Union match reports

Match report: New York Red Bulls 0-2 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: second-half goals from Mikael Uhre and Daniel Gazdag powered Philadelphia Union to their fourth straight win, a 2-0 win over New York Red Bulls in Harrison, N.J.

Coming at the end of a stretch of three games in eight days, Jim Curtin made four changes to his side. With Olivier Mbaizo nursing an injury, Nathan Harriel replaced him at right back, while Cory Burke spelled Julian Carranza up top. In midfield, Jose Martinez and Alejandro Bedoya were rested, with Jack McGlynn and Matt Real coming in at the shuttler spots. It was Real’s first start since May 2021.

Kickoff came on a beautiful September night in northern New Jersey, where 200 traveling Sons of Ben made nearly as much noise as the home fans. As expected, the match started fast and physical, with Jakob Glesnes picking up just his second yellow card of the season in the opening minutes.

Red Bulls had the best chance in the early going after about 25 minutes, when a full-field counterattack ended with a point-blank attempt inside Andre Blake’s box. But the Union’s captain on the night made himself big and knocked the shot away, keeping things level.

With a rotated lineup, the Union seemed content to spend the first half keeping the game compact. Real wasn’t much more than a passenger, as Philly looked to either build up through McGlynn dropping into the left back position or long balls from the center backs. The Red Bulls had the better of the possession and the chances, but couldn’t manage to fashion any clear-cut chances.

Just before the start of first-half stoppage time, Mikael Uhre did well to control and progress the ball through a sea of defenders, eventually popping the ball to Real for a shot that fizzed wide of goal. That proved to be Philly’s best chance of the half, and the sides went in scoreless.

Uhre broke the deadlock just after halftime. McGlynn did almost all the work, controlling the ball in midfield, finding space, charging forward, and slipping a perfect pass in to his striker. Uhre’s first-time finish slipped past Coronel, clinked off the far post, and nestled into the net.

The Sons of Ben, high above the goal, went wild.

The Red Bulls woke up, forcing the Union to weather a spell of pressure. Burke plucked the ball off Elias Manoel just as the attacker was about to score from close range, while Real did just enough to avoid a penalty while battling John Tolkin. And the fans were treated to Andre Blake at his best, with an absolutely magnificent reaction save from a shot that looked certain to be the equalizer.

Julian Carranza and Alejandro Bedoya entered for Burke and Real in the 58th minute, as Curtin looked to solidify his team’s position.

The Union could have made it a two-goal lead in the 70th minute after Carranza won a contest with Aaron Long and slipped in Uhre. Rather than be selfish, the Dane hit a pass across the goalmouth to a crashing Bedoya. The pass trailed away, though, and Coronel had time to recover and deny Bedoya’s shot.

The second goal would come not long after. Carranza caught Sean Nealis on the ball outside the Red Bulls box, then immediately fed Gazdag. The Union’s leading goal-scorer added to his tally, getting his shot off just ahead of a tackle and beating Coronel.

Dru Yearwood got a shameful red card in the final minutes after kicking the ball into the stands and then climbing up to apologize.

Philly saw out the game comfortably, maintaining their edge at the top of the Eastern Conference and keeping the pressure on LAFC in the Supporters’ Shield race.

The Union are back in action next Saturday, when they welcome Orlando City to town. Kickoff from Chester is at 7:30 p.m.

Three Points
  • Just keep winning. Ho-hum, another four-game winning streak for the Union.
  • Well-played. After talking in his pre-match pressure about the virtues of lineup consistency, Jim Curtin unusually made four changes to his lineup. The rotated group held off the Red Bulls in the first half, and got the win in the second.
  • Loud and proud. This writer has never seen so many Union fans at Red Bull Arena. It was an impressive showing, fitting for an impressive season.
Lineups

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Nathan Harriel, Leon Flach, Matt Real (Alejandro Bedoya 58′), Jack McGlynn, Daniel Gazdag, Mikael Uhre (Paxten Aaronson 88′), Cory Burke (Julian Carranza 74′)

Unused subs: Joe Bendik, Olivier Mbaizo, Jose Martinez, Quinn Sullivan, Brandan Craig, Chris Donovan

New York Red Bulls

Carlos Coronel, Aaron Long, Sean Nealis, Andres Reyes (Kyle Duncan HT), John Tolkin, Dylan Nealis (Omir Fernandez 56′), Dru Yearwood, Daniel Edelman, Lewis Morgan, Luquinhas (Caden Clark 75′), Elias Manoel (Tom Barlow 79′)

Unused subs: Ryan Meara, Hassan Ndam, Wikelman Carmona, Steven Sserwadda

Scoring Summary

PHI: Mikael Uhre — 48′ (Jack McGlynn)
PHI: Daniel Gazdag — 74′ (Julian Carranza)

Discipline Summary

PHI: Jakob Glesnes — 8′ (foul)
PHI: Cory Burke — 32′ (persistent infringement)
PHI: Jack Elliott — 36′ (foul)
PHI: Daniel Gazdag — 83′ (foul)
NYRB: Dru Yearwood — 90+3′ (red card)

Statistics
NYRB Statistic PHI NYRB Statistic PHI

54.7

Possession % 45.3 64 Duels Won 71
6 Shots 5 10 Tackles Won

14

2

Shots on Goal 3 1 Saves 2
3 Blocked Shots 1 16 Clearances

15

389

Total Passes 321 12 Fouls 17
69.9 Pass Accuracy % 59.2 0 Yellow Cards

4

3

Corners 0 1 Red Cards 0
9 Crosses 13 .6 xG

.8

2

Offsides

1

 

42 Comments

  1. The Union now have 3x as many goals scored as allowed. Regardless of what happens the rest of the way this has been an impressive team.
    .
    Union have now clinched a home playoff game as Montreal, NYCFC, and Orlando are the only teams in the east that can catch them.
    .
    3 more wins guarantees Champions League.

    • Yes and Montreal and NYC both play twice before Union play again. If Montreal gets 0 or 1 point in those two games (at TOR,CLB) and NYC gets less than 6 points (at NE, CIN), then the Union can clinch the East next Saturday with a win over Orlando. Might be wishful thinking, but that would be cool if they could clinch at home.

  2. Murphthesurf says:

    Fantastic Finish- way to go Union !
    Andre Blake = Man of the Match
    Hats off to the SOBs – we could hear you on the TV out here in California!
    DOOP

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    Whether new or old to this site and new or old in Union fandom in general… we must never forget this season. It’s just all so good right now. Things won’t always be this good. Keep it up boys. See you next Saturday!

  4. Curtin post game said that Real found out he was starting on the pre match walk. Martinez felt tightness or pain in his ribs. That shifted the entire lineup in midfield.
    .
    Excellent win.
    .
    Honestly impressed with all the yellows and no second one. Walking the tightrope but not falling.

    • Those early yellows had me on edge… was relieved that Burke was shown a second for the foul right before he came up. Going a man-down would have been a bummer.

    • Valuable insight, Deez Nuggs, thank you. That Real was the emergency choice at the midfield in an initially defensive game plan tells us that his increased versatility is trusted.
      .
      Instinctive emergency decisions often indicate underlying thinking and assumptions.

  5. The Union seemed disjointed in the first half. It was hard to tell if it was the chosen personnel, something the pink cows were doing, or if the Union were feeling off. There were moments where they would take control but then lose the ball. I was ok with weathering the situation and trusted that the Union would find a way.
    .
    In keeping with other performances this season, toward the end of the half the Union started generating dangerous attacks and then continued that into the second half. It was good to see Jim use his bench tonight. Maybe they’ll find other high probability games to get them starts but he was right to keep two-thirds of the Caranza-Uhre-Gazdag triumvirate on the field. I wonder how they would do with PaxAir as the 10?

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I feel like the Cows pressed well… as that is pretty much their MO. Union were definitely disjointed. The class of the subs made all the difference.

      • It’s nice to say the class of the Union substitutes made the difference, eh? Much different than in years past and so much fun to enjoy as Union fans.

    • I’m sure it was a combination of the lineup changes plus a deliberate rope-a-dope tactic by our coach. As the announcers pointed out, the Red Bulls pressing style is exhausting for them and they clearly did not ‘have wings’ in the 2nd half.

  6. Blake’s two back-to-back point-blank saves were ridiculous, match-preserving moments. Just ridiculous.
    .
    NY’s broadcast team was right to give him props and note how fortunate Union are to have him for so long.

  7. el Pachyderm says:

    I’m reminded tonight, of the old Veterans Stadium days and the guy who sat just off home plate yelling… “Everybody Hits..Yoo-hoo.” It was fresh. Original and I never grew weary of it.
    .
    That’s the feeling I have with this team right now. Fresh. Original. And I’ll not grow weary of it.
    .
    The successive one touches to siting Gazdag was calculus and art tonight. Art.
    .

  8. I’m worried about the lay-off after decision day til our first playoff game. Could be a bit gimmicky, but what if Curtin rested the starters against Orlando and Atlanta and brought em back for Charlotte and Toronto just to get used to having all that time off but still having them finish the season against two decent teams?

    • Don’t worry!
      They got this….

    • They’ll have two weeks off after the Atlanta game for the Fifa international break….
      .
      Plus the Orlando game is crucial to securing the top spot in the East. Plus, it’ll be great to crush them after they win the Open Cup on Wednesday. Once that’s accomplished, they’re setting their sights on the Shield, and then MLS Cup.

      • IMO Orlando very well might lose to Sacramento in the USOC. Sacramento is a decent side with a great fam base.
        . . .
        Either way, Orlando will be more tired than us when we play.

      • Game is in Orlando so Sacramento fan base less likely to make a difference. Not sure I’d rather they play in the heat of Orlando or have to travel across the country from Sacramento. Hopefully the game will go to overtime to wear them out some more.

    • Layoff for conference winners this year is only 11 days or 2 weeks compared to 3+ weeks with a bunch of players gone for international duty so they can’t practice with the team the last couple of years, so less likely to be a rust issue.

  9. Attended match, sublime. section 119, 8 rows from the field… great seats, terrible stadium. Been many times, just more apartments taking up parking, this time.

    Simply, Jack McGlynn has arrived.

    And to have the bench we do, for the stretch run to hosting MLS Cup 2022 in Chester… Priceless.

    Thank you Herr Tanner.

    Just the best year ever…

    Now, close it out, Boys. 15 points waiting… then 3 home playoff wins and FINALLY.

    We got this, right Boys?

    Doop!

    SOOOO MUCH FUN!

    • Sounds like you were lucky not to get hit in the face with a Yearwood ball sitting that close 🙂

      • The strangest thing I ever saw… other than maybe fan fights at Eagle vs Giants games.

        We were in the next section and that poor girl, the little boy crying and then someone in Red Bull shirt yelling at Yearwood created a bizarre couple of minutes. But when the SoBs started yelling ‘a-hole’ even the Pink Cow fans joined in. A weird end to a solid win.

        12 more points Boys!

        We got this!

        Hosting MLS Cup 2022 in Chester! Doop.

  10. Gotta tell this….

    sitting in section 119, we were in a mixed group of Union faithful and Pink Cow “devotees”, of course.

    Above us the ruckus-ful Union Faithful making the most noise of any flag wavers in that stadium tonight.

    The funny part is that the guys sitting in front of us had ‘split loyalities’… sort of RB fans, but really there cause they probably got free Tix!

    …. but after our “He’s Big He’s Green he is a Save Machine, Andre Blake, Andre Blake” cheer… we had them cheering for the Union, confused because it was just MORE FUN.

    Red Bulls need a make over… don’t tell them. It’s fun to watch.

  11. How many of us would ever have thought it possible that we’d have a Union player — Gazdag — as a true contender in the Golden Boot race?
    .
    Well consider this: Uhre has 11 goals in 52% of Gazdag’s minutes. If he’d been available to play the whole season, he’s playing on a pace to have 22 goals by this point. Which would have him LEADING the Golden Boot.
    .
    For completion’s sake, if we adjust Carranza’s minutes, he’d be tied with Gazdag on 18 goals.
    .
    Just bonkers to think about.

    • And considering that it is Uhre’s first MLS season, even more impressive.
      .
      Add to this that it is Carranza’s first season with Union and the first season of these two strikers together with Gazdag…
      .
      Wow.
      .
      One match at a time. Staying in the moment, as a fan, but it’s also fun to imagine the squad continuing to grow together.

      • being a wet blanket, the business plan is to sell not only the youngsters.
        .
        No one is for sale until the playoffs are over.
        .
        But after that, if the right offer comes in, … .
        .
        If you were a European Sporting Director in need of offensive punch, wouldn’t you have Gazdag on your short list?

      • Yours is the proper business perspective, Tim. And it is spot on. Even so, I’d love to see these three for another season. To your point, it seems unlikely.

      • wouldn’t we all love to see those three together for another season!!
        .
        But long term the plan is to develop “PaxAar” as someone called him the other day. Gazdag will be blocking him from above if ACM is his spot.
        .
        The immediate question for 2023 is Bedoya’s future. Does he want to continue, and will he accept one-year deals? Curtin would have him back in a heartbeat. WE will learn something about the business plan by how his situation is handled in the off-season.
        .
        From the captain’s point of view, if they were to blow all of our minds two weeks before Thanksgiving, Jim Brown’s example from 1964 might have some attractiveness.

  12. As Jfav more or less said, RB’s fan atmosphere is awful.
    . . .
    I went to both matches there last year too and it was the same as last night. The stadium was half empty, and we made up a loud minority of those who attended to jeer them. Most RB fans who appeared were quiet and seemed to be causal fans who were there due to getting handout tickets from a company or friend on holiday.
    . . .
    For a team in 3rd place in the East–and they were in playoff standing last year too–that has to be dispiriting to the players. It seems to show by them winning on the road but losing at home so often.
    . . .
    Then Yearwood gets ejected for hitting a driving ball into his own fans in frustration, hitting a young boy and young woman in the face. The TV footage of a crying kid, bloody lipped and stunned woman, and angry brother or boyfriend telling Yearwood to FO is embarrassing and went viral and the club and player have been dealing with the aftermath.
    . . .
    So glad I’m a Union fan. We not only have a great team but also great supporting fans and the players and fans know it.

  13. Check this out…

    PHL, 4 games remaining vs. the current 5th, 11th, 12th & 10th teams in the east.

    LAFC, 6 games remaining vs. 6th, 3rd, 5th, 12th, 7th and 4th teams in the west.

    AUS, 6 games remaining vs. 4th (twice), 10th, 6th, 9th and 11th teams in the west.

    Becoming a temporary Nashville and RSL fan is most appropriate. Nashville plays 3 games against AUS and LAFC… and RSL one each in the final 6.

    We could have the Supported Shield wrapped up by the international break!

    DOOP!

    • The Nashville-Austin game in Nashville already happened (last night). Nashville won 3-0. Union are now 9 points ahead of Austin (who still have one game in hand).

    • LA FC beat RSL, too.
      .
      Union II, sadly, demonstrated that soccer is an unforgiving game.
      .
      One match at a time, take care of business one match at a time.

  14. Jack McGlynn played the full match against the most thoroughly committed high pressing team in North America, and did so without having to commit a yellow card foul. That’s more of a statement of arrival that the passing. The physicality is beginning to catch up to the brain and the feet.

  15. I was unable to watch the game on Saturday but I did watch the highlights after I returned home from the bluegrass festival. I loved all of your comments. Thanks, ElP about the Vet Stadium guy–I can hear his voice in my head. As Jim Curtin predicted in the Spring, this team WILL score goals. It was hard to believe that after watching the U barely get by an awful San Jose team (minus Jamiro Monteiro) by 2-0 in March. And yet, it is the same group of players.

    This is a really, really good team right now with excellent chemistry. There is no reason for them (or us) to worry about what is not within their control. They are going to win the East, which qualifies them for CONCACAF Champions league in 2023. Let’s all enjoy this run and not worry about next year. “Everybody scores, woo hoo!” (Well, but for Carranza against Houston with the exception of his PK) Doop!

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