Union match reports

Match report: New England Revolution 1-2 Philadelphia Union

Photo: 215Pix

In their third meeting of the regular season, the Philadelphia Union beat the New England Revolution. It was a slow, rather boring match, especially because it was the fourth time this year the Union faced off against the Revolution. The excitement didn’t really begin until the 35th minute with an own goal that put Philly on the board. Then the excitement doubled thanks to Anthony Fontana and an appearance by Cory Burke! While it wasn’t pretty soccer, it was three points and it did mark the season’s first appearance for a fan favorite.

Starting the match slowly, the Union got their first chance on goal in the ninth minute. Recent RB Salzburg signer, Brenden Aaronson took a weak shot that was easily scooped up by Matt Turner following a nice pass from the midfielder, Jack Elliott. New England was taking advantage of Kai Wagner’s poor marking, getting long crosses off from the left side repeatedly and looking dangerous. Unsurprisingly, Philly struggled to get the ball into the final third for the majority of the first half, relying on counterattacks.

After 35 minutes of nothing really, Philly managed to get on the board courtesy of New England’s Andrew Farrell scoring an own goal. Not much more would happen for the rest of the first half, neither keeper getting tested or shots on goal being recorded. Philly recorded two total shots and one shot on goal in the first half, while New England did not fare much better, although the Revs did have the edge on possession.

The second half got off to a similar start as the first half, slow and lacking offense. Jim Curtin made no adjustments at halftime, but Ilsinho was brought on to spark some life in the 60th minute as per usual. He did bring some extra excitement, but it was Anthony Fontana who really made a difference. Doubling the Union’s lead, Fontana hit a ball just inside the six yard box, scoring from a tight angle across the face of the net.

Union fans had another reason to cheer with the return of Cory Burke! Coming on for Kacper Przybylko in the 78th minute, it was Burke’s first appearance of the season. He last appeared for the Union on April 20, 2019, where he scored against the Montreal Impact. We missed you, Cory, welcome back.

But Tajon Buchanan cut the lead in half, roofing a shot from the edge of the box in the 80th. He was relatively unmarked as he walked right into the box to blast it past Blake. Shortly after putting the Revs on the board, Buchanan almost tied it up, rushing the net and running the ball in, but ruled offsides. It was a close call, but one that went Philly’s way as the score remained 2-1.

The last ten minutes and stoppage time were marked by New England’s desperation. Lee Nguyen ripped apart Philly’s defense with some fancy footwork only to sky his shot, but it was the closest the Revolution got to tying the game. After 90 minutes (about 70 minutes of that being rather boring), the Philadelphia Union topped the New England Revolution, 2-1.

Unfortunately this year’s matchups against New England aren’t over yet, Union fans, Philly will finish their regular season against the Revs on Sunday, November 8th at home. In their next match, the Union will return home this Saturday, October 24th against Toronto FC.

Three points
  • Unbeaten against New England. A win in July, a draw in August, a win September, and now another win in October. There’s one more match, and hopefully another three points to pick up.
  • Homegrowns get it done. Anthony Fontana got his eighth goal of the season, and his fourth against New England. Homegrowns are now a staple in the club, being responsible for now 21 of 33 goals, scoring 12 and assisting on nine.
  • The return of the 4-4-2 diamond. Jack Elliott made his first ever professional start at the No. 6 spot. He is not unaccustomed to the position from his time at West Virginia, but he’s been a centerback for the Union and had a mixed night at the base of the diamond. It was an interesting starting lineup to say the least and further proof that Curtin is all about trying new things like squad rotation and different lineups in this crazy year.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake; Kai Wagner (Matt Real, 88′), Mark McKenzie, Jakob Glesnes, Ray Gaddis; Jack Elliott, Jamiro Monteiro, Brenden Aaronson, Anthony Fontana (Andrew Wooten, 78′); Sergio Santos (Ilsinho, 60′), Kacper Przybylko (Cory Burke, 78′)

Unused subs: Joe Bendik, Aurelin Collin, Olivier Mbaizo, Cole Turner, Michee Ngalina

New England Revolution

Matt Turner; Alexander Buttner, Henry Kessler, Andrew Farrell, DeJuan Jones; Tommy McNamara (Diego Fagundez, 59′), Scott Caldwell (c) (Matt Polster 60′); Tajon Buchanan, Lee Nguyen, Teal Bunbury, Adam Buksa

Unused subs: Brad Knighton, Brandon Bye, Antonio Delamea, Michael Mancienne, Kekuta Manneh, Kelyn Rowe, Seth Sinovic

Scoring summary

PHI: Andrew Farrell — 35′ (OG)

PHI: Anthony Fontana — 70′

NE: Tajon Buchanan — 80′

Disciplinary summary

PHI: Sergio Santos — 57′ — Yellow (unsporting behavior)

PHI: Jamiro Monteiro — 87′ — Yellow (unsporting behavior)

PHI: Matt Polster — 92′ — Yellow (unsporting behavior)


  1. Not pretty but 3 points is 3 points. I thought Elliott played well in an unfamiliar position. Good for Burke to get some minutes (although I think he had as many fouls as touches). Gaddis is definitely a step up from Mbaizo. Hopefully they can pull it together Saturday night.
    One more win guarantees a home playoff game.

    • Elliott’s positioning seemed out of sync with his teammates at times. Uncomfortable. For not having played DM in who knows how long, that’s to be expected.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        In what may have been his only appearance for the Bethlehem Steel, Elliott played DCM against FC Cincinnati back when they were a USL powerhouse. Elliott was helped by an early Cincinnati red card meaning he was operating relatively unmarked.

      • I thought he did a good job for someone who was playing a position they obviously weren’t comfortable in. He did a great job as the DM we needed in an emergency and while I give him a lot of credit for that, I hope we don’t have to see him there again much.

  2. Why in the world would Curtin put Wooten in to kill off the game up by 2 goals?!? There’s no evidence that Wooten is a competent striker but he’s definitely proven to be a defensive liability.

    • Peanut Gallery says:

      I have no problem with Wooten coming in at Stiker… but not at left midfield to close out a game.
      Have to assume Jim did not trust the remaining bench.

    • Big body….good in the air…..defensive sub…….to win balls coming into our box……..

  3. I get that Burke is a feel good story, but why is he seeing minutes in a game like this? Against a well coached team that plays us hard and is pushing for a goal? You’re going to put Corey “I haven’t see these guys in 2 years” Burke in? Why in the world? WITH Wooten? That was bad.

    Bad call, yet again. Fontana just scored and was feeling it. You leave him in. Replace Kacper with Wooten instead. You keep midfielders in your midfield instead of some Frankenstein formation where Wooten is playing defensive winger.

    Besides late game adjustments, the other big problem Curtin has to solve is that well coached teams are going to play us this hard all the time now and we better have a better answer to it. You know Toronto is going to get in our face and prevent us from playing fast and direct. The only reason we won this game was because of a lucky own goal. Once that happened, the game opened up a bit and we regained control, atleast until Curtin started to sub.

  4. When Ilsinho came in and they switched to 4-2-3-1, the game changed immediately for the better. Composure and offensive danger.
    When Wooten and Burke came on at 78’, the game immediatey changed again… for the worse. Hanging on for dear life.
    Union were lucky to get 3 points tonight.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Curtin needs to work Cory Burke into MLS game shape and speed, I suspect that was why he made the sub. There is no other way to get game conditioning, especially when practice time is severely truncated by playing every third and fourth day.
      I thought the extra day”s rest was obvious in the Union”s pace of play for the first twenty or so minutes.
      They won a match missing two key midfield starters when the bookmakers had them as clear underdogs for the three absences and playing away.

  5. Captain Obvious says:

    Fake grass is not good for the game. Pinball wizardry of the worst kind.

  6. Is it too much to say that Fontana’s goal was Zlatan-like?

  7. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    Am I the only one that thinks Fontana is a striker? He’s not great at linking with teammates and disappears fir long stretches at a time. But when he finds the ball at his foot in the box, he changes games. That slight shoulder dip was brilliant and just enough to create space for that chip.

    • I would love to see him there, especially since Santos can’t buy 90 minutes from Jim. Would rather see Fontana up top than Wooten TBH.

    • I’d be curious to see it because of the runs and finishing (both the creative vision/touch and the quick trigger cannon), but am also content with him as CAM in the diamond.

    • His off ball movement is well timed and decisive. He touches the ball as opposed to kicking it and this is no small thing. Seems to me, Anthony has spent a lot of time at play with the ball at his feet, outside formal settings. He touches it a bit differently which I appreciate.
      I think his ability to deliver a final ball when central is pretty good.
      Either way, dude is a flat player and for whatever reason, he’s having his come-up-ance which is likely well deserved.

      • He”s not as effective as Aaronson or Monteiro at covering ground defensively.
        His touch has always been clean from earliest days with Bethlehem.
        The scoring is a revelation this year. In all his Bethlehem appearances he never scored a goal. I can only conclude he has been working hard on that part of his game for the last few years.
        I do know that when as a senior at the Academy Schoolhouse he had special reading lists assigned to him that focused on his interest in soccer itself, his academic performance improved decisively.

      • I think Fontana and Aaronson would make great wingers in a 3 forward set with Kacper in the middle……..they both play like modern day 3-4-3 or 4-3-3 wing men……..

    • I heard Curtin compare him to Clint Dempsey and I have had similar thoughts myself. Both players tend to do well when starting further back from goal, even when their most obvious contribution is to score.

      I think at the moment Fontana has a weird mishmash of skills and that he could just as easily develop into a second striker as he could a winger, CAM of as a goal scoring 8. Really depends on him and what his teams need going forward, but I’m guessing he eventually starts playing more as a wing.

    • I’ve been asking myself the same question.

      The more I see him play, the more he reminds me of Clint Dempsey.

  8. Don’t think the Union deserved to win that one. Great finish by Fontana and a few key saves from Blake the real difference. I won’t worry too much given the fact that we were in a situation in which we need to start a center back as our holding midfielder, and we were without our captain. But we lucked out. That was pret ugly all around.

    • Peanut Gallery says:

      Fair summation. And the turf. And Monty’s assist was perfect, too.
      Speaking of Jamiro, I thought he was the metronome tonight. Strong game overall. Probably wants one or two of those direct kicks back, though.

  9. Bruce Arena must see Blake & Fontana in his sleep.

    Folks have hit upon the key: The subs almost cost them the game tonight. I’d argue they should have. NE did everything but score.

    I’d also be ok with Fontana up top to switch it up. Kid knows to put the ball in the net-and that’s more than you can say for the rest of the F crew right now.

    MF is struggling to close out games, lost in all the angst.

    • “MF is struggling to close out games”

      I wonder how much is just pure fatigue at this point. Monteiro was good, Aaronson was ok, a space filler, but man consistently going 90 minutes when you are playing 3 games in 9 days?

      I think it’s telling earlier in the “season” WE used to the be the team that got better as the game went on. Now it’s the total opposite.

  10. Ray almost scored. How is this not the headline? LOL
    Joking of course, but I seriously stood up out of my chair thinking it was really going to happen!

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      Ray makes good runs. People don’t notice cuz many of them are diagonal towards the wing like a normal RB would, but we all know his IQ is off the charts. And it shows in the way he finds space. If only he could finish when he has a full or half chance.

      • Thank you.
        Thank you.
        a pleasure to see him out there again. Key defender. Deft touch. clean passer of the ball. Finds the right spaces at the right times.
        that some have to continually defend the player is such a bummer.
        There are 20 positives for each detriment with the guy.

    • He’s absolutely improved his passing over the past year or two, you see much more one touch and quicker decision making.

    • i got excited about a potential goal until i saw that it was ray getting the ball. i’ll save my excitement for when he actually scores.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I was so ready to riot

    • When they kicked the ball out wide right, you could have floated the Bismarck through that channel……..I saw Ray run into it…….got all excited……then…….shyte!

  11. Lord Almighty and on High, is there ANYTHING more satisfying then observing the bloated ‘pain in the ass gas face’ of Bruce Arena as he gyrates to squeeze out a fart on the sideline in his everpresent aggrieved state of disdain for anyone and everything happening around him?
    I love this team handing him defeat after painful defeat.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Gotta do it one more time, but gotta take care of more immediate business first.
      It would be a shame if Blake”s save on Nguyen”s late free kick does not win Save of the Week. The video is worthy of becoming a technical instruction tape.

    • Atomic Spartan says:

      Arena. Belichek. Must be the stadium.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        The more time goes by, the more I hate Brady and Kraft and start to appreciate Belichick.

    • Dude, back in the day I had to do a demo day with that guy with my old ODP squad…….it was him and Bobby Clark who was at Dartmouth at the time……Bruce at UVA. Clark was awesome and great to work with…..and learn from that afternoon. We didn’t learn squat with Arena and everyone there who talked with him thought he was an arrogant asshole………this was 20+ years go! Lolz

  12. John O'Donnell Jr says:

    The team won an away game that mattered to both teams. Grind…..away.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Simply put. Perfect way of saying it. Ugly, beautiful, whatever. 3 points on the road in a meaningful game. Without your captain. Impressive

    • This was the kind of game the Union had no business winning. Dropping points on the road to a good team is never that embarassing, but there was so much more. Their first three options at defensive midfield were out, the subs list was shallow, and many of the players on the pitch looked gassed. But somehow they pulled out a win in an ugly game. Not to overstate it, but these are the games that great teams pull three points out of.

  13. Was anyone else upset with the video part of the broadcast? It seemed we missed about a third of the play when they were showing one player or another walking up the field 50 yards away from the ball rather than showing the actual throw in or goal kick.
    And I still haven’t seen a decent slow motion replay to confirm whether or not Fontana was onsides on his goal.

    • Pepito, The Biggest Cat in the Whole World says:

      The joy of using the home team video feed includes seeing which team’s producers are terrible. Revs producers are apparently one of those. I definitely wanted to see a lingering 30 second zoomed in shot of a Rev player’s face while JP and Tommy have nothing to say because they have no idea why we’re focusing on this player

      • Well I suppose leaving Tommy with nothing to talk about may not be so bad given that when he did have something to talk about he brought up Bob Hayes…someone who starred in 2 different sports that aren’t soccer, who retired 45 years ago, and who spent most of his career playing for the Cowgirls.

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      He was actually on by a lot, but the feed never slowed it down to show.

  14. Gruncle Bob says:

    The ref just… SUCKED. I recognized him from a previous match where he sucked.

    Does MLS review film with these guys? Grade them? Provide feedback? Anything?

    • Agreed. With the compressed schedule, MLS should be protecting the players more, not letting them get beat up. At least he was equally bad both directions.

  15. The turf is awful…
    I was really happy to see Curtin leave Fontana on when Ilsinho came in. Obviously that was a good decision, but usually he’d go Fontana there. Jim has consistently grown here and I’d love to see it pay off with a trophy.

  16. I don’t know what it would take to get him from the Revs, but Tajon Buchanan is the real deal. He ruled his duel with Cobra Kai all night.

  17. 3 points……keep it moving. Big match this weekend!

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