shot…

    Seems like the rest of the league has caught on to Jamiero around the box – he always wants to go right, get the ball on his right foot, and shoot. HE was very effective in his earlier games, but it looks like teams are wise to that now and forcing him left.

    I think Curtin outsmarted himself with the Ilsinho start. He was definitely effective attacking players on the right, but I think he would have been even more effective coming on in the second half of that humid night.

    • Monterio is not a 10 in a 4-2-3-1. Honestly I don’t like him at the 10 at all, not that he’s bad there, but he’s so much more dangerous running in from a slightly deeper position.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Curtin got fooled after Montiero played the 10 in an earlier game this season (I can’t think of the opponent right now) and did well. I think Jim has been better this season, but he is being tested right now, with lineups, changes, etc. He needs to be at his best

      • Alicat215 says:

        He may not be a pure 10, but he’s better in there than Fabián…..and probably Aaronson. I wouldn’t play him there either……I love him as a 6 or an 8 actually…definitely in the double pivot…but the dude is better than ANYONE we have in the interior…..technically better, his pace and engine are better, not bad in the air for little guy, and plays with that “don’t f—k with me” edge…….he even gave a classic Nogs “freakin move” last night after a foray up the touch line….not a soul hitting a lane in the box.

  14. OneManWolfpack says:

    Montiero’s ability to strip the opposing player of the ball and not foul them is the coolest thing I have ever seen. He sneaks up on guys and just takes it away. Amazing. He is a 6 or an 8 for sure

    • Agreed. I think he should be this teams #6.
      Fabian, Aaronson and Bedoya give you enough passing ability. Monteiro’s a beast defensively and is still really good going forward. To me that both addresses the weaknesses shown in the Portland game and the need for squad rotation.

  15. The team was bound to hit a slump. I think they were playing a bit above their level up to this point, and now perhaps regressing to where they belong. The caveat is that we have come this far, effectively without our star DP. If Fabiàn actually stays healthy and gets integrated into the squad, this team could recover itself quickly and become truly dangerous.

    Meanwhile, this is where we will really learn what Curtin’s made of as a coach. Because last night he did some squad rotation… and it was the wrong rotation. Ilsinho should simply never start unless it’s a desperation situation; he is just not the same player when he starts, perhaps because he is saving his energy to go for 65 minutes. Medunjanin looks quite tired, which is not surprising given his age and the fact that he never comes off the pitch. We now have 5 starting-caliber midfielders for 4 slots, so there is no reason not to give him a game off, as his fatigue worsens his already-problematic defensive shortcomings.

    And the other guy who has looked noticeably tired to me in the last couple of matches is Wagner. Small wonder he was to blame for Colorado’s goal. The Machine has to get oiled; he absolutely needs a match off. Gaddis looked superior to him even on the offensive end.

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