Union match reports

Match report: Inter Miami CF 1-2 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

After a club-record win, Philadelphia Union continued their momentum on Wednesday night, as goals from Daniel Gazdag and Cory Burke powered the Boys in Blue to a 2-1 win away at Inter Miami CF.

The win pushed the Union back into first place in the Eastern Conference. Gonzalo Higuain added a late goal for Miami.

Playing in midweek, Jim Curtin made three changes to the side that destroyed D.C. United this past Friday. Cory Burke started up top for Julian Carranza, who only became eligible to play in the match at all when the Union exercised his purchase option on Wednesday afternoon. Stuart Findlay, expected to depart the club in very short order, slotted in at center back for Jack Elliott, listed on the injury report as having a knee issue. Finally, Olivier Mbaizo replaced Nathan Harriel at right back.

After controlling play through the first 25 minutes, the Union got the opening goal through a penalty converted by Daniel Gazdag. At the very corner of the box, Miami’s Aime Mabik foolishly clipped Mikael Uhre. It was a definite penalty. Stepping to the spot, Gazdag made no mistake, blasting his shot down the middle and past Drake Callender.

The Union largely controlled play in the first half, having the better of the attempts and keeping Miami from setting up shop. Despite a bevy of corners and free kicks, though, Philly didn’t create much in the way of clear-cut opportunities.

Miami’s best chance of the half would come in the 41st minute. After a challenge on Bryce Duke by Leon Flach, the ball fell to dangerous striker Leonardo Campana at point-blank range. But Andre Blake, just named to the MLS All-Star team for the fourth time, stoned the shot. VAR looked at Flach’s tackle, but didn’t see enough to award a penalty to the hosts, much to the frustration of Miami manager Phil Neville.

Miami turned up the intensity slightly to start the second half, searching for an equalizer — although they brought on the opposite of “intensity,” Gonzalo Higuain, in the 60th minute. The Union responded by swapping in Carranza for Uhre. Eager to punish his former team, the Argentine striker barreled into the box almost immediately after comin on, forcing a defensive intervention.

Cory Burke doubled the Union edge in the 66th minute with a powerful header. Off a free kick, Wagner looped a perfect ball toward the six-yard box. Burke lept high and made good contact. While Callender stretched out for the ball, even making contact with the header, he failed to keep the ball out of the goal.

Burke had a solid chance for a brace a few moments later, after a spin-o-rama from Mbaizo gave the Union a numbers edge. The left back played Burke in on goal, but his strike went high and wide.

With fifteen minutes to go, Curtin threw on Quinn Sullivan and Paxten Aaronson for Burke and Gazdag.

In the 82nd minute, Higuain woke up from his slumber and got Miami on the board. After Jose Martinez lost the ball, Higuain picked up the ball up about 30 yards from goal. He broke Jakob Glesnes’s ankles with a move and rifled a shot from 20 yards into the top corner. Even at full stretch, Blake could do nothing to stop the shot.

The goal broke a 284-minute shutout streak for Philadelphia.

Miami tried to throw everything forward in the final minutes, but they didn’t come close to troubling Blake again.

The Union’s busy week wraps up on Saturday night, when Bruce Arena’s surging New England Revolution come to Chester. Kickoff from Subaru Park is at 7:30 p.m.

Three Points
  • Taking care of business. Two weeks ago, the Union didn’t turn up for a midweek game at Chicago, and were punished for it. Tonight, Philly put in a good performance and earned a valuable road three points.
  • Getting goals going. Okay, it wasn’t seven goals. But Philly picked up the all-important (and oft-elusive) second goal, and it proved to be the difference between one point and three.
  • Missing Elliott. It seems likely that Jack Elliott’s injury absence will be a short-term one, and Stuart Findlay covered well tonight. When the Scot leaves, though, the center back depth will be sorely tested should Elliott require more time out of the side.
Lineups

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Stuart Findlay, Jakob Glesnes, Olivier Mbaizo, Jose Martinez, Alejandro Bedoya  Leon Flach, Daniel Gazdag (Paxten Aaronson 75′), Mikael Uhre (Julian Carranza 61′), Cory Burke (Quinn Sullivan 75′)

Unused subs: Matt Freese, Matt Real, Nathan Harriel, Brandan Craig, Jack McGlynn, Chris Donovan

Inter Miami CF

Drake Callender, Christopher McVey, Aime Mabika (Ryan Sailor HT), Damion Lowe, Robert Taylor (Indiana Vassilev 69′), Jean Mota (Victor Ulloa 83′), Gregore, DeAndre Yedlin, Bryce Duke, Emerson Rodriguez (Gonzalo Higuain 60′), Leonardo Campana

Unused subs: Clement Diop, Nick Marsman, Kieran Gibbs, Joevin Jones, Jairo Quinteros

Scoring Summary

PHI: Daniel Gazdag — 26′ (PK)
PHI: Cory Burke — 66′ (Kai Wagner)
MIA: Gonzalo Higuain — 82′ (Jean Mota)

Discipline Summary

MIA: Bryce Duke — 45+3′ (foul)
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya — 79′ (foul)
MIA: Damion Lowe — 88′ (foul)
MIA: Ryan Sailor — 90+6′ (foul)

Statistics
MIA Statistic PHI MIA Statistic PHI

57.5

Possession % 42.5 43 Duels Won 49
12 Shots 11 6 Tackles Won

8

3

Shots on Goal 5 3 Saves 2
2 Blocked Shots 1 15 Clearances

24

452

Total Passes 333 15 Fouls 18
85.6 Pass Accuracy % 80.8 3 Yellow Cards

1

4

Corners 9 0 Red Cards 0
22 Crosses 10 0.8 xG

1.4

0

Offsides

1

 

32 Comments

  1. If Findlay leaves, I’m afraid throwing an 18 year old could problematic. Craig has a great future, but I don’t want to see him ruined.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      When Findley leaves. He’s gone after NE game per Curtin tonight. Elliott will be fine. Craig will learn. I have very little concern right now.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Understood. At this point…. thinking Ernst Jim and players get the benefit of the doubt. From what I’ve seen the problem is getting these young kids minutes because they are ready. Not the other way around.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      By all accounts, Craig performed quite well with the USYNT.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Having watched the last 5 US games in the tournament, I’ll agree that he performed well, although at least one of his roles, taking set pieces, is already being handled by others on the Union.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    Although it was disappointing to lose the shutout, it was good to get the win. It’s also two consecutive goals conceded from outside the box after going so long without giving one up from there.
    .
    The only two teams with more points in the league are the two the Union have never beaten.
    .
    Glad Martinez and Wagner made it through without a yellow card and will be able to play Saturday night.

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    Solid, professional road win. Can’t say much more. They’ve tied games like this, as recently as earlier this year, by giving up a late goal… but not this time because they got the 2nd goal. So important. I was ragging Burke earlier in the game the goal was great. And man are lucky to have Wagner. Dude is a freakin machine. What LB has 9 assists half way through a season!?! Incredible he’s still on this team. On to Saturday!

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    A win on the road in 90 degree heat and humidity on 3 days rest for +6 points…. 9 for and 1 against?
    .
    Absolutely.
    .
    Thought they were and are getting crisper.
    .
    I’d like to see Stuart intent to distribute more locally…. and most the defenders truthfully. Feel like many turnovers are a result of CB’s thumping balls up to the striker which ultimately are borderline 50/50. I still and will always struggle with the rush to get forward…I’d rather see them entice the closing of space and hit the loopers to the unmarked player. Then get forward on the ball It’s an aesthetic thing.
    .
    We can see how Paxten will do it. Man he’s going to be something.
    .
    Ultimately though. Hat tip.

  5. I’m like a chocoholic, but for Aaronsons

  6. Gruncle Bob says:

    Don’t understand the takes on Findlay. He was not even remotely good in the first half. Just bad. Put the guy on side for a an opportunity he should have converted and multiple give aways. If this is the standard Craig must meet he will have no problem.
    .
    It’s never personal. Stuart is just not that good.

    • I don’t remember Findlay being responsible for many of those hair pulling moments but Miami certainly had some opportunities. There were a number of balls played into the box in the game and the Union defense was surprisingly inept at snuffing out the situation. We were lucky that Miami’s players weren’t able to turn them into shots on target. They certainly can’t do that with New England but, as we know as Union fans over the years, crosses are a terrible way to generate shots and goals.

  7. John P. O'Donnell says:

    Well well well, a win on the road, rotation of the lineup, scored the second goal and closed it out with the kids. Pax should have put that away. Top of the conference and they now have Carranza signed. Not a bad start to the week.

  8. Good win. Can’t add much to what’s already been said. You can see the movement and the interplay getting better up front. It’s getting there. I don’t think this team has shown its best yet. Exciting stuff.

  9. Mbaizo dusted half the Miami team in a first half dribbling move on the wing – and he’s unquestionably the team’s second stringer. Then he did it a few more times on the night and wasn’t bad defensively. A great shift for a much-maligned player.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      If Kai leaves at some point they’ll need him to be able to do that on the left.

      • If Kai does leave, is he more likely to be replaced by one of Mbaizo / Harriel or Real ?

        On a different note nice to see that Jim / the training staff had seen that Harriel had been hitting a bit of a wall and worked to get some rotation happening.

    • Candid Cameroon says:

      best player for me on the night.

    • I feel like Mbaizo leans more valuable on offense, Harriel a bit more on defense. But agree, that Mbaiszo had a good night. I thought the back line was uncharacteristically shaky at times last night, though understandable given the changes. Nothing to worry about.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      Sometimes a little bench time helps. He’s looked much better in his recent minutes. And the spin move was chef’s kiss. I giggled. Out loud.

    • Mbaizo definitely had a great night!
      Keeping in mind:
      *his offense can be very strong
      *his occasional defensive lapses
      *Harriel has emerged as the starter
      *Real could be 3rd outside back
      *Probably other great prospects at Union2/Academy
      Wonder if it makes sense after the season to sell him to a team that plays with 3 fullbacks and wingbacks?
      It seems like wingback is his optimal position.

  10. pragmatist says:

    I was listening to the Caught Offside podcast this morning and they were talking about seeing highlights from past World Cup finals that happened at this time of year. It occurred to me that the Union may be finding benefit in the schedule switch. I know it’s a stretch, but they are hitting a stride and getting into a great rhythm and connection. The World Cup would have interrupted that and they would have had to restart after a long break.
    .
    Kind of an odd point to make, and I know there’s no way to prove it. It was just a thought that struck me that we are better off with fewer breaks, especially now that we are seeing actual squad rotation from time to time.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      In the past, the World Cup break has only been approximately 2 weeks…the same as it was for the June international break this year. MLS play usually resumes around the same time as the knockout stage begins. And the only Union players that would be at all likely to be called up would be Uhre and Mbaizo and Uhre was still recovering from injury during the June break.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Yup…. built my own PSP thesis around this very idea.
      .
      Jammed packed season with games in succession to get this all done by November… get the pieces. organize them. build connection. be healthy at the right time (which is HUGE) and just continually coalesce for the deep run where this team is playing is absolute best by autumn.
      .
      Here’s what I know.
      .
      2021 : 19 games : 28 points.
      .
      2022: 20 games : 36 points.
      .
      It is all vectoring properly.
      .
      I just need them to play well— so I enjoy watching at the same time. It’s a meditation for me.

  11. No matter how many goals Burke scores, I would still rather see Sullivan get the minutes. He’ll score, it’s better soccer, he’ll improve and move on to Europe.

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