Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 2-0 New England Revolution

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

“In Major League Soccer, the count is complete: and the winner comes from Pennsylvania.” – Jon Champion

Jim Curtin’s overachievers put all doubt to rest Sunday, winning the Supporters’ Shield by defeating the New England Revolution 2-0 behind goals from Sergio Santos and Cory Burke on a clear and bright November afternoon, one that nearly touched an impossible 80 degrees and impossible sporting heights for the home team.

The first half

Matt Freese dove for an early save in an otherwise flat first few minutes between the sides, the Homegrown making the start ahead of veteran Joe Bendik. A scrumptious counter minutes later found Jamiro Monteiro running through the channel, but his cross to Kacper Pryzbylko wasn’t hit hard enough and the ensuing corner was cleared.

The Union knocked on New England’s door over the next five minutes fairly consistently, but without a shot on target. That flurry included a Ray Gaddis attempt that looked promising but was blocked and an exquisite run and pass by Alejandro Bedoya and Monteiro respectively that went wide.

It was the Union’s pressure that was the star in the first twenty minutes, forcing bad passes from the Revs and turnovers in the midfield. The Union themselves weren’t crisp but were certainly committed, not the least bit shy about their place on the precipice.

(In the 23rd minute, the New York Red Bulls scored a goal, putting the Union two goals ahead in the Shield race. Just minutes later, the enemy of the Union’s emeny scored a second… friends.)

Bedoya was absolutely crushed on a play in the box, attempting a cross to a manhandled Monteiro, and there were calls for a video review for a foul. There was no review, but the Union broke the deadlock shortly thereafter anyway.

In the 42nd minute, a corner from Monteiro was headed straight back to him. He found Glesnes at the top of the box after a bad bounce, and the Norwegian swung a first-timed ball that Bedoya clipped with his head on frame. The shot bounced off the woodwork and on to the feet of Sergio Santos who slid it home without trouble.

The lead was nearly doubled on the stroke of halftime as Monteiro spun out of trouble in front of his box, hit Pryzbylko on the wing with fifty yards of delectability, and the Muffin found a streaking Brendan Aaronson at the top of the box. The soon-to-be-gone Homegrown moved the ball to his weaker foot to find space but couldn’t find the top corner with his shot.

The whistle blew and the Union had the lead and results in Harrison going their way.

The second half

New England nearly leveled just minutes after the half, but Adam Buska’s header went wide. Ray Gaddis flew down the right side a minute later and hit a tantalizing cross that forced Matt Turner into a diving punch.

(Meawhile, Toronto grabbed a goal to bring their score to 1-2.)

Monteiro earned a free kick in the corner and whipped a ball to the near post. Jakob Glesnes’s point-blank header was parried by Matt Turner and the free ball couldn’t be gathered by the Union.

For the next ten minutes, both teams exchanged blows with New England having more chances than the home side. The guests had changed nearly half their side after all and were chasing an important leveler, but the Union were up to it.

The Union persisted defensively, forcing the Revolution into passes they didn’t want to make and shots they didn’t want to take. It was deliberate and thorough, and eventually forced a turnover that led to a Cory Burke shot and cross that were saved by Matt Turner.

Then another turnover became the Union’s second goal. In the 69th minute, Jose Martinez stepped into a midfield scrum and won the ball. He danced passed a lunging Revolution defender and motored to the end line. His cross was driven and curled to an on-rushing Burke whose tireless run to the spot was rewarded with a goal into the top of the net.

The Union were two goals to the good at home with another two in their pocket in North Jersey.

Minutes later another New England chance went wide, with Brandon Bye glancing a header to the substitutes warming up over the end line and nowhere near Matt Freese’s frame. The Union were stronger than the Revolution and that advantage only grew as the match wore on, despite the visiting side making all five substitutions before the hosts made their second.

The Union’s strength allowed them poise in the midfield, that near the 79th minute led to an Aaronson shot from the top of the box that was no trouble for Turner, who showed himself to be among the league’s best net-minders for a second season in a row.

Just a minute later, Taylor Twellman and Jon Champion began to debate the championship merits of the Boys in Blue, giving the overachieving team some bulletin board material going forward regardless of the outcome. No one likes [us] still, apparently

New England threw themselves forward, with crosses and pressure galore. Matt Freese was nearly caught out in the 82nd minute and another cross seconds later dashed across his goal mouth. That possession culminated in an 85th minute header that was of very high quality and troubled the young goalkeeper in no way at all.

On the other end, Pryzbylko hit a swerving cross toward New England’s goal mouth, and though Monteiro got down for his diving header, it went wide. As the clock wound down, Martinez finally earned his overdue yellow card around midfield and New England had another headed chance go wide.

(With just minutes remaining, the Union receiving news that Toronto had in fact lost their match against the Red Bulls and the Union were champions, regardless of how the last three minutes played out.)

Bedoya was given his captain’s ovation when he left the field with just seconds remaining, and shots of Jim Curtin shaking Bruce Arena’s hand and breaking a smile were among the more welcome sights of an already eventful weekend.

The Union’s most complete team of all time ascended to their place as its most successful as well. It was the kind of symmetry and satisfaction that Union fans will remember for the rest of their lives.

Three points
  • The Union showed up in the most important match of their season, filling in the ravine below the Cliff of Union Despair with nothing but abject good… for at least a day or so.
  • Jim Curtin deserves all the credit in the world for growing, staying, learning, and winning with his hometown team. Few fan bases are fortunate enough to have a coach who lives and breathes their city the way they do and his name will forever be synonymous with Union success.
  • The Revolution continue to mystify, a team chock full of talent and coached by an American legend who simply cannot put it all together, year after year. They’ve fallen respectively from a perennial MLS Cup side and a World Cup group stage legend into the dregs of the conference and the least likeable coach in the league.

Philadelphia Union

Matt Freese, Ray Gaddis, Jakob Glesnes, Mark McKenzie, Kai Wagner, Alejandro Bedoya (Anthony Fontana), Jose Martinez, Jamiro Monteiro (Jack Elliott), Brenden Aaronson, Kacper Przybylko (Ilsinho), Sergio Santos (Cory Burke)

Unused Subs: Joe Bendik, Aurelien Collin, Olivier Mbaizo, Andrew Wooten

New England Revolution

Matt Turner, Alexander Buttner (Matt Polster), Henry Kessler, Andrew Ferrell, Brandon Bye (Seth Sinovic), Scott Caldwell, Teal Bunbury (Kellen Rowe), Tajon Buchanan (Lee Nguyen), Carles Gil, Gustavo Bou (Kekutah Manneh), Adam Buska

Unused Subs: Brad Knighton, Michael Manicenne, Diego Fagundez,  Tommy McNamara

Scoring summary

PHI: Sergio Santos (42’)

PHI: Cory Burke (69′)

Disciplinary summary

NE: Andrew Farrell (30’)

PHI: Jose Martinez (86′)

NE: Scott Caldwell (90=5′)


  1. I love all you guys.

  2. It’s official! Congratulations, Union!
    Next up…

    • Freese Frame says:

      New England…..again

      The Coach had to make the right call-and did.

      Wasn’t about Matt-but he provided a balm for frayed nerves.

      Martinez & Glesnes were simply immense. Happy to see Cory put the regular season away.

    Way to go boys!

  4. It feels good! I can just imagine what the noise level in the stadium could have been

  5. Great game. New England are mediocre, but this result was never in doubt. Lets come back from the international break healthy and get ready for the double.



  8. Cliff of Union Despair says:

    (Happily) Closed for Business

    The Plains of Cautious Union Optimisim have lead us to The Beautiful Oasis of Union Success…

    Hope to settle in for a residency here for awhile.

  9. Gentlemen: take a bow.
    … finally!

  10. Cliff of Union Despair says:

    (Happily) Closed for Business

    The Plains of Cautious Union Optimisim have lead us to The Beautiful Oasis of Union Success…

    Hope to settle in for a residency here for awhile.

  11. One interesting anecdote…

    Striker Muffin (free agent)
    Santos (free agent)
    Aaronson (home grown)
    Monteiro (free agent)
    Bedoya (free agent)
    Martinez (free agent)
    Wagner (free agent)
    Gaddis (draft)
    McKenzie (home grown)
    Glesnes (free agent) / Elliott (draft)
    Blake (draft)

    So really 3 of 11 from the draft, 1 of 11 in today’s lineup. They say in most American sports that you build through the draft…The Union actually just said..”nah, I’m good.”

  12. In Tanner We Trust says:

    They did it!!! Now go win the big trophy.

  13. Great night for Philly. Won democracy on Saturday, the Supporters’Shield on Sunday. Best brace in history.

  14. Just got home and have to say this was one of the best weekends I can remember in a long time! Only thing that would have made it better would have been for Gaddis to score.
    Since I’ve criticized Curtin for his subs a lot less than others here, I’ll go ahead and do so today. It would have been nice to let us give Aaronson an ovation for his last regular season game with the team as well as McKenzie in case he leaves over the winter.
    That being said, I’m now glad the Union lost last week so they could win the shield in front of those of us lucky to be there, especially those of us who were at 3 open cup finals. As Ray said, “Good things happen in Philadelphia.”

  15. I’m so proud of this team!!!

  16. OneManWolfpack says:

    Proud to call Philly home. Proud of this team. Just a great feeling to know the work that was put in for years has paid off. So lucky to have been there to see it happen! Let’s get the Cup now!

  17. Ray Gaddis – Ring of Honor
    Jim Curtin – Ring of Honor
    What an absolute UNIT of a weekend.
    I raise my beer and cheers everyone who has stuck through it with this team.

    • I think Bedoya needs to be added to that list as well

    • Joel... et al. says:

      How good did Raymond Gaddis play in that match. He feels ‘the pressure’ to score too… his reaction after missing that shot in the box was telling. He wanted that bad.

      • He was phenomenal, and like others, I was stoked to see him receive the captain’s armband when Ale was subbed off.
        I also jumped out of my seat when he took the shot that was blocked. I wanted that so bad for him.

  18. Joel... et al. says:

    When Martinez went down in the first few minutes, my heart stopped. Not gonna lie… I thought he was done- and we were done and it was done…. KNOCKOUT….and then I saw him, gingerly hobbling and immediately pictured Rocky from my favorite movie scene of all time…. in bed, laying on his side after searching his soul…. telling Adrian, …
    ….”if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I’m still standin’…..I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.”
    my loyalty is BOND.
    I love you guys. Thank you.
    Let’s carrying on… because this team is good enough to win it all.

  19. 10 years makes it even sweeter! Amazing run. Amazing team. Thank you Ernst. Brujo, miro, and bedoya are a wrecking and running crew. What a team! Onward to the playoffs. One more piece of hardware. Let’s GO!!!

  20. Happy but not happy enough. Forced way too many passes for way too long. Jim’s subs and lack of subs still mystify. Fresh legs for tired legs, more minutes for guys we’ll need later we’re called for tonight and would pay dividends later.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      probably, given what seems to be the minimum time required between games this year, they will next play November 24, tuesday, because they play a winner from a play-in game on Friday the 20th.

  21. Hell yes! Party’s at the Four Seasons ; )


  23. In a league with a number of deep-pocketed, big spending clubs — Toronto, Seattle, LAG, LAFC, Atlanta — this is the trophy I thought the Union would never win.

    I cannot say enough about this team. After 11 years of fruitless Union fanhood, they’ve made me — all of us — so proud. I am frankly surprised at how much this trophy means to me, who hasn’t always valued it.

    And as for this particular match, El Brujo is an absolute freakin’ beast and this team’s secret sauce. I swear he might be even more important than Monteiro (who was also stellar in this match), and that is really saying something. Anybody know how long he’s under contract?? We need to pay the man good $$ and give him a contract extension if appropriate. I wonder if we might end up selling him to Europe too…

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      I think Monteiro is our best outfielder, but Martinez is the most important. Most essential, most irreplaceable, etc. And I wonder about Europe someday. Also, how stupid must Venezuela be to not play him?? Not that I’m complaining, glad they didn’t steal him for a few weeks.

    • I hear Malkovich in Rounders:
      Pay that man his money!

  24. James Lockerbie says:

    What a day !

  25. Wracked Opinion says:

    Congratulations to Jim, the Team, the Organization and the Fans.

    Let’s keep it going and win it all!

  26. Started watching the stadium being built on the live camera feed. Then started the rollercoaster ride of Philly Phandom! And tonight watched the V.P.P. come to fruition! Congratulations boys! This fan base is so proud of you!

  27. Gruncle Bob says:

    No one likes us.
    No one likes us.
    No one likes us we don’t care.
    We’re from Philly FUCKIN PHILLY!
    No one likes us we don’t care.

  28. The end of the game was, for me as a continuing, original season ticket holder, just a great feeling, but it paled in comparison to what I saw the players feeling. So many of the Boys are relatively new to the club, but they clearly have internalized the depth of the feelings from the fans. It was good to be in the (socially distant) stands and witness this. The noise level in the stadium wasn’t what I have experienced and couldn’t have been, but we did ourselves proud enough. When Ray had the ball, practically everybody was hoping for two kinds of club history to be made, and I am sure that it will come. Now, let’s finish the job that you started, gentlemen! Doop all of the way through to lifting the Cup! (By the way, before we dismantle the Union Sun Rocket, is there room to put Bruce Arena and his refusal to wear a mask on it? It seems a fitting end for both the rocket and him.)

    • el Pachyderm says:

      the Sun Rocket is in decommisioning but we should keep it around…. times turn and they will turn again –and it’ll be important to know we can still launch someone deserving off this planet even if we have to pull the thing out of the National Union Archive long sitting under dust.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      As a original, continuing STH myself, I agree with everything you wrote. Well said. I was so happy to have been able to have been there to see it as well.

  29. What a great feeling to finally WIN something!!!

  30. HELLLLL YES! What a week for Philly.

  31. Continuing, original season ticket holder, here as well. Got my wife interested in the game and she has been coming for the last 3 years as well. So happy that we finally won something and so happy with the great unexpected ceremony. Happy that we as season ticket holders were able to buy tickets to these unforgettable games and memories. Can’t wait for the playoffs and hope the Union can go far.

  32. Knee Over the Ball says:

    Great accomplishmnet by the UNION!

  33. Great job boys! What a body of work this year……..now get some more hardware!

  34. Great to shortly get a scarf with something *telling* to put on it. Next to a COVID vaccine it’s just what the doctor ordered.
    . . .
    The winning attitude showed right from the beginning when Matt Freese and the others pumping him set up for the kickoff. They believed in themselves. Neither cocky nor scaredy, they just looked forward and focused on getting the job done.
    . . .
    It’s a big deal that they didn’t let NYRB do their homework for them and won it on their own merit. They now go into the playoffs on a winning streak rather than backslide with a trophy at home. They take that confidence and experience into a first seed advantage with the bye, top seeding for opponents, and the road running through Philly. Couldn’t ask for better for seeking more to come.

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