Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 6-0 Colorado Rapids

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Philadelphia Union lit the match and then watched as ten-man Colorado Rapids self-immolated on Saturday night, with a Daniel Gazdag hat trick leading the way to a 6-0 win.

The Rapids conceded two early penalties and picked up a 35th minute red, and the outcome was never in doubt. Julian Carranza, Cory Burke, and Matt Real scored the other three goals for the Union.

Jim Curtin made two changes to the lineup that stomped D.C. United last weekend, bringing Leon Flach and Olivier Mbaizo in for Jack McGlynn and Nathan Harriel.

Kickoff came as the sun started to set over Subaru Park, as a hot summer day cooled down from the breeze off the Delaware River. The visiting Rapids sat back and looked to cool off the Union, who’ve been red-hot at home in recent weeks.

No such cooling occurred, as the Union took the lead within 10 minutes. Kai Wagner smashed a long ball toward Mikael Uhre, who chested it right into the path of Daniel Gazdag. The Hungarian made no mistake, finishing past William Yarbrough.

Gazdag made it a brace within the next 10 minutes, both drawing and converting a penalty. Scything into the box, Anthony Markanich foolishly pulled him down from behind, and the referee pointed to the spot immediately. Yarbrough guessed the right way, but Gazdag’s shot was too strong.

The Union kept coming, and should have had a third just moments later. Off a Rapids corner, a counterattack led by Uhre ended with an inch-perfect feed from Mbaizo toward the penalty spot. An onrushing Carranza met it, but redirected his shot just wide of the net.

Mbaizo drew another penalty shortly afterward after charging down the right wing. In the box, Gustavo Vallecilla clipped the Union man’s foot, and the referee pointed to the spot. It was a soft penalty, in this writer’s view, but Allen Chapman didn’t hesitate. Julian Carranza stepped up to take this one, and sent Yarbrough the wrong way.

It was 3-0 inside 30 minutes, and things were still getting worse for the Rapids. Vallecilla, who was already on a yellow, picked up his second for a foul along the Union’s right wing, and Colorado was reduced to 10 men after just 35 minutes.

The Rapids had somehow managed to pick up four yellows and two penalties in the first 35 minutes of play. Impressive, really.

Not much happened in the final ten minutes before halftime, and the Union went into the break in cruise control.

Uhre nearly got his name on the scoresheet in the 51st minute, as Gazdag sprung him on another counterattack. His attempt to chip Yarbrough wasn’t high or strong enough, and his attempt to poke home the rebound hit off the outside of the near post.

Curtin sent on Jack McGlynn and Cory Burke for Jose Martinez and Carranza in the 62nd minute, with the game firmly under control. Robin Fraser was busy making less peaceful subs, having sent on Drew Moor at halftime to replace a player — Lalas Abubakar — who’d come on in the 25th minute.

Gazdag got his hat trick in the 83rd minute. Burke slipped him into the box, and the on-fire midfielder cooly chipped Yarbrough. The strike, his 16th, tied him for the single-season Union record.

Burke added a fifth goal moments later, pouncing on a rebound from a McGlynn shot and smashing it past Yarbrough.

Little-used substitute Matt Real put the cherry on top in second-half stoppage time, firing past Yarbrough from the top of the box for his first goal of the season.

The Blue and Gold play their final midweek match of the season this Wednesday, when they’ll welcome struggling Atlanta United to Subaru Park. Kickoff in Chester is at 7:30 p.m.

Three Points
  • Dominant. The Union had crushed Colorado before a third of the match was in the book. Granted, they were helped by their opponent and the referee, but the outcome was never in doubt.
  • Attacking trio. Another good night for the front three. Gazdag got his hat trick, Carranza added a penalty (even if he missed a few chances in front of goal), and Uhre made things happen with his pace and smart running. When that trio is on, the Union are nearly unbeatable.
  • Rest? It may be churlish to find any fault with a 5-0 home win, but it was a bit surprising to see Alejandro Bedoya and Gazdag still out there with just five minutes to go in regulation, ahead of a midweek match.

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Olivier Mbaizo, Jose Martinez (Jack McGlynn 62′), Leon Flach, Alejandro Bedoya (Matt Real 85′), Daniel Gazdag (Quinn Sullivan 85′), Mikael Uhre (Paxten Aaronson 74′), Julian Carranza (Cory Burke 62′)

Unused subs: Matt Freese, Nathan Harriel, Jesus Bueno, Chris Donovan

Colorado Rapids

William Yarbrough, Steven Beitashour, Danny Wilson (Lalas Abubakar 25′) (Drew Moor HT), Gustavo Vallecilla, Keegan Rosenberry, Collen Warner, Anthony Markanich, Sam Nicholson, Ralph Priso (Felipe Gutierrez 71′), Michael Barrios (Darren Yapo 63′), Gyasi Zardes (Lucas Esteves HT)

Unused subs: Clint Irwin, Jonathan Lewis, Max, Diego Rubio

Scoring Summary

PHI: Daniel Gazdag — 9′ (Mikael Uhre, Kai Wagner)
PHI: Daniel Gazdag — 20′ (PK)
PHI: Julian Carranza — 30′ (PK)
PHI: Daniel Gazdag — 83′ (Cory Burke, Jakob Glesnes)
PHI: Cory Burke — 87′
PHI: Matt Real — 90+1′ (Kai Wagner, Cory Burke)

Discipline Summary

COL: Gustavo Vallecilla — 7′ (foul)
COL: Ralph Priso — 11′ (foul)
COL: Collen Warner — 27′ (foul)
COL: Gustavo Vallecilla — 35′ (foul) (second yellow)

PHI Statistic COL PHI Statistic COL


Possession % 40.9 41 Duels Won 38
26 Shots 5 8 Tackles Won



Shots on Goal 1 1 Saves 8
5 Blocked Shots 3 10 Clearances



Total Passes 356 11 Fouls 15
88.5 Pass Accuracy % 81.7 0 Yellow Cards



Corners 6 0 Red Cards 1
6 Crosses 7 5.9 xG







  1. Is there any doubt this is the absolute peak of the Union franchise? No stat makes it clearer than this one:

    OptaJack: @PhilaUnion have the most wins by six or more goals by any team in @MLS history (4). All four wins have come in the last 10 games. Blowouts.

    • I believe after the Houston game (2nd 6+ goal win) I read that they were the first team with more than one in a season. 4 is amazing, especially for a team who didn’t score more than 2 in a game prior to July 4.

  2. Let’s get this said… it wasn’t a penalty on Mbaizo. Rapids fans can feel a little better (maybe?) that the bad call and lack of VAR didn’t matter the result one bit.
    Gazdag said post game that he bargained for extra playing time to get his hat trick. Curtin “gave him until the 85 minutes mark.”
    What a team we have here. Just phenomenal.

    • Gotta agree. I thought the replay clearly established Mbaizo lost his footing on the cutback attempt and was already on his way down when the contact in the box occurred. In real time, I actually thought the ref was calling the jostling/tugging that happened outside the penalty area.
      Had that been a call against Eliot or Glesnes, I’m sure we’d be apoplectic. I have to wonder why even have a VAR if he’s not going to at least ask the ref to take a look at the replay? If it is only to call millimeter-thin offside infractions, why bother?

  3. el Pachyderm says:

    Threw the vehicle in reverse ….
    …and ran back over that team tonight like the killers they are. Piling up bodies. Almost starting to feel bad for others… nah.
    I knew it was Kacper last season. Love being on the record about that from jump. Uhre brings out all the right qualities in gazdag. Carranza as well. Such a pleasure to watch. These guys are football players.

    Team is very very good.

    • That’s the image, for sure. Pedal down.
      Enjoying the ride.

    • Yes, I was happy they got rid of him. “The Friendly Ghost” was such a apt moniker as he floated around and tended to not show up with regularity.

      This team now has a lot of hungry dogs and there’s grub enough for everyone.

      How about Cory Burke once again with the late goal!

      Really sad to have not been at the Park for this game. The scarf was really cool and it seems like it was one big party.

      Stupid early morning soccer game. If I kept the daughter out late to this and she sleepwalked through the game tomorrow, I would get chewed out by her coach. We’ve been warned lol…

      • The Burke goal was nice since it was pure hustle on his part to be ready to pick up the rebound (and a well taken shot by McGlynn to set it up).

    • Ran em down with chains on the wheels

  4. I have to say that from the time of the red card until Gazdag got the hat trick the game was pretty boring.
    While Gazdag will get the headlines thanks to the hat trick, I actually thought Elliott was the best player in the match. Every time when Colorado went on the attack, he completely stifled it.
    It was nice to see Wagner get the two assists tonight. He had been on quite a drought.
    The Union are second in the league in goals scored and have 10 fewer goals against than any other team!
    The Union have also gone 3 straight games without picking up a card.
    And checking the schedule, the Union will have an extra day’s rest compared with Atlanta prior to Wednesday’s game and a shorter trip to New Jersey before next Saturday’s game than their opponents who play in Montreal Wednesday.

    • Good analysis. Yeah it got boring until the late 3 goals but expectedly due to burning the clock and avoiding injuries and cards as you earlier pointed out. . . .
      Gping forward, also spot on about the importance of the Wednesday and Saturday matches. If ever the SOBs and other fans need a home appearance and a petty and fun road trip to Newark to inspire our team, it’s the next two matches given teams like Montreal and the NY teams after our East lead.

  5. I love this team.

  6. Remember when we couldn’t stop tying…that seems like ages ago now. Union could have pulled a Liverpool and won 9-0 had they not missed a number of close chances. That’s about as critical as I can be cause everyone was fantastic tonight. Special props for Gazdag (hat trick of course) and Elliott (and the whole defense for that matter) for snuffing out any real chances.

  7. OneManWolfpack says:

    I’m beside myself. Last 4 home games is 23-1. Dude… what am I watching… this is beyond next level…

  8. Do you think Andre gets bored back there?
    I’m sure he doesn’t mind it at all but this defense is so satisfying to watch. From the way they back up each other, to how they control the ball and probe the midfield, to their marauding runs when their opponents give them time and space. So satisfying.
    Gazdag and the midfield have been playing very well and I appreciate the young guns getting time there as we’ll need them when transfer offers come in for the starters. Caranza’s scoring form has been elite and Uhre’s support play has been stellar and I look forward to when he starts taking and finishing more chances.
    I’m not totally comfortable watching this team as I am unaccustomed to a Philly team dominating teams they should beat.
    But I’m willing to learn!

  9. Again the result speaks for itself. Another sixpack of goals, clean slate, no injuries, and no cards. Young guns got pitch time too.
    . . .
    Montreal also won 2-0 over Chicago so it still remains 5 points between us for first place.in the East. That elusive six point buffer is still missing as they keep up with us, and they have a match in hand. They’re also measuring themselves and gunning against us as reported on the MLS app.
    . . .
    The last thing we need is to let then get the first playoff seed and be a possible CCL spoiler for us. Every win is nice but it’s on to next match.
    . . .
    Wednesday might be the break if we do our job. We play second to last place Atlanta at home whilst Montreal has Red Bull at home. NYRB sits 4th in the East at 44 pts.
    . . .
    If they draw or Montreal loses and we win that’s a key difference maker. If we take care of Red Bull in Newark next Saturday then we’re sitting well to win the East. Even the Shield could happen despite how good LAFC amd Austin are.

    • Austin and LAFC are NOT better than the Union.

      They both just started the season hotter… and now we’re white hot.

      Let’s gooooo! 18 more points, Boys. Run the schedule.

      Here’s to hosting MLS Cup 2022 in Chester! DOOP!

  10. BTW I also disagree with the OP’s assessment of the PK regarding Mbaizo and that we got ‘ref’ help.
    . . .
    The Rapids repeatedly committed obvious and often stupid infractions. The foul on Mbaizo was soft that drew the PK but the ref took into consideration that he was also soft fouled just before that on his run. The two soft fouls combined in context collectively messed up his mojo that added up to a denial of a goal scoring opportunity in the box due to fouls.
    . . .
    I thought the ref called a good match, even on the call for the ball on the top bar with Blake clash that we crowed about.
    . . .
    My 2 cents on that with change and refunds available. 😉

    • That penalty, to me, is always one of the toughest to deal with as an official. The player cuts back and knows there is going to be some contact, so is ready to go down when it happens, even if it’s not a lot. Outside the box, Mbaizo probably stays on his feet and keeps attacking. Inside the box, the incentive is always to go down. And it makes it very tough for the ref, because it is a foul, even if you think the attacking player should stay on his feet.
      It’s one where your view almost always depends on what team you support. If you’re a Union fan, you argue that the contact, even if soft, impeded Mbaizo and so he has every right to go down and draw the foul. If you’re a Rapids fan, you argue that Mbaizo was looking for the contact and already going to ground when the foul occurred.

      • No doubt Tyler. I don’t think the ref would have awarded it had he not been soft fouled before that on his approach. Two soft fouls that worked together to ruin his flow seemed to be the reason for the call.

      • Vince Devine says:

        No foul should have been given. Mbaizo lost his footing, he wasn’t fouled at all. I don’t know how VAR didn’t overturn that.

  11. Just not used to this. Fire Curtin, Cliff of Union Dispair, Just Play Well, all in rear view mirror. We all need to embrace that this is a dominant team. They still may not catch LAFC, but surely a season that we’ve all been waiting for.

    • Agreed. If we win the East, we get the CCL again and top playoff seed in the East at a minimum.
      . . .
      Our next aim should be winning the MLS Cup. COVID cheated us but now it is the time to strike for it before the EPL and others cherrypick our talents and youth prospects like they’ve done with others who start to shine in MLS.

      • Cherry pick?
        Developing players to sell them at a profit has been the business plan every since They bought Rocket Sports from Charlie Dodds.
        Daniel Gazdag is just was likely to be snapped up as any of the lids. Last offseason he got himself into absolutely peak physical condition.
        Now, imagine what might happen if Michael Uhre does the same this winter?

      • That’s true Tim. I wasnt bashing cherrypicking players in trades. That’s typical business. That’s also why we need to win the MLS Cup now before our cupboard gets cleaned.

  12. This is the best squad in MLS, on its way to hosting MLS CUp 2022 in Chester. “Head Clown” Garber can’t stand in our way this year. DOOP!

  13. And Martinez is finally playing like the leader he should have been all along. Without his temper flaring out of control, or the ridiculous yellow cards, we are an even better squad. Muchos gracias, Jose! Here’s to hosting MLS Cup 2022 in Chester! DOOP.

    • This narrative about Martinez needs to stop. He has the same number of Yellow Cards this season as he has had in each of his previous two seasons with the Union. He also has only gotten TWO red cards during his time with the Union.
      For the amount of fouls that the Union commit they don’t get a lot of yellow cards, let alone Red cards.

  14. Deez Nuggs says:

    I’mma just cut and paste from MLS site here: “Philadelphia’s latest result leaves them within three points of LAFC for the Supporters’ Shield lead, having played once more than the Black & Gold (57 points vs. 54). The Union’s goal differential (+37) is by far the greatest in MLS, though, and their 57 goals scored are now the second-most behind only Austin FC (59). Their 20 goals against are 10 better than the closest team, defending MLS Cup champions NYCFC.” Union with just 4 losses on the season, 2 less than anyone else.
    Gazdag is now tied for 2nd in the golden boot race. Tied for CJ Sapong’s single season scoring record for the U. It would almost be harder not to beat it.
    Starting to wonder if teams literally fear playing us now. Fear getting spanked on a National tv broadcast. Think about it… 1 in 7 games the other team gets embarrassed.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Problem is goal differential isn’t going to matter since if the Union end up tied with LAFC or Austin (or Montreal), the Union will have fewer wins which comes before goal differential in tiebreakers.

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        I’m not really interested in winning the shield. I’d rather avoid the cup curse. I’m just laying out the amazing facts on this team.

      • Gonna win the only Cup that matters… The shield, meh.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Shield may be “meh” (although it’s the important one in the rest of the world), but if you want MLS Cup final to be played in Chester it would help to be ahead of as many western conference teams as possible.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      From Matt Doyle: “ They’ve got 57 goals and conceded just 20. Only a few teams have even doubled their GA over a full year. No one’s ever come close to going 3x.”
      Except us apparently.

  15. I couldn’t watch the game, so I checked my phone at halftime and found them up 3-0 with a man advantage. Check.

    Looked again later that evening and it was still 3-0 in the 80th minute. Yeah, sure, why kill yourselves, the game’s well in hand.

    Went back to watch the highlights and found they’d won 6-0. Again.

    This team is a monster. We’re heading straight to the Cup this year, and I wouldn’t bet against us to win it.

    • They really did take it easy for most of the rest of the game after going up a man. More like a light practice than a game. So hopefully they will be fresh Wednesday.

  16. The way Wagner and Mbaizo are dominating the wings makes this team so difficult to play against. Triangles all over the pitch with Martinez sprinting left and right, forward and back creating overloads to the Union’s advantage. The runs off these triangles are exploitable because the number advantage in midfield gives the passers time to look up and deliver. It’s beautiful to watch.
    Curtain must be so proud to have a hungry squad implementing his plan. I haven’t heard anything to this point, but would anyone be surprised if he was tipped as the next men’s national team coach?

    • Not so sure that he would make a great national team coach. He has done really well at putting together a TEAM rather than a bunch of individuals playing together. Not sure that is so easy with the egos that come with a national team.

  17. This is a team on a great roll. We need to give Ernst Tanner and Jim Curtin a lot of credit here. They had a vision and a game plan and they brought players in to implement that plan. Curtin was confident that the team would score goals after the lackluster start, and his confidence has been realized. Here is the view from Section 105 last night.

    1) Look who has moved up to No. 2 (tied) in the Golden Boot race. Who would have thought that a Philadelphia Union player would have a chance to score 20 goals in a season? But Gazdag could do it if the Union continue this run of play.

    2) Ref Alan Chapman awarded a very cheap foul on the second penalty. Whether or not it was a foul, I didn’t think it should have been awarded. Yes, Colorado’s backs were no match for the Union forward line and were forced to foul a lot, but even if there was accumulation, I don’t like to see cheap fouls awarded in the box. The (second yellow) red card, however, was entirely deserved and even though it sealed the outcome in the 37th minute, I give Chapman some props for calling it. While we are on the subject of reffing, I thought that Andre Blake was fouled handling a high ball early in the first half and I was surprised that Colorado got away with the foul and got a corner out of it.

    3) Leon Flach had another excellent game and he is among the league leaders in tackles won. His passing was likewise good last night. When he and El Brujo are on, they make attacks up the middle extremely difficult for the opposition.

    4) Carranza had a very unlucky night with 3 very close chances missed. He got to take the 2nd PK to put himself on the score sheet. He and Uhre were outstanding at holding up play and creating chances last night.

    5) As we were looking at the Union’s roster and substitutes, we were remarking among ourselves that at virtually every position, the Union have players who are capable as starters. That is not to say there would not be some degree of dropoff, but it is to say that such would not be catastrophic. The only position of real concern by our calculations was at goalkeeper simply because Andre Blake is that good.

    • It’s Herr Tanner… Curtin was almost fired when Tanner took over. Remember?

      He refused to go to the 4-4-2, instead used the ridiculous 4-2-1-2-1 he always played.. with poor, horrible strikers ‘up top’.

      Sugarman talked Tanner out of it, and Tanner knew what he wanted. Curtin executed, albeit with “Fire Cuttin’ still echoing from Sec 114 to this day.

      Jim should coach the US Team for Ernie… and Tanner bring in a killer. A sniper. He had to let Albright and Noonan go to keep Curtin. Think about it, and what those 2 have done for FCC.

      We need someone who will match Herr Tanner step for step. Jesse Marsh, and bring Aaronson back, keep Kai too.

      Hosting MLS Cup 2022 in Chester. DOOP!

    • el Pachyderm says:

      This was The Everything.
      Not many who read and write here these days were around during that that plea I bet.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I remember Elephant. Those were some lean times. What a pleasure to watch this club now

      • Nick the Quick did us all wrong, set franchise back years.

        See Seattle, Portland…. who else, NYCFC?

        Yeah I remember… have attended every home game since 2010, cept daughter’s wedding, granddaughter’s funeral… Lots of away games like NYRB 9-3 and Charlotte 10-1 this year.

        This team will win the Cup. LAFC is faux… and Austin doesn’t deserve it in anyway. Stolen franchise….

        Time to get on the band wagon… Hosting MLS Cup 2022 in Chester and “Head Clown” Garber cannot stop us this season.

    • I agree the depth on the team is very good but there are several other areas besides GK where the dropoff would be a serious problem:

      1. Striker. Burke is playing well these days but he is nowhere near the threat Uhre and Carranza are.

      2. LB. Matt Real is certainly capable but Kai Wagner is basically irreplaceable and we’ll be hurting whenever we lose him.

      3. CB. I’m sure Brendan Craig will develop nicely but we have the best CB pairing in the league and the dropoff would likely be substantial for a while.

  18. Just watched Uhre’s chest pass assist again. Absolutely sublime.

  19. Murphthesurf says:

    Q: could the announcers wait and extra 30 seconds a Union goal before cutting off the DOOPing celebration? We love to crank up the volume and doop it up in the living room

  20. If that one attempt from Uhre could have just been elevated a few inches more, thats a SC Top Ten play starting with the clear from the backfield. Just a tremendous example of the Beautiful Game…

  21. Andy Muenz says:

    After bouncing back and forth between .500 and 1 game over for the last month, last night’s game put the Union 2 games over .500 in all time regular season play for the first time in their history. (The 6-0 win against Houston was the first time they had more wins than losses.) 157-155-109.

  22. Joe Hassell says:

    I thought Wagner had another great game. He was really trying to get a goal for himself all night. He had great opportunity to get one near the end of the game but is such a team player that he passed it over to Matt Real, who scored. Selfishly I hope he stays with the Union. Leeds United is stupid if they don’t lock him in.

  23. PaulContinuum22 says:

    Combined W-L-T records of the #Union’s last 5 opponents: 49-57-32.

    They CAN’T fork this up, can they?

    Can they?

  24. I had Union to win by 4 or more in by betslip at 12/1 but decided to not get greedy and just did 1. LOL. what a massacre. was great to see Matt Real’s first career goal live! Hat trick, clean sheet, lfg

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