Union / Union match reports

Match Report: New England Revolution 1-1 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Howie Pollard

It was a muggy evening in southeastern Massachusetts as the first-place Union visited the ninth-place New England Revolution. The first half played heavily in the favor of the home side, with the Revs logging thirteen shots and nine corner kicks to the Union’s two corners and single (1) shot. The home team had complete control of the game, and even with an excellent defensive performance by the Union the team was lucky to make it to the end of the half with no goals allowed. Though it should be acknowledged that the Union benefited from the Revs only being able to earn two shots on goal in that time.

However the second half started with a much better look from the Union as the team found a way to more effectively assert their presence on the field, controlling the ball and getting a much more respectable presence in the New England half. With just over a half hour of play remaining head coach Jim Curtin chose to take Sérgio Santos off for Cory Burke, a change that was so like-for-like it’s hard to say it meaningfully changed the game.

In the seventy fifth minute the Revolution earned a penalty kick after a Video Assistant Referee-assisted handball call against Jack Elliott. Carles Gil stepped to the spot and Andre Blake guessed right when the shot was taken but it went just beyond the Jamaican’s fingertips giving the home team a 1-0 lead.

Before play was re-started after the goal Mikael Uhre and Jack McGlynn were substituted on for Pazten Aaronson and Leon Flach. And the Union immediately equalized as Uhre was in the right place at the right time to intercept an attempted New England clearance and tap the ball in past Matt Turner just two minutes after the Revs took the lead.

After that the game shifted into a much higher gear as the Union really started to put together attacking threats giving Matt Turner plenty of opportunity to strengthen his bid to be the starting USMNT keeper. New England head coach Bruce Arena substituted Jozy Altidore for Wilfred Kaptoum in the eighty seventh and Matt Polster for Tommy McNamara in the eighty ninth, but it was never enough to get the home team back on the front foot.

Three points
  • Possession vs. Control: The Union are built to let the other team have a lot of possession, but they usually exercise more control than we saw. The Revs failed to capitalize on that lack of control, but other teams will not be so courteous.
  • The Midfield needs something: The first half, and the start of the second, showed a Union midfield unable to meaningfully control or even significantly influence the game. They shouldn’t have played like that against the Revs, and they cannot play like that against anyone if this team is going to make waves in the postseason.
  • El Brujo was lucky: Center ref Jon Freemon would have been well within his rights to send the Venezuelan off after his chest-bump in stoppage time. Watch for the Disciplinary Committee report this week to see if the midfielder will be available for the Cincinnati game two weeks from now.

Philadelphia: Andre Blake; Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Nate Harriel; José Martínez, Leon Flach (Jack McGlynn 76′), Alejandro Bedoya, Dániel Gazdag; Sérgio Santos (Cory Burke 57′), Paxten Aaronson (Mikael Uhre 76′)

Chicago: Matt Turner; Brandon Bye, Andrew Farrell, Omar Gonzalez, DeJuan Jones; Wilfred Kaptoum (Jozy Altidore 87′), Tommy McNamara (Matt Polster 89′); Sebastian Lletget, Carles Gil, Arnór Traustason (Dylan Borrero 63′); Gustavo Bou

Scoring summary

NE – Gil 75’(P)

PHI – Uhre 77′

Misconduct summary

NE – Gustavo Bou 52’
PHI – Cory Burke 63’

PHI – Jack McGlynn 80′

PHI – José Martínez 90’+

NE Statistic PHI NE Statistic PHI


Possession % 40.8 57 Duels Won 43
22 Shots 5 5 Tackles Won



Shots on Goal 2 1 Saves 3
7 Blocked Shots 2 18 Clearances



Total Passes 329 5 Fouls 13
87.3 Pass Accuracy % 75.4 1 Yellow Cards



Corners 5 0 Red Cards 0
29 Crosses 9 3 xG






  1. Flach offers nothing. That’s why the midfield fails to influence the game. McGlynn should start. He actually knows how to play soccer.

    • This seems like the blindingly obvious solution. I’m not sure why Paxten is not playing deeper either.

    • Think it’s a huge tradeoff. Flach has a great engine for defense and offers nothing going forward. Mcglynn has great vision and can put the ball on a dime but he looks like he’s running in sand. So it’s all defense and no offense or essentially the other way around.

  2. With friends like these…
    Harsh on Martinez to suggest the disciplinary committee would/should have a look. Garden variety dustup right in front of the referee. Deserved a yellow at most. Got one. I’m perhaps less critical of his temperment than most, but I didn’t think it was anything approaching a red card.
    Glad to see Uhre get on the score sheet, even if through a bit of good fortune. Really hope he can get a run of good health and good form. We looked so much more threatening whenever he was involved. His runs are smart and he is good at picking out teammates when the ball is at his feet. He could yet be the missing piece for the Union to really flip the switch and put a run of wins together.
    One correction. I think Bou took the penalty. Well-taken, too. Unlucky for Elliot.

    • Agree on Martinez. If anything the DC needs to look at Gil’s behavior, as he instigated that whole thing and made a head butting motion towards El Brujo.
      I disagree with the match write ups view of the midfield and New England. The TRevs won the shield last season, and were dealing with a LOT of injuries to start this season. Their midfield is very good. Philly eschews possession too. Carranza’s absence played a huge part in the first half display as he is really the spearhead of the Union’s Press. Their pressing is triggered by him. Aaronson and Santos don’t offer that.
      This game will be a good learning experience for this team.

    • SoccerDad says:

      I had actually thought Martinez was bumped from behind into the ref (by a revs player).

    • Jim O'Leary says:

      To be clear I expect the DisCo to want to talk about chest bumping the ref, not the player-on-player argument.

  3. Probably a good result for the boys tonight given the game action, and I begrudgingly agree that, by the book, it was a hand ball. But is there a way to change the game so that a play like that, which almost assuredly would not have resulted in a goal, can be treated differently? Call me delusional, but….

    The soccer gods were smiling on Uhre’s goal to make up for the cheesy PK.

    But if the PK was cheesy, what about the play in the 86th minute where Farrel knocked over Gadzig in the box – seemingly without going for the ball? JP made a “No Call?” comment right after, but that is all we heard about it. I think that play was much more egregious that Elliot’s hand ball.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      With the weak ass call against us I also thought the Gazdag call could’ve been a PK. Regardless, I’ll take a point given the way they played and missing Carranza and (most of the game) Uhre. Flach needs a rest. Play McGlynn

    • narbrich says:

      Thanks for mentioning that egregious knockdown. Farrell is a very physical player, and on that play he appeared to knock Gazdag down shoulder to back without even touching the ball (which would have been difficult for a defender to do at that angle since Gazdag was between the defender and the ball). No instant replay, no VAR. Which reminds me to make this comment. The video feed of this particular Union game seemed extremely poor to me as though there were too few cameras in place. Because Gillette is built for football, there are many good places for cameras and it seemed to me that little thought was given.

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    Let’s start with ending this month having not lost a game in the league. It has been a rough stretch. Kudos to them. Still … one loss and to me this truth matters and is the reason they sit atop the conference. We can all argue they should be well ahead on points for missed wins turned to draws but I’ll counter with— should they really?
    Imminently debatable.by hey have held it down remarkably well considering the immense room for improvement offensively… which I still believe comes in time.
    In other news…
    …Just Play Well. That game tonight was brutal to watch. Boring as can be. I love defense. I get it. But having the ball is fun. It’s the play thing. And I found myself much more enamored with Gil then anything Union were doing. I long for Haris or Noguiera sometimes.
    I’ll say this as well. Paxten has a long way to go. He’s very different from his brother and that’s a good thing, but I see him moving very casually too often, receiving balls improperly other times. He doesn’t play with the same urgency Brendan played with at Union. I hope the best for him. Really.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Paxten is not a striker and I think he influences games WAY more as a 10. Given Gazdag’s form you can’t not play him, so Paxten up top gets lost in the shuffle. I do agree with your other sentiments about him though… fair take.

    • I have always been enamored with Gil. He’s like Montiero with purpose.

    • Agreed on all counts, and for all the beautiful pitches this team played on in May in Tennessee and California, they also got to play on turf monsters and took points at all of them.

      Six wins, seven draws, and a loss before the break. Not great, but better than nearly the whole league with the head to hear ROAD results to prove it.

  5. Got a point on the road after a brutal stretch of games, travel-wise….fine.
    International break near the top of the table, and one loss through 13 games…AND the best 11 has not yet started yet? Pinch me.
    The real season starts with Cincy…

  6. Deez Nuggs says:

    That game was… in a word… boring.
    We can talk about how the Revs controlled the match, but to my eyes the Union never looked particularly likely to concede.
    Of course there wasn’t much offense to speak of. It seemed the New England plan was to take Gazdag out of the match and then dare us to make do without him. And without Carranza’s counter pressure, they largely succeeded. Two or three men on Daniel nearly every touch he got.
    Then the “penalty”… ugh. NE wasn’t gonna score any other way. But that was a harsh one. What’s Jack supposed to do exactly?
    Then Uhre comes on and the whole game changes. WOW. He’s immediately creating space and injecting some dynamism. And of course the goal. A thing of beauty. Got me out of my chair for the first time tonight! When he’s on the field every game, I see a bright future.
    Not losing is step one to making the playoffs.
    Go U!

  7. The penalty was bad luck, but we were also fortunate to get out of the first half without conceding.

    xG in that match was 3 to 0.9 in New England’s favor. I will happily take the draw from that performance.

    I understand Jim’s reasoning in starting Paxten up top: he needs more minutes to develop, but he’s behind a guy who’s tearing up the league. Unfortunately it didn’t work; Pax is an attacking mid, not a striker. If we have more games with a dearth of available strikers, Jim needs to consider flexing back to the 4-2-3-1 we’ve played at times in the last couple years. That could get Paxten and Gazdag on the pitch together in a way that might be made to work.

    Meanwhile, I can’t frickin’ wait till we get to see Carranza and Uhre starting an actual string of games in a row…

  8. John P. O'Donnell says:

    Point on the road is always a good result. The two goals were both a gift to the other team, but hey, it happens.
    This team looks like it can win a Cup but I wonder with the influx of bonus money they just cashed, will they look for another player during the summer transfer window? This is the first time I can remember when they don’t need a player to fix a problem but could add one just to increase depth of talent. On the other hand will they be selling at the same time?

  9. Touch game tonight. First , I think what could have helped was concentrating on simply keeping the ball- possession. I’ve had this issue with Curtin for a long time. “ we’re a counter attacking team” he always states. Yes, every team has to have some type of ability to counter attack. You also need to possess. In certain games it might be all about possession. This can get your team in a nice groove and the ability to control a match, which the union have done in the past. We now actually have forwards who can be creative and control the ball at their feet, hit the target and can attack with purpose. Before, we would keep possession but had no outlet up top.

    Speaking of offense, I can’t believe Burke has not been mentioned in these comments yet. Just like Przyblko last year, Curtin loves the routine of putting in forwards who are I’m sorry complete trash and give us nothing on the pitch. It’s embarrassing watching him tbh. If the union are going to be a competing and one of the best teams to face in the MLS, they better start showing that with the quality the players they have. Burke can’t pass, hit the target, possess the ball at his feet ect. It’s bad. It’s time to sell him. He should be a 3rd string sub at this point. Sullivan should be the secondary striker.

    On the opinion of Flach, we still need him on the pitch. His ability to disrupt counter attacks still amazes me. He’s had some rough patches for sure but he’s still a critical piece for this team considering El Bruno is still keeping the ball too Long and losing it in the middle of the pitch. Also, El Bruno’s passing wasn’t on pare either. Having said that, El Bruno has been in form this year. The more he gets rid of the ball quicker the more dangerous he is.

  10. Hey, that NE goal was a questionable call. Other refs would not have charged us for it… And Bo needed a goal for his own sake.

    So despite the possession numbers, Revs scored NO ROP goals.

    And yet “we’re” complaining about the performance, defense strong and MLS solid again… Blake a brick wall, as usual…. AWAY in a tough place to play.

    Curtin’s ‘non possession gameplan’ WON this game… just like the other maddening ties the last few weeks. But in the long run, we’re behind those “light blues” from the Bronx in the Table.

    There should be a Sat for goalies, GA without PKs. That is the essence of a goalie’s performance anyway. Saving PKs is an art.

  11. Yes Blake saved us. He is the best player on the squad
    Squad, there’s no debating that. The Revs had a ton of shots and shots near or on goal. When you don’t keep possession and lose the ball in the middle of the pitch that wears on your defense. The biggest problem with his tactics is the offensive decisions and subs. Was Urhe hurt??

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      Yes. Uhre was hurt. He was only medically cleared to play about 15 minutes according to the announcers.
      I won’t debate the opinion on Blake being the best player. But the stats tell a different story about him saving us last night. Total credit to him, he’s amazing. But he’s credited with 3 saves. Out of 22 shots. 7 were officially blocked. That leaves 12 misses. Arguably you can credit the defense for missed and blocks.
      Blake’s saves were solid but to my eye nothing but the PK was really a challenge. Credit this team and its locked down defense at least as much.

    • Peanut Gallery says:

      It was his first game back from the quad issue. No way he was going to start Uhre this game.

  12. NE’s PK was taken by Bou, not Gil. And Martinez will be missing the game against Cinn due to yellow card accumulation ( maybe he can use the time to learn how to pass).

  13. Still have not played with the best 11 due to injury, suspension etc. Blake is amazing. Bruno and Flach pair nicely. Love Bedoya a true warrior. But even in the height if his career he was not Barnetta or Nogueira or Doakal in terms of offensive play development. I like McGlynn but he is not ready to play 60 minutes every game. He is also not very effective when he has to play defense. Neither is Paxton. IF Bedoya retires next year the Union need to replace him with an experienced Skilled midfielder like Barnetta. Someone with his skills set. Hopefully we dont lose Wagner, Martinez, Gazdag or Blake. Could a late season transfer for this type of player for a 1 year contract t happen ? It would help the midfield for sure.

  14. Deez Nuggs says:

    Another thing… I’ll come out and say it. I’m glad the misplayed pass lands at Uhre instead of pretty much anyone else (except Gazdag perhaps). I have nightmares of missing that chance.
    I’m blown away at what Uhre seems capable of. Can’t wait for him to really get rolling.

  15. McGlynn is not a defensive mid. He shouldn’t be put on the field for that reason. He’s a distributor and box to box midfielder. He’s ready for 60.

  16. santo bevacqua says:

    can someone talk and explain what is happening with the uniforms. as far as the game i like to comment the pk should not have been given, my reason is a purely unintentional glance of the upper arm is not a fair decision.

    • idk maybe the guy in charge of washing the kits used too much bleach?

    • There was a league-wide change of uniforms. The kits were made from recycled plastics that was collected from oceans. The away teams wore white with pinkish-orange and the home teams had blue.

  17. Andy Muenz says:

    Was away for the weekend and just got to watch (actually, I watched the first 30 minutes live on ESPN+ but was stuck with the New England bias).
    PK was tough but the correct call based on the way thing have been called in general. Was definite bias for JP and Danny to think it would go otherwise.
    First time in 12 games they gave up the first goal so it was good to see them equalize for a change.
    I know they only have 1 loss, but they have more draws than wins. It was for that exact reason that the Union hosted Nashville in the playoffs. If Nashville had a few more wins rather than 18 draws the game would have been in Nashville (which I drove through on Friday and Sunday but didn’t get to see the new stadium).

    • narbrich says:

      Though I usually agree with you Andy, I have to disagree about the PK. The rule is whether the arm was in a “natural” position when it touched the ball. Elliott was running and tried to stop. If you try to do that, you will notice that you use your arms to try to stop–it is “natural.” The referee did not call the PK on the field, and the call should not have been overturned unless the error was “clear and obvious.” That we can debate it proves that it was not “clear and obvious.” I can think offhand about several games I attended this year at home in which the Union were on the attack and similar touches to Elliott’s were allowed (without calls or VAR) by Union’s opposition in the box. The call was, in Danny Higgenbotham’s words, “extremely harsh.”

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