Union match reports

Match report: New York City FC 1-3 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Stephen Speer

Julian Carranza’s brace in first-half stoppage time powered Philadelphia Union to a 3-1 road win against rival New York City FC at Citi Field in Queens on Saturday night.

Daniel Gazdag added a penalty – won by Carranza – early in the second half, while Gabriel Pereira notched City’s lone goal in the first half.

Coming off a strong victory at home last weekend, Jim Curtin made no changes to his lineup, sticking with the 3-5-2 formation. Alejandro Bedoya missed his second straight game with a quad injury.

Kickoff came a touch after 7:30 p.m. on the reappropriated baseball field, about half of the infield dirt in play and covered with makeshift grass. Traveling Union fans, seated behind the third-base dugout, were in good voice, while the home supporters unveiled a Godfather-inspired tifo reading “Kiss the Ring.”

The early stages of the match weren’t nearly so dramatic, with both teams figuring out how to play on the more compressed pitch. City tested Blake with a few shots from long range without really troubling the keeper, while set pieces from Kai Wagner looked to be the Union’s most reliable form of attack. One attempt, from a good 30 yards out, nearly snuck past Luis Barraza’s near post, but the keeper just got over in time to parry wide.

City took the lead right on the half-hour mark. A bad giveaway by Jose Martinez was the first domino to fall, and NYC sliced through the Union’s backline from there. Santi Rodriguez made space at the top of the box and sprayed one toward the penalty spot, where Damion Lowe upended Richie Ledezma. The referee never needed to consider a penalty, though, as Gabriel Pereira was waiting in acres of space, and he slotted cooly home past Blake.

The Boys in Blue responded well. Julian Carranza blasted one past Barraza five minutes later, but the offside flag went up right away. Wagner’s crosses continued to cause danger, while Mikael Uhre looked a threat to run in behind. But City had the next good scoring chance, Pereira once again finding himself in space and smashing sone that just skittered off the top of Blake’s crossbar.

Julian Carranza leveled the match right at the start of first-half stoppage time. It was a simple goal, really: a long ball from Jack Elliott, won by the Argentine in the box. Carranza controlled with his body and fired a first-time shot low and hard past Barraza, silencing the Citi Field crowd in the process.

Carranza made it a brace moments later, giving the Union the lead in the process. Martinez got the attack rolling off a corner, fizzing one forward toward Daniel Gazdag. The midfielder let the ball run for Uhre, who cut back to the oncoming Carranza. For the second time in stoppage time, Carranza fired low and hard, leaving Barraza stranded and the City crowd in shock.

The Union made it three just after halftime, and once again Carranza made it happen. Running for another long ball over the top, he cut inside Thiago Martins, forcing a foul from the defender. Though it initially looked like the contact started outside the box, the referee pointed to the spot, and the call stood after a lengthy VAR check. Daniel Gazdag stepped to the spot and buried his sixth penalty goal of the year.

With a two-goal lead in hand, the Union set out to suffocate their opposition for the second half. They largely succeeded, allowing City to have the ball as long as they didn’t create any real danger.

Blake got away with one midway through the half, coming out late for a ball and seemingly fouling a City player near the goal. But referee Guido Gonzales opted for a corner, and VAR didn’t intervene.

Blake produced another strong save on Pereira moments later, stretching out to keep the two-goal lead intact. At the other end, Carranza nearly had his hat trick, but this time Barraza got up a paw to parry the shot aside.

Otherwise, the Union were content to keep possession and see out the match, aided by substitutes Jesus Bueno and Chris Donovan.

Boos rang out at full time after the Union declined to kiss the ring.

Yet another midweek match lies ahead for Philadelphia, who host Charlotte FC on Wednesday night. Kickoff at Subaru Park is at 7:30 p.m.

Three Points
  • Julian Carranza. A great striker changes games. After a fairly unremarkable first half, Carranza’s explosion on either side of halftime changed the game for the Union and put them on the glide path to victory. You can see why other teams might be sniffing around.
  • Another win for the 3-5-2. Admittedly, the Union’s use of the formation is a bit out of necessity, and City showed some ability to attack Philly down the wings. But what it offers is defensive stinginess and opportunities to crush teams on the counter, and Saturday night’s match saw both in action.
  • Fighting in a basement offers a lot of difficulties. NYC FC’s stadium situation continues to be an embarrassment to MLS. Citi Field has to be the second-worst soccer venue in America, after NYC’s other home. May the Union never play there again.

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Olivier Mbaizo, Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Damion Lowe, Kai Wagner, Leon Flach, Jose Martinez, Daniel Gazdag, Mikael Uhre (Jesus Bueno 74′), Julian Carranza (Chris Donovan 86′)

Unused subs: Joe Bendik, Nathan Harriel, Matt Real, Andres Perea, Richard Odada, Jeremy Rafanello, Joaquin Torres

New York City FC

Luis Barraza, Tayvon Gray (Braian Cufre 86′), Maxime Chanot, Thiago Martins (Tony Alfaro 55′), Kevin O’Toole, Keaton Parks, James Sands, Gabriel Pereira, Santi Rodriguez, Andres Jasson (Gabe Segal 62′), Richie Ledezma (Talles Magno 62′)

Unused subs: Matt Freese, Cody Mizell, Stephen Turnbull, Justin Haak

Scoring Summary

NYC: Gabriel Pereira — 30′ (Richie Ledezma, Santi Rodriguez)
PHI: Julian Carranza — 45+1′ (Jack Elliott)
PHI: Julian Carranza — 45+3′ (Mikael Uhre, Jose Martinez)
PHI: Daniel Gazdag — 53′ (PK)

Discipline Summary

PHI: Jakob Glesnes — 29′ (foul)
NYC: Tayvon Gray — 38′ (foul)
NYC: Thiago Martins — 52′ (foul)
NYC: Kevin O’Toole — 61′ (foul)
PHI: Mikael Uhre — 69′ (foul)

NYC Statistic PHI NYC Statistic PHI


Possession % 40.7 42 Duels Won 49
16 Shots 13 6 Tackles Won



Shots on Goal 6 3 Saves 6
4 Blocked Shots 1 20 Clearances



Total Passes 322 16 Fouls 15
85.2 Pass Accuracy % 75.8 3 Yellow Cards



Corners 7 0 Red Cards 0
7 Crosses 15 1.4 xG







  1. It’s has to be those SoCal Surfer kit! SMILE.
    Good win!

  2. Alright everyone I think we are turning it around CHOO CHOO.

  3. HopkinsMD says:


  4. Soccerdad720 says:

    (Need to update headline. Still says X-X for a score )

    Well played. This team is good.

  5. el Pachyderm says:

    What a strange game. Not gonna lie those two Route 1 gols despite my detesting of the philosophy were insular & spectacular…otherwise- the first half was like watching rubber mallets pulverizing fingers versus scalpels …the surgical precision of which NYCFC was so much better. Union kept in the game because their goalkeeper is better at stopping shots than anyone in the world in his last 18 months of form. Just like that though 3-1 and …
    …the second half was wide open as would be expected. Smacked that team of Dude Wipes in the mouth tonight though and I feel all clean about it…… Unbeaten in 7. Climbing the table as they should. Carry on men. Carry on.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      On a field like that (I’m not going to dignify it by calling it a pitch) route 1 probably makes some sense since it’s so easy to get the deep penetration and the Union have the players who can make those pinpoint passes.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        It worked so that us the proof of your point. I’ll never embrace it as club philosophy though.
        I’ve embraced 2 of the 3.

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        Why did you dignify it by calling it a ‘field’?

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Don’t they play baseball on a field? It seems perfectly serviceable for playing baseball. 🙂 🙂

    • All in on calling that team the Dude Wipes henceforth.

  6. narbrich says:

    CA-RR-RR-RR-AN-ZA! If you have a player of his quality, there is every reason to try to play direct, and he did not disappoint. All three goals (within 10 minutes of play time) were due to him. Yes, some others played pretty well, but this was JC’s night! Now that the weather has turned warm, the Union are back (It probably also benefited them not to have a midweek game.).
    1) Had Pereira not scored NYCFC’s goal, Lowe would likely have been called for a penalty and possibly a yellow card.
    2) It isn’t just that Andre Blake saves shots, he makes sure that the rebounds are parried away to relatively harmless areas–a wonderful skill on his part.
    3) On the penalty call, if you were NYCFC, would you rather go down a man at the 53rd minute or give up a PK? I thought the foul was a DOGSO outside the box, but was happy to have Gazdag convert the PK.
    4) After Uhre got a yellow card in the 69th minute, I thought it made sense to sub then for both him and Glesnes, who was on a yellow.
    5) For two games in a row, I didn’t have a huge problem with the officiating, which may be some kind of a record.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      The problem with subbing Glesnes is that they don’t have another center back to bring in and would have to significantly change formation. I would have considered taking Martinez off since he’s one yellow away from suspension.
      Last week officiating was fine. Tonight, not so much. Very inconsistent as to what was a card and what wasn’t. And it probably should have been a PK against Blake.

      • narbrich says:

        As I see it, the Union’s player priority, meaning the players in their positions who are most important to give them a chance to win are as follows:
        1) Andre Blake
        2) (If they are playing a diamond, but lower in a 3-5-2) Jose Martinez
        3) Jakob Glesnes
        4) Julian Carranza
        5) Daniel Gazdag
        6) Everyone else

        Balancing risk/reward, up 2 goals, I think that subbing Glesnes on a yellow out for 30 minutes is “worth” the certainty of having him on the field for the next match.

        And I agree with you, Blake should have been called for a penalty, which would have made the game much more of a nail-biter.

      • Chris Gibbons says:

        Also, I think Glesnes is on some minutes streak right now. 86 starts in a row or something, maybe never subbed in the whole thing?

      • @narbrich I think Glesnes would be in that #6 spot for me… I hope I don’t have to see it, but I feel way better with the dropoff to Elliot/Lowe (if 4atb) than I do with anything involving Donovan and Torres at this point.

      • Tim Jones says:

        The Glesnes minutes streak is not all games scheduled, only those is MLS. He sat in at least one CCL match, if my ancient memory is not serving me poorly.

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        You could hear Jim yelling “Jose, no yellow!” (Then, hilariously) “Tell him no yellow!”

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      Because it was a pull back, and contact continued into the box, it was a penalty. However, I also thought it was DOGSO. There is no other defender in a mile. You could hear the ref at the var table say “I have a hard touch away from goal.” So I get why he didn’t give it, BUT does Julian have his first touch affected by being pulled back? I think he does. I would have given the card in addition to the penalty.

  7. Pragmatist says:

    The way they’re playing, it makes me excited to think about adding McGlynn back into the mix. They are firing now. Adding his quality to this team is going to open up so many options. It will be a fascinating summer.

    • Tough call. Flach’s biting defence and overall hustle has added to transitions we may not have had with McGlynn. Love McGlynn’s vision and long drops, but right now this lineup is working. Mbaizo, to me, is now the most interesting player in the starting 11.

      • Totally agree.
        This group is playing well. 3-5-2 absolutely working cause the league ‘got us’ earlier this year.

        Imagine if we had changed to the new offensive formation earlier? First place!

        Here’s to hosting MLS Cup 2023 in Chester!

      • Pragmatist says:

        All valid points. I guess I’m just optimistic knowing that we have unused weapons to add to this growing attack. It’s nice to see the 3-5-2 working so that there is more tactical flexibility and the personnel to run them all.

  8. May I put in a word for Bueno? Seems there is a player in there.

  9. Andy Muenz says:

    I think Peter Andrews needs to make a date with the Apple announcers to go see Madagascar after they called one of the Union players King Carranza.
    While I’m happy with the win, I’d just as soon see the Union forfeit these games on non regulation fields and just refuse to put a team out there. If it’s not good enough for CONCACAF, it shouldn’t be good enough for MLS.
    Last year the Union had 26 points after 15 games so a win Wednesday puts them ahead of that pace.

    • Tim Jones says:

      How many trillions of petrodollars does Etihad football group control?
      MLS goes paws up whenever big money is involved.
      And NYC FC has announced a stadium plan. Who knows how long it will take to build, but it is no longer a baseball stadium forever.

  10. Look out. Here we come.

  11. OneManWolfpack says:

    Please don’t sell Carranza in the next window… Please don’t sell Carranza in the next window… Please don’t sell Carranza in the next window…
    Not yet…

  12. Love the way Curtin wore his baby blue Union Jacket

  13. NYCFC is permitted to play on a glorified futsal pitch, and thank goodness Jim Curtin’s new 3-5-2 gelled in time to take the 3 points here. It’s an abomination that these fields are allowed, but the boys took care of business on the road. Let’s keep it going and see how much better it feels to get 3 on a regulation field. Well done, men, and let’s get another.

  14. Don Grabmoremoney’s pet team… along with LAFC… why the flying rats are allowed to play on those ‘pigeon sh*t’ fields.

  15. I was at the match, and… yeah, it’s a terrible setup for soccer, truly. The food at Citi Field is much better than what we get in Chester, though.

    Martinez’ giveaway for the NYC goal was truly inexcusable, but fortunately didn’t cost us the match. I was very surprised about the PK call, as I thought it was outside the box.

    We are really on a great run of form lately, but I still can’t help having some niggling doubts. The defense is not what it was last year, and I’m not sure why. We’re getting a bit lucky at times, and also having to rely more on Jamaican Superman.

    • Fortunately Dre keeps proving why he has won the GK of the Year more than anyone in MLS history. We’re spoiled to have him and I’m not sorry to say it.

    • Pragmatist says:

      He earned us a lot of points last year, as well. We just had a lot of games with 3+ goals. If we got a form near that (it would be greedy to expect a repeat), we’ll be fine.

  16. It’s always fun to attend a nearby road match and turn their house into our house.
    . . .
    I was glad to see Route 1/long ball used. We have the long ball players like Elliot, Glesnes, and others who can do it long, accurate, and with backspin that drops for opportunities for players expecting it. That’s an often unappreciated art, skill, and talent due to finesse snobbery paradigms. It also ‘island hops’ over midfields, keeping them running and disoriented.
    . . .
    Pretty soccer is when we bag goals and win. NYCFC preferred their smaller pitch ticky tack and getting the 2 on 1 runs up the right. After their opening goal and close chances, we put that off kilter and Route 1/long ball helped with that.
    . . .
    I was told by their fans that CCL can’t be played at Yankee or Citi because of the baseball billboard sponsor signage that’s affixed and won’t be covered or removed. They’d get free advertising at the expense of their own. Plus, it’s due to scheduling restraints. They winterize the baseball fields, there’s too many baseball series scheduling conflicts with the main tenants, and it takes a couple of days to do the conversion back and forth with the diamond versus temporary sodding. The pitch, while smaller, is still well within legal rules.
    . . .
    They have the ground cleared next to Citi for the new soccer specific stadium. It’s planned to be ready for the 2017 season.
    . . .
    It’s obviously awkward to watch soccer played in a baseball park, but Citi is a nice park for its main purpose. For Phillies fans it’s worth a road trip. Its big screen is outstanding so besides the old school with modern luxuries and amenities, you get an up close 2 for 1 live plus mega-television experience.

    • santo bevacqua says:

      That is not the only abomination about it ………its the description of the sport as well where does the name soccer come in when its football played with feet. Football here gets no respect and the fans blindly tolerate it meekly. Football is played in a pitch. You can ditch the word soccer.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Have you ever heard of the Football ASSOCIATION? Soccer is a perfectly logical derivative of the word ASSOCIATION.

      • Pepito, The Biggest Cat in the Whole World says:

        Hush, child. We’d be better off ditching you and your inability to understand how language works

  17. The word soccer comes from a slang abbreviation of the word association, which British players of the day adapted as “assoc,” “assoccer” and eventually soccer or soccer football.
    In my best Bevis voice…. “ASS-occer” he he he.
    In England, Szymanski writes, aristocratic boys came up with the shortened terms “rugger” and “soccer” to differentiate between Rugby Football and Association Football. To support this argument, he cites a letter to The New York Times, published in 1905: “It was a fad at Oxford and Cambridge to use “er” at the end of many words, such as foot-er, sport-er, and as Association did not take an “er” easily, it was, and is, sometimes spoken of as Soccer.”

  18. I’m sure everyone has read the recent ratings for Apple’s MLS Season Pass, and Don Grabmoremoney covering up the fact that only 26,000+ have signed up for the paid package, lyi g to all advertisers about the viewship of MLS Season Pass.
    IF those numbers are correct, valid…. what a collasal failure. 29 teams with 26,000 PAID subscriptions?
    And then drag in the huge FAIL of production… and just horrible scheduling, driving all interest from casual fans from local markets like the Delaware Valley?
    But Don Grabmoremoney will get 1/2 a billion for that San Diego franchise, without any concern for the loyal season ticket investors in every market… or Landon Donovan’s group.
    Done my rant!

    Apple just sucks…
    so does MLS.

    • Just stop already. Attendance hasn’t been hit at all. The Union are averaging ABOVE capacity this season. The largely uniform schedule times is HELPING attendance!! Also let’s not act as if MLS was getting gangbuster ratings the past nearly 30 years using the old TV model.
      Poor production? 1080P for all broadcasts. You want to whine about poor production? Fox is simulcasting the Apple feed in 720, while having it’s announce team call the game off of a monitor in a Florida studio…
      Where exactly are you getting these ratings from anyways? Care to share your source?
      The San Diego Loyal season ticket base??? You do realize that they play in 5,000 seat stadium right? And that they have less than 2K STH’s??? Also The Mansour Group reached out to the Loyal who rebuffed their calls…

      • Andy Muenz says:

        You obviously weren’t at any of the freezing cold games early in the season where most of the fans came disguised as empty seats. Even if those seats were paid for, fans not attending weren’t buying concessions and may decide to switch to partial season passes in the future. Only a moron like Garber would argue for 7:30 weekend games in February and March.
        The Apple telecasts have been horrible. It doesn’t matter what technology you have if the camera is focused on the coach instead of a player picking up his second yellow card or when the announcers aren’t prepared to accurately discuss the teams and the game.

      • I’m a season ticket holder, I was there early in the season and Subaru park has been packed outside of the Toronto Game, which was played in a monsoon.
        MLS is producing the games too, NOT Apple. Also it’s not Garber asking for the kickoff times…..it’s the owners of the teams. The teams are the ones making these decisions. Garber is merely their paid mediator, and messenger.

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        I was there for the Toronto game. Got some good video.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        The stadium wasn’t packed for Chicago, Orlando, or KC games. (Orlando was especially a travesty since they were playing during an international break so most of the spots on the bench were empty as well.)

    • FCdelcofella says:

      26,000 subs…. Wow. If those numbers are correct then what a failure. I attended my first game two weeks ago, free box, but would never pay extra to watch this product streamed or on regular tv. Not a lot of people were watching last year and NO ONE is watching this year aside from STH’s. Cheers apple. I love the big tech/corporate defenders…. The hypocrisy lol.

  19. santo bevacqua says:

    The world of football is as popular as ever, it is definitely the largest followed sport in history. FIFA is just as much money grabbing as MLS and that is possible because television rights, ads, and attendance are at an all time high. Apple tv coverage in its first year is a shock to me as well but its trending in the right direction. The USA is also making strides toward being a force, witness the under twenty world cup undefeated made up of home grown talent, thanks to the academies, look forward to USA in 2026. The reason the sport is footbal is obvious, american helmet football tried to expand in Europe and failed many owners of teams are hedging their bets with the real version. I hope this makes sense to all the followers of this informative forum.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      If the sport is football, why are you calling the league MLS rather than MLF? Seems like you are OK with calling it soccer in that one particular case.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      Santo, I get your passion, but I have to wonder… what is the value of trying to convince anyone here of this? Surely, you don’t expect to change all of America here? I think we’d all prefer you engage with us on topics around the play on the field and the team we all love. That’s what makes this particular corner of the web great.

      • santo bevacqua says:

        Andy —
        of course, as a former player, coach and referee of the sport and growing up it was always called soccer and did not give a hoot about it. However i was also aware that it was a minority sport that the rest of the country made fun of it as silly shorts guys ran around, also did not care……now the sport is gaining a foothold and should be called like you say the MLF, let the Eagles, Giants, Jets etc play soccer or association its more appropriate for the sport as the true football is played with feet….It should be changed will it be i doubted but if you love the sport it shoul rightly be called football .

  20. Great win by the boys. The first half was a mess till the last 3 minutes. They got it together for the second half. Not a great game to watch on that stinking field. I’d also like to give some input on watching Apple. The Colorado game was pretty bad. Felt like the announcing team was talking about other teams rather the game at hand. And didn’t cover much of the end of game tussle. But this game was better. The announcing was actually about the game we were watching! So Apple is improving. But we were spoiled by our guys!! Just saying!

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      I agree. I heard some solid tactical commentary, and the names were mostly pronounced correctly. For a bit, particularly at the beginning, I thought the announcers were in the tank for NYC. But there was good enthusiasm for Carranza’s goals and Wagner’s pass. So, overall, pretty decent.

      • Deez, we were in Colorado visiting friends this week. They were at the Union vs Rapids game and said the broadcast missed a ton of what was really going on. Bedoya was barking at the Rapids bench pretty aggressively! Gotta love the Captain! Really hoping Apple gets a handle on making the coverage better. If the casual fan is turned off by the price then new viewers will be scarce!

  21. santo bevacqua says:

    Andy —
    of course, as a former player, coach and referee of the sport and growing up it was always called soccer and did not give a hoot about it. However i was also aware that it was a minority sport that the rest of the country made fun of it as silly shorts guys ran around, also did not care……now the sport is gaining a foothold and should be called like you say the MLF, let the Eagles, Giants, Jets etc play soccer or association its more appropriate for the sport as the true football is played with feet….It should be changed will it be i doubted but if you love the sport it shoul rightly be called football .

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I should mention I’ve just been giving you a hard time since I think many people here agree with you but aren’t as passionate about it. Personally, I probably use football about 75% of the time IRL, but there are enough times when it’s not worth the aggravation trying to discuss it with people who don’t understand.

    • narbrich says:

      FWIW, I call it “Proper Football” as opposed to “American Football.”

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