Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 7-0 D.C. United

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Call it an evisceration, an exorcism, or a good old-fashioned ass-kicking.

Whatever your phrase of choice, that’s what Philadelphia Union did to a helpless D.C. United side on Friday evening at Subaru Park, firing home five first-half goals en route to an 7-0 win.

It was the most goals ever scored by the Union in a match, and tied for the largest margin of victory ever in an MLS game.

Julian Carranza notched a hat trick that could easily have been four or five, while Alejandro Bedoya bagged a first-half brace and Mikael Uhre picked up his pair with goals on either side of halftime.

Jim Curtin made four changes from the side that drew with Columbus Crew on Sunday, switching back to the 4-4-2 from a five-man backline. Mikael Uhre and Julian Carranza started up top, while Jose Martinez returned from suspension and Nathan Harriel replaced Olivier Mbaizo at left back. The four Homegrowns who spent much of June on international duty — Quinn Sullivan, Paxten Aaronson, Jack McGlynn, and Brandan Craig — made the bench, while Stuart Findlay (linked with a move abroad) did not.

Former Union captain Brian Carroll banged the drum on Alumni Night, and and kickoff at Subaru Park arrived under overcast skies.

Alejandro Bedoya handed the Union the lead through just nine minutes. After firmly boxing D.C. into their own half, the Union cycled the ball to Jose Martinez, who spotted Bedoya making a run off the right wing. The pass was perfect, lofted right into the captain’s feet, and he made no mistake with the finish bearing down on goal.

The goal was Bedoya’s 20th of his Union career.

Philadelphia utterly dominated the disjointed D.C. side through the first 20 minutes, and they got a deserved second goal through Julian Carranza. Off a corner, Jack Elliott whiffed on a shot, but the ball bounced high toward a totally unmarked Carranza, right in front of the United goal. The young striker unleashed a bicycle kick, beating Rafael Romo and breaking a two-month scoreless drought.

The rout continued. Nathan Harriel should have made it three when he beat everyone — including the keeper — and barreled in on goal, but his shot somehow missed a wide-open net.

But just moments later, that long-elusive third goal finally came. Daniel Gazdag slipped in Leon Flach down the side of the box, who crossed toward goal. Carranza made a ferocious run and deflected the ball into the open net.

It was a brace in four minutes for Carranza, and the first time in the 2022 season that the Union had managed three goals in one game.

Having asserted their dominance, the Union seemed content to let D.C. play around with the ball a little for the next ten minutes, as the white-shirted visitors offered very little danger.

Bedoya bagged a brace of his own with a goal in the 36th minute. Kai Wagner whipped a free kick into the box, where Bedoya was making his classic near-post run. The captain just got enough with his head to nestle the ball into the far corner, leaving Romo helpless.

Just minutes later, Daniel Gazdag had a penalty shout when Brendan Hines-Ike took him down in the box, appearing to totally miss the ball. But referee Ted Unkel, perhaps feeling some sympathy for the visitors, waved off the penalty, and VAR in Atlanta didn’t see fit to intervene.

By this point, D.C. interim manager Chad Ashton had seen enough. He yanked Hines-Ike and Sami Guediri off in the 42nd minute, sending Chris Odoi-Atsem and Brad Smith on in their stead.

But that didn’t stop the bleeding for the visitors, as Mikael Uhre added a goal in first-half stoppage time. In transition, the pass from Gazdag to Uhre caused Donovan Pines to fall, and the Dane added a simple, silky finish past Romo to make the lead five.

With that goal, the Union tied the MLS record for most goals in a first half, matching efforts from the 2017 FC Dallas and 2019 Chicago Fire.

The party was well and truly on at Subaru Park, and the halftime roar for the home side was long and loud.

D.C. looked sharper to start the first half, in the sense that a pair of kiddie scissors is marginally sharper than a spoon. Andre Blake stretched to full extension to make a save early in the half, then added a point-blank stop on the ensuing corner kick. He stoned Taxi Fountas again in the 55th minute after a decent bit of interplay by the white shirts.

Uhre added his second in the 59th minute. D.C.’s Julian Gressel popped a cross from Harriel high up into the sky. The ball fell to Uhre near the corner of the goal, and his first-time finish went through Romo’s legs an into the net.

That would be it for Uhre and Gazdag, replaced by Aaronson and Cory Burke after 60 minutes.

Carranza had a chance to notch a hat trick after a D.C. handball in the box in the 69th minute. But Romo, mostly poor all night, stretched out to stop Carranza’s ineffective attempt.

Just minutes later, the hat trick came. Carranza curled a shot from about 15 yards around Romo, and a few hats wafted down towards field level as the young striker celebrated his first MLS hat trick.

Quinn Sullivan and Jack McGlynn came on immediately after Carranza’s goal, replacing Alejandro Bedoya and Jose Martinez.

Carranza could have had four, but he put his 75th minute header just over the crossbar.

To put the cherry on top, Curtin handed Brandan Craig his MLS debut in the 87th minute. He replaced Leon Flach in defensive midfield for the final moments.

The post-game fireworks, blasted off over the River End, could not have come on a more fitting evening.

There won’t be much time for the Union to rest on their laurels, as they travel down to Florida for a midweek match against Inter Miami. Kickoff from the confusingly spelled DRV PNK Stadium is at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13.

Three Points
  • Pour it on. After endless discussion about the offense’s struggles, the Union came out with a point to prove. Five first-half goals sent shockwaves of joy through the home crowd.
  • Strikers on fire. Any time each of your strikers gets a brace, it’s a good night. But it’s especially good to see Julian Carranza scoring again after a long drought, and Mikael Uhre showing off the clinical finishing that caused the Union to acquire him.
  • Who cares if they’re bad? D.C. may have put out the most putrid first-half performance this writer has seen from a road team at Subaru Park. But the Union have struggled to convincingly beat bad teams this year; consider this a box checked.
Lineups

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Nathan Harriel, Jose Martinez (Jack McGlynn 73′), Alejandro Bedoya (Quinn Sullivan 33′), Leon Flach (Brandan Craig 87′), Daniel Gazdag (Paxten Aaronson 60′), Mikael Uhre (Cory Burke 61′), Julian Carranza

Unused subs: Matt Freese, Matt Real, Olivier Mbaizo, Chris Donovan

D.C. United

Rafael Romo, Brendan Hines-Ike (Chris Odoi-Atsem 42′), Steve Birnbaum, Donovan Pines (Nigel Robertha HT), Sami Guediri (Brad Smith 42′) (Tony Alfaro 67′), Chris Durkin, Drew Skundrich, Julian Gressel, Taxi Fountas, Ola Kamara, Michael Estrada (Sofiane Djeffal 73′)

Unused subs: Jon Kempin, Theodore Ku-Dipietro, Jackson Hopkins, Sofiane Djeffal, Kimarni Smith

Scoring Summary

PHI: Alejandro Bedoya — 9′ (Jose Martinez)
PHI: Julian Carranza — 89′ (Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner)
PHI: Julian Carranza — 25′ (Leon Flach, Daniel Gazdag)
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya — 37′ (Kai Wagner)
PHI: Mikael Uhre — 45+2′ (Daniel Gazdag)
PHI: Mikael Uhre– 59′

Discipline Summary

DC: Steve Birnbaum — 36′ (foul)
DC: Chris Odoi-Atsem — 69′ (handball)

Statistics
PHI Statistic DC PHI Statistic DC

54.6

Possession % 45.4 48 Duels Won 41
3 Shots 10 7 Tackles Won

6

11

Shots on Goal 3 3 Saves 4
8 Blocked Shots 4 20 Clearances

20

409

Total Passes 331 7 Fouls 10
83.6 Pass Accuracy % 73.1 0 Yellow Cards

2

2

Corners 8 0 Red Cards 0
12 Crosses 11 5.6 xG

0.7

0

Offsides

2

 

65 Comments

  1. You can thank me for the Union scoring all those goals. I don’t have ESPN at home and the U have been so unwatchable recently that I decided not to try to watch elsewhere tonight. The first this year I didn’t watch. Lesson learned.

  2. That felt really good.

  3. Heard about the U being linked to a czech winger, possible offensive sub for flach? Just a thought…

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      Flach was f-ing great tonight and you’re gonna give him shit?? Tonight?? Take a walk, buddy.

      • I think you’re a little defensive. Nobody said anything about Flach sucking at soccer. There was just a report of a new signing of someone better at soccer than him. Hard to believe, I know. Cause Flach has zero goals and 2 assists in two years. And he puts out a lot of effort, which is important. But doesn’t make him good at soccer.

      • You are wrong about Flach. He has a role on this squad and he’s 21 years old.

        And A LOT less of a jack ass than Martinez.

      • McMohansky says:

        Flach is a workhorse. Has a role for sure but would be the first upgradable spot in the XI. Don’t be silly and compare him to Martinez tho.

      • NOT comparing Flach to Martinez in anyway. No comparison…. because Flach is NOT insane. Some call it passion. It isn’t.

  4. Enrico del Savvagio says:

    Pure clinic. Turns out possession has its value after all.

    At its best the U is as good or better than any team in the MLS, BALEified LAFC included. The key is keeping the pressure on with a narrow lead.

  5. el Pachyderm says:

    Better. Now Build.

    I teach my son … one touch is the best touch of all. It encourages a crispness of thought and proactive movement acute and angular which has been missing in the attacking third … which then creates its own momentum.

    One touch. Makes all the difference in the world sometimes.
    .
    A perfect outcome tonight for those four young U20’s….

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      There was a passing sequence in the second half that basically all one touch, from the back left, across the midfield, and toward the goal – it ended in a blocked shot by Pax I think, but it was everything.

    • Ben, I would argue Flach is one of the best defensive mids in MLS. No one and I mean absolutely no one can disrupt the opposing offense and make critical tackles like Flach. He is fine. Not the problem on this team.

      • But he doesn’t play the DM position. He’s a left mid and the position requires some offensive ability.

      • SilverRey says:

        Let’s face it
        .
        Flach is a DMid
        .
        Just a very left-sided forward approach DMid

  6. Deez Nuggs says:

    “a pair of kiddie scissors is marginally sharper than a spoon”…. LOL
    .
    Great line on a great night.
    .
    One game not only puts the U back to the top of the table, but best goal difference in the East (tied first until LAFC started). Can’t say I saw that coming.

  7. Gruncle Bob says:

    Just wonderful!

    • Gruncle Bob says:

      Just wonderful to treat a dogshit team like a dogshit team. Just keep scoring, dont let up.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Agreed. They beat a trash team into oblivion. We’ve been waiting for this since the 0-0 home draw vs Miami in May. Good teams destroy bad ones. This is a good sign

  8. Delco Roots says:

    Wow, DC is just awful. It looked like the varsity scrimmaging against the freshman at times. Fortunately, the Union did not play down to their level, which the Boys in Blue can do at times. Really good work up top between Uhre, Carranza, Gazdag, with opportunistic and productive runs from Bedoya and Flach. And, I personally have to stop taking our defense for granted. From Martinez back to Blake, those guys come to work every day, and they are just a special group.

  9. George R says:

    How did we play Montreal, Columbus, and NYC twice before DC

    god DC sucks

  10. Such a good performance from the U. I wonder if the reduced pressure from DC gave the U time to feel comfortable making runs and passes, but the U’s one touch interconnections were so fluid last night. So many times, I turned to my buddies and remarked on a wonderful pass.
    .
    Bedoya’s first goal was a treat from the skipper but Martinez’ vision and technique on that pass was special. He was spraying the ball around very cleanly all night. He also was in the right place on defense most of the night and never needed to get chippy. His performance stood out to me.
    .
    Flach also had a good game all around. He continued his strong defensive play but seemed to connect better with Gazdag, Martinez, and Wagner. The forwards mostly looked to make first time shots with play from the left rather than interplay the ball on that side of the field so Flach gave them service which led to two goals. Much improved from Flach.
    .
    Almost hard to pick a Man of the Match but scoring a hattrick will always do it. Carranza was everywhere last night. He kept making the dangerous runs and taking good shots. He could have had more, including the PK, but that was a very satisfying night at the Park.

    • Martinez just absolutely dominated DC for like the first 25-30 minutes. He was everywhere, breaking up every pass, and that ball to Bedoya for the first goal was sensational.

  11. Wow! Just wow!

    Great article, Marjorie!

    Great win, for sure, but DC United are just pathetic. If Rooney was watching this, he might want to turn down the gaffer gig!

    Doop! Is that what you say? Still new to all of this here.

    And what a cool bicycle golaso by the Argentine chap, eh?

    Have a great weekend, everyone! Cheers.

  12. Tim Jones says:

    Whether or not it was intended as the game plan, DC played reactive not proactive defense in a low block in the first half.
    .
    And for the first time since Borek Dockal the Union destroyed a low block. Mighty Elephant’s point about one-touch soccer is spot on.
    .
    The other tactical error in the first half was to leave Jose Martinez uncontested and able to distribute. The assist to Bedoya on the first goal was worthy of Haris Medunjanin. DC fixed that error at halftime, and Andre Blake had to remind them why he is better than Bill Hamid.
    .
    For me there were two highlights worth special mention.
    .
    It is only to laugh that Brandan Craig has spent three years learning to be a center back and nonetheless makes his MLS debut as a defensive center mid!
    .
    And once, some time after Paxton Aaronson had come on, a DC flank mid received a crisp pass. I am confident he had been verbally warned about Union counter pressing, verbally. But words did not prepare the poor man for the reality. Paxton was on him so fast that he never touched the ball, and the Union were back on the attack.
    .
    Back in the day Adam Cann would have featured that clip in his tactical analysis piece I am certain.

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      It’s part of what made his brother so special, and guys like Monteiro too – Pax looked the part last night, that’s for sure.

      Maybe someone will clip that moment for Tuesday’s analysis, just for old time’s sake.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Spot on about Paxten. I argued last season his work rate needs to improve for this model of play and I thought to myself at the exact moment of which you speak…. That’s what we’re looking for… good for you.
      .
      Agree about Alejandro too- he grabbed the game by the scruff last night taking full advantage of the sublime pass from Brujo… the one touch perfect settle which beat the first defender to the perfect inside left foot strike. Union needed that level of sophistication right away and el Capitan provided it. All down hill from there.

  13. OK…. Now that is what we expected from this squad all season. FINALLY.

    BUT….. the disturbing event that we witnesses on the big screen when the penalty kick was awarded.
    What the hell was Martinez doing, demanding HE take the free kick… holding onto the ball, even as Ale spoke with him. FINALLY he came to his senses, but you could see he was pissed off… BEDOYA SHOULD HAVE TAKEN IT.

    I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF MARTINEZ. We have several very competent replacements for him. TIME TO GO… like Jamiro. ENOUGH OF HIS PSYCHO SELFISH TEMPERMENT. BEDOYA SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THAT SHOT.

    Trade Martinez….

    • FCdelcofella says:

      Yeah, saw that on the tele. Not a good look at all for Martinez Hope the fireworks were as good as the match.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I think they spent all the money they got from the Aaronson to Leeds deal on fireworks.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      You beat me to it. I was going to comment on the almost fight between Martinez and Carranza before the PK. Was surprised Martinez didn’t get a yellow for kicking the ball away (which would have meant another suspension for card accumulation). I have no problem with Carranza taking it rather than Bedoya because your forwards should want to take the PK’s (even if this one wasn’t taken so well).
      .
      Even earlier in the evening my wife declared Martinez her least favorite Union player ever for his attitude and lack of judgement. That did nothing to take away from her feelings.

      • Least favorite…rais mbolhi? That is a depth I hope to never revisit.

      • M’Bholi was a disaster…. NICK S. created, for no reason. If you remember, Blake had been drafted #1 (year or 2 before) and he was NOT as confident as he could have been…. now that I think about it, Wentz – Hurts type situation…. but M’Bohli’s faith got in the way.

        I think Martinez is far worse. He’s creating all this drama himself, infecting the team with bad decisions.

        Nick was just a fool for bringing M’Bohli to Philly… Martinez seems to be out of control many times and unable to modulate in MLS.

    • Martinez = Marco Fabian or Roland Alberg.

      TRADE HIM NOW, HERR TANNER.

      Flach can easily fill that role. We do not need Martinez continuing to act like a jerk to his own teammates… including all, those yellow cars, losing his mind over stupid stuff like last night. GONE.

    • Not a good look for sure, but come on with these ‘trade him’ takes. It’s not the first time a player has stubbornly wanted to take a penalty over the player who probably “should” take it, and it won’t be the last. It’s over, and you can hardly blame the guy for wanting to take a penalty when the team is up 6-0. (Though you can blame him for the rather petty display after being told no by the captain.)

      I really don’t get the negativity around Martinez. He plays with passion, aggression, and runs himself into the ground every game for the team. He’s probably the best defensive mid in MLS, and has the ability to drop dimes like the one to Bedoya last night.

      To me, anyone who thinks the Union would be better (or even not worse) off without him is really, really mistaken.

      • having seen the PK, they clearly made the wrong decision on who got to take it. he loses a point on his player rating just for that take.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        I bet you all $100 Jose has no bad feelings about any of it, nor do any of the teammates. This is a non issue.
        .
        Jose being Jose and everyone in that locker room understands that.
        .
        He’s like a hockey goalie. Just a bit off.

      • You can have all the talent in the world and still be a detriment to your team.
        This guy acted like an absolute child…fighting with his teammates, then he asks the come out of the game immediately after not getting his way…..then, when he does come out, Curtain goes over to congratulate him and he snubs him and walks right by him.
        Puts a towel over his head on the bench….doing everything possible to draw attention to the fact that he’s upset and that he feels his issues are more important than the rest of the team.
        That’s not a professional and it’s inexcusable.
        Way more to team sports at this level than how much talent you have.

      • His “passion” has cost this squad numerous times. No denying that… and it seems several candidates are ready to secure that role during his abesensces.

        Yellow card accumulation = agressiveness…. get that totally. But this is MLS… Get used to it.

        It’s the ‘insanity’ displayed… including CLUTCHING the ball to his chest before the PK.

        Jamiro was traded for far less…. next man up.

      • Agree with el Pachyderm on this one. Grumblings about who is going to take a penalty, especially in a game as lopsided as that one, are a common occurrence. Players get touchy and then, at the end of the day, they move on and celebrate the shellacking they collectively gave the visitors.

      • McMohansky says:

        Tyler take another look at the Union players some fans try to run out of town bc they can’t abide their style, or they somehow think yellow cards are indications of poor performance. It’s unfortunately a consistent element of soccer/football.

    • I agree that El Brujo was being ridiculous about the PK.

      Meanwhile the guy is one of the best Dmids in MLS, maybe the best. Did you miss that absolutely sublime pass to Bedoya for the first goal?

      I agree with you that sometimes a guy can be such an head case that his talent doesn’t matter. (The poster child for this is the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving.) But Jose is not that guy. Talk about trading him is highly silly. Now you wanna talk about selling him to another league…

    • Not that it justifies his behavior but I heard Brujo wanted to take the PK so that he could show the farewell for Santos he had on an undershirt.

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        That makes more sense. I mean he knows he’s not the goal scorer. It was weird to see him even ask.

      • McMohansky says:

        Precisely. But let’s clutch at our pearls that bad man Brujo made a scene. Won’t someone think of the children. Quick, put in Jack McGlynn.

  14. As bad as DC was, and they were poor, the Union were also much more sharp than we’ve seen recently. Great movement, more possession, incisive passing and quality finishing. It’s hard to believe our xG is only 5.6. By my unscientific count it should be at least 10. Great win that should do wonders for the confidence of the whole squad, especially Carranza and Uhre.

  15. Andy Muenz says:

    Kudos on Curtin for getting Craig his debut along with all 3 other U-20’s playing. I won’t say they got meaningful minutes as those were all gone in the first 30 minutes. Wish he had subbed Martinez out earlier given his card situation but that worked out OK. At least he got some rest for Bedoya, Gazdag, and Flach who, to paraphrase Tim Jones, were facing 360 minutes on the field in 12 days had they not been subbed.
    .
    Elliott got one of the LAMEST assists I’ve ever seen on the second goal :-).
    .
    Unfortunately after Carranza getting so hot last night, he gets to sit Wednesday due to his loan status.
    .
    After the Harriel miss I was trying to remember if the Union have a goal from a right back since Sheannon Williams?

    • Agreed about Martinez needing to save some minutes, but I would have hoped for more of a rest for Bedoya as well. With two more games this week, including one in the humidity of Miami, he could have sat a bit and watched as his team machine gunned the prisoners.

    • Keegan rosenberry

      • Just reviewed the all-time Union roster…. and man, as a Founding Member, attending 95% of all home games since 2010…. Keegan is correct…. but WOW did we suffer for the first 10 years or what?
        NOT ANYMORE. Last night was a Statement win. Now go into Miami and shut them out, come home in 1st place and bury those revolutionary mongrels from outside Boston. DOOP!

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Thanks, forgot about Keegan.

  16. I was only able to see the second half, and the score was a complete surprise when I tuned into the game. This makes me wish for the days of several replays on the local sports channel. For the first portion of the second half, DC looked like their professional pride was hurt, and they were trying to salvage some respectability. After the first goal of that half, they seemed to surrender completely and fall into disarray. Well done in the relentless attack, and a phenomenal clean sheet.

  17. The Union Jack says:

    THAT
    WAS
    FUN!

  18. Goal of the match for me was uhre’s. The bicycle kick will make all the highlights but that side volley down and thru the keeper’s legs was filthy.

  19. I knew this team would put it together offensively. Just needed some time to gel. Both Uhre and Carranza are the real deal.

    It is amazingly ironic that the team did this on the day they traded Sergio Santos. One can only imagine that Paxten & Quinn are gonna get some time up top, which shows no little faith from Tanner & Curtin.

  20. Union are looking to acquire Adam Vilvanko Czech Winger who can play on left or right side. Good quickness dribbling vision passing ability. 27 year old lots of experience with top tier Czech team. will definitely give philly the ability to change styles of attack if they choose to attack through the middle. Has great ability to change direction while attacking. Good vision and passing ability. Should be a good addition to spark the midfield.

  21. So I’m a little late to the show here…that game was worth the price of my entire season ticket purchase!! Every goal was well taken! The U lumped up an inferior side. That is what should happen. Really like the 4-3-3. Much better over all game for the team as a whole. They really looked like the formation had everybody comfortable. It was great to see! Very good to see the U-20 boys get on the green stuff and mix it up!! Felt bad for Nate!! Just missed an open net. But good on him for even getting into that position.

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