Union / Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 1-1 (4-1) Atlanta United

Philadelphia Union advanced to the CONCACAF Champions League Semi-finals with a 1-1 (4-1 aggregate) draw against Atlanta United on Tuesday night at Subaru Park. Santiago Sosa scored in first half stoppage time to cut Atlanta’s deficit to 3-1, but Kacper Przybylko’s 89th minute goal assured that the Union would advance to the semi- finals.

Jim Curtin opted for Leon Flach to start in the holding midfield role with Jose Martinez suspended. Anthony Fontana started at the top of the diamond with Jamiro Monteiro playing the left side. Sergio Santos partnered Kacper Przybylko up top.

The Union would carve out a decent chance on 6 minutes. Jamiro Monteiro found space to move the ball  through the midfield and played a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Sergio Santos behind the Atlanta backline. Santos couldn’t quite find his touch and only forced a rushed shot spinning wide of the right post.

Philadelphia would carve out another chance for an opener through great play from captain Alejandro Bedoya. The midfielder did well to beat his man in the right corner and cut inside. He found Mbaizo’s late run cutting in from the top of the box, but the defender could only fire his close range shot straight at Brad Guzan.

The Union again would come close on the counterattack in the 31st minute. Bedoya started the break with a good interception at the top of the Union box. The ball moved through the midfield to Sergio Santos over the midfield line, he cut inside to drop a ball into the path of Monteiro. Monteiro cut the ball back at the top of the Atlanta box to avoid a sliding defender, but his attempt to curl a right footed shot was blocked.

Atlanta would take the lead with their first shot on goal in first half stoppage time. Santiago Sosa received the ball to his feet 30 yards from goal. Leon Flach looked to dive in to push away the pass, but Sosa turned past the tackle and cut inside the Union box on his right foot. Sosa made no mistake with his finish, tucking a curling effort into Blake’s far post from 16 yards.

The Union would have two great chances in the 59th minute. Atlanta could only half-clear a Union free kick and the ball fell to Przybylko on the left side of the box. The striker’s shot was deflected behind for a corner when it looked likely to be curling into the far corner. The corner kick from Monteiro was then headed over the bar from Glesnes, who had an open look from 8 yards.

Philadelphia would hit the crossbar in the 72nd minute. Monteiro’s corner kick was flicked on at the near post by Bedoya, and the captain’s spinning header came off the crossbar at the far post before Atlanta cleared the rebound.

The Union would finally find their goal in the 89th minute. Monteiro skipped away after a series of Atlanta attacks with the ball and played a pass for Cory Burke on the left side. Burke shrugged off his defender and controlled the ball near the end line. The second half sub picked his head up and fired a perfect low cross to Przybyko, who controlled the ball and then fired home into the top of the goal.

The Union advance to the CONCACAF Champions League Semi-finals in August against the winner of Club America and Portland Timbers. They travel to Chicago to take on the Fire this Saturday (1 p.m.) in MLS action.

Three Points

  • Semi-finals – The Union advance to the CONCACAF Champions League Semi Finals with the win. Philadelphia outshot Atlanta 22-9 and had numerous chances to score on the counterattack before finally cashing in late on. The Union were the better side for 3 of 4 halves in the tie and rightfully find themselves advancing in the tournament.
  • Captain Fantastic – Alejandro Bedoya put in his best performance of the season on the right side of the midfield. Tirelessly defending, making endless runs, and leading by example.
  • Flach – Leon Flach put in another terrific shift, this time in the holding midfield role. He jumped a little trying to win the ball on the Atlanta goal, but was fantastic overall over the course of the game. He made a number of perfectly timed tackles and kept Atlanta from the front foot.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake, Olivier Mbaizo, Jacob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner, Leon Flach (Jack McGlynn 89′), Alejandro Bedoya, Jamiro Monteiro, Anthony Fontana (Matt Real 66′), Sergio Santos (Cory Burke 71′), Kacper Przybylko
Subs: Matt Freese, Aurelien Collin, Cole Turner, Quinn Sullivan

Atlanta United

Brad Guzan, Anton Walkes, Miles Robinson, George Bello, Brooks Lennon, Santiago Sosa, Emerson Hyndman, Erik Lopez, Josef Martinez (Erick Torres 78′), Marcelino Moreno, Jake Mulraney
Subs: Mikey Ambrose, Alan Franco, George Campbell, Ben Lundgaard, Jackson Conway, Franco Ibarra

Scoring Summary

ATL: Santiago Sosa – 45+2 (Moreno)
PHI: Kacper Przybylko – 88′ (Burke)

Disciplinary Summary

PHI: Jack Elliott – 42′
PHI: Jamiro Monteiro – 50′
ATL: Marcelino Moreno – 61′
PHI: Olivier Mbaizo – 73′
PHI: Matt Real – 80′


  1. The win is nice but lets talk about Jack McGlynn

    • I’ve been loving McGlynn. I’m glad Curtin is giving him a little time on the field and hope he gets more.

  2. el Pachyderm says:

    I was terse throughout the game onTwitter regarding multiple points which aggravate and concern… but will defer on this page.
    The franchise has come a long way and they should be viewed in that light foremost for the accomplishment tonight.
    Tomorrow however, is another day.
    Well done, Union.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    I’ll take the draw although a win would have been nicer (now they’ll probably need help if they want to host the finals). Considering I also got my second vaccine this morning I was glad to be able to attend without ill effects.
    Unfortunately Monteiro and Real are out next CCL game with card accumulation.

    • Was wondering who would miss the semi. Thanks for that. Thought the crowd was pretty loud and intrested in the game. Strange to watch from seats other than our own from the past years. I’ll take the tie. And the way they were able to absorb Atlanta’s pressure. It wasn’t the best game from the crew but they looked dangerous most of the night. And were rewarded in the end by advancing. Well done!

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Funny you would say that part about the crowd being interested. My wife was the least interested she’s ever been since we got to our seats and she couldn’t find her wallet. Fortunately, she had just dropped it in the car when she was pulling something out of her bag but she was worried the whole game.
        We’re in our 4th set of seats over the last 8 months, but fortunately these are in our section and only one row behind our normal seats.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      The two legs of the semis are August 10-12 and September 14-16, which leads to two points. Tanner’s two empty senior roster slots may well be filled with international players by then, and the Union, not Club America, will be in late season form and condition.
      Portland should not be expected to survive its climb up the Aztec war god’s pyramid to its chamber of human sacrifice. Almost no one does.

    • Vince Devine says:

      I believe I read yellow cards are wiped out after the round, so we should be good.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        During last week’s game they said that the cards get wiped out after the round but if someone picks up their second yellow during the second quarterfinal, they would miss the first semifinal.

  4. Great team effort tonight. Really appreciated Flach tonight. I’m excited to see where we are come the semis. They’ve played their best this tournament and I hope it carries over into league play now.

  5. Gotta watch against the bad habit of looking for the ‘sure’ goal versus taking the opening available shot and seeing what happens, including the rebounds that also produce goals. Other than that, they got the job done by the academics of just preventing a three goal loss. In short, they did a clinical and disciplined job by the rules of advancement. I just wished they got the ‘killer’ goal earlier by taking the available shots when they had them. It’s a lesson that matters is either league or tournament play…unless you see an obvious open player ASAP for a clearer shot then fire away.
    . . .
    I hope Portland wins tomorrow against Club America and we play Portland in August. IMO, it’s time an MLS team that finally wins the CCL. I’d of course want to win it, but if it’s not us for whatever reasons, then I hope another MLS team can lift that trophy. I like the idea of competitive internationals and this technically counts as one, but whatever can help an MLS team break through the barrier to finally lift that cup and go to the FIFA Club WC, then so be it. It’s good for the league and therefore good for us, but I do hope it might be us. Who knows…anything can happen in a tournament, and that’s what makes them great.

  6. In Tanner We Trust says:

    I’m beyond thrilled that we got this far and can now focus on the regular season. One negative: if we play the final on the road, it’ll be because Burke didn’t pass to Monteiro at the end there. But there are a lot of positives from this game. Curtin brought a great game plan and it was executed to perfection. Flach is fantastic and I don’t think he’ll be the longer term project I thought he’d be at first. I think he could be gone come January 2022. Another great signing from Tanner. Santos needed to finish more opportunities but he continues to put himself in good spots, same with Przybylko. I think the goals will start to come in MLS play. Also, I’m very curious, who’s everyone rooting for tonight? Do we want to experience a showdown against the best or are we hoping Portland makes our path easier? With Monteiro out the first leg, I lean towards being a Timbers fan tonight.

  7. Andy Muenz says:

    The team definitely played better than they did Saturday, although by the end some of the players seemed to show the exhaustion of having played most of that game down a man. I also found it amusing that their goal was scored after they had completely parked the bus with all 11 players spending most of their time in their own third of the field. It shows that the counterattack is clearly their best weapon.
    Speaking of counterattack, I was disappointed by Mbaizo. He appears to have taken lessons from Gaddis in bringing the ball up to a point and then stopping to let the other team’s defense get back. It seemed like every attack on the right side that ended up being dangerous started with someone else.

    • He had two shots on goal, if I recall, including one hell of a dribble into the box.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        That is true (although one of the shots was really poor) but if I recall neither of them started with him bringing the ball up the field.

  8. Great Job by the U to surpass Atlanta. A very big accomplishment ! However , I’m extremely concerned about our strikers. They have been non existent. The only. Player who’s acting as a number 9 is Fontana. I’m happy that he got the start and as the number 10 or 9. They need to get a true and quality number 9 who will keep the ball at their feet ( great touch ) and take on defenders in the box and a knack for goal. You get the idea. Hopefully the summer transfer we can see this happen. Also, they really need to learn when and how to keep possession. Last night they were counterattacking 24/7 and forcing play. Hopefully Curtin can control this but that’s not how he wants to play so I won’t hold my breath. On another note, how about Flach playing that old school defensive tackling ! Stellar !

    • Przybylko has 5 goals in this competition

      • You’re point ? He has to realize that he’s not fast at all and not quick with the ball at his feet. Bedoya knows this about himself. You can tell by the way he moves off the ball making sure he gets space and knows when to get rid of the ball. Hopefully Przyblko can play this way up top. I’m not seeing it rn.

      • SilverRey says:

        Kacper is the Golden Boot Leader in CCL right now
        I’m not too worried about his production this year
        I’m ready for others to chip in more around him. Burke’s starting to rebound, I forgot how quick his feet are. I see double digits each for Santos, Burke, Kacper on the year.

  9. Curtin’s comments about Heinze were golden

  10. Got the job done. Defense was very solid, and Atlanta’s one goal placed just perfectly to avoid both a covering defender and Blake, so even the 1-1 final score flatters Atlanta.

    The big surprise for me was just how solid the defense looked without El Brujo. Leon Flach is one hell of a find. Did not realize he could play the 6 effectively. It is nice to know that the team will remain solid even with Martinez gone (which he will be again, for any number of reasons).

    I am really proud of this team for advancing to the Semis in their first-ever international tournament appearance. The part I am bummed about is Monteiro being suspended for the first leg; that is gonna hurt us seriously when we have to take on (very likely) Club America, which will be a tall order to begin with. Looking forward to the summer signings, but those often take some time to gel with the squad.

    Also, I hope the team can now get it together for MLS matches the way they have for CCL matches.

  11. George Rawling says:

    I want the Azteca

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