Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 1-1 New York Red Bulls

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

For the fifth straight game, Philadelphia Union dropped points from a winning position, as a goal by Luquinhas canceled out Daniel Gazdag’s opener and ten-man Red Bulls earned a 1-1 draw.

Jim Curtin made one change from the side that drew LAFC last weekend, inserting Sergio Santos for Cory Burke to pair with Julian Carranza up top. Mikael Uhre, who’s been managing a nagging hamstring injury, missed out on the bench.

The rain that coated the Delaware Valley all day relented in time for kickoff, and a boisterous crowd filled most of Subaru Park’s seats for a top-of-the-table rivalry matchup. The early action was frantic: two teams that don’t want the ball launching one long-range attack after another.

A tenth minute free kick, about 25 yards from goal and almost dead center, provided the Union with their first real chance, but Kai Wagner’s attempt to sneak his shot under the wall failed.

After an early spell of Red Bulls pressure, the game settled down and the Union exerted more control on the match, drawing their foes into fouls and winning more 50-50 balls. A corner led to another good opportunity, as ex-Philly keeper Carlos Coronel spilled the initial save and had to dive to smack the ball away from a looming Jakob Glesnes.

The Union kept up the pressure. In the 35th minute, a teasing ball by Wagner nearly found one of the strikers. The ensuing corner found Bedoya at the near post, and his glancing header forced Coronel into a sprawling save.

But Red Bulls began turning the corner in the minutes before halftime. A well-worked free-kick routine forced Andre Blake into an awkward save, and Luquinhas fired one right into the keeper’s palms barely a minute later.

The teams went into halftime scoreless, a fair result given the first half performances.

New York made the first change, inserting Cameron Harper for ineffective striker Patryk Klimala at halftime.

Daniel Gazdag broke the deadlock just two minutes into the second half with an excellent move and finish. Recovering the ball off an attempted header, the Hungarian played a 1-2 at the edge of the box with Santos, blasting his strike past the helpless Coronel and into the top corner.

The goal was his team-leading sixth of the season.

Tensions boiled over between the two sides moments later, with some physical play leading to a coming-together. Coronel and Jose Martinez seemed the most eager to mix it up, with both players screaming at each other. Julian Carranza and Frankie Amaya picked up yellows in the skirmish.

It was Red Bulls who suffered for their emotion, as Dylan Nealis picked up a second yellow in the 55th minute and saw himself ejected. What for? It wasn’t clear in the moment, but it appeared to be for a late tackle on Santos in front of the Union bench.

Up a man and up a goal, the Union started pushing to end the game. A counterattack in the 58th minute saw the ball fall to Alejandro Bedoya, who pushed his dangerous shot just wide. Another attack moments later saw Santos get behind the defense and force a save off the line by a defender, along with one or two shouts for handball. But VAR didn’t see enough to change the call on the field, and the increasingly chaotic play continued apace.

Red Bulls didn’t stop trying to put something together on the counter, and just moments after drawing a yellow from Martinez, they equalized. It was a simple ball out from the wing to an onrushing Luquinhas, who’d beaten Martinez on a run into the box, and he finished past Blake’s near post.

For the fifth straight game, the Union had blown a lead.

Suddenly, the onus was back on the Boys in Blue to take all three points from the match. Curtin turned to his bench, introducing Cory Burke and Jack McGlynn for Santos and Leon Flach.

But with the air taken out of the stadium, Red Bulls felt emboldened. A 77th minute free kick flashed just wide of Blake’s goal.

It looked like Carranza had restored the Union’s edge with a pretty headed finish in the 80th minute. Off a corner, the ball recirculated to Wagner, who pumped one into the mixer. Burke’s close-range header spurred an excellent save by Coronel, but Carranza snuck in at the post for a diving header that sent the home fans into raptures. But the VAR sent referee Rubiel Vazquez to the monitor, which revealed that the striker was a step offside when he scored.

The Union pressed for a winner. A 89th minute strike by Martinez looked tantalizing, but went over Coronel’s goal. And a stoppage time chance for Burke ended straight in Coronel’s paws.

The crowd booed as the final whistle blew.

The Union’s homestand continues on Wednesday night, when they play host to Inter Miami CF. Kickoff from Subaru Park is at 7:30 p.m.

Three Points
  • Gazdag the magnificent. After a year in MLS, the Union’s attacking midfielder is on fire. He doesn’t dominate games like some No. 10s, but he’s a deadly scorer, and his moment that unlocked the Red Bulls defense was something special.
  • But I don’t want to use my head! A goal, a red card, and a bevy of chances had the Union buzzing. But there was a lead to protect, and Jose Martinez’s one-two of a yellow (that sees him suspended in midweek) and failing to track his man (that allowed the equalizer) undid so much of the good work that had come before.
  • Hold those leads. Five straight games where the Union have dropped points from winning positions is definitely a problem. That’s not to say the team isn’t still in great position. But there’s work to do to hold these slim leads.

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Nathan Harriel (Olivier Mbaizo 83′), Jose Martinez, Alejandro Bedoya, Leon Flach (Jack McGlynn 70′), Daniel Gazdag, Sergio Santos (Cory Burke 70′), Julian Carranza

Unused subs: Matt Freese, Matt Real, Stuart Findlay, Quinn Sullivan, Jesus Bueno, Paxten Aaronson

New York Red Bulls

Carlos Coronel, John Tolkin, Sean Nealis, Dylan Nealis, Tom Edwards, Frankie Amaya, Yearwood, Luquinhas (Jason Pendant 87′), Tom Barlow (Zach Ryan 90+2′), Omir Fernandez (Daniel Edelman 70′), Patryk Klimala (Cameron Harper HT)

Unused subs: Ryan Meara, Jesus Castellano, Aaron Long

Scoring Summary

PHI: Daniel Gazdag — 47′ (Sergio Santos)
NYRB: Luquinhas — 66′ (Cameron Harper, Omir Fernandez)

Discipline Summary

NYRB: Dylan Nealis — 26′ (foul)
PHI: Julian Carranza — 52′ (other reason)
NYRB: Omir Fernandez — 58′ (other reason)
NYRB: Dylan Nealis — 55′ (foul) (second yellow)
PHI: Jose Martinez — 65′ (foul)
PHI: Jack McGlynn — 77′ (foul)
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya — 85′ (foul)
NYRB: John Tolkin — 90+4′ (dissent)

PHI Statistic NYRB PHI Statistic NYRB


Possession % 39 50 Duels Won 65
17 Shots 11 11 Tackles Won



Shots on Goal 6 5 Saves 4
4 Blocked Shots 3 20 Clearances



Total Passes 251 15 Fouls 10
76.6 Pass Accuracy % 59.8 4 Yellow Cards



Corners 4 0 Red Cards 1
22 Crosses 12 2.1 xG






  1. Jeremy Lane says:

    José, man. Come on.

  2. Let me be the first to use the word.
    Up a man; up a goal; at home; in a game where a win could put separation at the top of the table from the very team you are playing…
    No excuse to fall asleep and let them back into it.

  3. Close out games says:

    3 on the field need to move on come summer.

    U never fail to disappoint.

  4. Union fan says:

    Arrrgh. One loss in the first 11 games yet I’m still left incredibly frustrated. That’s hard to do.

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    Going back to the end of last season when they blew a bunch of leads on the road, I’ve been saying this is an issue. Glad PSP articles are finally seeing it too rather than just saying how hard it is to win on the road in MLS. Hopefully the team will address this issue sooner rather than later.
    The good thing is that it is now 9 straight games the Union have scored first.

  6. UHRE out again. Wont know how good this team can be until he gets healthy. I did not understand the Mbaizo substitution for Harrel who played one of his best games. Red bull outplayed us a man down. Coronell played great.

  7. John P. O'Donnell says:

    This it’s a total embarrassment. They targeted this game for a win. “The little breaks aren’t going our way”. Jim Curtin.
    ….. Hey Jim. you’re up a man with a goal freaking lead. Make your damn breaks and stop looking for them.

  8. I cannot remember a time over the years when the union ever took advantage of a man advantage. That killer instinct just seems to be missing somehow…frustrating.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      A man advantage generally is worse. And not just for the U. Basically every team in every league. The team down has no choice but to bunker in. It gets harder to score. And in the case of the U now they end up in possession, which we don’t want. In effect, you spent all week game planning and it goes out the windows.
      Going further, in order to break down that defense, you send numbers forward and leave yourself more vulnerable at the back.

  9. el Pachyderm says:

    Well… in typical NYRB v Union fashion that was just a brutal game. Brutal to watch. Brutal to argue for. Brutal Brutal Brutal.
    For the first time- I concede — a missed opportunity. Two dropped points. The first 90 seconds of the game summed it up perfectly and was a harbinger of things to come. Ping Pong. Unwatchable soccer. Whatever. Gazdag, Carranza, Harriel and Wagner make watching it a bit more palatable —but barely.
    I find Sergio despite a nice assist a total liability. How many more times will he be perfectly fed without scoring? And Corey doesn’t add. We need Uhre to be a healthy regular.
    I’m unsure the Mbazio sub… everything about his game irritates me. Leon is so tenacious defensively but I’m quite unsure how a guy with his game has elevated to the levels he has. 21 or not his contribution offensively bogs the team down almost every time.

    Whatever. I’d bench Carranza Wednesday because there’s no way I’d want Miami seeing him play.
    This team has lost one time. ONE. I’m not making a mountain out of the mole hill. The truth is they are ‘beating’ themselves which means they are still better then almost every other team.

    • Carranza can’t play due to the loan teams.
      Hope Uhre is good to go.

    • I described the game in the press box as “like watching two monkeys punching each other.” Perhaps a simile that “el pachyderm” would approve of.
      I do think the Mbaizo sub was a weird one. The guy’s just not in good form right now. Would have rather seen one of the young guns.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Who cares that they have only lost ONE game? They haven’t won in the last five, all of which they scored first. And wins are a LOT more important than lack of losses. 12 wins and 22 losses are worth more points than 0 losses and 34 draws. So yes, they’ve only lost ONE game, but they’ve lost NINE points in the last month or so. The team needs to play to win, not to avoid losing.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      When I looked at the schedule before the season started, I said to myself “if we come out of May with 8 points, it’ll be job done.” Still on track there.
      I think people get frustrated because it was there for the taking. Sergio is low on confidence, that’s why he’s not shooting. He’s looking for the pass first and foremost.
      At the match last night, I felt the energy drop before the Luquinos goal. The team just looked gassed. I don’t blame Jose, by the way, he slipped and then already out of the play, he took up a tactical position. But that Luquinos is a straight baller.
      A real shame that the goal got called back. Correct call, but unfortunate.
      Another game that required the goalkeeper to stand on his head and be Superman to bail out a point… good news is: it wasn’t Andre.
      I expected a close match with a ton of fouling and I think PSP picked 1-1 draw. So I’m looking at this as kinda expected.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Appreciate the grounded POV. I’m annoyed and definitely think this needs to and can be better. But all things being equal… they are on 20 points at top of table with a +7 gol differential.
        Historically Jim’s teams have started rather slow and here we are beautifully positioned heading into the stretch of season when his teams tend to jump start.
        They need to do better. They are doing quite well too.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        They are 3rd in the table with 5 wins compared with 6 for Orlando and Montreal. Goal differential is 2nd tiebreaker behind wins.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Okay Andy. I tap out.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Sorry, El Pach. I don’t mean to pick on your comments per se, especially since I usually agree with them. I’m just not happy with the number of blown leads both this season and the end of last where it almost cost the Union the opportunity to host MLS Cup. And ever since the early ’90s when they went to 3 points for a win, I’ve hated when teams play to protect the point rather than go for the win. In my opinion, when it gets late in a tie game and the announcers say something along the lines of it would be a shame to give up a point now, I think they are completely wrong and the team should risk that point in an effort to get three.
        And right now I’m worried they are going to break Nashville’s record from last year for most draws.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Indeed Andy. I appreciate the position and stipulate to the concerns- particularly in relation to a new sense of what should be our expectations. Maybe I should be more focused on the now….. there’s been so many poor starts and ‘bad’ years I am just thankful they are so much better- which clearly they are.
        I was the meanest son of a bitch on this sight for quite awhile… eviscerating the ineptitude.
        I get it. Be well.

    • A game with either Santos or Burke getting important minutes is a problem. I’ll give Santos some credit for a few nice assists so far this season, but a striker’s job is to bulge the net. Burke can’t hit the broad side of a barn, and Santos is a sure bet to have a free run at the keeper with the ball and not even get a shot off. Enough.

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        From where I sit, Burke is a ‘striker’ and Santos is a FORWARD. I think Cory needs to be scoring, and he has this season… just needs more. Sergio, though, I don’t care if he scores (… well, very often). I want him running at the defense, scaring them to death and getting cutbacks and assists. He’s doing that.
        Let’s recognize the problem though… It is the LACK of game time that is causing so many misses. A Striker needs to be on the field building confidence. I read an article once where Wondo talked about needing to “play through” those tough times. Well, what if you don’t? What if you ride the bench, and get a few minutes here and there. You’re coming on feeling inadequate already and then don’t bag one. You don’t have a lot of chance to build yourself up.
        We talk about the ‘floodgates opening’ once a striker breaks a lull for a reason. But they need game time to do that. I’m not saying Cory starts over Carranza or Uhre, but I give him some patience.

  10. Mbaizo comes in and immediately turns the ball over? That’s your super-sub, Curtin? Man that was frustrating. And I don’t blame Martinez at all. He does all the hard work and all the dirty work and has to cover for Bedoya (slow) and Flach (bad at soccer). Without Martinez the U will likely lose to Miami. Had so much hope for this season. Now have so little confidence in this team being anything other than mediocre.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      They’ve lost one game through almost a full third of a season. One. Just one.
      Even with some of the ‘problems’ lately they are at the near top of the conference.
      I get emotional responses to games. I’ve excoriated this franchise for years after games likening it to a virus or bacterial infection gone septic ….but I feel this take about being mediocre to be unfounded at best…and totally wrong at worst.

      • They were at the top of the conference while other teams were prioritizing champions league and USOC. Now that everyone’s DP’s have arrived and playing, they’ve regressed literally and in every way towards the mean. But the thing about predictions, Pachy, is that we get a chance to see how they turn out, won’t we? I predict they’ll make the playoffs in the 5-8 spot. That is the definition of mediocre. I hope they prove me wrong.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Right on Ben.
        My take is they are seeded 1-3 by season’s end in the conference and not at all mediocre.
        I’m thinking Corey & Sergio are getting more minutes then Jim ever expected this season.
        Need Uhre to get— set and go…

    • Andy Muenz says:

      How do you not blame Martinez for the goal. He was tracking Luquinhas and then watched Luquinhas run around him and score. That was almost completely on Martinez.

  11. Jim needs to shore up this defense and get some more shutouts. Until Uhre is healthy and the attack can regulalry score multiple goals it appears that the Union will struggle for wins unless the defense gets back to holding shutouts.
    This feels like a case of team pitching not holding out and suffering several late game rallies. The attack is moderately successful but the defense needs to play lights out until the attack gets better.
    It is tough on Martinez, Elliott, Glesnes, and Blake to require perfection from them. I’d like to see Flach start for Martinez and Findlay rotate for the CBs to keep them fresher. If that defensive diamond can avoid mental breakdowns like that terrific throughball last night the Union will get back to winning.

  12. Petr. John. Jim. It doesn’t matter who’s been in charge, this team has never understood how to play with a one man advantage. It’s curious. Up a man AND a goal? At home? Really, they should be able to do better.

    Maybe hire a consultant from SEPTA to teach them how to park a bus.

  13. Is it just me that finds Curtin’s unwillingness to substitute, *cough* take Bedoya off the field *cough* troublesome? Bedoya is a warrior, a great player, in great shape and 35 years old. And now a game on Wednesday after a tough game. Already without Martinez and Carranza and maybe Uhre. You are ahead a goal and the other team a man down. No need to have three defensive mids any more. Substitute McGlynn, Aaronson, Sullivan and give Flach, Bedoya, Gazddag a rest. Perhaps? Spread the ball around and kill the game. Isn’t that how it’s done. That game and this season have become so frustrating. BTW – I am very over Burke, he’s just not getting it done this year.

  14. OneManWolfpack says:

    I’ve never been more frustrated about a team that is at the top of the Eastern Conference than I am about the Union right now. Draws on the road are fine. Dropping points at home is not. Wednesday is a must win even without Carranza. Uhre has to get healthy and the Union have to start winning games when they score first and are only giving up one goal. I realize I didn’t say much here, just had to rant a bit. So frustrated…

  15. narbrich says:

    That was a VERY disappointing draw and not just because the U scored first and didn’t hold the lead. From the time of the sending off until the last 10 minutes of the game, the Union played without any grit. They allowed NYRB to press, to possess, to cross and to shoot–unless you were counting the players on the field, you would have thought that the U were the team a man down. After NYRB leveled, the U still sat back for another 5 minutes. Finally, after the subs and with about 10 minutes to go, the U started to play with the sense of urgency that, had it appeared earlier, probably would have allowed them to get ahead 2-0 up a man.

    I was trying to watch Flach last night (impossible to do from a TV feed) and here is my take: 1) Flach is an excellent defender who is nearly always in the right position to pressure and disrupt the opposition. 2) His defensive awareness and communication with Bedoya, Wagner and Elliott is likewise outstanding. 3) As good as his defensive skills are, that is how bad his offensive skills are. I saw him stumble with the ball at his feet, make inaccurate uncontested passes and make one extremely poor decision that nearly resulted in NYRB getting the ball at the top of the box. He needs ballet lessons–or something to improve his dribbling and passing skills. If Flach was able to improve in these areas, Union would be a much more dangerous team.

    I couldn’t see exactly what happened during the set-to around the 57th minute because it was on the other side of the field from where I was sitting. However, whatever happened, Jose Martinez became so angry that his teammates had to physically pull him away from the melee. Jose was not having one of his better games, but his concentration became broken thereafter. In a short stretch, he got a yellow card and his man got ahead of him and scored the tying goal. I admire Jose’s energy and intensity, but he has got to play under more control.

    It took McGlynn about 10 minutes to get into the game, but after he was warm, he played very well, and the Union created chances as a result. This is not news, but let me repeat something I have said repeatedly here: Cory Burke cannot play with the ball at his feet. This is not going to change–ever. But Santos was hurt (again). I would rather see Aaronson play.

    In the first 20 minutes on two successive aerial duels, NYRB defenders clocked Union players with elbows in the back, the second of which was not even called as a foul. A lot of pushing, clutching and grabbing happens, but intentional elbows need to be carded, even in the first half. At every level, the referee’s first job should be to protect the players and this was dereliction of duty.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Regarding the melee, Carranza committed a foul midway between the offensive penalty box and midfield. There was a New Jersey player down at the edge of the box from earlier in the play so the ref went to check on him. Rather than walking away, Carranza picked up the ball and started walking with it. The player he fouled took offense and started shoving Carranza. Both were idiots for doing this since play wasn’t going to restart until the injured player got up. The shoving intensified by both players and more players started to gather and the AR ran in to try and break it up.
      Regarding your comments on Flach and Martinez, I’m thinking that with his lack of offensive skills, Flach may be better suited for the #6 which we’ll likely see Wednesday and Martinez might be better at the #8 where he plays with the national team and where his mistakes are less costly.
      We may know more about which of the kids will play a significant role Wednesday based on how much time they get tomorrow with Union 2.
      Santos got hurt on the play where he drew the second yellow on Nealis, so if the rest of the team had been more competent with the lead, it would have been OK, since it was just getting a foot stepped on.

      • narbrich says:

        1) Thanks for the clarification on the melee, Andy. Do you have any idea what riled up Martinez?

        2) I think you are correct about Flach’s and Martinez’ positions. I think that Flach is extremely important to the Union’s defense. Even when he doesn’t win a duel his efforts generally allow his teammates to get into proper central defensive positions.

  16. Philadelphia Union doing Philadelphia Union things. Gagging leads in the home stretch (is this 5 in a row?. So much for Uhre.
    *le sigh*

  17. Micah Bertin says:

    “A dearth of goals” is a common mantra this season. Yet only 4 teams in the east have more goals than us! Hmm…I guess that’s why we’re in the top 3?

    Yes,protect a lead for crying out loud! But imagine what happens when Gazdag (who i predict will stay hot) is joined by Carranza and/or/combined with Sergio and a healthy Uhre. And/or (I vote for “and”),Scory lives up to his nickname!

  18. Gruncle Bob says:

    Elliot didn’t cover himself in glory either. Prior to the goal he inexplicably takes a step UP field. As a result he is not able to get back and block the passing lane to Luquinhas. He was ONE step away from blocking that pass.

    Shield winners don’t cough up points like the U have been. They remain a good team – probably top 3 in the conference. To win the cup they will likely have to win at least 2 difficult road games.

    Burke is not worth 400k/year. The U have better options, but JC doesn’t seem to want to use Quinn/Pax. The diamond is apparently sacred. There must always be 2 strikers on the field, even if one doesn’t belong in the league.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      This is what I would call a domino effect. Jose slips on the turf and Luquinhas gets a step past. Jack steps forward thinking to cover, but the ball goes wide. Luquinhas darts inside and Glesnes is caught in two minds. Whole backline was a step slower than they needed to be in order to prevent it, but it starts with a slip. By the point in the game when it happened, the team was already looking tired to me. (Imagine if Jim had played the full 11 all 90 in Orlando!)


  20. Sorry, because I know there’s a ton of McGlynn love on this page, but I’m convinced dude is actually Brian Carroll in disguise. Every time he touches the ball, his first look is backwards or sideways. I found myself yelling “forward damnint, you’re a man up” on more than one occasion. And he is sloooooow – saw dudes just run right past him multiple times. I don’t know why Curtin is so infatuated with subbing off Flach for him …

    • Agree McGlyne seems to be taking the safe pass with no purpose. He needed to try to take a chance and thread a pass forward to Gazdag. He was brought in generate offense.We were tied with a man up. Burke added nothing to the game. The Union have only 1 midfielder with all skills. That’s their mission g li k this year. No Montiero No Ilsinio. NEED TO GET ONE BYSUMMER TRANSFER.

  21. Agree McGlyne seems to be taking the safe pass with no purpose. He needed to try to take a chance and thread a pass forward to Gazdag. He was brought in generate offense.We were tied with a man up. Burke added nothing to the game. The Union have only 1 midfielder with all skills. That’s their mission g li k this year. No Montiero No Ilsinio. NEED TO GET ONE BYSUMMER TRANSFER.

    • narbrich says:

      McGlynn is a teenager and he needs time–playing time–to develop. His passing was much better in the last 10 minutes of the game than earlier. Brendan Aaronson played similarly earlier in his Union career. McGlynn led the buildup that resulted in the ball on Burke’s foot at point blank range. Had Burke converted, I suspect you (and the rest of us) might be singing a different tune. But as everyone on this page has recognized, Burke is only capable of scoring “ugly” goals, a lucky header from a set piece now and then and a “garbage” goal from when the ball is loose in the 6-yard box.

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