Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 0-1 New England Revolution

Photo: Paul Rudderow

A shorthanded Philadelphia Union showed life but fell 1-0 against MLS leading New England Revolution Friday night at Subaru Park.

Featuring a youthful side, the Boys in Blue were the better side in opening half but conceded the only goal against the run of play. Going up a man in the final 45 minutes seemed to stymie the Union as New England defensive focus was too much to overcome.

Despite entering with a nine game home unbeaten stretch, the Union had won only twice in their last eight matches.

New England saw their own nine game unbeaten streak (eight wins) snapped in their 2-0 loss to New York City FC last Sunday. Despite the result, the Supporters’ Shield front runners sat 14 points clear at the top of the Eastern Conference.

Crippled by the cumulation of international duty and suspension, the Union were without eight regulars. After the failure of the Christmas Tree 4-3-2-1 formation in the 3-1 defeat against D.C. United, Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin went a vintage 4-2-3-1 setup. Youth was in focus with five players under the legal drinking age featuring in the starting 11. Notably homegrown right back Nathan Harriell made his first MLS start.

The Revolution weren’t without absences of their own. None of New England’s 12+ goal scorers started the match (Carles Gil, Adam Buksa, and Gustavo Bou.) Head coach Bruce Arena was also without likely Goalkeeper of the Year and New Jersey native Matt Turner. Tajon Buchanan, who will be departing to Club Brugge after the season, was also away on international duty for Canada.

Philadelphia’s fresh legs were on the front foot during the opening stretch of action. Despite the match lacking shots on target, entertainment did not lack.

The Union youngsters played without fear, pressing forward and playing creative football in the final third. Conversely, New England defended well and attacked with crisp counters.

Growing in confidence, the opening goal came against the run of play and against Philadelphia.

In the 33rd minute, Harriell clipped left back Dejuan Jones’s heel earning a yellow card. The resulting free kick was from a ways away, but the inswinging cross fell the the feet of midfielder Matt Polster who knocked home the goal at the far post. It was poor marking and a poor goal to concede, undoing the quality play beforehand.

Despite having the better of the action, Philadelphia entered the break behind.

When play resumed, it took a bit for the intensity to match that of the first half. But the kids were alright. They picked up their pressure as play pressed on. Then the game changed, and not in the way one would think.

First, during one of the best sequences of the match for the Union, New England’s Arnor Traustason took out captain Alejandro Bedoya with a hard challenge. While referee Jair Marrufo played advantage, he came back to hand the Icelandic midfielder his first yellow card. Four minutes later, Traustason earned his second. Union winger broke away near the midfield line and was hauled down from behind. Normally, it’s a smart tactical foul. In this case, it was a boneheaded play from an experienced midfielder.

With the man advantage, the Union threatened less while the Revolution attacked.

New England’s reactionary substitutions were defensive, but also saw the return of Gil. The Spaniard was the likely MVP before missing the last six matches.

Conversely, Curtin’s moves were offensive and notable. Midfielder Anthony Fontana replaced Harriell, but Matheus Davo also entered the match. The 22-year-old forward, on loan from Corinthians, made his MLS debut.

Despite the disadvantage, the Revolution had the best chance of the second half. Gil carved open the Union defense to spring Jones down the left flank. The full back centered a ball to Scott Caldwell, but the 30-year-old skied his shot from just outside the six yard box.

In the 82nd minute, Gil himself nearly added a second, but goalkeeper Joe Bendik stood firm in net.

The game grew chippy as New England saw out the match in a…professional fashion.

In a poor run of form, Philadelphia won’t return until their biggest match in club history — the home leg of their CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal against Club America on Sep. 15th.

Three points
  • The kids. Honestly, most entertaining half in quite some time.
  • Man advantage? Including the match against Chicago, the Union have now gone over 90 minutes without scoring while up a man.
  • The not-so-friendly ghost. As the Union attacked, Przybylko was the Union’s worst player in the final third. He looks lost right now.

Philadelphia Union

Joe Bendik; Nathan Harriel (Anthony Fontana 72′), Jakob Glesnes, Stuart Findlay, Kai Wagner; Alejandro Bedoya, Jack McGlynn (Matheus Davo 72′); Quinn Sullivan (Cole Turner 84′), Paxten Aaronson, Leon Flach; Kacper Przybylko
Subs: Matheus Davo, Matt Freese, Sergio Santos, Aurelien Collin

New England Revolution

Brad Knighton; Brandon Bye, Andrew Farrell, Henry Kessler, Dejuan Jones; Matt Polster, Wilfrid Kaptoum (Carles Gil 66′), Arnor Traustason, Tommy McNamara; Edward Kizza (Scott Caldwell 62′), Teal Bunbury
Subs: Luis Caicedo, Earl Edwards Jr., Scott Caldwell, Christian Mafla, A.J. DeLaGarza, Emmanuel Boateng

Scoring Summary

NE: Matt Polster — 33′ (Arnor Traustason)

Disciplinary Summary

PHI: Nathan Harriell — 33′ (foul)
NE: Arnor Traustason — 55′ (foul)
NE: Arnor Traustason — 59′ (foul, red for second yellow)
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya — 71′(foul)
PHI: Quinn Sullivan — 77′ (foul)
PHI: Anthony Fontana — 80′ (foul)
PHI: Paxten Aaronson — 89′ (foul)
NE: Henry Kessler — 90’+3′ (time wasting)


  1. Look things are not good in Union land. I don’t even want to look at the table. I’ll just choose to be positive and focus on the kids.

    McGlynn really showed off what he has. And that is a Haris Medujanin caliber left foot. Curtin needs to find ways to get him on the field.

    Aaronson is our best 10. Give him a run with the first team.

    We officially have a striker problem.

    Bedoya is at the end of the line man. I hate to say it but we need to start seeing less and less of him.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      McGlyn is such an interesting case. Spoke to someone recently who knows his game pretty well and what he said was exactly what we have been seeing. He doesn’t have the speed to play the version of the game this team is trying to play which is helter skelter and is too advanced in Jim’s offense to do what he clearly does very well which is sit deeper and flight balls everywhere and anywhere he sees an edge of space.

  2. el Pachyderm says:

    I gotta be me.
    Without question the worst, most perplexing game I’ve seen this team play in years and IDGAF what players were on the field, missing or subbed on and off.
    From the manager’s substitution choices with the roster he had- which are still baffling to me, to the team’s defunct fecund inability to score- to The Striker being an absolute black hole and clearly frustrated surly entity to Flach being a black hole and completely one dimensional player to Bedoya being an event horizon on the periphery of a black hole one dimensional player— to the three dimensional young kids who don’t fit the cardboard cut out 2 dimensional style of play the team is employing AT ALL — it’s nearly endless levels of one mind bending moment after another right now.
    I take it all back. All of it. This team is not good and has no chance currently- no matter what iterative process it uses. From my POV – Kudos to McGlyn Quinn and Aaronson who while not being a force on the field physically CLEARLY are playing a short, quick, passing- off ball movement – quantum version of the game the manager and General Manager are sending them out there to play with cut and paste paint by numbers players who just don’t see it the similarly. Tonight in my opinion it was glaringly obvious.
    I’m so annoyed by it all right now. Be just like them to beat America and go through at this rate.

    • Completely disagree with you. This game was much better than the debacle last week in DC which was the worst in years, and that one had the “first team” playing. Not sure who you really wanted Curtin to sub on? I’m guessing that although Santos was in the 17 he isn’t fully healthy. So did you want Freese or Collin to come in off the bench?

      • el Pachyderm says:

        That’s why we get to come here and voice our opinions.
        Pulling McGlyn and Sullivan while leaving Flach Bedoya and Kacper and bringing in Turner who as far as I recall is a defensive midfielder… all while chasing a game is baffling to me- yes.
        And while I agree the DC game was brutal. This game was at home played with a man advantage so it’s context in my opinion makes it harder to swallow. The only thing good about this week from where I sit is the kids who are playing a different game then everyone else on the field. That was good. The rest? Just dreck.

      • The DC game was on the road but was with the first team where the Union were totally outclassed. This was a depleted Union team that was probably the better squad on the night except for the inability to finish. I’m willing to give Curtin the benefit of the doubt as to whether he felt McGlynn and/or Sullivan was ready to go 90 minutes whereas we know Flach can. And while Turner is a defensive midfielder, I’m guessing people would be complaining just as much about the lack of subs if Curtin only made 2 in the game.
        I would even say this was a better overall effort than the previous game against Montreal where the Union were lucky that Sullivan rescued a point at the end. Tonight they at least had 8 shots on goal, even if most weren’t strong ones.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        I got ya, Andy.
        Last week I sat bemused and apathetic.
        This week I’m angry. It is vectoring wrong.

      • This was by far the most entertaining game in a month. I appreciated the heart shown by the whole team. But my gosh, the Kids! So fearless! And creative. I say we start these same guys when we have the full squad back. But swap out strikers.

        For what I saw, Sullivan was too gassed to continue. He was playing long poor balls just to get rid of it, and fouling in defense.

      • We’re in section 102 – basically right on the goal line in front of the River End. Santos left during warmups to go back to the bench, with a slight hitch in his step. My SWAG (Scientific Wild-Ass Guess) is that he aggravated whatever injury he’s currently dealing with, making the bench even thinner than it already was.

  3. Dude..will they ever score a goal when they are a man up..it’s unbelievable how inept their scoring is…at least we know the kids are nice…Sullivan and Aaronson have feet of gold…but for shit sake Bedoya has to take that shot at the end of the game, what the hell is he thinking trying to square it there

  4. The fireworks were well done.
    That being said, while it was disappointing to give up a goal the way they did and obviously the finishing is just horrid (one non own goal in 3 games and 4 in a row scoring 0 or 1) it was nice to see the Union actually show some fire toward the end of the game and stand up for each other in the scuffles. That kind of togetherness has been lacking since the first game in Champions League and is really a large part of what is lacking this season compared to last.

  5. My math may be off, but at nearly the 2/3 point, I count 27 goals for…including 2 scored by the opposing team.

    Credit given to Tanner in ’20…..questions abound in ’21. This roster is utterly inept in attack. The club lives and dies with their defense-and of late it has sprung a leak-conceding first at seemingly every opportunity.

    I struggle to understand what they are even endeavoring to do when they have the ball. Besides mostly stand around and wait for children to do something positive. So many of the “old guard” are beyond cooked. Feel like the competitive phase of the season is now over. Can’t win if you can’t score. Can’t score (much) if you don’t have a clue how to create opportunities that matter.

  6. John P. O'Donnell says:

    Is it me or every time a Union player takes a shot, it’s either a mile wide or right at the goaltender. The goals… They just aren’t happening. Now watch them go lay a five spot on Club America. It would be so Union.

  7. This was an incredibly frustrating game to watch live. The foul and yellow card that led to the winning goal were frustrating. But watching the Rev bench up close from our seats….I despised watching Arena encourage the time wasting, fake injuries and fight instigating all to waste time. I get it….you’re up a goal and on the road, but you make the game an unwatchable s*it fest. It’s funny, I was explaining to my wife that Arena was an American coaching legend before the game; only to be disgusted by his “old school” B.S. encouragement of acting and time wasting in the end. I already disliked the Revs; but now they are my sworn enemy. I can’t wait for the opportunity to knock them out of the playoffs. Of course, none of this would have been possible had the Refs not been so accommodating. Sure, we got the red card, but that was our only call. The kids played well. We outplayed NE all game, just didn’t manage to finish. All the shots were right at the goalie. Let’s hope that Kasper takes all that anger and goes on a goal streak.

    • Weren’t the Union doing the exact same thing in the second leg of the CCL against Atlanta?
      That said, yes, the Revs are really irritating. Nine matches against the Union over the last two seasons! That’s a lot.

  8. In Tanner We Trust says:

    I don’t want to be overly negative about this loss, so I’ll focus on things we knew already that were enforced tonight.
    Przybylko will never be a long term cornerstone and just isn’t enough to compete for trophies consistently. He’s too hot and cold. We need to see less of him. We didn’t learn much about Davo tonight but I tend to think he may be an improvement.
    Flach is not one of our best XI right now. If he starts the 2nd leg of the CA game, we’re screwed. They’ll dare him to have chemistry with Wagner that hasn’t been there all stinkin year.
    Bedoya also isn’t our best option. I think we need to see McGlynn or Sullivan opposite Monteiro from now on. Wonder what Bueno would offer to that position as well.
    I caution against bashing Bendik because he’s a professional just trying to do his job, but why on earth is Freese not getting an opportunity? This guy was on a U-whatever world cup roster pretty recently, and the consensus is he has potential. So when will he get the minutes he needs?? If he’s not even comparable to Bendik right now, how is he supposed to be good enough to start for us if Blake retires or somehow finally goes to Europe?
    Let’s do some positives: our future is bright with those 3 kids, and I thought Harriel was solid given the competition. In a rebuilding year, one of the most important factors is figuring out what you have and who’s worth the investment. For better or worse, I’d say all besides Burke, Fontana, Gazdag, Real, and maybe Glesnes have shown their worth long term. Outside of those players, we know what we have, in my opinion of course.

    • To continue where you left off and to keep myself being positive, I agree about our future. I think all these kids have shown that if they were to get more minutes in the near future, I would be happy with that. Hell, as you mention, we should be giving some of them more minutes NOW as they are better choices than some of Curtin’s favorites.

      And it’s early for this, but next year could see lots of players move on. Martinez has shown he is elite at this level and can play in Europe – apparently his performances for his NT also has caught some attention, so I would not be surprised if he is gone. Montiero has apparently come back, but honestly unless things really starting clicking again, his time with the team may have passed its prime and maybe he moves on too. Bedoya *should* no longer be a starter, but who knows maybe he even retires. Bueno is a total ? and Flach probably projects better long term as a 6. Przybylko as you said is a nice MLS striker – but nothing more. Same with Burke. Good strikers – but we need more. Santos has shown lots of flashes, but man he is injured too much and we just can’t rely on that. We could move on from 0 or more than 1 of them. And we can’t be offering Ilsinho another contract right? Real and Fontana probably also move on too.

      All this to say, Sullivan and Aaronson and McGlynn could very quickly be starters for us. And from what I have seen so far, I would welcome that. I think they have shown their talent and would look forward to seeing more of them.

      And wow, I forgot Gazdag, but that says everything doesn’t it? At this point I’d rather start Aaronson at the 10 with the first team.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        I like your thought process here. Although I think Monteiro will always have a spot here if he wants it. In a world where he and Gazdag can’t create chemistry, Gazdag would be the odd man out. Is he signed for next year already? Cuz if not, I think there’s a good chance he’s gone. Martinez deserves to go to Europe, and ideally Flach or Bueno could fill his shoes if that time comes. But realistically our problem is still our lack of goals. If we enter next year with Kacper and Sergio as the starters and Burke the first off the bench, we know for a fact Tanner has been handcuffed by ownership.

  9. The away match against DC was worse than this one. That said, I believe the youths would be better if the club hadn’t withdrawn the U2 from the USL. Curtin is trying to give the best of them time in MLS matches as late subs and shorthanded starters, but nothing beats regular playing time even if at the USL top level, which is very useful for grooming young talent for MLS.

  10. The missing link…. I know I’m a broken record….. but this mess falls mostly at the feet of Tanner.

    Point 1

    Tanner grossly under estimated the value of Brendan Aaronson. Like a top level point guard in Basketball or a top level Quaterback or A top level setter in Volleyball they all make the average forward, receiver and striker look much better then they are.

    Aaronson did that last year for Kacper Santos, Burke and Fontana who are all just AVERAGE players.

    As soon as the Union contemplated Aaronsons exit they should have been laying the ground work for his replacement. They must have known Aaronson JR would not be ready for a couple of years. With Tanners knowledge of the Bundesleiga and the European market he should have acquired a skilled proven dynamic attacking center midfielder even if he had to overpay for someone on the back end of the career or wanted a 1 year contract. It would have solved so many problems. Tanner had to know that Aaronson JR was not ready to start and there was nobody on this squad who had Brendans skills and was ready to play 90 minutes.

    Point 2

    Curtin is a nice guy , a company man and an average coach with average ideas. He will never lead this team to a championship.

    Point 3

    Sugarman is not wealthy enough to move the team forward. He needs wealthier partners.

    • Hard to say that he grossly underestimated Aaronson’s value considering he got the largest homegrown transfer fee in league history. It’s unfortunate they weren’t able to replace him but it’s not as though players like that grow on trees.
      Hard to really blame Curtin last night given how little he had to work with given the combination of international absences, suspension, and injuries. Assuming you didn’t want to see Collen come out and presuming Santos was on the doubtful side of questionable regarding injury, he only had 3 players to use as subs. The 3 players he brought off the bench had played a grand total of less than 10 minutes since May. He was really hamstrung in his options.
      Sugarman is the one we’re stuck with whether we want him or not. If you’re looking for an owner to spend significantly more, you’ll need to find another team to root for. That’s pretty much just the way it is.

      • Did not Vancouver get more from Bayern Munich for Alphonse Davies?

      • Looks like you’re right, Tim. Aaronson had the highest American homegrown transfer fee. I knew he was the highest something but didn’t realize the qualifier was there. Still, hard to say Tanner grossly underestimated his value.

      • Gazdag would have been with the team in preseason, however, Tanner agreed to let him see out the European season due to his club being in a relegation fight. Gazdag should have a much better 2022, being able to go through preseason here in the states, and also getting an offseason to rest.
        It typically takes players a half season to a full season to adapt to life in MLS and the states. There are exceptions (Martinez, Montiero).

  11. You have Santos, Davo and Fontana on the bench and Flach is picked for left attacking mid? Perhaps the philosophy here is all wrong. Emphasis being placed entirely on preventing goals with hard workers in training being selected over players who’d have a better impact in attack. I mean, you sit two forwards at home and start one who is in an absolutely abysmal slump, an 0 – 1 loss sounds about right.

    • Are either of Davo or Fontana ready to give enough minutes to be playing more than 45 minutes? Santos clearly wasn’t ready to play since Curtin didn’t use him off the bench. And would Flach have been replaced by one of them or would it have been McGlynn?

      • Is it clear Santos wasn’t ready? I hadn’t read a thing about his fitness. I would have played him on the left. I like Flach is but he’s a backup 6 on this team. I don’t know enough about McGlynn.

      • Santos was listed as “probable” on the injury report after not being in the 20 against DC. So while I don’t have anything definitive that he was still injured, I think it’s a reasonable assumption that he wasn’t ready given the circumstances surrounding the match.

    • Curtin said in the post game presser that Santos took himself out, as he didn’t feel his hamstring was ready/was feeling tight. He warmed up, and gave it a go but ultimately felt that playing would risk further injury.

  12. Well the positive for this match is the kids! They may be just about ready! They have the speed of thought and for the most part didn’t look over matched!
    The attack is on life support…maybe even unplugged! Pretty frustrating to watch! As mentioned above Flach has a great motor but kills the attack. Kasper definitely looks lost. And I love Ale but seems like he mostly runs around and flaps his arms lately.
    So hopefully with the other starters returning we can put together an entertaining match against CA!
    Trying to stay positive!!

  13. Based on what I saw here is a dream XI I would love to see, something mixing first teamers with the HGs:

    Stick with the 4-2-3-1:

    Santos( or preferably A better striker than what we have)
    Aaronson – Montiero – Sullivan
    McGlynn – Martinez
    Wagner – Elliot – Glesnes – Mbaizo

    Martinez and Montiero are our two best midfielders right now and they can provide the bite and stability to offset the youth. McGlynn has an elite defensive partner, Sulivan and Aaronson have someone who can combine and see the game at their level. All we are missing is a really good striker.

    • The day before the game with fair regularity there is an injury report and pressing points. Curtin was verbally optimistic about Santos, in pressing points.

    • Ah, I had another idea. If we wanted to stick to our normal 4-4-2 diamond:

      Santos – Burke
      Montiero – Martinez
      Wagner – Elliot – Glesnes – Mbazio

      You lose defense with MCGlynn as the 6, but Martinez in front of him has the elite range to cover, same with Monteiro. McGlynn can play the same role Haris did the one year he was in our pressing system – ping balls everywhere, and be a competent stay at home defender.

      Basically what I am learning with these thought exercises is that our normal XI needs a shake up, and the two being left out are Bedoya and Flach.

    • I’d rather Harriel than Mbaizo. He’s rough, but he showed a lot more creativity in attack and looked at least as solid on defense.

  14. Knuckles McFlood says:

    The Union really lack someone like a Carles Gil. That was supposed to be Gazdag or Montiero, but sadly the first does not seem to get open enough or finish and the second just fiddles the ball too much.

    There was a sequence late in the game where Bedoya was given a deft through ball as a result of MOVEMENT and fast interplay. There really is none of that since Brenden left.

    Creative midfielders also slice up our defense. Early in the game there was a great run from McNamara that was left unattended. He would have been clear on net if not for an over hit pass.

    Yet, I can see a glimpse of how this could all get a lot better. Tempo, off-ball runs, athleticism and finish are JUST not there to be a top team but I think the young guns might offer some hope.

    • +1 When I said Turner undervalued Aaronson I think I was misunderstood. They were. Do,amcilky compensated adequately, but Tanner tried to replace Aaronson with Gazdag who does not have Aransons skills set. Gazdag lacks Aaronsons soccer vision and ability to see the whole field, the willingness to take explayers on 1 on 1.As you said New England found Gil. Gazdag is much better suited out wide.

      • As we saw in the Canada game, Aaronson presses quicker and harder than anyone on the field, then when he gets the ball, he has a #10’s vision and skills to make a pass or take on a defender.
        I think that is what the U are really missing now. When turn the ball over with the press, we pass sideways or back and the other team resumes its bunker, knowing we can’t break bunkers.

  15. There was no need for Greg Ranjitsingh to dress.
    That they only dressed six for the bench says Brandan Craig is not eligible to dress.for whatever reason.
    The absence I do not understand is Matt Real. Nowhere is he listed or mentioned as injured. He is not listed in any fashion on disciplinary reports. Where is/was he?

  16. Watched the last 5 minutes of the first half and then the second half of Albania-Hungary. I believe they called Gazdag’s name a grand total of once before he was subbed off.

  17. Missed the Hungary game. Reviewed the comentary. Gazdag named 4 times all in negative situations. Turovers fouls etc. Only positive he was awarded a free kick in his defensive end. You get what you pay for Tanner.Bedoya must RETIRE. Use his saving in salary. and other cash from all that” alleged ”
    transfer fee from Aaronsons. sale and get a quality proven leader/# 10 . Sign him. To a 2 year contract and cross your fingers that Aaronson JR continues to develop and put on some muscle.

    • I wouldn’t go that far, but I do agree t he guy looks tired and out of sorts and should be resting a bit. Right now I would rather see Aaronson start at 10 with the first team.

      I don’t think we need to throw the transfer away and find another 10, but Curtin clearly needs to recognize Gazdag is not working out at all at any level and show be a bench option right now.

  18. Didn’t see Friday’s game but the line up showed Mbaizo playing 90 minutes. However, today he is not even on the bench against Cote d’Ivory.

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