Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 6-0 Houston Dynamo

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Philadelphia Union tore apart a ragged Houston Dynamo side at Subaru Park on Saturday night, notching three goals on either side of halftime en route to a 5-0 victory.

Daniel Gazdag, Jack McGlynn, and Mikael Uhre had the first-half goals for the Union, with Uhre, Julian Carranza, and Quinn Sullivan piling on with markers in the second half.

With the win, Philadelphia ran their winning streak to five games — the second time this season they’ve reached that mark — and kept their lead atop the Eastern Conference.

Returning home after last weekend’s win over Orlando City, Jim Curtin swapped a player returning from suspension for a player now suspended. Alejandro Bedoya came back in to the side, replacing Jose Martinez. Leon Flach slid to the base of the diamond to fill Martinez’s defensive midfield role. Jack McGlynn kept his place as one of the central midfielders, as did Olivier Mbaizo at left back.

On a beautiful summer evening down by the Delaware River, Subaru Park filled with excited fans for Kids Night. To the fans’ delight, the home side started brightly, taking the bulk of the possession and launching probing attacks on the orange Dynamo.

In the 13th minute, veteran keeper Steve Clark came out for a punch, colliding violently with Bedoya near the top of the box. Clark took the worst of the encounter, but after some treatment he managed to continue.

The Union almost had a penalty in the 19th minute. A long ball from Jakob Glesnes snuck through to Kai Wagner in the box, who played back to McGlynn. The youngster unleashed a filthy bit of skill, dummying to beat his man, and his shot appeared to clonk off of Daniel Steres’s hand. But VAR took a look, as did referee Kevin Stott, and the penalty was waved off.

Barely five minutes later, the Union had their lead after Daniel Gazdag finished off a vicious counterattack. It started with Mikael Uhre going one-on-one against his defender, waiting for the rest of his team to get into the play and cutting back to Alejandro Bedoya at the top of the box. Bedoya slipped in Gazdag, who executed a perfect cross-body finish into the far corner to beat Clark.

That proved to be the keeper’s last action, as Houston sent on Michael Nelson to replace him.

Ex-Union man Fafa Picault but the ball in the net in the 33rd minute, getting behind the Philly backline 40 yards from goal and eventually beating Andre Blake 1-0n-1. But the offside flag went up at the end of the play, and it proved to be the correct call.

Jack McGlynn doubled the Union lead with a beautiful free kick in the 42nd minute. From about 25 yards out and standing dead center, McGlynn looped his lefty strike over the Dynamo wall and into the far corner of the net. Michael Nelson had no chance.

It was McGlynn’s first MLS goal, and the first goal scored by any Union Homegrown on the year.

Mikael Uhre made it three in the first minute of first-half stoppage time. The play started down the right wing, where Mbaizo shrugged off his man and played a ball right to the center of the six-yard box. Uhre’s one-touch finish was emphatic and unstoppable.

Philadelphia entered the halftime locker room in dreamland, having scored 12 goals in the last five halves of soccer at Subaru Park.

Uhre added a second goal in the 48th minute, and it was an easy one. The striker timed his run at the Houston backline perfectly, where Bedoya fed him a perfect pass. Uhre made no mistake with the finish, notching his second brace of the season.

Philly kept pouring it on, and now it was Julian Carranza’s chance to join the party. Bedoya, once again, turned provider, collecting a ball from Mbaizo down the right wing and sliding a pass back toward the Argentine striker. Carranza used an outrageous touch to control the ball, then finished into the far corner. It was Bedoya’s third assist of the night.

With the result not in doubt, some intensity came out of the game. The Dynamo fashioned a decent chance near the penalty spot, but substitute Tyler Pasher flashed his one-time shot wide of the net.

Substitute Cory Burke and Carranza nearly combined to make it six in the 69th minute, but Nelson managed a good kick save to keep Carranza’s shot out of the net.

Burke, eager to get on the fun, hit a speculative 74th minute shot from a five yards up and over the River End. The stadium, already about as happy as Union fans could possibly be, celebrated the blast with vigor.

Curtin handed Jesus Bueno his first first-team minutes of the season with 12 minutes to go, giving Bedoya the rest of the night off.

Substitute Quinn Sullivan added even more gloss to the scoreline with his first goal of the season. Working the ball around the box, it fell to the Homegrown attacker, who rifled one across Nelson and into the goal. Although it took a slight deflection on the way through, Sullivan deserved credit for the goal.

The Union get back to work next weekend, when they travel to face Union West — also known as FC Cincinnati — in Ohio. Kickoff from TQL Stadium is at 7:30 p.m.

Three Points
  • Putting on a show. In the last three home games, the Union have produced 14 goals and conceded just one. Some of that, of course, is the quality of the opposition. But the greater part of it is much-improved attacking play from the home team.
  • Jack attack. The Homegrown midfielder’s free kick was a thing of beauty, evoking memories of great goals scored by veterans like Kleberson and Tranquillo Barnetta. More, please.
  • Attacking patterns. There seems to be far greater understanding between the squad in recent weeks. Each goal featured some real skill, good ball movement, and intelligent running.

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Olivier Mbaizo, Leon Flach, Alejandro Bedoya (Jesus Bueno 78′), Jack McGlynn, Daniel Gazdag (Paxten Aaronson 78′), Mikael Uhre (Cory Burke 66′), Julian Carranza (Quinn Sullivan 86′)

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

Houston Dynamo

Steve Clark (Michael Nelson 26′), Adam Lundqvist, Daniel Steres, Tim Parker, Zeca (Griffin Dorsey 59′), Hector Herrera, Matias Vera (Darwin Ceren 73′), Adalberto Carrasquilla (Darwin Quintero 73′), Thorleifur Ulfarsson, Sebastian Ferreira (Tyler Pasher 59′), Fafa Picault

Unused subs: Sam Junqua, Ethan Bartlow, Zarek Valentin, Memo Rodriguez

Scoring Summary

PHI: Daniel Gazdag — 23′ (Alejandro Bedoya, Mikael Uhre)
PHI: Jack McGlynn — 42′
PHI: Mikael Uhre –45+1′ (Olivier Mbaizo, Julian Carranza)
PHI: Mikel Uhre — 48′ (Alejandro Bedoya)
PHI: Julian Carranza — 55′ (Alejandro Bedoya, Olivier Mbaizo)
PHI: Quinn Sullivan — 89′ (Jack McGlynn)

Discipline Summary

HOU: Matias Vera — 63′ (foul)
HOU: Daniel Steres — 83′ (foul)
PHI: Leon Flach — 86′ (foul)
HOU: Griffin Dorsey — 90′ (foul)

PHI Statistic HOU PHI Statistic HOU


Possession % 50 46 Duels Won 44
16 Shots 10 9 Tackles Won



Shots on Goal 1 1 Saves 2
5 Blocked Shots 4 11 Clearances



Total Passes 422 11 Fouls 13
84.2 Pass Accuracy % 85.5 1 Yellow Cards



Corners 4 0 Red Cards 0
9 Crosses 14 2.7 xG







  1. HopkinsMD says:

    That was beautifully done. Complete team effort all around. Bravo!

  2. Murphthesurf says:

    That’s what I’m talking about!

    Great team effort!

    Run the table to the playoffs

    DOOP CITY ⚽️

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    That was pretty disappointing. I mean 6 goals was nice but apparently they need to score 7 before we get post game fireworks.
    And while Jack McGlynn’s first MLS goal was pretty good, it couldn’t hold a candle to Quinn Sullivan’s first.
    But other than that, the Union looked good and it was nice to see them score some goals from open play again.

  4. Houston is really bad, no idea how they signed Hector Herrera

    Jesus Bueno sighting, lol

  5. Houston might be bad, but no one else has pumped them for 6. This team is really starting to hit a great run of form. Just stay healthy and were going to make a run for that cup. McGlynn! Unbelievable. The Captain was terrific. And I really like Uhre. He’s got even hit to hear yet. Love this team right now. Everything about it.

  6. That was a solid win. Lots of good stuff all over the Park tonight. Good to see Burke out there. Glad his injury was not worse!
    Jack McGlynn. Dude is a stud.
    Uhre. Filthy out side of the boot goal! My favorites of the night!

  7. John P. O'Donnell says:

    Yea, not bad. All I wanted before the game was three goals with one each for Uhre,Gazdag & Carranza plus a shutout for Blake. I wonder what kind of odds I would have gotten for that?

  8. OneManWolfpack says:

    They walked that team off the field tonight. I don’t care if Houston is garbage (PS – they are). 3 points back of LA for Supporters Shield . Best goal difference in MLS. 3 points clear of NYC, who they’ve beaten twice this year. 9 points clear of 3rd place Montreal. I’m beyond impressed. Scored a few from open play tonight, huh critics 🙂

  9. How can you want anything more? Union score 6 goals, get another shutout, and are the ONLY(!) team in the East to get 3 points tonight after 4 other draws involving Eastern Conference teams. Granted, Charlotte-Columbus was abandoned and DC-Orlando play tomorrow, but that’s pretty freakin unreal.

  10. It feels nice to have a great team here.

  11. Deez Nuggs says:

    I have some apologies to give — crow to eat — I said Uhre would be good next year but don’t expect anything from his first season. I said “Euro strikers need to bed in.” But here he is on what? 9 goals? In years past we’d be talking about having reached the upper limits of CJ Sapong’s year, where are the post season goals going to come from, but Uhre looks like he’s just getting started.
    Was at the game. McGlynn’s free kick was sooo swerve. Beautiful. Goal of the week candidate for sure. But what really thrilled were the team goals. The intricate build ups we’d been waiting for.
    Seems the Union read PSP. We get concerned they aren’t producing from set pieces and then they do. We worry about open play goals and then they drop 5 in a game. (Right?). Living to make us wrong is something I can get behind. Lol
    Warning shot for the league. Again.
    We did The Wave. Wheeeee!

    • HopkinsMD says:

      Kudos to you on the Uhre follow-up comments. And he’s only started 11 matches, with maybe 60% of the minutes played by Gazdag or Carranza. He is the real deal. Timing and choice of his runs are soooo good. His touch, vision, confidence in front of net…

    • The thing that Uhre does SO WELL that I am still learning to be comfortable with is that he does his best with one or two touches. Look at his goals so far and you see it over and over; a stupendous run, a seksi pass, maybe a touch to control the pass, usually though he just bangs it in with his first touch. Once Bedoya, M’baizo, and Gazdag learned this you can see them looking for Uhre every time. Bedoya’s line demolishing pass for Uhre’s second goal was supernatural and Uhre’s outside of the foot finish was amazing.

  12. Deez Nuggs says:

    Btw… what the hell happened today?? EIGHT draws in the league — two of which were 4-4(!!) — and only three wins? Union score stands out for sure.

  13. el Pachyderm says:

    Did not see game. Traveling. Nice to check in to PSP the morning after while you all ‘sleep the sleep of the contented’ … Houston musta signed a patience deal with its new ownership group and Academy structure of which Tom Byers / Paul Holocher are building a legacy that just hasn’t aged out yet… and believe me, it will in due time.
    ….otherwise all going to plan. I like when I know what I know.
    Carry on.

    • HopkinsMD says:

      There was MUCH you would have enjoyed… played with panache… some really beautiful footy in multiple scenes. This is the one game you should watch on recording, if possible.

  14. SoccerDad says:

    They were playing with an attitude and a swagger last night. And when VAR overturned the PK the boys turned that up a notch.

    Given the level of “chippyness” last night it may have been a good thing that Jose was’t allowed to play.

    My other thought during the game, after marveling at Fafa’s speed after he blew by Kai down the wing, was “Oh now I remember why we didn’t really miss him” as the flag was raised on both of his chances.

    • You forgot Fafa’s earlier play in which he was one on one and “Burked” it. I had to laugh at your comment because I commented to my friend after the first touch, “Remember when we thought he was good.”

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      I wondered at first why Mbaizo got the start over Harriel. But then I saw him in a foot race with Fafa and keeping him tight.

  15. Nothing on MLS.com about 13 unanswered GOALS in 2 home matches… NOT a word, but all the ties and Austin, LAFC deserving all the press, right Don Garber?

    Should have given the TV contract to ‘Fake News’just like he’s creating…

    In person, as usual… last night was just amazing… FUN… Kids everywhere lovin’ it… A great wave.. and they’re clicking on all cylinders as we all knew they would [sarcasm]!

    Yeah Houston is terrible… Fafa starts! But not too long ago we would have played down to that team. NOT anymore…


    Hosting MLS Cup in Chester! DOOP.

    PS… If management is truly reading PSP… Hi Jay, Hi Ernst.. sell Martinez NOW. We don’t need his antics… or his temper… or suspended games missed of a high priced waste of our time. Let Ligue2 or La Liga2 have him… and buy more players like Uhre, Carannza.

    McGlynn, Flach are ready… and will only grow… and will not continue to get ridiculous yellow cards.

    Martinez yellow cards are all a result of his reckless behavior and MLS refs tiring of his poop. And frankly use that salary money and transfer fee to bulk up with other professionals.

    We don’t need him… the ‘6th best midfielder in MLS… because he is NOT.

    These kids are IN CONTROL now… time to unload the “hot head”.

    The last straw for me was the PK. Roland Alberg, Marco Fabian… same people.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      It’s typical and I say, let LAFC LAG and the west have it all. Nothing surprising with players of that ilk.
      What really matters, if and when the time comes are the final articles and final news reports.

    • By “not too long ago” perhaps you are referring to the early season game against San Jose (without Monteiro), another candidate for worst MLS team. I was there and I was at this game–night and day. Remember in May or June when Curtin said, “The goals will come.” Boy, was he right!

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Early season San Jose game can be somewhat explained by the BRUTAL conditions. Don’t ever remember sitting through a game in such cold. Very few of us left there by the end (and all of us ready to kill the ref just for adding 8 minutes of stoppage time!)

    • I agree with you. Not a sniff of recognition for the Union on MLS .com. Once again Philly gets no love! As to the game it was great and the atmosphere at the stadium was rocking! Go Union!!

    • I agree with you. Of course no mention at all on MLS.com. Apparently ties are more exciting then wins ha-ha! It was a great game and the stadium was rocking! Go Union!!

    • Oh give it a rest already. It’s Philadelphia League Soccer…..with 28 teams and soon to be 29 next season, the league website shows the articles that are getting the clicks. You want the Philly articles at the top of the marquis??? Then read and re-read the ones they post.
      You may want to read the MLS player salary information too……M’Baizo is making more money than El Brujo. The fact that the team doesn’t skip a beat when missing one the best d-mids in the league is a testament to the depth that Tanner has built in this team. Just enjoy the ride.
      Also, we don’t need any hangers on from the rest of the country, or any of the National Team Only fans sniffing around. Let’s just enjoy this culmination of the past 4-5 year build!
      No One Likes Us! We Don’t Care!

      • McMohansky says:

        Seriously jfav get over yourself. You don’t appreciate Martinez that’s your loss. Your irrational bitterness reeks of something much deeper and uglier than poor soccer comprehension.
        And what are you new to Philly? Overlooked or dismissed by national media is the norm and almost prerequisite for building a title run.
        Embrace the whole.

    • Martinez is messy but he balls with heart and is a great supplier and tackler. Love him.

  16. I have to share this one with all of you regarding our Philly culture: As it was getting quiet for Ashli Rice singing the National Anthem, the last Houston sub was walking across the field when I heard a young girl’s voice from behind me, directed at the sub, shout, “Everybody hates you!” Welcome to Philly. Here are my observations from Section 105:

    1) What a night Leon Flach had last night. He was his usual excellent self defensively, not only snuffing out Houston chances, but also starting the counter with precision passing, which had been missing from his game. I thought that his deserved yellow card was a professional foul which he took because the Union had a poor spell defensively at the end of the match and he wanted to reorganize the troops to preserve the clean sheet, and he accomplished that.

    2) After the DC game, I commented to a friend that the Union were not that good nor DC so bad (having beaten Orlando City on the road on 7/4 previous to the 7/8 game) as the 7-goal differential would indicate. But having put 6 on the board last night with many other chances that did not go in the net, maybe they are 6-7 goals better than the worst MLS teams. This IS what good teams at home should do to bad teams on the road.

    3) Re: the handball that wasn’t. . . . We could clearly see the handball from our vantage point and having watched the highlights, I agree that, once the Houston player slid, there was nothing he could do with his hand or arm. But Kai Wagner was called for a handball on a similar play with a slide tackle in the same end against NYCFC. While the touching is not intentional per se, if the defensive player decides to slide tackle, his arms are going to be in an “unnatural” position. Because the defensive team clearly benefited from the touching, I think the handball should have been awarded. Alternatively, turn back the clock, take away Kai Wagner’s handball against NYCFC and take away the PK goal that NYCFC scored to level that game the Union eventually won.

    4) We were able to see the Union’s defense well in the first half. I am not sure that Houston had more than a handful of touches in the center of the field in their offensive third of the field. The Union keep everything to the sides. They are not afraid to concede corners because they are tall and confident in the air. They look to spring counters, and they have become successful at doing so.

    5) Everyone has already justly praised McGlynn’s free kick goal from 23 yards out–it really was a thing of beauty. The most impressive thing to me was that he did not overhit the ball–he struck it with enough pace to get it there, but it had to be slow enough and with enough spin to drop under the bar.

    6) I know this may sound like nit-picking, but with the Union up by 4 goals at the hour mark and then 5 goals at 65 minutes, Coach Curtin really should be subbing out the older players. It benefits the team times two for Ale to come out after an hour and Sullivan to come in.

    7) After seeing El Brujo’s tears following his outstanding effort against NYCFC in last year’s Eastern Conference Championship game, I appreciated his emotional investment in the success of this team. I want to cheer for players that care. The yellow card that he got last game that resulted in his suspension was silly, not malicious. It is very clear that he is on MLS referees’ radar. I am not sure that he is able to play effectively without an edge, and the Union cannot afford a red card. All this said, they are going to play some physical teams in which they are going to need his physical play, so let’s ease up on him a bit, OK?

    • Andy Muenz says:

      While Flach’s foul/yellow would normally be acceptable, does it really need to happen with a 5-0 lead? Right now it doesn’t affect anything, but if Flach gets suspended at some point, the Union might regret it.
      Just like Martinez’ card that led to the suspension was an acceptable card to take (albeit caused by misplays on his part), it’s not something you can look at in isolation. If he had avoided earlier yellows which weren’t necessary, he could have avoided suspension.

      • Those are valid points, Andy. Let me make Flach’s (hypothetical) argument from last night: “It is really important to this team and to me personally to have a clean sheet. In the last 5 minutes, we have played disorganized defense and we have given up 2 scoring chances. If I stop play with a yellow, we can regroup, get organized and see out the last 3 minutes + stoppage time [which in fact, they did without giving a meaningful chance away]. I am confident that I can play with a yellow card and not get suspended.” Re: Martinez’ suspension, though his shirt tug in the 9th minutes was worthy of a yellow card at any time during a game, it very rarely is carded during a first half.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      Agree with pretty much all of this.

    • The handball on Kai was because the hand that as hit was over his body, not under as happened last night. Also, the ball deflected off the Houston player’s leg first and then into th arm that was down to support the slide. Correctly overturned in my opinion

    • soccerdad720 says:

      I believe this blog IS looking for more writers.

    • Gruncle Bob says:

      On the handball – Houston guy handled it TWICE. Yes, one was a deflection off of his foot. Then he rolled and handled it with his other arm, and stopped the ball from moving. If the ball rolls into McGlynn’s path he has a clear scoring opportunity. They only looked at part of the play, and missed the correct call.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      RE: Flach.
      There are those players that tend to offer their best contribution offensively when the game is in front of them. Could be this will be the case for Leon Flach.

  17. Well I never thought I’d enjoy a Union game as much as the 7-0 drubbing of DCU, but this one was every bit as good.

    Two things that amazed me about this game are:

    1. We did this without one of the linchpins of our squad. (And I am emphatically *NOT* signing on to any of the nonsense about how we should get rid of Martinez. However, he is likely to leave at some point, and it was most excellent to see Flach have that kind of game at the CDM position.)

    2. We scored 6 goals despite the fact that Carranza didn’t have a great game. His goal was superbly taken — what a turn that was — but up to that point he’d not been all that involved in build up, etc. it was all Uhre, Gazdag, and Bedoya.

    BTW, are people noticing what a stone cold assassin Uhre is?? I can hardly remember the guy missing a chance. If he doesn’t get injured, he’s gonna win the Golden Boot next season.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      We may be getting to the point soon where Martinez is not in the Union’s best 11. McGlynn looks ready to take the starting spot on the left from Flach and I think Flach may be better in the long run at the 6 than Martinez. While Flach doesn’t have the spectacular play that Martinez has, he also doesn’t have the bad giveaways that Martinez is susceptible to.

      • +1

      • soccerdad720 says:

        nor the yellows. However….I LOVE martinez….he’s lights out.

      • McMohansky says:

        Stop. Yes it was nice to see Flach succeed without Martinez last night. Consider the opponent though. Will need more than that lopsided game to convince.
        Certainly Martinez may leave soon and McGlynn looks ready to step up but we have no evidence Flach can perform the single CDM role. Alongside McGlynn in a more reserved 4-2-3-1 fits his game.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I didn’t say Flach should be taking over for Martinez yet, I said we may get there soon. And while Martinez has huge upside, he also has plenty of downside, specifically dribbling in dangerous areas while being pressed. I think Flach has a tendency to get rid of the ball quicker and while that means you don’t get the brilliant passes like the one on the first goal against DC, you also don’t get some of the bad giveaways that lead to goals against.

    • I don’t think you can judge Carranza solely on goal production. Those other four goals benefit, at least in part, from him occupying defenders and making off the ball runs. Also need to give him credit for him outstanding defensive work rate.

      • I agree with Vince here. I was particularly impressed with both forwards hold up plays, which made the Union counterattacks that much more dangerous. Both Carranza and Uhre are good with their feet.

    • John P. O'Donnell says:

      He might win it this season now that Tati is gone. The front three are starting to click just at the t right time.

  18. Flach Jacket says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the peace and competence at the diamond tip last evening.

  19. Deez Nuggs says:

    Of all the things to enjoy last night, playing triangles around Hector Herrera until he just gave up… huge smile on my face.

  20. Delightful win that speaks for itself. The tradecraft was excellent.
    . . .
    That includes young McGlynn’s set piece goal that I suspect he’s been working upon to give the confidence to let him take.
    . . .
    McGlynn took it on a short step to better set his planting foot and ball contact and crucially kept his head down through delivery.
    . . .
    It’s basic mechanics thar players screw up all the time. We all know what happens when players on the run or set pieces pick up their head to “watch the shot”…they sky it. It’s the same in golf or baseball…you’ll pop it up. Keep your head down and just listen for your goal from the crowd and watch it on YouTube.
    . . .
    Shortening the run also pays back in precision and makes it harder for a keeper to predict the shot based on the approach. A commonly developed soccer leg can easily hit the kinds of distances he did. Football kickers get them off on three steps through the ball to clear over 50 yards. We just need to do a driving ball under the bar from ‘chip shot’ distances.

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