Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 2-1 New England Revolution

Photo: Paul Rudderow

An eventful match with cards being brandished left and right came to a 2-1 last minute victory. Despite having a man advantage for almost half the game, a limited Philly squad struggled a bit more than normal in the final third until Anthony Fontana came on and scored both goals.

Even though they had a younger and limited bench, the Union started the match controlling the ball easily. Andrew Wooten had the first chance of the match in just the second minute, hitting it just wide of the near post following a series of passes started by Olivier Mbaizo. However, New England’s midfield began to pick apart Philly’s midfield and backline soon after, but didn’t get a shot on goal.

The chances stopped as a lot of back and forth occurred with neither side getting a shot on goal for about ten minutes. There were more miscues than normal as the Union seemed to struggle to move the ball into the final third. But in the 25th minute a great ball would be played to Wooten then to Alejandro Bedoya who would hit a bending ball just wide of the net. Despite some uglier-than-normal passing, the Union would still have some strong chances. Their next attempt on goal came off the head of Jakub Glenses following a corner kick, again going just wide of the post in the 29th.

Kelyn Rowe would come up huge for New England, blocking an almost guaranteed goal by Brenden Aaronson in the 38th minute. An open Aaronson found the ball on his foot just outside the six yard box after a series of passes that worked up through the final third. A sliding Rowe blocked Aaronson’s point blank shot and lead to an uneventful corner for Philly. Rowe would turn around a minute later and get a shot on goal, hitting it just wide of the net and Andre Blake’s outstretched hand. With that, it was 0-0 after the first 45 minutes.

Making no changes at the half, the Union still kept possession and tried to generate chances, although nothing was threatening. But things started to look up for the Union when New England’s Matt Polster earned his second yellow of the night and went down to 10 men. Przybylko would have a near miss almost immediately after Polster left the field. Curtin would bring on Anthony Fontana for Wooten and Matt Real for Olivier Mbaizo in an effort to revitalize their offense.

Fontana entering the match would make the difference as he scored the Union’s first goal only nine minutes after coming on. Aaronson brought the ball into the box and after a series of blocked shots, Przybylko was able to get the ball to Fontana who chipped an already off his line Matt Turner. The Revolution had already parked the bus at the 70 minute mark, seeming resigned to ride out the match playing a man down, but they notched up the pressure desperate for a tie after going down a goal.

Their efforts would pay off as Tajon Buchanon all but walked into the box to put one past Blake to tie the match up again in the 81st. The back line was absent, allowing Buchanon to place the ball in the lower right corner of the goal. Philly upped the pressure, hungry for three points, bringing on Jack de Vries in the 90th.

But it would be Fontana once again, this time at the literal last minute of the match, hitting a rocket from outside of the box following a poor clearance from New England. Blasting past the outstretched arm of Turner, the homegrown would get his first brace for the club. Seconds later he would get another shot off, going for a hat trick just before the final whistle, but a brace would have to do, giving the Union the 2-1 victory. The victory puts Philly tied with Toronto at second place in the eastern conference.

With the next three matches of the regular season just announced, the Union’s next match will be against Montreal but played in Red Bull Arena on Sunday, September 20th at 7:00 p.m.

Three points
  • Injuries abound. With only 17 men dressed for tonight’s match, you can say that the Union had a few injuries limiting them. With Sergio Santos, Ilsinho, Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, and Warren Creavalle all out, Jim Curtin was limited in his lineup and subs.
  • Miscues and poorer passes. There were a lot more frustrated sighs as players made passes expecting a teammate to be there, and they weren’t. We’ve seen a lot of nice passing from the Union so far this year, so there was a noticeable difference that limited Philly’s chances throughout the night. Of course, they were still able to score two goals, but it was sloppier work than usual.
  • Victories at home. The Union are undefeated at home this season after three matches, but what’s more is that they have always beaten New England at home in the last five regular season matches. The last time Philly hosted the Revs was May 4th, 2019 and it was a 6-1 victory. The match before that was August 25th, 2018 and it was a 1-0 victory. This year is no different.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake; Olivier Mbaizo (Matt Real 64′), Mark McKenzie, Jakob Glesnes, Ray Gaddis; José Martinez (Jack de Vries 90′), Alejandro Bedoya (c), Jamiro Monteiro, Brenden Aaronson; Andrew Wooten (Anthony Fontana 64′), Kacper Przybylko
Unused subs: Joe Bendik, Cole Turner, Michee Ngalina

New England Revolution

Matt Turner; Andrew Farrell, Henry Kessler, Brandon Bye, Alexander Buttner; Kelyn Rowe (Lee Nguyen 76′), Matt Polster, Tommy McNamara (Tajon Buchanan 67′), Cristian Penilla (Diego Fagundez 67′); Adam Buksa (Scott Caldwell 58′), Teal Bunbury (c) (Gustavo Bou 76′)
Unused subs: Brad Knighton, DeJuan Jones, Michael Mancienne, Kekuta Manneh

Scoring summary

PHL: Anthony Fontana – 73′ (Kacper Przybylko)

NE: Tajon Buchanon – 81′

PHL: Anthony Fontana – 90’+5′

Disciplinary summary

NE: Matt Polster – 8′ – Yellow (unsporting behavior)

PHL: Jose Martinez – 20′ – Yellow (unsporting behavior)

PHL: Ray Gaddis – 36′ – Yellow (unsporting behavior)

PHL: Alejandro Bedoya – 50′ – Yellow (unsporting behavior)

NE: Matt Polster – 56′ – Yellow – Red (accumulation)

PHL: Anthony Fontana – 65′ – Yellow (unsporting behavior)

PHL: Mark McKenzie – 89′ – Yellow (unsporting behavior)


  1. Maybe he can play more? says:

    Good on the Ant-Man to bail them out…..I gotta ask though:

    Glesnes MotM with solid defending + dynamite diagonals, but is there anybody out there in attack who can pass or receive a pass?

    Striker uses wrong foot, misses open net.
    RB playing LB with only a R foot.

    Wide open look inside of the first 5 and misses everything short side? C’mon man.

  2. I was awaiting Bruce Arena’s next red. Sadly it didn’t happen. It was a sloppy win. Doesn’t matter. What I want to know is why Fontana doesn’t play more. Like set up an inquest or something. It’s absurd. All this kid does is move to open spaces, run his ass off, and scores goals. Geez Jim what a terrible player. Open your eyes Curtin. I think at the end Arena was asking Curtin why he wasn’t playing Fontana more.

  3. This looked a lot like the Union being up a man in the first 5 years of their existence when we “knew” they would give away points.
    Looking towards next match, I would consider moving Monteiro back to the 6 and starting Fontana in Monteiro’s spot (given Martinez is out).
    And Tommy said about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard from him when he said that with the heavy schedule they need to avoid using the bench players so the bench players don’t get tired. FIRE TOMMY SMITH!

  4. Rescued by the kid who can’t seem to get on the field very much. Every single time Anthony Fontana plays good shit happens… since his debut with a Gol and subsequent benching.
    Shrug. That young man rescued you …from the elephant evisceration.

    • Glad you remember his debut and goal. He may not have set the world on fire that game but I thought he looked fine. But then POOF… he was a missing persons for 2 years. Curtin works in mysterious ways.

  5. In Tanner We Trust says:

    Had Fontana not scored that 2nd goal, I would’ve considered this a loss. Average team without their best player trekking to our Park with 10 men, and we almost blew it. Play Fontana more. Play Real more, as much as I like Mbaizo. And that ref was the worst I’ve seen in 18 months, hurting both teams.

  6. Edmund Lightfoot says:

    The first Union jersey that I ever had was Anthony Fontana’s as my purchase was fresh off his debut goal against the NE Revolution in 2018 (or 2 BC (Before COVID)). Given that Fontana has been treated as sort of a roster castaway in the intervening years, I rarely wore the home shirt (though I did bring it out for the Union’s rainy playoff win last season).

    I mention this inconsequential and admittedly uninteresting anecdote this evening solely because I saw potential in Fontana as an exciting playmaker and goal scorer back in 2018 and it always miffed me as to why the homegrown player never earned any more regular minutes as either a starter or a second-half substitute for anything beyond five throwaway minutes. Hopefully performances like this evening’s brace from Fontana will sway Curtin to give him more of an opportunity (along with Matt Real) but the gaffer has proven obdurate in his lineups and unforgiving of his speculative occupants of Casa del Rosenberry (aka the doghouse).

    Regardless, tonight was a sloppy performance for the team as a whole (poor passing, some defensive carelessness) but I am very happy for the local kid.

    • +1 for using obdurate.
      ++1 for a true post.

    • Wracked Opinion says:

      “Casa del Rosenberry…”


      Quite the wordsmith you are, Ed.

      Seemingly this squad is actually deeper than what we’ve been previously ‘allowed’ to see.

      Agreed that if not for the Fontana miracle, the performance and result would have been completely unacceptable.

      The MTL match will be an interesting watch: for multiple reasons.

  7. Atomic Spartan says:

    But Fontana doesn’t practice well. So he doesn’t earn the right to play does he?

    Practice? You talkin bout PRACTICE!!!???
    Funny how some of JC’s best personnel moves are made when unavailable players force his hand. This is why I reserve my judgement about his adequacy as a game day coach. He has many good qualities, but game day personnel management remains a glaring weakness. Tonight should serve as an object lesson for him. Got that Jim?

  8. My instinct here is to really question Curtin’s coaching choices, but in doing so I have to also admit that he made changes, particularly early for him, that identified the problems and rescued the match.

    I’d like the Union media pool to ask Curtin why Fontana gets so few minutes. And back to my original point I have to also wonder if Fontana was only the man in to replace Wooten because Ilsinho want available.

    More than that, I’m glad Fontana had the opportunity to make a statement last night. If our actual strikers could finish like that, we would be in great shape.

  9. The Union looked really tired today, they almost fettered away being up a player because it looked like all their midfielders were gassed. This was a really underwhelming performance, but it’s hard to fault players who have put in so many minutes lately.

    It’s pretty ridiculous we haven’t seen Fontana start considering how pretty much every other midfielder looks like a game off would do them some good.

  10. Chris Gibbons says:

    They have a week now to get heathy right? There should be no scenario where Fontana isn’t in the mix of starters and subs, and no scenario where Mbaizo is the left back (his defense is good, but his offensive contribution is so predictably limited that those defending him basically gave him the entirety of the left side of the field because they knew he wouldn’t take it). 9 points is available over the next 3 matches if the team can trust their depth and keep it simple.

  11. Mbaizo continues the issues that Ray Gaddis has early, when they had him on the left. As with Ray, good standup defense man on man, but a complete lack of confidence in his left foot for a cross. Monteiro and Martínez had a ton of searching lead balls that simply went to space because the strikers abandoned runs into the attacking third. For years, I thought that this team was weak on possession and on set plays/restarts. Now, possession has improved, control of the ball and combinations on the field have all improved. Instead, the weaknesses du jour are finishing and communication on the field. Strengths are control of the game and the apparent belief in the team’s ability to win. This would have been a significant disappointment if the draw had survived Fontana’s entrance. Thank the scheduling gods for a week to get some bodies back into their jerseys.

  12. Question: Which of El Brujo, Aaronson, Bedoya, and Montiero does one sit in order to start Fontana?
    Question 2: Why hasn’t Real beat out Mbaizo to start at LB in Wagner’s injury absence?
    Question 3: Who starts in El Brujo’s place (yellow accumulation) in the next game if Creavalle is still out due to injury?
    Really wish our government could get their act together…i.e. Cory Burke’s ongoing Visa Issues. Team could really use him right about now with Santos out injured, and Wooten not really showing all that much.

    • Well next week the answer is easy, El Brujo since he is out anyway. The week after, unless Fontana drop kicks someone on the field or Monteiro turns things around and has an amazing game, I would start Fontana again in place of Monterio because Monterio needs a rest. He has not been in good form.
      It’s Curtin, so who knows. Probably some combination of “he doesn’t train good enough” or “he posts on instagram too much”.
      Fontana. I’d have Monteiro at the 6 honestly but Curtin seems to like him higher up, so in that case it may have to be Bedoya at the six. And as I type that, I start to think oh no, maybe it will be Elliot at the six instead…

    • Easy answer is next week, Montiero takes the 6 and Fontana the left-mid/8. Long term, Fontana should be given some starts to give Bedoya a rest. Particularly if you have 2 matches a week.

      Would love to hear Curtin explain his hesitation with Real.

  13. OneManWolfpack says:

    There is no reason Fontana, Mbaizo, and Real all aren’t starting at least one game – with all these games in a limited period of time. Curtin has to rest Martinez (forced now cause of yellow card accumulation), Montiero, and for gods sake Bedoya.
    Please let these kids get time in this disjointed, COVID destroyed, mess of a season, so they are ready for real roles next year when (hopefully) things are back to normal.
    Also, Elliot needs to play. Glesnes is fine, but Elliot for me, is better.

  14. The “doesn’t practice well” thing is interesting.
    Curtin played D and all indications are that he still thinks and coaches like a defender: safety first / 100% concentration / be in the right place / move the right way / work as a team / grind it out.
    When I played sports as a kid, you’d ocassionaly hear the coaches talk about a guy being a “gamer” – one who didn’t give it 100% in practice, but could rise to another level in games.
    I can only assume that this is doghouse that young players on the Union sometimes find themselves and are unable to get out of.
    On the one hand when someone has a goals/minutes ratio like Fontana must now have, there is a good reason to play him. It might even encourage him to practice harder if he is going to get game time.
    On the other hand Michael Jordan used to say that he practiced every practice like it was a game, so that he could execute when it mattered. These guys are professionals and by practicing at the highest possible level, they improve themselves and everyone else around them more. Is their their expected ceiling diminished if they are not 100% going to commit to improvement?
    I expect the answer if different for each guy, and obliviously the trainers know better than we do. But it is frustrating to watch from the outside.

    • Just as a place to start, I don’t think the doghouse is limited in it’s scope. I.E. I don’t think the criteria that causes a player to be placed in it is limited to just “not practicing well”. It may be in this case, I just don’t think Curtin has such a narrow definition.
      I like the Jordan angle, though as you have almost inferred, I think it starts a whole world of “if’s and but’s”. I think you have it right in the end with everyone being different.
      I look at it like this. From my perspective, when Fontana is on the field he does things that help his team. He seems natural in doing so. His movement, vision, and decision making are on a level that others on the team don’t reach, even if they may be more technically gifted or rated higher. The first goal where he chips the keeper, who else on the team makes that play? Which player comes off the bench cold comes into the game and has a split second to make a choice while being closed down by a goalie feet away? Maybe Aaaronson, Ilsinho, or Prys, maybe. Can you teach that? To me that’s ingrained. That’s reaction. That’s DNA.
      I don’t know about you, but I’d personally overlook a whole hell of a lot for the things that Fontana offers. Would I give him shit all week long for slacking off or being late? Hell yes. But he’d also be in the lineup at the end of the week.

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