Union match reports

Match report: Inter Miami 1-1 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

A late goal by Kacper Przypylko salvaged a point from a poor performance for Philadelphia Union on Sunday night, a 1-1 draw with MLS cellar-dweller Inter Miami CF.

Coming off Thursday night’s 2-1 loss to Orlando, Jim Curtin made just one change to his starting lineup, replacing Sergio Santos with Leon Flach. Flach played the No. 8 role, pushing Jamiro Monteiro to the No. 10 and Daniel Gazdag partnering Kacper Przybylko up top.

Inter Miami entered the match on eight points and a goal differential of negative-13, both marks the worst in MLS. Club owner David Beckham was on hand at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale as speculation swirled over the job security of embattled manager Phil Neville.

Through 70 minutes, Miami controlled the match. They bypassed the Union’s midfield without much difficulty, even if the number of actual dangerous chances wasn’t overwhelming.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, looked tentative and lacking in understanding. Gazdag and Monteiro failed to find the ball in dangerous positions, while Flach and Bedoya were underwhelming. Curtin swapped out Monteiro for Santos in the 61st minute, earning a stunned reaction from the Union’s usually 90-minute No. 10.

Miami finally made the most of their dominance in the 71st minute through Robbie Robinson. The Union backline failed to track Robinson as Gonzalo Higuain came away from goal to receive the ball, flicking a pass to the streaking striker. From a narrow angle, Robinson went far post. Matt Freese got a hand on the shot, but it wasn’t enough to keep it out of the net.

Curtin shuffled the deck moments later, bringing on Quinn Sullivan in the 76th minute. The young Homegrown immediately injected life into the Union — and created the game-tying goal.

In the 85th minute, Sullivan collected the ball at the edge of the box and worked an elegant give-and-go with Gazdag, who fed the youngster with a quality backheeled pass. Sullivan’s dangerous cross across the face of goal was deflected by a defender into the leg of Przybylko, who bundled the ball into the net from one yard out.

Miami sought a winner for the first time at home this season, but the Union’s subs — including Ilsinho, appearing in his first match since April — offered the bigger threat. The match ended level, wrapping up a disappointing Florida swing for the Boys in Blue.

The Union return to Subaru Park on Sunday, August 1, when they’ll tangle with Chicago Fire. Kickoff from Chester is at 6 p.m.

Three Points
  • Lineup choices. Coming off short rest, many thought the Union would give one or more midfielders a break. Instead, Curtin chose to squeeze five midfielders into four spots. It didn’t work, with all save maybe Jose Martines turning in indifferent or ineffective performances.
  • Quinn Sullivan. We’ve been waiting for one of the teenage gang to separate himself from the pack, and in recent matches Sullivan has looked like that player. He’s been fearless, decisive, and intelligent. The Union would not have gotten a result like him.
  • The big picture. It’s another late-game point won for the Union. That part of their game is great. But the attack has looked disjointed for weeks, and it’s yet another where a late-game goal is needed just to get a point. The team is far from their best right now.

Inter Miami CF

Nick Marsman, Nicolas Figal, Ryan Shawcross, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Kieran Gibbs (Brek Shea 52′), Gregore, Victor Ulloa, Lewis Morgan (Kelvin Leerdam 87′), Federico Higuain (Jay Chapman 78′), Robbie Robinson (Indiana Vassilev 78′), Gonzalo Higuain (Julian Carranza 87′)

Subs: John McCarthy, Sami Guediri, Christian Makoun, Blaise Matuidi

Philadelphia Union

Matt Freese, Olivier Mbaizo (Ilsinho 84′), Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner, Jose Martinez, Leon Flach (Jack McGlynn 84′), Alejandro Bedoya (Quinn Sullivan 76′), Jamiro Monteiro (Sergio Santos 62′), Daniel Gazdag, Kacper Przybylko

Subs: Joe Bendik, Matt Real, Stuart Findlay, Nate Harriel, Paxten Aaronson

Scoring Summary

MIA: Robbie Robinson — 71′ (Gonzalo Higuain)
PHI: Kacper Przybylko — 85′ (Quinn Sullivan)

Disciplinary Summary

PHI: Olivier Mbaizo — 56′ (foul)


  1. Looks like Bad Curtin is returning, refusing to rotate or at least sub early when all Sullivan has done is look better every appearance. Lo and behold, here he comes on to save the day.

    Bedoya also looks done so right now there is no reason not to sit Bedoya for Sullivan next match-

    McGlynn also looks effective, plays quickly and keeps the ball moving well.

  2. John O'Donnell says:

    They looked lethargic for sixty minutes and once again Curtin waited to long. Soon as the subs came in and they changed the formation they looked dangerous. Monteiro doesn’t seem to attack anymore but slow everything down and constantly spin the opposite direction from where he receives the ball. Same can be said for Mbaizo as every pass went backwards. They made Miami’s defence look better than they are. Ten more minutes and I think they would have scored another goal or two.

    • Monteiro has looked great in the CCL matches this year. Otherwise, he’s looked pretty average. Not as much bite or footwork in tight spaces as in his first season. Too many balls backwards.

  3. So disappointed to not beat Miami… this team is a far cry from last year. And they just aren’t as much fun to watch. Too sloppy with possession, turning the ball over too easily, always playing sideways and backwards instead of attacking (I miss Brendan!). Just another blah performance. The Union deserve being 5th in the standings.

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    Fuck it. I am set to detonate even having heard the manager’s mea culpa post game.
    You were ‘rescued’ by a hungry kid.
    If you haven’t figured it out by now inside that tight knit circle of yours —you have a player complacency problem directly responsible for this DREK.
    So I’m going to make this simple for your entire organization to understand from the bottom -up to the top -including the newly contracted manager & the newly contracted general manager… et al 2021. All of you. ….
    It. Is. Unacceptable….
    ….that so many of these players KNOW their spot on the field is safe. They are complacent and therefore playing thusly as evidenced by the multitude of errant passes, touches, thinking and simplest of soccer execution —-when not even under pressure —-which finally dawned on me in the 50th minute tonight.

    Every last one of you ….this is an UNACCEPTABLE standard the last 5 or 6 weeks. I’ve been magnanimous and patient. I’ve argued on your behalf. That’s over. Just the truth.
    Fix it. Now.

    • This is a good point I hadn’t thought of — the complacency of not losing your starting spot. Definitely a contributing factor to what we’re seeing.

  5. It’s a good thing Miami’s finishing is diabolical. Could have been 4 to 1.Our midfield was absent. On attack I’d see 2 blue shirts and 6 or more white and pink. I’m finding it hard not to put the majority of the blame for this on Curtin’s failure of imagination. Again, we looked best with the kids on the pitch.

    I just don’t like the way we insist on playing. This team seems too slow and uncoordinated to make the sort of music heavy metal football requires. It’s so frustrating to watch them grind gears and get so little out of the front 5 players. Ugh. Seriously lucky to not have lost this one by multiple goals.

    • RE: Our midfield, each player seems to have their own issues right now. And whether its fatique or complacency or being out of form or making getting too old, Curtin has done nothing to try to fix things.

      Bedoya may have hit the age wall. He is missing passes and loosing possession more than he ever has.

      Montiero is playing too slowly and is killing our transition. He used to be so decisive and always looking to play forward, now he looks content to stand on the ball and go backwards.

      Flach is A+ defensively but his offense is still rough. I think his last 5 crosses all ended up in the stands.

      None of them are elite enough to carry the midfield on their own, so when all of the mare misfiring it looks so bad.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      They are unwatchable right now. It is shit and I appreciate your continued pressure to say the challenging things…..to make it known.

  6. Andy Muenz says:

    Obviously not their best effort, but if Blake was playing it probably would have been a shutout.
    Next stretch of 4 games in 11 nights is HUGE. Two winnable home games, a tough opponent on turf, and then a trip to Mexico. Definitely need squad rotation and to get some players some rest. Hopefully Blake and Burke will be back after tonight (although it’s still 0-0 early in the second half).

    • Yeah you can seriously take this 2-game Florida trip and throw it in the crapper…it doesn’t matter. The first half of August is huge in so many ways. Two winnable home games like you said in CHI and TOR. Getting squad rotation like you said (welcome back Ilsinho!). Getting Blake back (yay USA!). Testing yourself against the best in the East at NE. But most importantly is the buildup to the biggest Union road game EVER at Club America. If they’re in form by that match, great things can happen from there. And we can forget the Florida trip ever happened.

      • Vince Devine says:

        I’d be happy if they used the NE game as a throwaway match to rest the starting 11 for Mexico 4 days later.

    • Blake would have saved the Miami goal, plus the two Orlando goals…
      Glad that Jamaica lost and he’ll be coming back to Philly.

      • Agree. Although he did not look great on the goal the US scored. He should have been able to punch that ball away before it was headed into the goal.

  7. There is no spark in this team right now. Once again the opposition clogged up the middle and we don’t respond until late 8n the game. Flach and Martinez are redundant players.Bedoya 8s not sharp and it looked like he had player 80 minutes but the clock said 20. He needs a vacation badly. Gazdag still looks very uncomfortable. We need an attacking center mid and speed on the wings. If we can’t get through them we have to around them. Shake it up With the formation and line up. Attack from the flanks put the young guys in to start send a message.

    • You’re right about Gazdag. And i think we need to get him in better form in order to compete in CCL and in MLS down the stretch. I think Curtain needs to play Gazdag im one position (the 10?) for 5 games in a row to get more comfort and familiarity with his teammates in that spot. Instead, he’s bounced from a forward to the 10 to an 8 to a forward again.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Hopefully with Burke coming back Gazdag will be able to settle into the 10. While Burke was gone the team was woefully short at forward.

    • The young kids bring spark into the side. Curtin is waiting too long to put them in!!

  8. In Tanner We Trust says:

    Even when our first choice 11 are back and healthy, Sullivan has made himself part of the picture. He needs minutes every game and if he isn’t sold to Europe in 2 years there’s a chance we ruined his progress. Flach’s defensive bite keeps him on the field but he and Wagner have no chemistry and every attack in space on the left ended before it could start. I thought Martinez was fantastic and Monteiro’s pass to Bedoya isn’t getting nearly enough credit among us fans right now. That combination of vision and placement was world class. I also don’t wanna overreact about Bedoya but I’ll admit I’m concerned. I think until it’s absolutely necessary to go 90, Sullivan should be giving him a rest around the 60 mark every game.

    • John Ling says:

      That ball from Monteiro was indeed a thing of beauty. If Bedoya gets a touch on it, we’re up 1-0 and the game likely plays very differently.
      That said, though, Monteiro never seems to look comfortable at the 10. And Gazdag so far hasn’t looked comfortable at forward. I’ll never understand not putting your players in their best positions – especially this game, when you’re playing your 2nd in 4 nights and playing the worst team in the league. At the minimum, Bedoya should’ve been given a rest and Monteiro playing in his spot. In this spot, I would have been quite OK with both Bedoya and Monteiro getting a rest, with Sullivan starting instead and Gazdag at the 10. The options that would have left on the bench – Ilsinho (welcome back!), Bedoya, Monteiro – would’ve allowed Curtin to react as necessary, either at halftime or late in the 2nd half.
      Instead we looked like shit against the worst team in the league for 75 minutes.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        Yeah not a great look for our reputation, but a good August performance will distance us from the last few weeks.

  9. Watched the shit show MLS rolled out in Miami…then turned ti the Gold cup…much better game…more entertainment, driving both way,players making passes, runs,showing up in good spots…Union….not so much. Pachy hits the nail on the head…unacceptable.

    Yes Jim this one IS on you! The whole thing seems to have regressed in the last few weeks…why…there should be more chemistry. We seem to have less! Monterio is killing the attack by holding up the ball then getting his pocket picked!
    The forwards haven’t been able to get a chance at all…till the kids come on and make a play or 2…

    But I will wait to see what happens the next few games. The Champions league is the big prize.
    As the Elephant says…”Justplay well!”

  10. Gruncle Bob says:

    Hard to watch. Had Ale converted I think it would have been an “ugly” win.

    Come hell, high water or bad results we see the diamond. It’s ok to try something else.

    No way they win the shield this year, so from that perspective dropping the points may not matter much. But – not playing well heading into (IMO) 2 of the most important matches in club history is not good. I dearly hope they are not embarrassed by CA.

  11. Looking ahead to the UCL leg one in La Azteca, aka our most important game to date, we have to travel to league leaders Revs 4 days before. New England -> Mexico City is quite a trip. I would like to see Curtin bring up some new faces to the roster and rest more than half of our starters for the UCL leg1. The revs are the better team and it would be dumb to lose that game with our best lineup and then have players who are not fully recovered for Club America. Thoughts?

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Completely agree. And think back to 2018 when he played a B lineup against Sporting KC a few days before the team flew out to Houston for the Open Cup final and they managed a win with the B team. (We won’t discuss that Open Cup final, though.)

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        I erase the Jay Simpson B Team game from memory because of what happened next. Altho I’d rather get embarrassed than heartbroken at the last minute like the first 2. Of course flip those preferences with CCL. We’re playing with nothing to lose so we just have to put up a fight. Starting to wonder if the B teamers/bench would serve us better. Gonna need energy in that altitude.

    • my thought is they should try really hard to reschedule that match with New England

  12. I didn’t start watching till the 68th minute. Seems it’s the same old stuff. The kids looked good when they came on.
    Sit Bedoya Jim. Play the kids. This team is too unbalanced and bogs down without them.

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