Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 4-1 Chicago Fire

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Philadelphia Union got back to winning ways against Chicago Fire on Saturday night at Subaru Park, with goals from Daniel Gazdag, Jack Elliott, Julian Carranza, and Cory Burke keeping the Union atop the Eastern Conference.

Chris Mueller had Chicago’s sole goal.

After a performance to forget against FC Cincinnati last weekend, Jim Curtin made one change to his starting lineup. Homegrown midfielder Jack McGlynn replaced Jose Martinez in midfield, with Leon Flach sliding back to take Martinez’s typical No. 6 role. Martinez started the game on the bench.

On a pleasant August evening in Chester, Daniel Gazdag opened the scoring in the 16th minute. It was an excellent counterattacking goal: Mikael Uhre played an excellent ball near the midfield line to spring Julian Carranza toward the Chicago defense. Carranza found Gazdag in the box, who pulled the ball back, settled, and chipped keeper Gaga Slonina to put his side on the board.

Jack Elliott doubled the advantage with a 37th minute goal. Off a recycled corner, Olivier Mbaizo popped a long-distance header toward Chicago’s goal. The looping shot forced Slonina to try to grab it below the crossbar, but the keeper couldn’t hold on, and the ball fell right into Elliott’s lap, who scored one of the easiest tap-ins you’ll ever see.

Ezra Hendrickson’s side tried to make a game of it after the halftime whistle. In the 49th minute, Elliott gave the ball away trying to play out of the back, and the Fire pounced. Mueller’s shot from the side of the box found the far corner, and suddenly the visitors were just one goal down.

But Carranza put any thoughts of a comeback to bed just four minutes later. Gazdag played Uhre one-on-one with the keeper, who stoned the Dane’s initial shot. The rebound, though, fell kindly to Carranza, who looped his follow-up over Slonina and into the Fire’s net.

Substitute Cory Burke added a nice finish for the Union’s fourth in the 82nd minute. Once again, Gazdag got the move started, playing Mbaizo in down the wing. The fullback’s cross toward the six-yard box was collected by Burke, who controlled and fired past Slonina.

It’s a short turnaround for the Union, who travel to Frisco, Texas for a midweek match against FC Dallas. Kickoff from Toyota Stadium is at 9:00 p.m on Wednesday, August 17.

Lineups

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Olivier Mbaizo, Leon Flach, Alejandro Bedoya, Jack McGlynn (Jose Martinez 72′), Daniel Gazdag (Paxten Aaronson 86′), Mikael Uhre (Cory Burke 72′), Julian Carranza (Quinn Sullivan 86′)

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

Chicago Fire

Gaga Slonina, Miguel Navarro, Rafael Czichos, Mauricio Pineda, Boris Sekulic (Andre Reynolds 89′), Gaston Gimenez (Fabian Herbers 66′), Federico Navarro, Xherdan Shaqiri (Javier Casas 79′), Chris Mueller, Jairo Torres (Brian Gutierrez 66′), Kacper Przybylko (Jhon Duran 66′)

Unused subs: Spencer Richey, Jonathan Bornstein, Victor Bezerra

Scoring Summary

PHI: Daniel Gazdag — 16′ (Julian Carranza, Mikael Uhre)
PHI: Jack Elliott — 37′
CHI: Chris Mueller — 49′ (Xherdan Shaqiri, Federico Navarro)
PHI: Julian Carranza — 53′
PHI: Cory Burke — 82′ (Olivier Mbaizo, Daniel Gazdag)

Discipline Summary

CHI: Mauricio Pineda — 3′ (foul)
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya — 28′ (foul)
CHI: Xherdan Shaqiri — 70′ (foul)
CHI: Federico Navarro — 82′ (dissent)
PHI: Cory Burke — 85′ (foul)
PHI: Julian Carranza — 86′ (time wasting)
PHI: Olivier Mbaizo — 90 + 1′ (foul)

Statistics
PHI Statistic CHI PHI Statistic CHI

44.4

Possession % 55.6 44 Duels Won 52
17 Shots 13 10 Tackles Won

9

7

Shots on Goal 7 6 Saves 3
5 Blocked Shots 2 15 Clearances

11

4356

Total Passes 443 21 Fouls 8
77.5 Pass Accuracy % 84.2 4 Yellow Cards

3

5

Corners 6 0 Red Cards 0
10 Crosses 21 2.6 xG

1

2

Offsides

1

 

29 Comments

  1. Being out of town, this was the first game from Subaru Park I ever watched live on TV (was able to weasel out of actually going to my wife’s high school reunion).
    .
    Was nice to see the team get back in the groove with a solid win. I liked going back to the starting XI that looked so good against Houston with Martinez starting on the bench. I thought the team looked much more comfortable than last week. Would have like to see Ale come out with the game in Dallas Wednesday (plus he was carrying a yellow for much of the game).
    .
    Definitely felt some Schadenfreude when Giminez got hurt considering he shouldn’t have been on the field after intentionally stamping on Bedoya’s foot.
    .
    Nice to see NYCFC blow two leads and lose in Miami giving the Union a little breathing room in the East.
    .
    Curious which of the kids play significant minutes for Union II tomorrow as that will give an indication as to squad rotation for Wednesday.

    • Delco Roots says:

      Props on getting out of your wife’s high school reunion. You’re a better man than I.

      Perfect night to be at Subaru Park. Weather was fantastic, and the U looked great. Who were those guys who played against Cincinnati last week, because none of them were on the field tonight.

      I’m most impressed with the one-touch, quick work up top by this team. The Gazdag-Carranza-Uhre unit is really something new and wonderful for a Union fan like me. Congratulations to Tanner for such shrewd recruitment
      .

  2. el Pachyderm says:

    Smoked that fucking team tonight.

  3. Ok, I think I’ve finally caved in and accept that they’re good. I’ve felt it coming but just couldn’t pull the trigger. As a Philly icon stated “Somehow someway. We need just one victory and we’re on our way “

  4. Darth Harvey says:

    Caught the game on a slight delay as we are down in Florida on vacation. Good win…Goddamn we are good at home against bad teams…MVP for the night however was my 5 year old sporting his Union jersey as he gets chatted up by a random dude waiting in line for a drink at the beach bar…

    Random Dude: “You like soccer?”

    My son: “I support the Union”

    Random Dude: “I like NYCFC”

    My son with a succinct and stoic: “Boo” *turns his back on the guy*

    Me: (Whimpering) “I’m soooo proud of you son.”

  5. There was lots to like about the Union’s solid win tonight. Yes, the Union are a good team and Chicago is a bad team (though not so bad as Houston or San Jose) and the Union did what good teams are supposed to do to bad teams playing them at home–beat them badly. Here are my takeaways from Section 105:

    1) The Union have a lot of skilled players who play the counterattack very well. They thrive off Gazdag’s and Flach’s ballhawking on defense.

    2) Gaga Slonina may well be the USMNT’s goalkeeper at the 2026 World Cup, but he is not ready for prime time yet. The Union’s second goal was a goalie blunder–he needed to tip the ball over the net for a corner. He will learn from this game.

    3) Carranza and Uhre excel at hold up plays, and that is what makes the Union so dangerous. Seeing them on the same field as Kacper Przybyłko (the friendly ghost) brought this into stark relief.

    4) The Union were pretty adventurous in their own zone tonight, almost as though they did not respect Chicago’s attempts to press them. It is OK sometimes to play the ball to the other end and reset. I hope that they play a bit more conservatively in their own zone against better teams.

    5) MarK Zumoff (former Sixers announcer) beat the drum tonight. After Carranza’s goal, I wanted to hear him say about the play, “turning garbage into gold.”

    6) Once again, the officiating was poor–lots of inconsistency. I hope that MLS can develop some good match officials to equal the improved level of play league-wide. The players (and we fans) deserve better.

    7) Cory Burke scored a goal with his feet–his left foot, no less!

    • Re: Point 4 – there seemed to be a clear emphasis on stringing passes together tonight, including playing out from the back, instead of just knocking the ball deep. For me, this was good to see.

  6. Enrico del Savvagio says:

    Good seats in 105 made for a pleasant evening with my son. It was a comfortable win against a team that really was not Houston Dynamo bad. They came into this match in good form and were a little bit dangerous until the U’s first goal, where Xherdan was forced to play deeper to generate their attack, and thus couldn’t get behind our defenders. A few takeaways: Carranza is fast and effective. McGlynn is a good passer, but is not quick, which means he needs to open his body up defensively: he gets caught out of shape and can’t recover. Turns out Blake is a good goaltender :-). I don’t care who you are $16 for a malt beverage is a lot. This os a likeable team.

  7. Another comfortable win against an opponent they should beat. I’ll never tire of that.
    .
    I hope this string of games jumpstarts Uhre’s first touch and his connection with the attack. He has so much speed and makes sublime runs, if the rest of the Union get comfortable with Uhre’s play and hit no-look passes where he is going, the goals will come. His 40 yard pass to Carranza which kick started the first goal was phenomenal. Carranza’s ‘meg pass to a streaking Gazdag was awesome. Gazdag’s fearlessness to cut the ball back and then find that chip was a level of skill we have rarely seen on the Union. All in all, a wonderful illustration of the front three connecting.
    .
    I don’t think Elliott’s goal was a tap-in as described. Jack pursued a play which should have been an easy handle for Gaga and made a feast out of Gaga’s gaff. Gaga will likely punch that ball away next time but having it knocked out of his grip by the crossbar gave Elliott a slim window to do something and he played it beautifully to net that goal. Elliott was the only Union player to follow that play out of the three who were barely onside and that was a tough finish. It’s always good to see a defender score, especially a nice goal, and a game winner.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      That Uhre pass to Carranza vaguely reminded me of the very first Union game at the Linc where Moreno hit that cross field pass to LeToux for the second goal in Union history (LeToux’s second of the game on the way to his hat trick and club legend status). Moreno’s was better, but still. Check YouTube for it if you don’t recall.

  8. It’d be amazing if at Subaru park, but regardless, MLS cup needs to be Philly and LAFC this year. Watching this LAFC team right now on espn+ and they’re playing sublime soccer, and bale and chiellini aren’t even in the lineup due to “load management”. With Taty no longer with NYCFC, the U are clearly the best team in the East.

    C’mon the U!

  9. With every game, this team gets better.
    And since 2010, my son and I have seen almost every game at home (missed for death and marriage)… but last night was one of my favorites cause my buddy brought his 7 year old who was just excited to be at her 2nd game this season. When she looked up and saw us all yelling at Fabian Hebers warming up, she started at the top of her little lungs… TRAIN BETTER! KEEP WORKING, NOT PLAYING BLOCKS AND PUZZLES IN THE CENTER OF THE FIELD!

    Best night, EVER…

    Sorry Rob and Sam! I’ll bring earmuffs next time! Hahahaha.

    PS… MLS.com NOTHING about the dominant way we handled ChiFire. But of course Toronto’s new Italians, Austin and LAFC are the ONLY teams in MLS, right?

    Hosting MLS Cup 2022 in Chester!
    RUN THE SCHEDULE BOYS. 27 points! Here we go! Don “Head Clown” Garber cannot stop this juggernaut THIS YEAR. DOOP!

  10. McGlynn and Floch continue to grow, played well. We did’t need Roland Alberg, nor Marco Fabian… nor… Martinez. Transfer time, Herr Tanner.

    And can Jack PLEASE take ALL corners? I think Kai is cooked in that area.

    OVER THE DEFENDER!

    GASBAG’S HEAD!

    Urhe’s HEAD!

    Elliot’s HEAD!

    Hosting MLS Cup 2022 in Chester!
    DOOP!

  11. The big story for me is Martinez on the bench. Is Curtin letting him rest for Wed? Or did Flach win his job fair and square? I think it’s absolutely essential that McGlynn starts as often as possible. It makes this team more dynamic in every way. Flach is just not an 8.

    Uhre was really good despite not getting on the score sheet tonight. Loved his opening pass to make that first goal happen. Did a lot to earn the 3rd as well. Our front three are growing into something really special.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      They certainly looked better last night and against Houston with Martinez not starting than they did last week at Cincy when it was McGlynn on the bench. Part of that may be the opponent, but a lot may be which combination of players works best (including whether Flach or Martinez is better at covering for McGlynn’s weaker defense on the left).

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      My take… they learned. Chicago was one of the ones who figured out the diamond and actually beat us. So, Curtin threw them a change up. It doesn’t hurt to give Jose a rest for a heavy week, but I think it’s a tactical decision.
      .
      As much as I like Jack, he’d get eaten alive by an LAFC. That’s where you need what Martinez brings.

    • I thought I saw somewhere Curtin saying that Martinez had missed practice this week with a family situation. In any event it is nice to have a defensive piece to come off the bench with a lead. Would have been nice to give Bedoya a few extra minutes rest with the travel and games this week.

  12. Murphthesurf says:

    This starting lineup works. We’ll played Jim ! Bringing Martinez on late to close the game out also brilliant . The front three play better together with McGlynn relative to scoring goals, imho.
    Glad some players got some rest, this is going to be a long two weeks.
    DOOP ⚽️ !

  13. Andy Muenz says:

    Regarding squad rotation for Wednesday night, neither Harriel nor Real played for the Union 2 tonight (Sunday). Paxton played just the first half. Sullivan, Bueno, Craig, Donovan, and Freese all played the full game.

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