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Match report: Philadelphia Union 3-0 New England Revolution

photo: Marjorie Elzey

Daniel Gazdag scored twice and Julian Carranza added a late insurance goal as the Philadelphia Union knocked off the New England Revolution 3-0 on Saturday night in Chester.

Gazdag netted his first goal from open play this season, smashing a shot in at the near post from the top of the box on 56 minutes. The midfielder then doubled the Union lead from the penalty spot after Mikael Uhre was fouled in the Revolution box. Carranza added gloss to the scoreline, finishing a great counter attack and smart pass from Chris Donovan in the 88th minute.

Jim Curtin reverted back to a 3-5-2 after switching formations midweek. Alejandro Bedoya missed out with a training injury, so Leon Flach slotted in next to Jose Martinez at the base of the midfield. Mikael Uhre joined Julian Carranza up top.

New England came close to opening in the scoring in the 19th minute. Emmanuel Boateng did well to get down the Revolution right and advance beyond Jakob Glesnes. He cut a cross back that Bobby Wood met near the penalty spot, but the striker could only slash a shot wide of Andre Blake’s goal.

The Union’s best chance came in the 27th minute. Jose Martinez found acres of space to advance down the right side with the ball. He lofted a cross toward the back post from about 30 yards out that found the head of Julian Carranza. Carranza tried to nod his header back across goal, but Dorde Petrovic did well to dive to his left and deny the chance.

Philly would take the lead in the 56th minute through Gazdag. Martinez and Gazdag did well to advance the ball up field after winning it back near their own 18 yard box. Uhre was able to win a throw in deep on the Union left after Andrew Farrell fell while knocking the ball out of bounds. Uhre threw the ball in quickly and found Gazdag near the top of the New England box, and the midfielder smashed a shot in off the left post that beat Petrovic.

The Union would double their lead in the 74th minute through Gazdag’s penalty. Glesnes played a terrific ball over the top down the Philadelphia right side that Uhre took down well. He drove into the box and took a touch beyond Farrell, who clattered into the striker. Gazdag continued his clinical form from the spot and dispatched his kick into the right corner of the net, sending Petrovic the wrong way. Gazdag is now 8 for 8 from the penalty spot on the season.

The Union would make it three through Carranza in the 88th minute. Chris Donovan did well to block a shot near the top of his own box, springing Philadelphia on the counter. Carranza advanced the ball and played a pass back to Donovan 25 yards from goal. Donovan did well to play a pass back into the path of Carranza through Farrell’s legs, and the striker made no mistake, burying his chance from six yards out.

Philadelphia is next in action when they travel to take on New York City FC next Saturday (7:30 p.m.)

Three Points

  • That’s better – The Union looked more like themselves knocking off the Revs. While the attack still looked disjointed at times, Philly looked better in transition and then found their scoring boots in the second half.
  • 3-5-2 – Jim Curtin reverted back to the 3-5-2 that looked good, if yet unpolished in Colorado last week. The Union looked much more dangerous in transition throughout the match while limiting New England all evening. Jose Martinez, Leon Flach, and Daimon Lowe all put in strong performances in the formation.
  • Room to improve – Great to be able to nitpick a 3-0 win. But while the home team did net three, the attack, particularly in the first half, looked disjointed with Carranza, Uhre, and Gazdag struggling to find the right passes in the final third.

Philadelphia Union

Andre Blake, Jack Elliott, Damion Lowe, Jakob Glesnes, Dániel Gazdag (Jesus Beuno 90+1′), José Martínez, Leon Flach, Kai Wagner (Matt Real 90+1′),  Olivier Mbaizo, Julián Carranza, Mikkel Uhre (Chris Donovan 80′)
Subs: Joe Bendik, Joaquín Torres, Andrés Perea, Richard Odada, Jeremy Rafanello, Nathan Harriel

New England Revolution

Dorde Petrovic, Dave Romney, Andrew Farrell, DeJuan Jones, Brandon Bye, Carles Gil (Jack Panayotou 35′), Matt Polster (Jozy Altidore 78′), Latif Blessing (Justin Rennicks 66′), Bobby Wood (Giacomo Vrioni 66′), Emmanuel Boateng (Esmir Bajraktarevic 78′), Noel Buck
Subs: Ben Sweat, Christian Makoun, Omar González, Earl Edwards

Scoring Summary

PHI: Daniel Gazdag – 56′ (Uhre)
PHI: Daniel Gazdag – 74′ (PK)
PHI: Julian Carranza – 88′ (Donovan)

Disciplinary Summary

NE: Latif Blessing – 4′ (foul)
NE: Bobby Wood – 45′ (foul)
NE: Carles Gil – 77′ (dissent)
NE: Jozy Alidore – 84′ (dissent)
PHI: Matt Real – 90+3′ (foul)


  1. OneManWolfpack says:

    Yes sir. 4-0-2 last 6 MLS games. Keep it rolling gentlemen.

  2. I feel weirdly spoiled given this team’s history that my response to a 3-0 win (and that 2nd half) is “whew, looks like it’s getting back to normal” and not amazement.

  3. HopkinsMD says:

    Well done to take all three points at home. Disjointed, especially in the first half, but glad to see things begin to click later in the second.
    Get some deserved rest.

  4. I know complaining after a win is a Ahole move but man they really need to work on their efficiency in the final third. They spent the game swarming NE and creating tons of chances but it took a long time to break through.

    Its nice to win but better teams aren’t going to let us create chance after chance like that. Carranza in particular continuously makes terrible first touches and makes bad decisions all the time. He is lucky he is such a good finisher.

    • “better teams”
      *looks at standings* Yeah, it might be Arena but NE is one of the “better teams” in this league. Calibrate. 3-nil is very good against anybody and they were 2nd in the conference coming in.

  5. el Pachyderm says:

    Much better. More continuity. Cleaner. Watchable. Thank you. New England missing key pieces but that was a needed measure tonight. Much better with Jose. Like the 3-5-2 … well done.

  6. No offense to Ale or Jack but right now this looks like the best XI. A very solid performance in the 3rd match in a week and looked dangerous all match against a rested side.

    • Started a comment along these lines but then saw yours. 3-5-2 til the U-20s get back but then — do you want Lowe or McGlynn on the field? Bedoya gets his spot back when he’s healthy, but formation determines the last starter.

  7. Andy Muenz says:

    A couple of definite things I’m liking about the 3-5-2 (or 5-3-2). When they get the lead, they don’t need to change formations late in the game to try to protect it and then not gel together while giving up late goals. And given the talents of their 3 center backs going forward, it’s nice to know there will be coverage when they do push.
    On a separate note it was good to see all three Union players start in the U-20 World Cup and for the team to pull out the late win against the team that knocked them out of the tournament 4 years ago. A win over Fiji (who lost 4-0 to Slovakia) on Tuesday should see them comfortably through to the knockout round.

    • Agree on the U-20s, and wish Paxten was there. The only sad thing watching is seeing confirmation that Sullivan thrives in a 4-3-3 and probably has to move on ASAP to fulfill his potential.

  8. I agree with Curtin’s comment in the press conference that, especially the first 20 minutes, this was Flach’s best game. It seemed like they told Flach to stay glued to Gil and he did such a good job that Gil got substituted in the first half and still got a yellow card in the second half.

  9. Team looked much more comfortable tonight, especially in the second half. Front three kept getting bunched up on top of each other In the middle. But they seemed to be working though it as the game went on. Not great yet, but definitely an improvement.

  10. Yeah, a good win. 3 points.

    But PLEASE stop Kai from taking corner kicks. It’s borderline silly now. Not even close to getting it over the first defender’s head in 90% of his kicks… or going so far over, a wasted opportunity.

    BTW… just love Kai and MBiazo as Mids… 5 across. Really utilizes their skills properly… And Elliot, Jacob and Lowe GOT THIS!

    Nice win… Finally.

  11. Once Gil left the game in the first half due to injury, it was only a question of When/IF the Union would score, and then possibly how many.
    Much better intensity level in this one compared to Wednesday’s game against DC. Still have a lot to work on and improve. They need to get Uhre scoring to really get the offense cooking.
    Bring on the Pigeons!

  12. Deez Nuggs says:

    Fantastic game to be at! Decent weather for once. Overall a dominant performance near the whole time. I really appreciate how the formation was allowing the team to interchange all over. Players moving into and out of space fluidly. Our center backs regularly driving into the box and Flach or Brujo or Wagner fall back to cover. New England totally at a loss to track the movement.
    But… I’m not convinced Revs played well at all. I’m just thinking of the many times there was zero pressure on us when we attacked the 18. Martinez standing there, on the edge of the box, throws his hands up not knowing what to do because no one is coming to close him down.
    I expected the guys to be completely wiped out from all the travel and so many games in the last two weeks. But they really brought the energy. Very nice, boys! Very nice win.

  13. “The union have won their last 15 when they’ve scored first”. Anyone remember when their Achilles heel was not being able to protect a lead and close out games?

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Yup, I remember. It was less than a month ago against LAFC in Champions League. (I’m assuming your stat is MLS games only since it certainly isn’t true if CCL is included.)
      They didn’t score first, but also blew the lead in Montreal when they gave up 2 late goals to turn 3 points into 0.

  14. Lowe, Flach, Mbaizo impressed. Donovan sub at 80’ worked well.

  15. Mbiazo further up field with backup looks promising. Keeping him focused is key moving forward. He has a deceptively lazy style that speaks to confidence. Lowe also needs to be on the field. Good win against a good team.

  16. Kirielson says:

    Great to see!

  17. The 3-5-2 puts Flach in position to allow Martinez to roam more and I don’t think anybody was ready for him to take those long runs to the endline. NER had no answer and it will work well for another few games until teams get more film on that.

    Also alows Mbaizo and Wagner to be more offensive minded. It’s a good look to be able to utilize and mix up with the 4-4-2.

    Also notd that Donovan was set to come on (had his substitute penny off and taking with coaches and about to head over) but Curtin changed his mind and sent him back to warm up more before finally bringing him on about 10 minutes later. Not sure if he was going to come on for Uhre or Carranza initially. Felt like coach was going to pull Julian then decided to let him try and play thru the slump once we went up 2-0

  18. That was a pretty good game to watch! The team worked out of the first half clog in front of goal. Was suprised to see Uhre and Caranza making the same run several times. But they sorted it and the second half showed what they can do. The Revs had a few pieces out. And they lost Gil in the first half. Hate to see anyone get subed for injuries. The Revs are good. This could have been a tough one. But the U looked more than up to the task. They are putting away teams they would have struggled with a few years ago. They are getting back to some better play. It’s a great thing to see. We the fans expect to see that every time. It is still being built into the fabric of the team and the organization. Consistency needs to be built. Its not automatic. On to the next!

  19. John P. O'Donnell says:

    That ball from Donovan to put this game to bed for Carranza was pinpoint perfect. The speed he had to get into the play was surprising. He has a chance to get some minutes with Sullivan away and that was a good ten minutes for him last night.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Actually, given how he looked for Union 2 last season, speed from Donovan should not be surprising. It is a major part of his game.

      • John P. O'Donnell says:

        Union2 is not the top level exactly. I remember a football player saying he was one of the fastest players on his college team but everyone in the NFL is fast. Just good to see it carries over.

  20. narbrich says:

    I gave my tickets to my middle son so he could take granddaughter Keira and 2 friends to see the Union for her 10th birthday. I would say it worked out well, although Grandpa’s observations are from Crapple.
    1) After 3 goalless halves, I almost forgot the lyrics to the Doop song.
    2) I counted 3 Union near-collisions at the top of the box in the offensive zone in the first half alone–clearly there was some misreading of the play going on. That said, I would rather see errors of aggression in the offensive third than confusion in the midfield and defensive end.
    3) I have said this before and at the risk of stating the obvious, I will say this once more and then try to stop saying it for the rest of the season: The Union cannot win any hardware without Jose Martinez, who had a monster game last night completed with a smile on the field during the game and no cautions and no long-range misses (but with a blunder in the offensive third). MOM for me.
    4) Leon Flach also had a great game last night. Though I did not keep a count, he seemed to engage in many ground duels and have a number of steals. I think that the statistic of ground duels won is a bit misleading when it comes to Flach. It is important, whether or not he wins the duel, for him to make the opponent change direction from the middle of the field to the outside, and he did that repeatedly and superbly last night.
    5) I like the 3-5-2 with Damian Lowe in the mix, freeing Mbaizo and Wagner to be more offensive.
    6) Was this the U’s best XI? I have nothing but respect for El Capitan, but. . . the team is much faster without him, especially after he tires (I watched him labor against DC in the 2nd half on Wednesday night and was happy he was subbed off relatively early.). The 2nd half last night was an offensive juggernaut against a decent team.
    7) Because there are so many (too many IMHO) teams in MLS, the talent (except for LAFC) is so widely dispersed that there is not a huge difference in talent level among teams in mid-table (2-10) in both conferences. Injuries, coaching, rest and travel are gigantic factors in the outcomes. New England are one of the better teams, but they were missing some players, had a mid-week game and were on the road. The U’s depth and fitness level was better than theirs.
    8) The reffing seemed pretty good to me. I was glad to see the penalty called on Farrell for what seemed to me to be an obvious and cynical challenge in the box–the cynicism being that because he didn’t use his hands to push, Farrell thought that we wouldn’t get called for taking the player out. I think that should always be called because there is no intent to play the ball, but I would bet that half of the refs in MLS (and maybe EPL, as well) would let the play go.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      New England did not play mid-week. They were the rested team.

      • narbrich says:

        My mistake–I thought every team played this Wed. and didn’t look at the schedules. That makes this win even higher quality in my judgment.

      • Chris Gibbons says:

        Agree on Martinez with one caveat: other teams know he wants to hit those line splitting balls and are baiting him into them. Farrel did it a half dozen times last night and stole every one. A minor nitpick.

  21. BBfromUD says:

    A fun game to watch. I think this is the Union we’ve all been waiting to see. Especially in the second half. And did we really just watch Curtin change his formation and out coach Arena? Or did Gil leaving the game just change everything in the Union’s favor? However, as I read the tea leaves, Marsch likely appointment as USMNT coach means that Curtin will leave to be his assistant. Probably why he hasn’t re-signed. There I’ve said it. First?!

    All the pre-game comments on Arena being unhappy were understated.

    I’m not a fan of Donovan, but a great hustle play leading to that final goal. Didn’t think I would ever miss Burke, but here we are.

    From here on out please handle Ale with care, we’ll need him to win the Cup!

    • Not first time… but Jim won’t leave before end of season.
      Marsch wouldn’t ask that of Jim… it’s not necessary, no rush… nor would Jim do that to ‘us’.

      We’re 10 points behind hosting MLS Cup 2023, and just beat a rested, Class A squad. Jim’s changes to the formation sealed the deal. NICE… very positive about this squad, working thru all the disjointedness.

      Obliterate NYCFC Sat!

  22. santo bevacqua says:

    That was some good football the U is definitely improving playing disciplined and cohesive. Total team effort from coach on up.

  23. Well that was fun! The second half, at least. First half was kinda frustrating. Not sure why the boys up top are having trouble connecting this season…

    But that second half was glorious. Elliott, Lowe, Flach were defensive linchpins, and Martinez had a monster game. Also, let’s give some major credit to Uhre, who found Gazdag on the first goal and got open to force the PK foul on the second.

  24. I don’t think we are giving Uhre enough credit as a collective for his throw-in assist to Gazdag.
    It was an incredibly heads-up play that caught everyone on the pitch off-guard except Gazdag.
    I’ve been guilty of giving him grief this year, but that one play was a “salt bae” moment we should relish.

  25. I think this match was a turning point. Till now we played down to our opponents, mired in a disjointed, disconnectws morass. Defense was somewhat strong, but 2nd half Sat we seemed to escape those binds and put it all back together, behind us… hopefully.

    The formation change allowed both Kai and Olivier to tap into their offensive powers, and man was that fun to watch.

    And the back line including Elliott, Glesnes, Lowe, with Martinez the assasine, running down the ball, feeding the mids to open the attack.

    And no disrespect to Ale, Captain our Captain, but we’re a better squad using his still amazing skills off the bench, especially when the U20’s return.

    Goal: Hosting MLS Cup 2023!

  26. This website is pretty interesting.

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